Recent entries

    YouTube Livestream 27 ()
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    Benji

    Are the three realms of Realmatic Theory are based or inspired by Viktor Frankl's dimensional ontology?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. I was reaching more toward Platonic theory when I came up with those, and the idea of a place where everything exists in a perfect version of itself, and that was where my mind was going when I was developing this.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    ABC

    In Rhythm of War, Navani mentions that perhaps Soulcasters, specifically Soulcaster metal, are another form of a Radiant spren. She uses the line ''Somehow the ancient spren had been coaxed into manifesting as Soulcasters instead of Blades?". Could this somehow be related to Testament and the brokenness of the Soulcaster Lin Davar and then Shallan had?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by related. But just in case, Testament was not the Soulcaster. But the fact that spren become Soulcasters is related to this in some ways.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
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    Evilsmiley

    Was Elantris built before the Shards were [Splintered] on Sel or not?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, in my outline right now Elantris existed before Odium did his dirty work on Elantris.

    It's unlikely to change, but I do have to point out this isn't strictly canon yet, and likely won't be until I write the Elantris sequels.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Questioner

    I've had this question burning deep inside me since I finished RoW, is there a truest Surge of Odium? My headcanon for now is Transportation.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hey! So, I'll deal with this eventually in the books, so it's a RAFO for now! But do keep in mind that the Surges on Roshar, as they're understood now, are mostly Honor/Cultivation.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    FeatherWriter

    I'm super psyched about the Rlainarin reveal that we've had recently. It was one of those things that reading Rhythm of War I'm like "Oh wow! There's a lot of cool chemistry here. And I don't think it's ever gonna be canon, but I'm gonna just love it quietly in my heart and tell other people that I think it's cool." And then finding out...

    Brandon Sanderson

    It goes back to Oathbringer too if you go back to Oathbringer.

    FeatherWriter

    It has! The scene in Rock's point of view. I'm just so glad it's actually happening. It warms my little Renarin loving heart.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep. I looked for a place to get it into this book, I actually wrote scenes that "should I put this in this book?"  and they're like "No, if it will feel clunky just do it in book five." 

    FeatherWriter

    I think it was there enough, that a lot of us readers, got that the chemistry was there, and it could work very well.

    Chaos

    I think you can really do it justice, doing a same-sex relationship and do it really well. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well having two viewpoint characters - that's kinda one of my go-tos, right? To avoid tokenism, try to make multiple characters who think differently. One of the worries was: with Renarin being autistic, I don't want to conflate these two aspects of his personality. But having Rlain there lets me have diversity among a given representation in a single book. Just way more comfortable for me to write, because it lets me make sure that I'm making people their personalities, and not their defining attributes. Kaladin has depression; Kaladin is not depression. And that's a really important thing.

    If its something that I'm less familiar with personally, it's more important that I have a variety of viewpoints. Even if its something like making sure that Jasnah is atheist and Kaladin is agnostic. And that I'm approaching their different worldviews from their personalities rather than as a cliché of some sort. 

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Chaos

    Do you ever worry, like, when you actually need to write Hoid's backstory that it... That's a lot of pressure, in a way, Hoid's backstory..

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is a lot of pressure, yeah. I am not worried about the book being great, because the story that I have for it is a great story. What I am worried about is: what random things have I said in books that I didn't write down in the wiki that I need to make good on? That he's mentioned doing at some point. Those are the things I worry about. The actual story is really solid for Dragonsteel, the new one. And I think people will really like it. I think it does cool things. But we will see. We'll see if I can.

    The longer it goes without me writing it, the more expectations there will be on it. And so I should be telling people, "Look, it is just a book like the other ones." It is hopefully a great book that you will really love, but it is just a book. Once I write it, it can no longer be all the things you're imagining it to be, and I apologize for that. I do want to do it, but it is just a book. It's going to read like a lot of my other books. It will be in first person, which is the only planned first-person cosmere series. That will set it off and be distinctive in ways I think will be cool.

    Shardcast Interview ()
    #308 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll release [Dragonsteel Prime] for the Words of Radiance Kickstarter.

    Basically there's not a whole lot that's canon in that anymore. The Sho Del are, the dragons are, and the Tamu Keks are. But all the Hoid stuff is not really canon anymore. He'll get a completely new book backstory. I have really done some work lately on the aethers in ways that I really think is working. So I think I can start canonizing aethers, sneaking [them] into the mainline cosmere books. Whether I can ever write the book about the aethers is another question, but you should see more than just little cameo pieces now that I'm sure about some of the ways they work. I made some major breakthroughs in how I wanted that to all connect.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Weiry Writer

    Why are Seons stuck as floating balls of light in the Cognitive Realm, while true spren get to be people shaped? I feel that is unfair.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a little unfair isn't it. Boy, Sel has all sorts of unfair things going on. But they can leave Sel, so there's some sort of clue there. But lots of unfairness to everybody from Sel in various ways. But the thing that is not unfair is: they're able to get places.

    Chaos

    Just gotta escape the deadly plasma, you know. No big deal.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If they can escape the deadly Investiture plasma covering the Cognitive Realm... not even covering, like... suffusing the Cognitive Realm where they are, the Expanse of Densities. If they can escape that they can go places. 

    I'll be honest. I couldn't decided if I should use a seon there at the end or a Tamu Kek. In one draft it was a Tamu Kek, and then I thought, "Eh, seons are way more interesting because they have volition. Tamu Kek is just a bone." It was a Tamu Kek originally, and then it was a seon, then back to a Tamu Kek, and then I released it as a seon. 

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    FeatherWriter

    Can I ask about Glys and Tumi, which are Rlain and Renarin's spren. Obviously they have some weirdness from Sja-anat, but they seem very, very different from the other mistspren we see, whose name is Dreaming-though-Awake. And sometimes they seem like they talk like inkspren, with that focus on the "be" verb at the end of sentences, and things like that. Is there a reason why they are so very different - I mean we've only seen one other mistspren, but... 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there are reasons indeed. I will give you more as the series progresses. Remember, Renarin has (right now) in the sequence book 7, and so you are going to have an entire Renarin book with its own flashback sequence that you can look forward too. It'll be Renarin in his thirties; he'll be older, he may be wiser. We'll see.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    FeatherWriter

    We've had some discussion, people wondering whether Taln actually broke the Oathpact, or did something else happen? Like he just got too crazy to be able to hold the Oathpact back or something else, or is that all totally off track?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO! There are scenes in the stories talking about that, so it is a question I expect people to be asking.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    FeatherWriter

    I have to ask about using the word "avatar" for Thaidakar sending avatars... does Kelsier actually have anything resembling a real avatar or is he just using the word and lying through his teeth?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh yeah, he's mostly lying through his teeth. Basically — this is not canon, because I might come up with a better [idea] - but in my head, I have him with a large cloak with a Seon on top indicating his face [hosts laugh] It was something along those lines. He wants them to think that he is capable of getting to Roshar in a meaningful, physical way.

    Spoiler! he can't get off Scadrial, and it's really annoying to him. At least by this point in the continuity, in fact a little past it, because the Wax & Wayne books...

    *multiple people*

    [Tangent where he forgets where in the timeline Wax & Wayne actually falls, and Chaos corrects him. Answer ends up being that it takes place after Stormlight 5, as he has usually said.]

    Brandon Sanderson

    As of the Alloy era, he is still unable to get off of Scadrial.

