Recent entries

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3401 Copy

    Questioner

    In Stormlight, with Kaladin and his brother Tien, is there a connection or a reason why, whenever his brother finds a rock, that keeps coming up several times?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. So, there's a couple themes going on here. One is just the subtle theme that Tien tends to find beauty in things that Kaladin finds dull. That's, of course, kind of the metaphor. But Tien also was a budding Lightweaver, and he saw color and light a little bit differently than other people did. And he has the same general effect that you'll see Shallan having on people, which is how the Lightweaver views you influences a little bit more how your mood is, and things like that... And there is a magical element to that, as well. There's both a metaphoric reason and an in-world reason.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3403 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Really, the third [White Sand graphic novel] is where we've done the most work, because authors-- this happens to a lot of us. Early work, we're good at doing scenes, and we're bad at endings, we're bad at bringing them together. And that's one of the things that I got better at over the years. And the ending of this one had some good things, but it had some really off-kilter things that we're fixing.

    Questioner

    Are they gonna go to [Darkside]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Don't have the plans yet, because I never wrote that book. But I do still have the outline, so it's possible that I'll go and I'll get with Rik [Hoskin]. (Who I really like; Rik has been great to work with. One of the best experiences I've had in collaborating has been working with Rik.) I can see myself saying, "Here are our story beats. I'm doing some dialogue, you're translating." We can maybe do something. But I can't promise.

    The other thing is, we have that old Mistborn script, from the video game, that I could also turn into a graphic novel.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3404 Copy

    Questioner

    I liked Snapshot quite a bit. Is there any chance you're gonna do more with that world in the future? Crossing over with Legion, or anything?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's possible. They're kind of in the same cycle of me exploring reality and [plots], slightly futuristic. Snapshot, right now, is the best shot that we have as a movie. The screenplay came in, and it's great. It is better than the story is, which is fantastic. It's what you want to have happen with a screenplay, you want to have a collaboration, and someone take and integrate and do a better job. It's the first time I've gotten a screenplay back that has been better than the original... So, we have a really good shot, I think, at that one. The screenwriter knocked it out of the park.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3405 Copy

    Questioner

    You have a good amount of accountants in your books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    My mother is an accountant. So accounting is one of my go-to references to my Mom. She's an accountant for the city of Idaho Falls. So that is why so many accountants pop up in my books.

    Questioner

    Is that where [Lightsong], is that a direct, for her?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep. [Lightsong] is also based on a friend of mine who is a computer programmer, and you don't have computer programmers in fantasy worlds. So I'm like, "Well, what's the closest thing to that?"

    Footnote: The questioner and Brandon both refer to Llarimar, but it was Stennimar who was the accountant.
    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3406 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you deal with hecklers? Do you ignore them, do you take their advice?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, it depends. Hecklers, I ignore. Criticism, I don't. I am lucky in that I have a team, and I, these days, have my team watch. Like, "You read the one-star reviews. Tell me if there are things popping up that I need to pay attention to," and things like that. Reading one-star reviews is generally a bad experience, but reading three-star reviews is usually a really handy experience for you to do. That's what you're looking for, those three-stars, the people that could have loved the book-- and if you give it three stars, you liked it, but there were things that bugged you. And if you start seeing themes like that pop up, try to address them.

    But also understand that art is about taste. Every type of art. And you are going to write things that are the right piece of art, but that somebody doesn't like. Just like some people don't like my favorite food. Some people hate it. I like mac and cheese, other people hate it. I have a friend who hates ice cream. I'm like, "What? Who hates ice cream?" But he hates ice cream. It's okay. So, learn to separate taste from things that are actually skill level problems. And as you're a new writer, in particular, focusing on craft, just practicing, is more important than the feedback, often, on your first few books. 'Cause you'll know. You'll figure it out. Your first couple books, you'll be like, "They don't have to tell me; I know what parts are not working." But you can't get better at that until you write them.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3407 Copy

