Recent entries

    WorldCon 2013 /r/Fantasy Flash AMA ()
    #3551 Copy

    Questioner

    Your fan interaction through Magic: The Gathering: planned, or more like luck?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Magic: The Gathering actually came about because of Jim Butcher. Jim Butcher LARPs with his fans. And he was telling me once that this LARPing thing–it was wonderful because when you go to a signing, it's all so kind of formal, and people get like a couple seconds to talk to you. And everyone's like . . . awkward–you're awkward, they're awkward. He said, "I found that doing something that was just my nerd hobby allowed for a natural interaction." I thought, "That is awesome. I want to do something like that." And I've always been a Magic: The Gathering addict, and so I just started playing Magic at cons, but because of Butcher's advice. And it's been great because even people who don't play Magic know that during that time, you can come talk to me. And it's not going to be me across the table. It's going to be me shuffling my cards and geeking out because I drew a mythic or something like that.

    WorldCon 2013 /r/Fantasy Flash AMA ()
    #3552 Copy

    Myke Cole

    And so, you had this dream of being a writer, and you achieved it. You achieved it probably beyond your expectations. Is it what you expected? I mean, you're on tour all the time, you have deadlines barking at you. How do you like it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Man, that's a good question. You know, I like meeting readers—that's fun. Being on tour, as much as I go, is not so much fun. And I think this is the first year where I said "yes" to too many things. I've just made too many appearances, and it's impacting the writing. Nobody tells you—that's why you make such an astute question. No one warns you that when you first break into this business—you know, you think, "Oh, I'm going to sell a book, and then I can go full time as a writer, and all my time will be writing."

    But then, you break in and you realize the touring and stuff almost becomes like a second job to you. You become . . . I describe it like in Hollywood you have the writer who writes the script and sends it off, and then the director who directs the script, and then the actors who go out and do the publicity later on. And in writing you're all those people, plus the business person financing it all in the back end. And so you have to wear so many hats. It's bizarre, how many things you have to do.

    That said, I really love doing signings. I just wish that I could manage that a little bit better. So we're trying to, starting next year. Just a few fewer cons, making the tours a little bit shorter—make sure that I'm not stretched so thin. And it came about partially because we released three books this year, and last year released zero, which is a really stupid idea of us. Right? You really would rather be releasing a book or two a year, instead of three in one year and none the year before. But that's how things played out.

    WorldCon 2013 /r/Fantasy Flash AMA ()
    #3553 Copy

    Questioner

    [What is] the last sentence you wrote that you were proud of?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wish I could say, because things go through so many transformations as I'm writing. I would have to have a book open before me, and go look and say, "Wow, which of these sentences is the best?" The honest truth is that I am less of a sentence person than someone like Pat Rothfuss. Rothfuss writes beautiful sentences, and I'm in awe of his sentences. I try for workmanship prose. I try for prose that does not distract from the writing. And often if I write a really beautiful sentence, it stands out like such a sore thumb in my writing that it's better to kind of tone that sentence down. We call it windowpane prose. My goal is to write prose that doesn't ever distract you from the story. And there are certain level of writers that can do beautiful prose and not distract from the story. I have always just tried for . . . if there is a mark on the window, you'll look at that and not the story. This is George Orwell talking about this—I learned it from reading about him. And some writers, like in literary fiction, they will try to write this beautiful stained glass window, and what you see on the other side doesn't really matter. It's the stained glass window that you're paying wonderful attention to. I don't want the window to distract you. And so, I do like to have a clever witty line now and then, but my goal at the end is for you to not notice the writing and only pay attention to characters and story.

    WorldCon 2013 /r/Fantasy Flash AMA ()
    #3554 Copy

    Questioner

    How are you seeing the internet impact the industry?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One thing it's really changed is allowing authors to have a lot more direct interaction with fans, which is wonderful because we are directly supported by readers. Even though there are editors and people, there are very few middlemen even in fantasy, even in writing. To the point that, when you interact with me, what I mean is you're interacting with the content creator directly, which is fun. It's awesome. It allows me to actually get feedback from fans, to talk to fans, to thank the people who are supporting me. And like I said, there's very few layers between, but in the old days there was that buffer. You know, people used to send letters to the publisher, and then the publisher would send to the author, right? And granted, the publisher's not opening them and stuff. It's not like there's a big buffer there, but it's taking time, and there's just that step. And that step has vanished, which I like.