    Chaos

    Guess we'll learn about that in Era 3, if it's all Kelsier stuff.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Era 3 will definitely involve some Kelsier stuff. Let's just say he's perturbed.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Chaos

    In Oathbringer, Rayse refers to a group called the "Tisark" that are supposed to secure the Oathgate. What does that term refer to? I thought they were gonna be one of the types of Fused, and so I was just surprised that that was not the case.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will canonize that later. It very well may be one of the types of Fused, we'll see... theorize. Go ahead. It doesn't have the right suffix.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    WeiryWriter

    Every day in Kasitor, Cusicesh emerges from the bay at 7:46 in the morning. If the Iriali started practicing daylight savings time, would Cusicesh emerge at the old 7:46 or the new? Would it make a difference if all of Roshar was changing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They would not change their time based on the clocks being changed.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Weiry Writer

    Kelsier and Thaidakar. At what point did you decide Kelsier would be part of The Stormlight Archive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thaidakar isn't; his minions are! Pretty early on, there's a whole lot of Kelsier in Era 3 and as soon as I decided that when I outlined the original nine books as I was working on the original Mistborn trilogy I knew that there needed to be some more of him influencing the world/universe at large. He is a really fun character to write because he does not fit in boxes very well. He does like meddling. There are a lot of things I want to do with Era 3. 

    One of my big concerns when I was building the outline with Kelsier, when I was building the outline for all 9 books before I added the Wax and Wayne books, back in 2004 when I was doing a lot of the big outlining for the cosmere - Emily's got to dig out that paper I once wrote out for her - I guess that would have been 2004 to 2006, because I got married in 2006, and it was 2007 where I drew that thing out for her. No actually it was summer 2006, because I didn't have my laptop with me which I wasn't allowed at the family reunion, so I instead had a notebook, because if I'm not allowed my laptop, I will have a notebook, and that's why we have a physical copy of this thing.

    But when I was doing all that one of my big concerns was how to make sure people kept interested in Mistborn while I was potentially spending years and years away from it, at that point in the outline I was going to write Dragonsteel before Stormlight. And I started trying to do that in 2007, either way we're talking 5 to 10 years away from Mistborn at that point. How can I make sure that this stuff-? So I outlined Secret History that I could release in the meantime, and a potential Secret History follow-up. That I've mentioned before that I don't know if I'll ever write. It wasn't until 2010-2011, that I was like "why don't I write some short stories in this world to keep people focused on it?" And I tried one and it was bad, and I'm like "what if I just wrote a little novel?" I can do a little novel, right? And that's where Alloy of Law came from.

    Technically speaking these are all solutions to the same problem, which is people can't forget about Scadrial it's really important. They can forget to an extent about Sel; it's still important, but it's not important on the level that Scadrial is gonna be. Scadrial has so many fingers in the technology of the future. So this was another method to make sure we had some Scadrian influence happening while I was in other worlds. Turns out we ended up getting ALL of them, we got Secret History, and The Alloy of Law, and the little fingers in The Stormlight Archive. But it was important to me that the fingers in The Stormlight Archive be through the frame of reference of The Stormlight Archive. 

    Chaos

    I definitely think Shallan learning about cosmere stuff is a good intro for Stormlight-only readers to get interested in the cosmere, kind of like Mistborn: Secret History is for Mistborn-only readers.

    Brandon Sanderson

    In Roshar if you learn "hey there's more planets out there," and they see Roshar as something with a very valuable resource. That's enough of an intro to the cosmere to make it work in Roshar, and to make you prep for the future. That's why I did it the way I did. And also knowing people were more okay with this. But also I needed to get it in, I almost should have done it earlier. I saw people guessing that one by Words of Radiance. But by the time I was releasing Words of Radiance I was seeing fan theories that were like "what if this."

    Chaos

    So like throwing darts on a dart board. "Ah like this person's this other person."

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it might be that. The whole philosophy of the Ghostbloods was suppose to dove-tail with Survivorism. Survival of the fittest type stuff very much. I'm hoping from the things they've read in that they were able to connect the philosophies rather than throwing darts at a dart board, but it could have been the dart board thing.

    FeatherWriter

    It's funny because we already recorded the Kelsier podcast, but it's gonna come out after this one. You've put me in a very weird situation, because loved the Ghostbloods. I guess I still love the Ghostbloods, I have a terrible villain crush on Mraize, he's one of my favorite characters and Kelsier drives me crazy. So finding out they are intrinsically linked I'm like "Noo! Kelsier is ruining my favorite thing." But it does make sense I have to admit.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's okay. Mraize does not have to do what he's told, and Iyatil who - that's the other thing once I dropped Oathbringer, and this is a southern continent Scadrian running around, this is pretty obvious connection to Scadrial. I had to eventually canonize that. Iyatil is - 

    Don't consider people in the Ghostbloods flunkies. That's not a very Ghostblood-ish philosophy.

    Chaos

    I guess that makes sense, they're all trying to backstab each other. Well no I guess not.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, they're not allowed to backstab each other. [too many people talking at once] [Ghostbloods have]? specific rules, because they need them to be very strong specific rules. If you have an organization of people who are drawn to the way Kelsier works you need some really strong rules. [Hosts laugh] When he is just with his crew, his force of personality, and the people he individually picks you're not gonna have that problem. 

    I always imagine-you can relate it to Tor Books, they're all assassins. When Tor really functioned well, back in the 90s, it's because Tom Doherty could keep a close eye on everything. And he liked his editors being a little bit in competition with each other. And he structured his organization so that if you picked an author who did well, you got bonuses, based on how well the authors did which is just a way of working that could really lead to an unhealthy office environment, if you think about it. But if you have Tom there making sure that that doesn't become the case, and if you have Harriet watching and making it a good incentive, not a bad incentive, then it all works really well and you have one of the strongest sci-fi publishers that's ever existed, because everybody was incentivised to find really good stuff. But they we're corralled by Tom Doherty and kept it from becoming toxic. But now that Tom retired I think they're changing a lot of that, because its grown too big for one person to watch over.

    And it's the same thing with Kelsier, in an immediate organization of Kelsier's you're gonna find a well bonded crew of people hand picked who are going to work together as a team, and you aren't going to have to worry about too much about backstabbing - less than average for the type of organization that they are. But if his structure is outside of his direct manipulation, the type of people who would be attracted to the organization he makes...

    Chaos

    ...are not gonna be nice.

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...you're gonna have some problems. Mraize would not say that he's not nice. [hosts laughs] Mraize would just say that his niceness is an analogous threshold that does not intersect with the threshold of competence and capability of things he's trying to achieve, those things don't need to overlap in his life.

    He'd say he's a very nice person. He was very nice to Shallan by his definition. [hosts laugh] He was very nice to Lift by his definition of things. Think of all the things he could have done with Lift, and what did he do? He gave her as a present to an ancient being who ruled the tower, who could properly take care of one such as Lift.

    Chaos

    Mraize is very nice.

    FeatherWriter

    You heard it here, it's canon. Mraize is nice.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mraize is nice, and he also wanted to keep is fingers and he felt that was a better way to keep his fingers, was to make sure Lift was someone else's problem. He got what he wanted, which was being able to capture her, which was not that easy, he would say. So he deserves to have whatever reward, because it was quite a difficult enterprise on his part. She is not easy to capture.

    You know those Scadrians gotta keep an eye on things, they like to meddle.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Chaos

    In Dawnshard we learned that Intent and Command are two different things, whereas in Warbreaker Vasher is clearly conflating these two into just saying it's the Command. What's the difference between Intent and Command?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Intent encompasses more understanding. Command is specifically narrow. A lot of times, these things are gonna be conflated, because they basically can be. Like, if Vasher creates an awakened thing and says "go get me those keys." The Intent is: "I need the keys to get outta here. I want to be free." The Command is: "Go fetch keys." Those are two different things, but they are working toward the same goal. It is important in cosmere terms that the Intent is understood, even if sometimes the words that can speak 'em are clunky and smaller in scale by nature than the Intent.

    Let's say the Intent of a Shard encompasses more than the word that the Shard is described by. It's a similar thing that the Intent of a Command is often vaster than the actual words spoken. And the magic can grasp the Intent, not just the Command, depending on the magic system and how good you are at it, and things like that. The words are there to focus Intent. How about that?

    Chaos

    Bringing the old word "focus" back into it. Let's talk about body focuses; what's going on there? (That's a joke.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll throw you a kernel on that one in the fifth book if you watch for it. That old Rosharan philosophy will actually be relevant for a small thing happening in the fifth book.