    Questioner

    How long did it take you to figure out how to kill your characters without really ticking off your readers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well. I think it still does tick them off. But my thing is, if I make sure that somebody has a satisfying resolution, even if they don't get to see it, usually people are satisfied then. So, if what the character wanted finds satisfying resolution eventually, that is where I go.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3408 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you decide what book you're gonna work on each day? Do you have, like, a schedule or something?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question. So, I can generally only be writing new prose on one book at a time. And so, I usually make the decision when I finish a book. I usually need something very different, once I finish a book, to try, to have a break from that world, rather than going right into it. So often, I have a lot of different projects floating, and I decide when I finish a book. A little bit of it is making sure, trying to keep myself from doing too many new things, when I still have things hanging. And that has been a constant struggle in my life. I taught myself how to write novellas, so that I could do some of these ideas-- Those are in Arcanum Unbounded. And most of those exist because I had ideas, and I'm like, "No no no. Don't start another series. Don't write another 300,000-word epic fantasy book that people are going to be asking for sequels to. Tell the actual story that you're excited about, but do it in 30,000 words, and then you can be done with it." And that's where Emperor's Soul came from, and that's where things like Edgedancer came from. Not having to balloon into their own huge series.

    So, I decide. And once I get into the book, I need to keep momentum on it. I can't stop. If I stop, that's really bad for a book. You can see this with Rithmatist. Rithmatist was the series I was working on when The Wheel of Time came along. It was the one I was actively writing and working on the sequel to. And when Wheel of Time hit me like a freight train-- I actually wrote the first one in 2007, and it's been really hard to get back into that, because of that big interruption.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3409 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's go down the sequel list.

    My next book coming out is Skyward. You can read sample chapters of that right now, we've been doing a lot of publicity. If you watch my social media, I'm sorry; you probably are done hearing about Skyward. But you can go read the chapters of that, it comes out in two weeks. I turned in the sequel to that, and I'm gonna try and squeeze in the third book before the year ends. We will see. 'Cause I would like to have that series done and ready to be read, and not have to--

    Because, starting January, I promised my attention turns back to Stormlight. *crowd cheers* Everybody cheers for Stormlight. And I will be on Roshar until Book Four is done. Those books take, like, eighteen months. The Skyward books each took 3 months. So, you can see, a Stormlight book's a major undertaking, and nothing else gets done during Stormlight. Which is why it'd be really nice if I can squeeze in that third book, but I only have two and a half months, so I don't know if I'll be able to do it. But I'll start on Stormlight Four.

    So that leaves you hanging on a few things. What about Wax and Wayne Four? Wax and Wayne Four will happen. I'm not sure when, but it will happen. I need to keep steady progress on Stormlight. It'd be really easy to get behind on that series, because they are so big and take a lot out of me... I have to take a good year, year-and-a-half break after a Stormlight book to make sure I'm not burned out on the series when I start again. At about eighteen months, actually about a year, I start to get really excited for working on it again, which is where I am right now. And that's where you want me to be when I'm writing a 400,000-word epic fantasy. So, Wax and Wayne Four will happen. But we will see.

    Probably not any new Reckoners books for a while. That series is done. There's a Mizzy book in me somewhere, but I don't know when I would do that. Who knows.

    Elantris and Warbreaker, sequels wouldn't be approached until after Stormlight Five. Probable they'll happen, but again, wait 'til Stormlight Five. Stormlight's two five-book arcs.

    The Rithmatist. Oh, man, that book has been hard to do a sequel to. I tried to write a sequel, and it just didn't work. So I set it aside. I've got a new outline that I like for it, but it has to get slotted in. It's been a really tough book, probably the toughest book to figure out how to do right ever.

    If the book is not on that list, then probably not a sequel coming anytime soon.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3410 Copy

    Questioner

    I was told that in the end of... Alcatraz versus the [Dark Talent], it says that you would be writing another book from Bastille's point of view.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I am. So, if you are not familiar with this series, I did this weird thing with this series. Alcatraz books are kind of making fun of epic fantasy series. Part of the joke is that they're making fun of them. So when I pitched it to my editor, I said, "I want to tell everybody there's five books. But then end on a massive cliffhanger, and then have the main character refuse to write the last book. And then have a different character in the series write the last book." And the reason I did this is because the character, Alcatraz, had been promising that the books would end on a downer note. And I both wanted to have a downer note and not. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. So Bastille insisting she will write the last book has worked. I've got about half of it done. I have been having some friends read it and help me with it, because I want the voice to feel different, and I want the voice to feel right. So it's been a little tricky to make sure it doesn't just sound like Alcatraz, that it sounds like somebody new. But it will happen, and it's making progress.