    It is changing publishing. It's democratizing publishing. I really think this is a good thing for particularly our genre, where you will have a lot of things in sci-fi/fantasy that are not even the mainstream of sci-fi and fantasy. And sci-fi/fantasy alone is already not the mainstream. So when you go a couple niches down, you can find these things that a certain core audience would love, but it's very hard to market nationally. And this helps a lot more variety come into the genre. And that whole connecting directly with fans helps with people building a brand and breaking in, even if they aren't going traditional. The whole self-publishing has been a great boon, I think, specifically to science fiction and fantasy, in helping to add variety.

    Ebooks mean that when I write 400,000 word novels, I don't have to apologize quite so much. Because people can buy it in ebook, and I say it weighs the same amount. So there is that. Otherwise, there are so many things changing.

    Orem signing ()
    #3555 Copy

    Questioner

    So is there a third law of magic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes there is. I don't have a pithy way to say it yet.

    Questioner

    Do you want to try to describe it anyways?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, the best magic systems are interconnected with the world, the society, the culture, and the development of the setting as a whole. The next level you want to think about is how does your magic affect your gender roles, how does it affect your governments, your religions, all these things.

    Questioner

    And how those things affect the magic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. But I don't have a pithy way to say it, so once I come up with a good pithy way to say it, then I can actually write it.

    Orem signing ()
    #3556 Copy

    Questioner

    So I know that there's going to be a second Mistborn trilogy. Is Alloy part of it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. This is foreshadowing the second trilogy. I may do some more books with these characters.

    Questioner

    So is the second trilogy in the same time period?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It will be a little future forward from this. More like mid–20th century.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #3557 Copy

    Questioner

    Shardplate, does it have to be fitted by a smith or does it just kind of magically...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It magically fits to you.

    Rubix

    I’d like to see it fit to someone three foot tall.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If it’s within reason, it can fit.

    Questioner

    But they do weld stuff to it to it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They weld stuff to it to ornament it.

    Questioner

    But that doesn’t really stick?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It won’t stay, it can get cut off and things like that. Yeah, and they paint them and things.

    Questioner

    So the actual color is gray, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dalinar’s color is the actual color.

    Questioner

    He doesn’t have it painted, yeah. It’s kind of stone, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s not really stone, it’s more like a deep metallic, like an unbuffed steel sort of metallic. A dark charcoal metallic.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #3561 Copy

    Questioner

    The question is, can you read [women's script]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can’t read it, Isaac can.

    Rubix

    Isaac can’t read it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He came up with it!

    I told you where it came from, the writing system, right? That I told Isaac, “I want it to look like waveforms,” and he developed it to look like waveforms on the little thing when you speak voice- and things like that, and that was my goal for the system was something that was a line with waveforms across it. And he developed it then.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #3564 Copy

    Questioner

    The name of the metal escapes me, but it’s the one that allows you to speed up your own bubble while everything else is outside of you, in Mistborn. What happens if you have that and you burn the duralumin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is an excellent question. The trick about that is you would have to be Mistborn to do that. Or you would have to have one other specific set of circumstances because- yeah I’m not gonna get into it. But you basically have to be Mistborn and there aren’t Mistborn anymore.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #3565 Copy

    Questioner

    When you were talking about the Rithmatist, you said that he wasn’t genetically capable of doing magic and I was wondering if you actually had like a genetic system for how...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, this one actually isn’t genetic. I said genetic, but it’s not. But I don’t want to give away what it is that makes someone use the magic in that world. I did actually develop a genetic magic system that was very interesting that is in a book that didn’t get published.

    Questioner

    Is it going to get published?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably not, but I might recycle the magic eventually. The magic is spread around everyone of a certain family lineage. So if there's lots of family members, they each have a little bit of magic. And if there's only one, they're very powerful. But there's only one.