    YouTube Livestream 26 ()
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    Ramba Ral

    What is your favorite character archetype or personality type that you haven't used in one of your books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't done a real cool traditional revenge narrative, in the kind of Count of Monte Cristo way. Basically, this is the mistaken identity story (if you guys have read the Miles Vorkosigan books), except done more intentionally. Like, in the Vorkosigan early books and what not, it's a person who gets in over their head and has to lie about who they are and what their experience is in order to stay ahead of the lies that they've already told, so that people won't discover that they aren't indeed the person that they say. A Bug's Life is a great example of this. And that one is usually played for comedy, though in Vorkosian books, it's not; done very well. There's a different archetype of this, which is kind of the... Knight's Tale is this thing, and so is Count of Monte Cristo, where an intentional deception of those around you in order to achieve a near-impossible goal. I would say that my favorite story of that archetype is Gattaca, which I just love. I think it's a fantastic movie. And I've never done that, that specific style of story. And I fully intend to someday. I mean, Gattaca being one of my favorite movies would be a clue; I tend to take the things that I love. But I haven't found the exact right place for it yet, let's say.

    YouTube Livestream 26 ()
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    Daniel

    Did the uses of epigraphs in the Robotech novels influence your own usage of epigraphs?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can't say; I wouldn't even have been able to remember that they did have them. I know I liked them. If I were gonna point toward one, I'd point toward Dune. Because, though I read all the Robotech books as a kid and really liked them, Dune I read during a more formative time in my writing, after I decided I wanted to be a writer and was really looking at the structure of stories, and things like that. So that's probably the one I would point to. And the epigraphs in Dune are ephemera, they're very similar. (Though they all tend to be from the same piece, I believe; I think they're all from the journal.) But it could have had an unconscious influence. There are a lot of great books that use epigraphs. But I would not have been able to tell you if they had.

    YouTube Livestream 26 ()
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    Shawn

    Would children on Roshar be taught the names of the different spren in school, like kids with animals in our world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, yeah, definitely. Good idea. I bet that they would. Definitely, spren would probably be like learning to say "kitty" around here.

    YouTube Livestream 26 ()
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    Markus

    What do Rosharan sporting events look like outside of Alethkar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most places in Roshar, I would say they have not hit the point in society, quite yet, where mass sporting events are really a thing. Basically, sporting events are martial training during non-periods of war, even in the less martially-focused places. I would have to think about it. I haven't built any. I mean, there are sports that were played non-martially on our Earth, but even the ball game in mesoamerica had some pretty brutal aspects to it, that is almost kind of a way to have a battle when you're not having a battle.

    I think that the modern concept of sporting events, the only place you're gonna find that right now in the cosmere is on Scadrial. And Wayne accidentally started a sporting league. I'm not sure if I'll get to that in the next book, or not. If you remember, in the last book, where he was like, "What we need is a way to get everybody drunk at the same time without them being drunk." And there are some implications and ramifications of that for the advent of professional sports, let's say.

    YouTube Livestream 26 ()
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    Joe Collins

    What was your inspiration for the Knights Radiant

    Brandon Sanderson

    I prefer stories about magic awakening and magic being discovered and investigated. So the idea of these Orders of Knights whose powers were lost, and people are now recovering them, was really cool to me. You certainly would have to point at the Jedi as a theme for that. Like, I grew up in the '80s and '90s; there's no way that Star Wars wasn't a huge influence on everything that I did. I wouldn't say that I thought it was the single influence, but you cannot separate someone of my generation, so steeped in pop culture as I was, from Star Wars as a deep cultural influence.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    FeatherWriter

    Looking toward book five; is the prologue with Gavilar going to be enormous at this point? Trying to wrap up all of the rest of the threads? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do need to wrap up a lot of threads in that one.

    Chaos

    20,000 word prologue?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We'll see. I haven't written it yet; we'll see how long it gets. I hope I'm not straying into Robert Jordan prologue territory. 90,000 word prologue? Oh really...

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    WeiryWriter

    What made you decide to canonize not one, not two, but FOUR new Shards? A whole quarter of Adonalsium in this book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It had been long enough. I had been coy with them long enough. I had worked out enough of the outlines moving forward that I knew what Shards I needed and things like that, and they had gotten locked in enough that I could just do it. And they would mention it. We're getting to the point where if I didn't start mentioning them I'd have to do verbal gymnastics in the stories to not. 

    When Harmony is trying actively to figure out what happened, and who they all are, and where they all are. It was time for me to go ahead and stop dribbling that. The reason I was dribbling is there were still a few I was still deciding upon. And now that they're all locked in. There's no reason to hold it back.

    I don't hold things back from you guys out of glee. I hold things back because narrative drama, and because things are not locked in yet.

    WeiryWriter

    So there's still two [Shards] we don't know. Do you have those locked down or are those still...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Those are a little more vague, like I haven't picked the words for them. I look for the right word, and sometimes I have the word that's the wrong synonym. Odium in this case would be Hatred. Calling the villain Hatred doesn't work in the same way that calling the villain Odium works. I'm looking for those right words.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    WeiryWriter

    In a lot of Navani's viewpoints, Navani is very uncertain of how genuine is Raboniel being. Beyond the obvious deceit considering her true intentions. Did she really not know about Sunraiser being Elhokar's Blade, how true was her grief over her daughter's death, and with Venli what were her intentions, revealing the survival of the listeners and dismissing her from service. I just love Raboniel. I want to know everything about Raboniel.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will only answer one of those. Her grief over her daughter's death was completely authentic, as was her desire for bringing an end to the war. That part of her is completely authentic and legitimate. Her motive is to make sure [the war] can't keep going; whether she's right in that, wether it can keep going or not, is a subject for discussion. But she believed this was the best way to make sure the fighting ended, that was her primary goal, and that was at cross purposes even at times even with Odium. So that is legit. Some of the other stuff I will leave subject to reader interpretation.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    But now since Veil has been incorporated, so Veil is Shallan now, again. Which is one of those things that as I was doing it, I recognized could be controversial in the D.I.D. community, because there are various different opinions about whether incorporating alters is good for the individual, or not. The decision I made on this is, it was good for Shallan in that circumstance. Using my best understanding of the psychology, and the treatment recommendations, and knowing both sides of that argument. It was the right thing for Shallan right then. That doesn't mean necessarily that she has to incorporate Radiant in order to be healthy. I will just point that out.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Chaos

    In Rhythm of War, when we see Veil in the scene in the bar when she's expressing interest in women. Was that meant to confirm Shallan is bi[sexual] in-text?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. That was meant to be read as Veil legitimately - I realize you can read that as she's just joking around, but that was Veil expressing interest in the ladies.

    Chaos

    Well I suppose, what some people were saying, maybe Veil is bisexual and not Shallan.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say that they are both, and maybe Veil kind of in a way to make less threatening to Shallan has started really only talking about women that way. Partially for Adolin's comfort and for Shallan's comfort. If that makes sense. It's more of a safe place, because for them they know she would not go and act on those if it were about men or women, but it would be more threatening if she were talking about men that way. 

    FeatherWriter

    I definitely got the vibe that Veil is more the sort of person who was willing to say those sorts of things, but knowing that a lot of the speculation about Shallan went back to book one, before Veil had even become a character, this has been with Shallan for a while way back when.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't think Shallan would express it. She might be too culturally biased to even acknowledge it, but Veil? No.

    Shardcast Interview ()
    #328 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    In fact the original draft that I submitted to my writing group didn't yet have that scene where he go-goes. I was like "I'll get around to it eventually." They almost revolted. They're like, "WHAT? He's still alive?" I was like "No no. He will go-go. I just have to find the right way to write the scene." So they didn't actually get to read that scene with El and [Lezian].

    Chaos

    Definitely one of those Brandon ending scenes that are just like "Wow there's some weird stuff going on here."