    Let's just say that Alcatraz's view on events is not very trustworthy, considering that's, like, the main theme of the books. So I'll let you know that.

    Questioner

    Do you have any idea when it might be coming out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know for sure.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3411 Copy

    Extesian

    I'm loathed to ask two questions but this is a clarification - it was reported way back that you confirmed that the ardent in the Palanaeum is Pailiah. Are you willing to confirm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is a Herald in close proximity to Taravangian, but she's not anyone in his immediate inner circle seen commonly on screen.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3412 Copy

    Calderis

    I recently got the opportunity to ask you a question about Feruchemical steel and if it was a temporal effect and you told me to define that better. When tapping steel, the mind of the Feruchemist is sped up and physics affects their actions normally. When storing, their mind is not slowed and the effect seems tortuously difficult to amass. Storing generally seems to be the more dangerous/difficult option in Feruchemy, so does [Feruchemical steel] alter a person's personal relationship to the flow of time, with the disconnect between the Physical and Cognitive as a drawback of storing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I see what you're asking. The mind-altering effects of [Feruchemical steel] are similar to the slight strength you gain from [Feruchemical iron]--it is your Spiritual nature adapting to the new influx of an attribute that it's not really expecting, and siphoning some of that investiture to make you capable of actually using it. So there is a slight temporal effect here, but nothing as big as I think you're looking for.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3414 Copy

    Spoolofwhool

    Aluminum in the cosmere cannot be Invested or generally affected by Investiture processes. The exception to this however is the Metallic Arts where aluminum can be burned, turned into a metalmind, or charged with Hemalurgy. Is this due to an exception in the normally Investiture-proof properties of aluminum specifically for the Metallic Arts? If so, what kind of Connection is there between the Metallic Arts and aluminum which allows this to occur?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO 

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3417 Copy

    B1G_If_True_

    Is there any updated news on a 10 year anniversary (Hero of Ages?) leather bound book for the holidays?

    Do you plan on doing the leather bound books for works outside the Cosmere as well in the future?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Just that the printer is suffering (another) delay. (I think this might be our third printer, so I'm not sure if we are unlucky, or if this is just how the business works.) We sent it in back in August, but still haven't seen the books. Hopefully they'll come while I'm out on tour, for a December release.

    We are thinking we might do Steelheart when it comes around. So there's a chance. We'll see where we sit once Warbreaker is out.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3419 Copy

    CoverYourSafeHand

    Where do spheres come from in Stormlight? Is there a giant factory somewhere that turns gemhearts into spheres?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's similar to mints in various kingdoms on Earth. They're made by different regional powers, and sometimes there are exchange issues because of it--but since Roshar had some unique forms of societal unification in the past, a lot of things like this got standardized.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3420 Copy

    WeiryWriter

    Is there an important reason why Lukel is the only character of Aonic descent in Elantris whose name is not based around an Aon? (Since "u" does not feature in any Aon.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but it's more social than magical. Like when I ran across someone in Korea named Moses, and it was so interesting linguistically compared to other more traditional names.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3422 Copy

    WeiryWriter

    So in a recent conversation I brought up the relationship between the names of Urithiru and Ur (the ancient Mesopotamian city-state), in retrospect I realized that I was treating the similarity of names as a given but I don't think you have ever been asked about it. Was the reference intentional on your part from the outset (i.e. starting with the idea to reference Ur), or did it arise coincidentally as you played with the linguistics of Roshar (i.e. stumbling across the "ur-" syllable and going "I can work with that!")?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ur was part of it, certainly. But it was more the second--I was playing with things, and liked the feeling of Ur in part because of the ancient our-world references.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3426 Copy

    XavierRDE

    I've seen you said you sent the same scene description to both the US and the UK publisher for Oathbringer's cover. Why choose precisely Jasnah?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's partially based on the scene I think that will look best being illustrated. Also, since book two had Kaladin, I thought it would be a nice change to make sure someone else was on book three.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3429 Copy

    Calderis

    The light lines/lances are a very fun concept. Is there anything in particular that inspired the idea of grappling combat in space?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably watching too many cartoons or B movies where someone turns a corner in a vehicle by throwing out an anchor or something. (Didn't the batmobile do this once in the old Adam West batman?)