    Questioner

    Which one is this?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mythwalker. You have these weird family dynamics, where it's like, "If I assassinate my family members, I get stronger." But as a whole, it's weaker. It's not like if there's two of you, you each are one and one; if there's one of you, it's two. If there's one of you, it's like 1.5. So you get stronger, but you overall are stronger as a house if you have lots more people. It was really cool magic, but the book was awful. Half of it was Warbreaker. But the genetics one didn't end up in it.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #3566 Copy

    Questioner

    Do the Parshendi need a highstorm to change forms?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They do, good guess! Excellent question.

    Questioner

    Do they eat?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Do they eat? Yes.

    Questioner

    So, they eat like grains and stuff like that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will find out, but they do eat.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #3567 Copy

    Questioner

    We’ve been arguing about how to pronounce the character, either it’s “Say-zed” or “Sayzd”?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, that’s one of the most contentious name decisions that I’ve chosen. Before I tell you the answer, I will preface it by saying I don’t say the names right, in a lot of times. For instance I say “E-lawn-tris” like everyone else, but in world they say “Elayn-tris” because of the system of language that’s been built. I say “Kel-seer” and they say “Kel-see-ay,” in-world. And so I’m American and I use my pronunciations I say “Say-zed”.

    However, that may not be the way they actually say it. And beyond that, every reader of a book has the ability to rewrite the book as they wish. A book doesn’t exist until you’ve read it. I write a script, I write- I get you hopefully seventy five percent of the way there but the last twenty-five percent is you, it’s participatory. And as you write, you create the images of them in your own imagination and that becomes the right interpretation for you. And you have line [inaudible] veto.

    When I read Anne McCaffrey’s books the dragons are these unpronounceable things in my head that I could never actually because it’s just something a dragon can say. And it has very little relationship to the letters that are there on the page. I have a friend, who when he reads the Wheel of Time- the first time when Thom Merrilin shows up in the books, on screen, it says he has these big drooping moustaches. My friend said, “No he doesn’t.” And he cannot imagine Thom Merrilin with a moustache. To me, the moustache is an integral part of who Thom Merrilin is. It’s like him, he’s the moustached guy! Well, theres a couple other moustached guys but Thom’s the first moustached guy in the Wheel of Time! And so, you have the right to say it however you want.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #3569 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    How did I come up with the magic system for Emperor's Soul? A couple of things. One was the procedural magics in Elantris based on coding, and things. But also, when I was at the Royal Museum there in Taiwan, one of my guides was showing me this piece of beautiful jade. And it had a stamp in it. You know, the stamps, are you familiar with these? They call them chops, we call them dojangs in Korea, you use them as a stamp for your name. They're round, sometimes they're square. I saw this, I'm like, "Why is there a stamp on this piece of jade artwork? That's been carved and sculpted?" They're like, "Well, there was this emperor, who was hot stuff, and thought he was very important. And so he ordered his stamp carved into the piece of artwork, because he thought it was a good piece of art."

    And lo and behold, I go through and I start seeing these. There's this great poem, and it's covered with, like, forty stamps. And I asked, they're like, "These are all the scholars who are like, 'Yeah, I like this.' *stamp*" It's like carving your signature into Michelangelo's David, like the forehead. It's like, "Yeah, I think this is pretty good. 'Brandon approves.'" And that's what these people were all doing. And those stamps, the ubiquity of the stamps... I don't know how I got from that to "rewrite something's history by stamping it." But that was the inception of it.

    I have several of these stamps that I brought home with me from Korea. Mine actually says Sainja, which-- "Sa" in Korean is "Sand," and "In" is "Person," and "Ja" is "Son." So, it's the Son of the Sand Person. It's really, it's a pun. They see that, and they're like, "That doesn't make any... Oh. That's really dumb." It's exactly what I was shooting for. Either that or they look at it and "Salinja" with an "l" is "Murderer," and read it and they're like, "Oh, wait."

    Anyway, it came from that trip.

    Footnote: Sa, In, and Ja are the Sino-Korean pronunciation of the Chinese characters 砂, 人, and 子, respectively.
    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #3570 Copy

    Questioner

    When does Emperor's Soul take place in relation to the events of Elantris?