    FeatherWriter

    So many new questions.

    Brandon Sanderson

    All these weird Fused who've been around way too long. The guy [El] that they gave his name [Vyre] to Moash.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    FeatherWriter

    The Navani and Raboniel storyline was one of my favorites in Rhythm of War, and I'm really sad we're probably not gonna get any more Raboniel for now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that's an anti-Investiture death, so yeah. She's gone, I'm sorry.

    FeatherWriter (paraphrased)

    Fingers crossed maybe Herald's flashbacks we might see a little more [Raboniel]? Maybe my favorite new character in Stormlight that we've had introduced later on.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh yeah, right you can see her in Herald flashbacks, definitely as somebody you can see back then.

    Well the other thing I wanted to do with this book, was really get some Fused to show their viewpoints on life, because it's not something I've really been able to do yet. I've had her waiting in the wings in order to - basically as Rayse/Odium became, in my mind, less of a threat because Dalinar had just completely defeated him. I also I needed a more personal antagonist for this book, that we could approach in a different way. Rayse is the unknowable evil, I wanted the knowable antagonist. Not even necessarily evil, evil-ish in Raboniel. I was really looking forward to be able to write her, and one of the decisions by being able to make Navani a main character, by saying "Brandon I'm gonna let you do this" to myself. Let me pull off that dynamic between them, that was extremely fulfilling to write.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Chaos

    How much do you plan in the cosmere? There were a few things in Rhythm of War [that went in] a different direction, like anti-Investiture, that black sphere Gavilar had in the prologue being anti-Investiture, and Testament and Shallan, were those always part of the plan or options?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Those were always options. Anti-Investiture has been pretty core for a long time, there are a couple reasons for this. Number one I need to get certain resources into the cosmere for use in the future, and anti-Investiture is one of those. Another reason is I want to push Stormlight Archive more towards magic-tech, because I'm pushing Mistborn more towards Earth analog with Earth technology and then some cool fantastical things thrown in, but when you're using the technology. When you're using a radio on Scadrial, it's a radio. You know what a radio is. It works based on radio principles, and maybe you can do some wacky things with weight, but an airship is kind of an airship to them where as I want Roshar which is on the opposite end of that spectrum. Where an airship on Roshar is not an airship like you would imagine. Its not being propelled in normal ways it's working off all these weird magical things. And anti-Investiture was an important thing to get into the series for the future for that reason.

    From book one I knew I needed magical healing for Roshar, [for] the stories I wanted to tell to work. And I needed some really powerful magical healing. Particularly for the Knights Radiant, because of the stories I wanted to tell, this meant I was going to be very much under cutting the danger of physical violence in The Stormlight Archive as we move forward as the characters became Radiants. It is really hard to kill a Radiant in combat and there need to be foils to that. 

    Beyond that from the first chapter of the first cosmere novel Elantris, death has not been the end. [hosts laugh] We start the first book with someone being resurrected. That's one of the main themes of the cosmere is a second chance at life. This is Raoden's story, this is Lightsong's story, this is Kelsier's story, this is a major theme of the cosmere, and I needed to be introducing into the cosmere a "dead is dead" mechanic. And I considered Shardblades for that for a while, before I even released Stormlight. No, it can't be Shardblades, because I can't have every battle - once lots of people have Shardblades then there's no purpose to the magical healing. So I needed another tool for the late part of the cosmere, when people have figured out Cognitive Shadows; How do you destroy a Cognitive Shadow? Well there are ways, but throw some anti-Investiture at them and that's guaranteed, you are gonna kill that Shadow, and I'd been pushing towards where to get this in, and this book felt like the right place. It was either this book or book five, and where it settled into this book is where I finally made the decision that I was gonna let Navani be a main character, which she had been pushing to be for a while, and I'd been pushing back. No, I deserve to have a scientist, an actual straight up scientist main character in The Stormlight who can dig into some of this stuff. I can self-indulge by doing that, as long as I balance it with Kaladin behind enemy lines fight sequences and things, for a more traditional structure. Because Navani's scenes do not have a traditional structure. They're like "we're going to do science now! But we're making up the science also?!"

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Ian Weiry Writer

    You killed Rayse this book. Could you talk about why you decided to kill him off, and have Taravangian be Odium instead. Was that always part of the plan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I always work in a way where I have different options and opportunities. Was it always the thing that I was absolutely going to do? No, I keep myself open on some of these things. 

    The reason Rayse needed to go: he had been essentially defeated at the end of Oathbringer, when Dalinar does not go over to him. All of his rage, and everything he's trying to do cannot make that happen. He's defeated, at least in a philosophical sense. Now you can bring a defeated enemy back to be a threat again. You can find a new way to make them a threat, but I knew - in this book - Kaladin was not going to fall to him either. But once you've had two books in a row with the characters machinations not - things stymied by the heroes. I needed a different villain at that point.

    And I also think that [al]though a lot of deep into the cosmere people are interested in the original Shards and getting their stories, for the average reader Taravangian is a much more identifiable villain. And I've been building him from book one to be not just really scary, but a philosophical opposite to Dalinar. These are all the reasons this book needed to go the way it did.

    It has benefits and costs. The cost is Odium stops being the evil you don't know. The evil you don't know is a very powerful force in fantasy literature. The evil you do know does different things. And I lose that evil you don't know though you still have a bit of it, because the power of Odium - the Shard itself - I wouldn't say has volition completely, but it's still there and its a thing. It is constrained by Taravangian and directed by Taravangian, but it's the rage of a deity separated from its morals should be a scary thing. In the hands of someone who is essentially a fallible mortal, should be an even more scary thing. Rayse had gotten to the point where I no longer felt - if I was going to write the books the way I did. This basically became inevitable when I swapped and made Dalinar's book book three. [host reactions: OHhh sure!] I knew something big needed to shift, but fortunately I had several options. There is a version of The Stormlight Archive, where this doesn't happen. I think it's a worse version, but until something is written no matter how much something is in the outline, it's not canon even to me. I like to be willing to reassess what I'm doing.

    Talking the other direction, the foreshadowing I put in the books the more I foreshadow, the more I do, the more that locks in what I need to do going forward, because I don't want to undermine that foreshadowing. 

    There's a longwinded perhaps a little wishy washy answer to you. I can tell you why I made the decision, but I can't - the outlines are these things that are really organic, because I'm always working on them, and will often have lots of division points, these are different places it can go - because of the way I write characters.

    I'm sure this will cause contention. But I did not decide in the original outline, who Shallan would end up with, or who anyone would end up with. I write character relationships as I feel they are appropriate on the page, and I revise the outline to match from that how things are feeling and how it's going. I know there are some shippers out there who are like 'that means there was a version of the ship I wanted, and you didn't do it. It was the nefarious beta readers who forced you not to! [Chaos denies] It was ?Calin's fault!' [hosts laugh]. I'm sure you've heard that before. I don't want to fuel that because these decisions are made not necessarily based on beta reader feedback. These decisions are made based on me giving life to the characters, and feeling where I feel they would legitimately they would go. And rebuilding my outline to match.

    While I outline a lot more than my contemporaries, I am not a slave to the outline. I will change major things such as moving Dalinar's flashback sequences to book three which had ramifications all down the line. Or deciding I need to do more with Eshonai and Venli earlier in the series, which had other ramifications to their viewpoints later on because I feel it makes the best story.

    Miscellaneous 2014 ()
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    grinachu

    "The sun hadn't quite set, but in the darkening sky, stars had begun to appear around Talns Scar. The Tear hung just above the horizon, a star much brighter than the others, named for the single tear Reya was said to have shed." ([Words of Radiance] Kindle Edition, pg. 362 of 1080)

    Since we know the names of all the Heralds, I can only surmise Reya is Cultivation's real name and that the tear she shed was when Tanavast died.