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3432 Copy

    Oversleep

    Does it matter how fast are the metals burned in relation to Seeking? For example, would a flared metal be easier to Seek? Could duraluminum burned metal be Seeked through coppercloud by regular Seeker?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Flaring is noticeable to the right Seeker, and strength does correlate as you theorize.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3433 Copy

    Oversleep

    What does count for Hemalurgic control? The total Hemalurgic charge or number of the spikes? If we let four spikes decay for a few years and then pierce a human with it, would that person be controllable? Does that work the same for all Hemalurgic constructs?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question to be asking, as there are spikes that come in sets that only count as a single one... I'd say you're getting close, but not quite there.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3434 Copy

    Oversleep

    This is a follow-up on something I asked you in person last year. What is the bronzepulse of atium? They thought that it shares pattern with gold so I guess there would be some resemblance between those patterns? Also, did it Push or Pull, or something else even (like those uniform pulses Ruin's avatar set off)? Cause I can't help but wonder why did they not notice something very odd about it. And, well, what pulse would even atium alloys have?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3435 Copy

    Oversleep

    I'm liking Skyward so far. I can't wait to read about using light-lances, they're rusting cool!

    I gotta ask, though: what does "scud" mean? It seems it is an equivalent of "damn" but is there any etymology behind it? Cause, "scud" is also name of Soviet tactical ballistic missiles. Any relation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Scud came from the Soviet missile, as a nod to some of my inspirations for the setting of the caverns.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3436 Copy

    RoboChrist

    Would humanity be better or worse off by the end of Oathbringer if Honor ended his visions with:

    "This has been a pre-recorded message from Honor. If you have any inquiries, please direct them to the Stormfather or to a local spren representative."

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dial 9 to refill with Stormlight. 

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3439 Copy

    InsaneScotsman

    During the perpendicularity scene in Oathbringer is it safe to say that what Dalinar did is akin to super powered versions of his surges? Tension to make the realms ductile and formable, adhesion to bring them together. I know the specific ability is unique to Dalinar but I'm fairly attached to this rationalization

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wouldn't immediately shoot down this particular theory. 

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3440 Copy

    Rgkavodkar

    If you have two written books, Book-A and Book-B, and you are prouder of Book-B, does it feel weird if Book-A is more popular and better received?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I know this does happen to writers, but I've not really experienced it. Generally, if I write something a little more niche, I'm aware ahead of time. (And am doing it on purpose.) I also don't tend to be "more proud" of certain books--I write a wide variety of things because I'm interested in a wide variety of story types.

    But I guess I'm also comfortable with the idea that a lot of work does not equal a successful piece. I, of course, would prefer to write things that everyone loves--but I learned early in my unpublished career not to chase the market, and that attitude has served me quite well.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3441 Copy

    Rgkavodkar

    Any chance you would venture into a non-fantasy genre in the future?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there's a chance--but fantasy casts a wide shadow. I had a really interesting idea for a horror story the other week, but it's still a fantasy technically.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3443 Copy

    -lurcher-

    "Ghostbloods" is an interesting name to me. Is that a name that originated on Roshar or somewhere else? Does the group have to do either with ghosts or blood? Or is it more a metaphorical name?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The name of the Ghostbloods has roots in specific cosmere events, and means something in world.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3444 Copy

    -lurcher-

    At the end of Oathbringer, it seems that many (including myself) felt that Szeth's return and sudden alignment with the protagonists went over a little too easily. Are they accepting of him now? Why the sudden change of heart? Are there going to be trust issues in the future?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh, yeah. Obviously crazy men who shift allegiances quickly, after murdering the king and starting a war, aren't exactly the sort you leave home to babysit your kids.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3448 Copy

    Askhundel

    Do you think once you're done with the Cosmere's main story (assumably Mistborn 4th era), if you're not tired of it by then, you might write more stories set in the cosmere (for added lore/backstory/immersion) ?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In this perfect world where I somehow manage to finish early, then yes, I'd certainly do more. But that's a LONG ways off still.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3449 Copy

    FieryXJoe

    Would empty perfect gemstones left in Shinovar and New Natanatan during a highstorm have different amounts of Stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Excellent question.

    No, they would not. Strength of the storm is not tied directly to the amount of Stormlight invested. (Though there are in-world easterners who would insist otherwise.)