    Brandon Sanderson

    After them.

    Questioner

    Like how long after?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't answered that yet. A lot of people keep asking. But after them, but not so far after them that the technology level has shifted, which I allow, in my worlds, to happen. And also not so far after that the Emperor's Soul- if you keep your eyes open you will see a Derethi priest in full armor. And so, not so far after that the kingdoms we are familiar with no longer exist. They do exist and the tech level has not shifted dramatically so you can use that to kind of ballpark for yourself, a range. It's certainly not thousands of years later, in other words.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #3571 Copy

    Questioner

    You sold the rights for Mistborn for a movie, right? How is that coming along?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have had no major updates, I'm afraid. You know, I really like the script. They're pitching it in Hollywood. They're good guys, the producers are. The script is really awesome and is pretty faithful. It's adapted in the ways that adaptations need to happen. Like it's really cool, like the beginning they did this thing where they said, "You know, we really need to focus the movie on Vin, so the opening needs to be on Vin instead of Kelsier." Which is a really good move for a movie like that that's got such a shorter length of time. So, you know, they start with Vin and Reen, actually. And you know, Vin being part of a heist that goes wrong, with her brother, and things like this. And you know, there's changes like that that thematically, you know, are the same concept as the book but then work really much better in the only two hour block that you have. Then Kelsier is a mysterious figure who invites her in and recruits her into the team, which works much better in that format. So there's changes like that.

    There's this really cool prologue where they start the prologue with the march up the mountain toward the Well of Ascension, a thousand years ago and an interaction there that changes into a stained glass window and then you see stained glass windows of the interim periods until you hit the Final Empire. So there's some really awesome stuff.

    So, we'll see if this actually ends up working or not. Again, if your father is the owner of Warner Brothers, go and put in a good word for me. We're kind of long shots because all we are is an author and several producers who have no major credits to their name. And I sold it to them specifically because- you know, I sold Alcatraz to Dreamworks for a lot of money and then I just had to like say goodbye to the project and I like what they did with it but it was basically they took the project. And I, for Mistborn, wanted to have more control which also means my chances of actually getting it made go down quite dramatically. Ask Orson Scott Card how long it took to get made Ender's Game made and you will see the same sort of thing, but then he's getting it made his way, eventually. So that's what I'd like to do with Mistborn if I have that option.

    Chris King interview ()
    #3572 Copy

    Chris King

    Is there a way to reverse the Shaod?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um-- *pause* There is a way to do basically anything.

    Chris King

    So it's kind of a RAFO? Will we ever find--

    Brandon Sanderson

    No that's not what they asked, they asked if there is a way. Yes there is but how reasonable a way that is is very... vague...

    Chris King interview ()
    #3573 Copy

    Chris King

    Would it be easy for a Forger who'd once almost lost her arm (freak guillotine accident is the example that is used) to make a stamp to lose it temporarily, or would it require some more involved Forging than "my arm actually got cut off that one time"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, and-- The more plausible something is the easier the Forging is definitely.

    Chris King interview ()
    #3574 Copy

    Chris King

    Did the Lord Ruler use lerasium to gain his super Allomantic abilities or did he grant that to himself with the Well's power? If he used the bead, does he count as one of the nine original Allomancers that Sazed mentions?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Excellent question. He did not use the bead. He-- In all of this he granted himself basically, he rebuilt himself to be extremely powerful and he did not use one of the beads.