    Thoughts?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Reya is somebody female and important.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Usually I try to have a couple of things that have been very well foreshadowed that you are able to expect, and then hit you with that left hook of something that is foreshadowed but kind of in a hidden way. Like what happened with Taravangian at the end [of Rhythm of War]. Theoretically after the fact it should feel inevitable that that's where it went, but can still surprise you. My goal is to have some of those in every book, but those get harder and harder to do as the fandom learns my tricks, and people have more time to philosophize. This is why Stormlight is two sets of 5 instead of one 10-book arc. Even though some of the things will persist into the second 5. I needed to get all the stuff that I properly foreshadowed dealt with, so I can start foreshadowing new things. And kind of let you have a mind reset button on the plot arcs that we're talking about. It's not a reset really, the story continues on. But because I'll be able to reintroduce things in book 6, it can feel like a new series to an extent and can therefore start brains working a different direction.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Chaos

    Has people knowing more about the Cosmere changed how you've written the books? Have you put in more connections or less than you planned?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, I've put in more. I always wanted there to be more but my instincts said don't do it. Because people were pretty anti-continuity for a long time. They wanted continuity in a series, but this sort of stuff... it's a hobby horse of mine - a pet theory, that I think people becoming familiar with the internet, and becoming comfortable with fan wikis is what made the MCU possible, and is what made the Cosmere work. 

    WandaVision - which I've just watched the first two episodes of - doesn't feel like that could exist in a previous incarnation without the internet for people to look up, 'Who are these people? What's going on here? Who are these cameos?' It's just too weird to exist in a pre-internet era, my gut says. 

    My publisher was saying 'Don't do this, you don't want people to feel like they're diving into something too deep that will scare them away.' So I was really cagey with it at first as you can tell from the books. And it turns out we're in a different era. We're in an era where this sort of thing is not so threatening. Also my popularity has influenced that as well. The fact that the books sell really well, means that there are good fan wikis, which also means that there are people talking about the stuff behind the scenes in the books. It means I can be a little bit more free with that. 

    I still want each series to have its own identity. When I do crossover things, I want them to use the crossover each in their own way. So it doesn't become a big hodgepodge of ideas. The further I've gone the more comfortable I've been making these crossovers happen, and I've been able to experiment and see which ones work best, and what people like. I've also come to better understand it's okay for their to be a chapter where Vasher explains deep cosmere magics. As long as that's not the core of the book people can read that, and people will be like 'he knows lots of weird stuff, oh well', and to them it reads like Star Trek technobabble. But to those who follow these things it will give some structure, and delve a little bit further into how some of this works. 

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    WeiryWriter

    In 1966, Ursula K. Le Guin coined the term ansible, for devices that facilitate faster than light communication. Since then the term has been used pretty widely in the science fiction genre, and by you in Words of Brandon. In Stormlight [Archive] you have the word fabrial and artifabrian for magical technology. How would you feel if fabrial escaped you? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh that would be awesome, that would be really incredible. 

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    FeatherWriter

    Especially with the livestreams this year, you get lots of questions from the fandom. How do you feel about the culture around Words of Brandon? Do you ever worry that the fandom takes them too seriously?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, yes, I do worry. I try to explain a Word of Brandon is not written in stone, and I think that people know this by now. A Word of Brandon is how I am planning to do it, but it's not canon until it's in the books. And things get changed as books are worked on and better ideas come around.

    The thing is, I grew up in the Wheel of Time fandom. I am used to this sort of thing. I'm accustomed to it. It doesn't frighten me. I'm just used to dealing with it. It's part of fandom to me. And I would certainly rather have this than the alternative, which is no one paying any attention or caring. The opposite is far, far worse. But I do worry that sometimes people take them a little too seriously. Mostly the ones that I give off the cuff while I'm doing a live signing session, like when I'm at a book signing trying to write peoples names and phrases in their books while they're asking me questions. And I flub those way more often than I flub ones on a livestream where I'm not having to track people's names and things like that. But I will often answer the question I think people are asking, rather than the question they actually ask, because something's on my mind I've been thinking about, and they'll ask a question. And then I'll be like, "Oh yeah; bla bla bla bla bla bla bla." And they're like, "That's not what I asked..."And I'm like, "Oh. Sorry."

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Back when you guys said "What should we name ourselves?"

    And I said, "Oh you should name yourselves the Seventeenth Shard. That's a cool little nod to something in the universe." Before anyone - you really don't know what they are even yet.

    Chaos

    Are we going to get something from them eventually?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah maybe, it depends if I'm able to write the Silverlight novella, because they would be involved in that.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
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    Questioner

    Is Moash intended to read as being interested in men?

    Beyond some of the things he says, I relate a lot to his feeling of alienation even within his marginalized group, as a queer poc.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wasn't intentionally coding Moash as queer - but that doesn't mean I didn't do it on accident. I see him as straight, personally, but having gone so far down a dark path he basically feels nothing anymore.

    Shardcast Interview ()
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    Chaos

    There has been a question in the fandom ever since [Rhythm of War] Part One, where we learned that the Thrill got tossed in the ocean.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They, at Jasnah's suggestion (which came through Hoid), locked it in an aluminum box and threw it in the ocean. The argument for this being that anywhere they could hide it, the enemy could get to. And an Unmade would be pretty easy to find in the Cognitive Realm. You can't hide an Unmade very easily. Aluminum's gonna help a ton with doing that. So, what you have to do is try to make it as inaccessible as possible. And the most inaccessible thing they could do is lock it in an aluminum box and throw it in the ocean. If they had kept it anywhere in the city or what-not, then the enemy would have been able to find it very easily, even inside an aluminum box. This method was their best guess at being able to keep it out of the enemy's hands. It is not a great solution, unfortunately. There just isn't one that they could find. As we talk about a certain other Unmade who is somewhere locked in a gemstone that might come up in the next book maybe, we'll talk more about this.

    Miscellaneous 2021 ()
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    hoiditthroughthegrapevine

    You've said that the Cognitive Realm is an infinite plane that expands in regions with high concentrations of thought and contracts in regions with little or no thought, and also that it would be possible to circumnavigate the Rosharan Cognitive Realm. It seems to me that the seeming inherent contradiction between the possibility of circumnavigation and the plane being infinite could be resolved if the plane of the Cognitive Realm is a topology and experience localized distortions but is continuous. Like if the Cognitive Realm for the whole Cosmere were like the the inside surface of a balloon where the high concentrations of (thought) of a planet stretch and warp the local surface, but the whole system still remains bound and continous, and therefore is infinite in its continuity. Is this how you see the Cognitive Realm working? And could you elaborate if this is close or more importantly if it's way of the mark?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I imagine it as an infinite plane with distortions that are planets. So kind of.

    Skyward Three Updates ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Skyward Three Update Three

    Hey, all! I'm here to bring you some good news. I managed to hit my deadlines for the first and second drafts of Skyward Three (tentatively titled NOWHERE) and submitted the book last week to my publisher. This is the third in a sequence of progress reports on the novel, the second of which can be found here.

    Now that the 2.0 draft is done, I'm waiting on the editor to look through the novel and tell me what she thinks. The tight deadlines on this one are because of paper shortages and printing delays in the industry. (Many of my books are on backorder right now in hardcover, for example. We can't even get them.) I had to promise to get this book in under a pretty rigid set of deadlines to guarantee a November/December release.

    I'm pleased with the revisions I did to make the 2.0 document, and once you've read the book, remember to ask me about them--I made some choices that I think will be interesting to writers who like watching how different authors do revisions. I am very pleased with the book, but I'm always pleased at the 2.0 stage. (If I'm not, I don't send the book in.)

    I'm eager to see if the publisher is equally pleased, and then see if beta readers bring up any major issues I didn't notice. That will all happen over the next few months. If everything goes well, I should be giving you a final update for the book sometime late March, early April.

    (At that point I'll do the hand-off to Peter, who will handle the copy editing and proofreading. I'll move on to the final Wax and Wayne book, which I know a lot of you have been waiting for.)

    Thanks, as always, for your patience in putting up with me jumping projects as often as I do. I hope you're having a happy New Year! (Also, note, that I will not be having replies to this go to my inbox, so apologies in advance if I don't see your comment or question.)

    EDIT: I forgot to mention the novellas. (The three tie-in novellas we're releasing to show what the rest of Skyward flight is up to during the events of Book Three.) The timing of these is going to depend on when Janci and I finish them, and I don't know when that will be yet, as they don't have to follow a traditional publishing schedule. (If there are print editions, they'll come along in a future year--this year we'll only be focusing on ebook and audio, which should be simultaneous.)

    In a perfect world, I think I'd release these in the months leading up to Skyward Three--but they could be read after as well, so we'll see how the writing of them goes. I will have more for you by the final update post in March/April. For now, just know to expect them sometime around the book release.

    Brandon

    YouTube Livestream 25 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Then I need to work on outlines, because Janci has got the second outline for her second novella. I'm really excited by the Skyward novellas. Because what's going on is: the third Skyward book, very pleased with. I really like how it turned out. But one of the issues with this series is, the first book was kind of a... They're all first-person from one character's view point, so it's not like they are ensemble books. But in the first book, the character had a large cast she interacted with of characters who are quite endearing. And in the second book, those characters were intended to continue on. But the way the second book played out, about halfway through, I felt like (because it was in a different location and the whole team had gone) that it just was not working. There was too much of a safety net for the main character, with the whole team being there. And I rewrote the whole book so she was there on her own, isolated. And the book just worked way better.

    But one of the problems is: the outline for the four-book series had Book Three already being a solo adventure from the character in a way I couldn't really write out of the series unless I just cut the book entirely. And I didn't want to do that; I like the character growth that happened in it. But that now means that we have two books in a row where the main character's isolated from her team, that you still probably want to find out about if you enjoyed the first book. So my fix for this is to have a series of novellas from three different viewpoints (Janci picked the viewpoints) that I'm co-writing with Janci Patterson, a good friend of mine for many years and an excellent writer. And, honestly, more in touch with YA than I am, and kind of knows that genre. And I went to her and said, "Hey, would you pick three characters that you really wanna tell about from this other group and write three novellas that kind of progress the story, so that it's one long story in three chunks." And she was really excited by this idea and is writing these.

    So, basically, at the time Book Three comes out, we hope to... (no promises on timing on these; I have to let Janci write at her speed. She's a writer that writes at a good pace, but I want her to have the freedom that she needs.) She's going to write these novellas from three different viewpoints that are, together, going to cover the same time that the third book does, that kind of catch you up on what everybody is doing while Spensa is doing kind of solo adventure stuff. And she just turned in the second of those outlines for me to go over and offer feedback on. I'm only about half done.

    YouTube Livestream 25 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not doing the [BYU] lectures as YouTube videos this time. We figure we only wanna do these every three or four years; there's no reason to do them every year. But, because of covid, I have to stream the class to all of my students. And I do apologize; it is a closed stream through the university. But we will be creating highlights out of each lecture; maybe there'll be a fifteen-minute or a thirty-minute chunk here that Adam thinks will make a good stand-on-its-own thing, and you will get to see those probably after the semester's done, whenever Adam gets them together. We're gonna be doing that from the Lair.

    YouTube Livestream 25 ()
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    Questioner

    Which order of Knights Radiant was hardest for conception?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was definitely the Dustbringers, which I'm not even sure yet, because I haven't done a lot with them in the books. But I wanted the Dustbringers to be more than just "generic fire magic." Not that people haven't done great things with generic fire magic that they have individualized, but kind of the whole idea behind the Surges in the Stormlight Archive is that they are using, as the elements of their society and the fundamental forces, things that you wouldn't normally see as magic systems in a fantasy novel. And generic fire magic didn't fit into that schema very well.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
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    Mojonero

    In Era 1 there was an imbalance between Ruin and Preservation because humans had a bit more Preservation than Ruin in them. After Harmony became a thing did this imbalance become [ir]relevant because both powers turned into one, or is it something Sazed had (or has) to deal with?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a RAFO for now--should come up in Era 3.

    YouTube Livestream 24 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Dragonsteel: Chapter One

    The lumberman’s son was born into a world of magic. Perhaps others would not have thought so, but to a young boy full of curiosity and wonder, the forest was a place of enchantment.

    Jerick saw magic in the growth of the great pines, seeds barely as large as a pebble eventually becoming monoliths, with trunks so wide that when he hugged them, pressing his check against the rough bark and stretching his arms to their fullest, his fingertips still didn’t touch at the back.

    He heard magic in the wind, which blew whispers through the branches, dropping cones and needles to the ground like a rattling waterfall.

    He tasted magic in the fruits of the wilderness, berries both sour and sweet, musty pine scents that tickled the back of his nose.

    He felt magic in the forest’s life. A group in which the lumberman’s son included himself. Like the branch rat, the wolf, the rabbit, and the deer, Jerick was a creature of the woods.

    His first steps had been taken on a floor of pine needles. His home, a simple hut constructed from those same trees that surrounded it. The lumberman’s son knew other, less fortunate children who lived in a village a short distance down the river, a place where the mountainside tapered and the trees fell away into a broad plain. Here, people lived cramped together, their houses huddled like frightened rodents or birds too young to leave the nest. Other lumbermen lived in this village, taking carts or boats each day to the lumbering camps.

    Jerick could not understand these men. They worked with the forest, yet it did not intoxicate them like it should. He did not know how they could leave the beautiful woods each day, instead choosing to live in a place so crowded and suffocating.

    Jerick had friends in the village. They didn’t see things the same way he did. When he showed <Cenn> and the others a tree older and stronger than the rest, they would shake their heads, not understanding its strength. When he found a large fish swimming in the river’s sheltered shallows, its bulbous, unblinking eyes regarding him with an unasked question, the other boys would only try to catch it. When Jerick wondered how the clouds could move in the air when there seemed to be no wind, the others would ask him why he cared.

    So, though trips to the village were exciting, Jerick was always glad to return home. Home to his mother, who would be finishing the day’s washing. Home to his forest on the mountainside, where he could listen to the pines rustling, <fallow owls> calling, and twigs crackling, as opposed to the silence caused by men yelling to one another.

    He loved to accompany his father into the woods. The lumberman was so tall and broad-chested, he seemed almost to be one of the trees. <Ryn’s> arms were thick and rough with hair, his tough axe-calloused fingers like ancient roots, his beard like a thick gathering of pine needles that poked and scratched Jerick’s skin when they hugged. His father had deep, understanding brown eyes and wide lips that were usually parted in a contented smile.

    As far as Jerick could tell, his father was the only person alive who understood the forest better than Jerick himself. <Ryn> could tell the strength and quality of a tree’s wood simply by rubbing his fingers across the bark. He could see birds nesting high in branches that Jerick had assumed were only shadows. And he could always find sweetberry bushes to sate a growing boy’s appetite.

    More importantly, the forest seemed to accept his father. Jerick soon came to understand that this was because his father respected the woods. “Look at the trees around you, my son.”

    (By the way, I’m not gonna do the dialect. I had dialect in Dragonsteel. People from the rural areas don’t say the word “the,” they just say “ta.” So, “Look at ta trees” is what they would say. But I’m not gonna do the dialect.”

    … his father would instruct as they walked together. “Man can be born, grown, and die in the time it takes one of them to get so high. They’ve seen the likes of us come and go.” That would be all he said for a while. <Ryn> didn’t speak much, not like the other lumbermen, who always seemed to have something to say and not enough people to say it to.

    <Ryn> was a King’s Man and cut lumber for the king’s shipping. Like the other lumbermen, <Ryn> used a shiny bronze axe to do his work. The most important possession he owned; bronze was rare. The only other piece of metal Jerick’s family owned was his mother’s bronze cooking knife. Jerick had heard men in the villages speaking of a new, stronger metal that had been discovered recently in the south, something called mountainsteel. They said its name came because it was the same color as mythical Dragonsteel. But to Jerick, it was all the same. He had never seen either one; bronze was good enough for lumbermen.