    Chris King interview ()
    #3575 Copy

    Chris King

    A lot of people wanted clarification on weight in regards to Pushing and Pulling, whether or not it has a direct correlation to the power or if it's just something people say because generally someone heavier is going to Push--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, right. It's more-- I mean, the whole-- If you really dig down into it, and I've talked about this before, the whole mass, weight, Push, and Pull thing gets a little tricky when--particularly when you throw Feruchemy into the mix-- Are we changing mass? Or are we changing what the power of the earth pulling upon you is, and things like this. Generally understand that most people who are talking about this are not speaking in scientific terms and they are speaking in colloquialisms.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3576 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    [Eshonai] I believe is one that Michael Whelan intended to be one figures on the covers, one's Dalinar, and one's Eshonai. But that scene is not 100% accurate from the book. Usually with book covers we are looking for a poster for the book, like a movie poster, which isn't necessarily an exact scene from the book. But I believe it's who it was intended to be.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3578 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, what I’ve been doing lately is writing on Stormlight 2. And Stormlight 2, if you’re unaware with what’s going on in the Stormlight series, I conceived the series as ten volumes, two five book arcs, with each volume focusing on a character by giving them a flashback sequence. So if you’ve read the first one, Kaladin, one of the main characters, there’s a sequence of flashbacks that kind of inform how he came to be where he is at the start of the book. And I intended that for each of the ten primary characters because I kind of began them all in the middle of their stories, which is what happens when you’re writing a book. The beginning of a story is not the beginning of a book. It’s impossible to tell the beginning of a story because there’s always something more that could come before. So you start with people who have passions, who have lives, who have things going on and then I wanted to use these sequences to bring you back up to where they were when they started.

    This was a method I thought I would use in order to help divide each book and help me envision each book as a stand-alone volume in the series. Because one of the challenges of writing a big series like this is you don’t want them all to blend together. You want them each to feel distinct, to have their own climaxes and their own story because when they start to blend together, it can be detrimental to the series in the long run. So in my original outline, I spent a lot of time figuring out what everyone’s story was going to be, but I didn’t actually have to do them in a certain order because they all are flashbacks. It means I didn’t have to have the flashbacks in certain parts. And so I wasn’t sure whether I was going to do Dalinar or Shallan for the second book, I always knew I was going to do Kaladin for the first book. And I ended up deciding on Shallan, in part because I want to get into her story because of things that are happening in the plot but also because I wanted Dalinar’s sequence to come later.

    Now, I’m not promising that characters all survive that long. It’s entirely possible, just so you know, that I would kill someone off and still show their flashback sequence. Because the flashbacks aren’t them having a flashback, the flashbacks are- it’s not them sitting there and remembering that, it is simply a non-linear way of telling their story. So just so you know, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Dalinar survives til book five.

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Are you telling us you're going to kill one of our viewpoints?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not saying. I'm just saying, that I reserve the right, the outline, you know? I don't like giving spoilers. I like keeping people guessing.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3579 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    So what’s going on here is, for Stormlight 2, I needed a lullaby in-world. And poetry is not my forte. However, my father-in-law is a semi-professional singer/songwriter. He’s released a couple of albums, they’re just local, he does stuff like that. So, I asked him to compose a lullaby that I just left blanks in the story from. And he actually turned it in just like a couple of days ago. And it’s quite good and it fits in.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3580 Copy

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Was the Reod natural?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Reod natural? *laughs*

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Here’s the thing, you’ve answered this question for us already, we just need it on audio.

    Josh Walker

    It wasn’t the Reod that was the question it was was the earthquake natural?

    Mi'chelle Walker

    No, Eric’s [Chaos] asking if the Reod was natural.

    Josh Walker

    To heck with Eric, we don’t care about him.

    Mi'chelle Walker

    You’ve told us that the earthquake was not caused by natural events.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, but it’s a complicated question because the earthquake was not caused by natural, but the Reod was a natural effect of the earthquake, then... does that make sense? So the Reod is natural, a natural result of... does that make sense? That’s why it was a tricky question.

    Mi'chelle Walker

    But the earthquake was not natural.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it was not.

    Aaron

    So the Reod is a natural reaction to an unnatural occurrence.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Josh Walker

    And wasn’t it because there was like magical strain on the land?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is certainly part of what was going on.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3581 Copy

    Mi'chelle Walker

    What is the technology level of the singular society that existed when Adonalsium Shattered?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What was the technology level of the society that existed when Adonalsium Shattered? It was less than our own.

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Are you going to give us anything more specific than that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Less than our own. You've read the book that is the preface for all of that. So you can guess.

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Wait, really? That's the preface to it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, it's the series where that happens. I've said before: Dragonsteel is the series... Adonalsium is not Shattered in Dragonsteel.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3583 Copy

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Do people inhabit Shadesmar, like normal people?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Define normal.

    Questioner

    Let’s rephrase that, describe the people that inhabit Shadesmar.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, you have seen people who inhabit Shadesmar.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3585 Copy

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Is the city that the Parshendi are in Urithiru?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In The Way of Kings, Jasnah tells Shallan that Urithiru is not on the Shattered Plains. So either Jasnah is incorrect or that is not Urithiru.

    Mi'chelle Walker

    In other words, you’re not going to tell me?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m just clarifying for you so that you have all the information you need in order to make judgments and ask questions.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3586 Copy

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Brandon, have we seen a point of view chapter from the character who writes the Ars Arcanum?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m not gonna tell you that. That would be way too much giving away.

    Questioner

    Is the character who writes the Ars Arcanum from Sel originally?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m not gonna tell you anything about the character who writes the Ars Arcanum.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3588 Copy

    Questioner

    So I was reading the Alloy of Law, and at the end I read through the Ars Arcanum. And I got confused because it’s written in first person, but it refers to Harmony in third person. I thought he was writing it, so who writes that part?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That’s a good question for you to be asking, one which people have been curious about, and I have not yet answered who writes all of the Ars Arcanum, but they are in-world, somebody's writing them. If you ever read The Way of Kings, it’s written in first-person too.

    Questioner

    Are they all written by the same person?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah, have I answered that yet?

    Josh Walker

    You should.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I should? They are all written by the same person.

    Questioner

    Because it sounds like they’re written by Hoid, I think.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are all written by the same person.

    Footnote: They are not written by Hoid, but rather, Khriss.
    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3589 Copy

    Questioner

    You like how you have those smaller, one-chapter type things? The burglars, I want to know more about them. Are those guys like, are those chapters going to show up more in the rest of the books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not all of them. They are all important in one way or another, but it's not always the characters who are the important part. Or not necessarily the viewpoint characters who are important. So for instance, in that particular instance, with the burglars, it's the woman who is the important one in that group.

    Questioner

    And the guy who goes measuring... cataloging different types of spren, he's going to be important later on.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Axies will most likely show up at other points in the series.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3590 Copy

    Questioner

    The Windrunners, they’re just one order of the Knights Radiant, aren’t they?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes they are, in fact they are--every order is a grouping of one of these *points to the large symbols on the Radiant tables* and two of these *points at the smaller symbols*, these are the Surges. So these are the ten, sort of forces. And so Windrunning is pressure and gravitation, which are those two. But the Skybreakers are right there, with a different combination and each of these different groupings would make one order of the Knights Radiant. And that is the symbol of the Windrunners, right there on the cover. *points at the swordgylph under the dust jacket*. So, fun little easter-egg type things there.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3592 Copy

    Questioner

    Just wanted to ask how you come up with all your different universes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, it’s hard to say where specifically where they come from. You can point to certain ones and say, okay, Mistborn, Mistborn came from me driving through a fog bank at 80 miles an hour and saying, “Wow that looks cool, can I use that?” And you can point at Warbreaker with me saying, “I’ve done this whole world of ash and I need to do something colorful, let’s build a color based magic system.” Way of Kings is definitely influenced by tidal pools and things like that. And so, each one’s different, it’s just things I see that I think will make interesting stories and settings.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3594 Copy

    Questioner

    What time period do [cosmere books] all fit in, do they all fit in time--at the same time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, like for instance, Way of Kings and Alloy of Law are pretty close to one another, but Elantris is fairly far before them. So far I’ve written them chronologically basically, except I’ve skipped certain stories, like there’s a series called White Sand which is in the middle there somewhere which will actually be a jump back in time when I end up doing it and some things like that. And Dragonsteel is like way at the beginning which I’ll eventually do, but I’ve done them chronologically so far.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3595 Copy

    Questioner

    I enjoy Way of Kings, it seems like that’s the one where everyone’s coming together. I was reading online about Galladon and Demoux being in it. I enjoyed that. Is that going to happen more often?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In that book- that series, yes. There will be more crossover. It’s kinda one of the core stories, along with the things happening on the Mistborn world and things like that. And so, there’s going to be a lot more crossover. Most of it’s still kind of subtle stuff, but if you keep your eyes open, there’ll be some real zingers in the next two books.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #3596 Copy

    Questioner

    [Josh and Mi’ch] were kind of explaining that your books were all in different worlds and Hoid can jump from world to world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, they’re all in the same universe. And there are some characters who have appeared in multiple books. Hoid, for instance, has appeared in all of them so far.