    As soon as he was able, Jerick followed his father to the lumbering camp. After a few weeks, the burly men welcomed his presence, and he was allowed free rein of the camp, where he watched, thinking of questions to ask his father as they travelled home. He wanted to know what made the men’s arms so big. Why the trees fell the way they did. And what the lumbermen did with all the branches they cut off the trunks. He wanted to know why the King needed so much wood. And how long it took to float all the way down the <Trerod> river to the palace.

    Some of the questions, his father could answer; others, he could not. Some things, Jerick simply noticed and asked no questions. Most of these had to do with his father. For instance, after felling a tree, his father would dig two holes and drop pine seed into each one. The others did not. Every day when the work was done, his father would start a small fire of green pine needles sprinkled with pungent witherdust and let it burn among the trees slated for the next day’s lumbering. The smoke would trigger a reaction in the pine larks and <cheps>, and they would fly or scamper away, taking their young with them. The other lumbermen would scoff at his father’s precautions. But Jerick watched with pride. Actions like these, and dozens like them, were where the lumberman’s son learned the most important lesson his father ever taught him: all life was precious.

    Such was Jerick’s life up until his eleventh year. He wandered the forest, helped his mother with cleaning and baking, ran chores in the lumbering camp. To him, there could be little else to life; he was content, and he wanted nothing else.

    His father, however, had other plans.

     (I consciously did a bit more of a storyteller’s style for this. You can see; that first section’s basically omniscient. This was always kind of meant to be a story that Hoid was kind of telling after the fact. You can kind of see hints of that in some of these sections. Other sections go more into the third limited. But you can imagine that sequence that I just read you all being said by Hoid to people who want to know about what happened and how everything came to be.)

    “Jerick, son, go fetch your mother some water.”

    “Yes, Father.” It was dark outside, and his mother had little need of fresh water, but Jerick complied quickly. His father made few demands; when he did, the lumberman’s son did not question. He did, however, run quickly, so he could return to listen outside the door.

    “The boy notices things, <Martle>,” his father was saying. “He’s quick of mind. The other day, <Javick> and Henry hadn’t been watching the angle properly as they cut. That tree would’ve fallen the wrong way and could have killed a man. Jerick saw the error in an instant. He pointed it out to them. A boy barely two hands old speaking lumberin’ to a pair of men who’d been cuttin’ trees their entire lives. He has more questions than I can answer; though sometimes he answers them on his own.”

    “And what would you be havin’ us do about it?” his mother asked. Jerick could imagine the slight frown on her face as she asked the question, her broad frame seated on the floor beside <Ryn>. His mother was practical in all respects, evaluating everything on its ability to be used. When Jerick asked her a question, the answer always came in the form of another question, usually asking him what he would do with the answer if he had it.

    “There’s that new school in the village,” his father explained. “They say the king himself ordered it built.”

    “I’ve heard of it,” his mother said hesitantly. His mother disapproved of anything that broke with tradition.

    “I’d take the boy to it once a week. He’d be able to learn.”

    “What could he learn that would do him any good to lumberin’?” his mother asked.

    “Probably nothin’ at all,” his father admitted.

    “’Tis an unnatural thing, <Ryn>. It won’t last long; the people won’t put up with it. Schools are for nobbles and kings.” (I used “nobbles” instead of “nobles.” We had a nice little vowel shift in this.) “Not for lumbermen.”

    “I know, <Martle>. There was silence for a moment.

    “Well, then,” his mother said, “as long as you understand that, I doubt there’s any harm in it. Just be sure not to let the boy get a wrong thinkin’ about it. Learning could spoil him.”

    “I doubt anything could be spoilin’ Jerick,” his father replied.

    And so, the lumberman’s son went to school.

    The scholar was the most fabulous creature Jerick had ever seen. (No, that’s not Hoid.) His robes were made of cloth, not furs or skins, and they were a red as deep as the colors of the setting sun. More amazing, his hair was a pale yellow, like the mane of a light-colored horse, rather than deep black like everyone else. His beard was not bushy and wide like that of Jerick’s father, but it was straight and stiff, about a handspan long, and only came out of his chin. It was pulled tight and wrapped with thin strings, making it ribbed, like a bale of hay. The beard almost resembled a slice of bread, with the short end glued to the bottom of the man’s face, and made his chin seem like it was a foot long. His head was covered with a tight cowl that stretched across his forehead and hung loosely against the back of his neck. And his eyes were dissatisfied as he stepped from the chariot, a wonder in itself, and regarded the village.

    Jaw moved slightly, and his face pulled tight, as if he had suddenly tasted an extremely rotten, bitter fruit. Around his neck, Jerick could make out a gleaming castemark; the mark of a man’s rank in life. It was made of gold, rather than the plain wood of those like the lumbermen.

    “Bow, lad,” his father ordered. Jerick complied, joining the rest of the village in bowing for the strange man.

    “Why do we bow, Father?” he mumbled as he lowered his head.

    “Because the man’s of nobble blood, boy,” <Ryn> explained.

    (I’m not gonna do all the accents, but he says “formers” instead of “farmers.” Sound change. The whole idea is that the nobility accent is shifting away from the way that the accents of the lowborn are, which is kind of this fun thing that happens in linguistics. And this is one of the things that causes vowel shifts, where you’ll often see different vowels getting replaced over time. I find that sort of thing very fun. I’m probably not going to read that to you. But you can see it when you read the book.)

    “Lumbermen and farmers must bow before anyone higher than them, whether it be a merchant, a noble, or even crafters.”

    The idea seemed wrong to Jerick, but he said no more. People were beginning to raise their heads, and, for the moment, he was more interested in viewing the odd, brightly-clothed scholar than he was in asking about the nature of the caste system.

    “Classes will begin at noon,” the man declared in a high-pitched voice. The words sounded odd, as if the man couldn’t form them properly. They were sharp and separated; not smooth and comfortable, like what Jerick was accustomed to hearing.

    “What’s wrong with his speakin’?” Jerick asked, furrowing his brow in confusion.

    “That’s how nobbles are speakin’, boy,” his father explained. “They’re not the same as lumbermen. They think differently. They have learning. You’ll get used to it. Now go play ‘til noon; since we’ve come to town, might as well see about gettin’ my axe sharpened.”

    Jerick nodded, his eyes seeking out <Cenn> and <Yon>, two of the boys that he usually played with. However, as his father walked off toward the smith’s, Jerick turned away from the boys. He was still more interested in the scholar than anything else.

    The man was speaking softly to <Millen>, head of his father’s lumbering camp. <Millen> was a short man with graying hair. His head bowed practically to waist level, and he was bobbing subseqiously. Jerick had never seen such behavior from the foreman before. Eventually, <Millen> gestured for the scholar to follow him. The man nodded to his several companions: two packmen and younger woman that Jerick hadn’t noticed before. She must have also been a noble, for her hair was light and luxuriously long, not cropped short at the shoulders or pulled up in a bun. The scholar reached up his hand to help the woman from the bronze chariot. She looked distastefully at the ground, though Jerick couldn’t understand what she found wrong with it. It was, after all, just ordinary mud.

    <Millen> led the four to a house at the center of the village. Jerick had noticed the building earlier; it had been a storehouse, but that had been emptied and its walls washed unnaturally clean by the efforts of a dozen workmen. He’d wondered what it would be used for. Not the school; a building on the other side of town had been prepared for that. It couldn’t possibly be a place for the scholar to live; it was far too large for that. What would one man, even four, do with so much space? It was so silly an idea that Jerick only gave it a passing thought.

    As the five people disappeared into the building, Jerick made a decision. He ignored the calls of the other boys, waving for them to go on without him, and wandered over to the structure, looking as if he were interested in the pile of stones beside the front path. His interest soon changed to a small beetle, a large leaf, and several other objects that progressively brought him closer to the building, until he was standing just beneath the window, admiring a snail as it climbed up the whitewashed wooden wall.

    Though his eyes followed the snail, his ears stretched to catch more of the noble’s strange words. He jumped in surprise as the door opened and <Millen> and the two packmen left. Determined not to run away, Jerick focused his eyes on the snail and tried to look engrossed. The men paid Jerick no heed, and he congratulated himself on his strong nerves, then thanked the snail for remaining so calm, as well. The small creature continued to slide along, completely oblivious to Jerick or its own part in the subterfuge.

    Calming himself with a few breaths, Jerick concentrated again. His efforts were rewarded, and soon he could make out the whiny, snappish voice of the scholar speaking within. “I spend an entire year training in <Trexados>, the grandest center for learning on the continent, and my reward? Forced exile to an insignificant mud pit on the far side of the kingdom.” His strangely accented words sounded less authoritative than they had before. It almost resembled the voices of the younger boys who pled to be allowed to play with Jerick’s friends.

    “Calm yourself, brother,” a second, feminine voice soothed.

    “I cannot and I will not calm myself, <Willan>,” the scholar snapped. “You cannot feel what an outrageous appointment it is. Tomorrow, that chariot will carry you back to <Emory>, leaving me to be forgotten. He must hate me.”

    “Perhaps he simply wants someone to teach the people here.”

    The scholar snorted loudly. “Teach lumbermen and farmers? <Willan>, be rational. What purpose could that serve?”

    “I do not know,” the woman confessed. “It seems ridiculous. But he did appear sincere when he gave you the instructions.”

    “It must be a move by House <Strathan> to discredit us,” the scholar declared as if he hadn’t heard his sister’s comment.

    “Discredit us?” The woman’s voice was now amused. “Brother, no matter how much your trip to <Trexados> inflated your pride, you can’t possibly have deluded yourself into thinking you’re important enough for house politics. You’re the fourth son of a second son. Be glad the family didn’t decide to send you off to the Eternal War and be rid of you.” (That’s where the Shattered Plains are in this book.)

    There was no reply to that comment, but Jerick could feel the dissatisfaction seething through the wall.

    “So, what will you teach them?” the woman eventually asked.

    “As little as possible. The philosophy of the Three Realms of existence is far beyond them. Perhaps I’ll teach them some tricks of mathematics or history, things that might actually be practical in a place like this.”

    “Reading?”

    “By the Lords, no!” the scholar replied. “You know what damage that could do?”

    “The king implied that’s why he was sending you,” the woman noted. “How will you get around it?”

    “Reading requires materials, <Willan>,” the scholar said with a self-satisfied tone. “Look around this town. I doubt you will find a single scroll of text.”

    Jerick waited patiently for the conversation to continue, but either the two had decided not to speak further, or they had moved to another part of the building. Sighing, Jerick realized how little of the conversation he’d understood. None of it made sense to him.

    One thing was clear; the scholar had spoken to the king himself. And that made him an important man, indeed. Jerick had heard stories of the king and knew from them that only important people ever spoke to the man directly.

    Reaching up, he allowed the snail to slide onto his hand, then rose from a squat to walk away from the building. He placed the snail on a shrub he often saw them eating, then wandered off in the direction the other boys had gone.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The initial premise of Dragonsteel, which you guys will eventually be able to read, is: the King has a bet on whether people from a rural village can be trained to be as smart as people from the noble court. And this is part of the bet. And that’s kind of the initial place that this starts and goes.

    Hoid shows up pretty overtly; he’s got viewpoints in this book. He is not hidden at all; you will see him when he comes on screen, and you will know him. I think he goes by “Cephandrius” in this one.

    You will be able to read that, eventually. Like I said, it’s not bad. It’ll be easier for you to compare when you get to the Bridge Four sequence, which was originally in Dragonsteel, and compare it to the new Bridge Four sequence from Way of Kings and see how the new Bridge Four sequence is so much more strong.

    It is no longer Cosmere canon. Nothing in it really spoils too much. It spoils some of the magic system that’ll eventually be part of Dragonsteel, and some of those things. But when I go back to this planet, it’ll be Hoid’s viewpoint. Jerick has basically been written out of the Cosmere; I don’t know that I will ever do a book about him. It’s possible, but there’s so much overlap between his story and Kaladin’s story, now, that I don’t know if I could do it and make it interesting and distinctive. One young and somewhat brooding man raised to be a scholar from a no-name village is probably enough for the Cosmere. Even though there are distinctive different parts, since Kaladin’s father was educated.

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    My, My Skirt, and I

    Is there chocolate on Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No chocolate on Roshar. Chocolate on Scadrial. I believe I've even mentioned it on Scadrial, before. If I haven't... in fact, I'm almost 100% certain I mentioned it in the last Scadrial book. But there is no chocolate... there's the possibility that some worldhopper managed to bring a piece of chocolate, but Roshar, the first five books are even a few years behind the Wax and Wayne books in the chronology, and chocolate's kind of coming to be known even in those books.

    So, no chocolate on Roshar. I'm sorry. If you're a chocoholic, you definitely want to choose Scadrial. It is also the closest to instant noodles, so that's where Hoid wants to be.

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    Alexander

    Which of your villains are you most and least happy with?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Least, I'll probably cheat and use Padan Fain. As I said before, after the fact, looking back at the Wheel of Time ending, Padan Fain is the one that I feel I dropped the ball a little bit on.

    Most proud of is a spoiler. The character that you find out is a villain only at the end of The Way of Kings is the villain I am most proud of now. For a while, it was Hrathen. But the amount of depth I've been able to do and work I've been able to do on this character, and the twists and turns that this character has been able to take, I am very proud of, all the different incarnations of how this character worked. He is now the villain I am most proud of.

    Footnote: The villain he is referring to is most likely Taravangian. 
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    Chloe

    How does the revision process for Alcatraz differ from your adult series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Alcatraz is a very different process from other books, because when I write the Alcatraz books, I like to discovery write the whole book. And I usually approach this like an improv comedy sketch. Where what I'll do is, I'll brainstorm a bunch of 'props' to use in the story. For the first one, this was talking dinosaurs. Just things that occur to me. I make a big list; I'm like, "I have to draw at least three or four items from this list and make a story around it." And then I just start writing.

    Because the books are improv, the revision process, then, needs to do more work to give a structure to the story. So they are really off-beat and a little off-kilter as I write them. I try to retain as much of that as possible, but inject actual story, foreshadowing, and these sorts of things that don't I don't have to do in my other books, generally, because I've outlined them. But I think discovery writing is an important enough skill for a writer to have, because sometimes you go off script in your outlined books, that it's good practice. And I consider the Alcatraz books to be practice for that skill.

    That's what the revision process is. There's also a lot of cutting bad jokes in the revision process of the Alcatraz books. Because things that seem funny when you're writing the book don't always seem as funny in second or third draft. Sometimes it's because you've read it too many times. But a lot of times, you can tell; you're like, "I was just in a mood, and that one does not land."

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    Questioner

    Are you planning on writing more broadsheet stories for The Lost Metal?

    Isaac Stewart

    I'm assuming at this point that I'll do what I've done in the last two. I didn't do much on the Alloy ones, at all. That you, Peter, and...

    Brandon Sanderson

    On the first one, I wrote Allomancer Jak. You wrote the next two.

    One of our goals is eventually to have Isaac writing some Mistborn books or graphic novels, because he's the only person who knows it as well as I do and who could do it justice. People want more Cosmere, so the goal is eventually to do that. But he has his hands full with White Sand stuff right now.

    Isaac Stewart

    Which is preparatory for...

    Outlining a couple of Cosmere stories right now.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But right now, you're the only one who's written canon Cosmere fiction other than me, because the Nikki Savage story is in-world fiction, but it's, you know.

    Isaac Stewart

    And the other Allomancer Jak story. I can't remember exactly what it was; the Lord Ruler's cufflinks?