    Questioner

    Yeah, is he going to have his own book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He will eventually have his own book series.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #3597 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The magic systems for Elantris- the pitch to myself designing the world and magic systems was this kind of procedural-based, almost programing-based magic. Where in Elantris, you use these characters to program out a sequence of events that tells the power that's flowing through what to do.

    What Shai is doing in this book is she carves a little seal. And the seal is very much like a little program, and she stamps it on something and uses that stamp to rewrite the history of the object. As long as the seal is there, the object thinks it has this other history. The example you see in the book is you know... an old dirty table that's not been cared for, she can write a seal for its history, she has to figure out what its history was first. And she can write out a seal that basically reprograms that past, so when she stamps it, it thinks it's been cared for all along and suddenly it gains this lacquer, it's beautiful, it's been well-cared for, because in that fake Forgery of the history, that's what happened to it. And that's what her magic does, which is why she's been hired to Forge a copy of the emperor's soul.

    But, yes, the magic systems have the same root. And it's not just the Dor. I like the magics on a given planet to all have a consistent theme. And for Elantris they are these almost programming-like, very based on symbols and what-not. In Mistborn, it's based on the metals and the interactions of the metals.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #3598 Copy

    Questioner

    Mistborn, the broadsheet hints that there's a continent or whatever on the other side of the Mistborn planet. Would that also be connected to Allomancy and Feruchemy and all that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it will be. The Southern Continent does have interactions with the three Metallic Arts, but they use them in very different ways.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #3600 Copy

    Questioner

    Where did you get your inspiration for having kind of a kind of consistent universe; it's kind of similar to Stephen King and things like that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, where did I get the inspiration for that? There's a couple of places, and I don't want to go off on this too long, if you go look on the Q&A database that these guys have on the 17th Shard you can find more.

    But there were really two things that made me do it. First off is reading how Asimov did it and really being impressed with what he did and also noticing that he had to like do some patches in order to make everything work. Asimov connected his Robot series and his Foundations series after the fact many years later. It turned out really well; the two series, as it turns out, blend together in a really cool way but it felt to me it felt after the fact . And I wanted to do something from the get-go and say, "Well, if I've got something like this as a model." Stephen King did it also, but he did it after the fact. But I've got writers like this as a model to show how cool this can be, so my question to myself is, "How much cooler can it be if I do it from book one?" And you know, it's the sort of advantages you get as a writer by standing on the shoulders of authors like that, who have done these awesome things in the past. It allows us to kind of see what they did and say, "Okay, how can I expand on this? How can I do something new, rather than just doing what Asimov did?" And one of the approaches was to try it from book one.

    And the other reasoning was that I like big epics but I also want to be writing a lot of stand-alones. And early in my career in particular, it was important for me to be writing stand-alones. And so the hidden epic behind the scenes allowed me to embed some of this depth of foreshadowing and connection in a way that would not be intimidating to readers because they could just read the story and enjoy the stand-alone. And then if it's something- if they're the type that really gets into this and really wants to dig deep, they can find the other level and be like, "Wow, there's an epic on here and Mistborn is a sequel to Elantris. I didn't know that," and things like that. Or they can be read completely independently and you never have to worry about that. So I like that versatility.

    I will eventually write some stories connecting all of these things in a more obvious way, but I don't want it to come to the forefront of any series that that's not already the focus. For instance, I don't want Way of Kings to be about that, because I've already promised you what Way of Kings is about. And I don't want then to trick you into, "Oh, now it's this other thing." I have books planned that will be that, but they're a little ways off.