Recent entries

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3601 Copy

    Questioner

    How did you know that Stormlight and Mistborn were going to be the focus [of the cosmere]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A lot of writers figured out the *inaudible* exploration. And I had the advantage when I broke-in that I had written all these books before, and I was able to go back and say, "The Way of Kings, there's something special about--" right from the beginning, there's something special about that.

    I was able to look back at say, Mistborn, which had I had tried the magic system. The magic system really worked, my best magic system. I know this has the best magic magic system, if I can match a plot to it that makes it a good book, I can make that magic system kind of the spine of what I'm doing.

    ...So I got lucky on that. In some ways, not publishing for a long time was the luckiest thing that could have happened to me.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3602 Copy

    Questioner

    The reveal at the end of The Bands of Mourning was just the biggest surprise ever. I held off reading Secret History... When I read Secret History, it feels like reading Hero of Ages all over again. It was so great... Kelsier, what it's going to mean.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll see, next book. RAFO card.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3603 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you know when we're going to get Nightblood?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know for sure. Your best bet at Nightblood is after Stormlight 5. I'll take a little bit longer break than normal between 5 and 6 because there are two five-book arcs, and I'm really hoping to squeeze Nightblood in there.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3604 Copy

    Questioner

    What is your favorite magic system you've read?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That I've read? I really like Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner books. Probably the best magic system is either Brian McClellan's, I really love Patrick Rothfuss'. Probably the best three are those, as far as magic systems.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3606 Copy

    Questioner

    For the Stormlight series specifically, I feel like there will be things I don't really fully get until I start to get until the second or third read-through,  how do you keep all that straight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I use a program called Wikipad, which is a personal wiki. I just do a lot of outlining in a wiki, it's like wikipedia but only on my computer... I have the ability to--now I can hire continuity editors. So it gets better and better the further I go along.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3607 Copy

    Questioner

    I'm in <a MFA and> one of the things I'm interested in is writing multiple perspectives. So how do you go about that and make the characters sound distinctive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think really distinctive viewpoints is a big part of it, particularly in the third-limited. It's much easier in the first to distinguish them in some ways, though it's harder to keep track. But in third limited you want to make sure your viewpoints are really distinctive. I always ask myself the question, "How would they describe a cup of water?" Would they see that as if they are thirsty, or how would they describe that thing...

    Third limited gets away with a sort of more general voice of the narrator a little bit, to kind of lean on that as long as the focus on descriptions and voice and thoughts of the characters.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3608 Copy

    Questioner

    What is the weirdest thing you've ever been given at a signing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    All the normal things: license plates, swords, armor, pens, lots of pens. Weirdest thing-- I need to write these things down when I get them. Sculptures... stickers, I would ask my wife. I'm going to go with license plates, that is pretty odd. They got two, put one on their car and gave one to me.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3609 Copy

    Questioner

    *Inaudible*<how long it had been like that...or just a weird thing>

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was so excited to be able to do that.

    Questioner

    How long were you sitting on that secret?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've sat on that secret since the first book. I don't know if you've read Arcanum Unbounded and the scene in there, but I was building in all these little things, it was a lot fun. But it took me forever to get that book written.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3610 Copy

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    We are doing more graphic novels. Now that I've experimented once, we've got some sweet stuff on the way that we should be announcing later this month.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3611 Copy

    Questioner

    *Inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    I loved writing Steris. Part of the fun was, I wrote her in Alloy of Law knowing that a lot of people were going to have an opinion of Steris they would have to change over time, and I liked watching fans come to that realization.

    General Twitter 2018 ()
    #3613 Copy

    Alvaro Lopez

    Why Odium is stronger and worst evil than Ruin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One reason is that Ruin had a person in control of it who, for many years, fought against the impulse to destroy--and in the end, channeled it toward entropy and decay, necessary elements of the universe. Odium represents something else entirely.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3614 Copy

    Questioner

    How long is the [Skyward] series going to be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Skyward is a trilogy. And I usually write--you'll find my style for a trilogy is the first one stands very well on its own, and the second two will have more cliff-hangery sorts of things.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3615 Copy

    Questioner

    What was your inspiration for kandra?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I knew that I wanted to do a shapeshifter, but I worried about the whole-- The first idea was that you take the bones of the person you killed, sort of thing. I worried that that would be too-- I wanted a limitation on that. So I'm like, "Well, what if they can't kill people? Why can't they kill?" and I kind of extrapolated from there. But the first idea was that idea of you can become someone if you can get their bones first.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3616 Copy

    WindRunner88 (paraphrased)

    So far during The Stormlight Archive we've seen that the spren bond appears to have some distinct advantages (i.e. armor, more efficient Stormlight consumption, access to a variety of weapons) over what Tanavast via the Oathpact provided the Heralds. With the exception of Nale, and the fact that the Heralds had no need for Stormlight, can you please tell me one way in which a Herald had a distinct advantage over a level 5 Radiant of their corresponding  order?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Rebirth. *pause* The Heralds had access to raw levels of power that no Radiant could obtain.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3618 Copy

    WeiryWriter

    The Nightwatcher is described as having an amorphous, vague, humanoid form of dark green mist with a smooth, defined face. This is similar to how the mistpren are described (faces like porcelain masks and bodies of swirling fog). Did the Nightwatcher serve as the progenitor of the mistspren similar to how Honor, and later the Stormfather, were progenitors of honorspren like Syl.

    Brandon Sanderson

    One more time.

    WeiryWriter

    ...Did the Nightwatcher serve as the progenitor of the mistspren similar to how Honor, and later the Stormfather, were the progenitors of the honorspren like Syl.

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...Are you talking about author inspirations or in-world sort of things?

    WeiryWriter

    Either.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, not in-world. And out of world, it's the reverse. Mist spirits came before. I ended up doing--

    WeiryWriter

    No, mistspren.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, mistspren. So you're saying the ones in Shadesmar... You're using terms for things, because I haven't given you other terms.

    WeiryWriter

    They are named mistpren in the books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. So ask me one more time.

    WeiryWriter

    Did the Nightwatcher serve as the progenitor of the mistspren similar to how Honor and later the Stormfather were the progenitors of the honorspren like Syl.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, I see what you're asking now. I was thinking mist spirit the whole time. We'll RAFO that. More because-- yeah we're just going to RAFO it.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3619 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you think Elend would deal being on Roshar with the fact that men can't read?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh man, he would have so much trouble with that. He'd have huge problems... Though he wouldn't look Alethi to them,  they'd be like, "Oh the Shin do weird things."

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3620 Copy

    Questioner

    I just got done with Elantris the other day. Are all of the planets--is Shadesmar the same place? Can you access all planets from Shadesmar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can walk through Shadesmar between the planets. Yes. A little bit of bending of space/time in that, but yes.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3621 Copy

    Questioner

    Just a minor request: Kaladin have some semblance of long term happiness? I know he struggles with depression and PTSD, but just a little bit of-- as happy as someone struggling with that can be?

    Brandon

    I think you can be very happy when you're struggling with those things. There, obviously, are things you have to learn and things you have to work with, but it is, I think, totally possible that he could. Whether or not I'll do it-- I'll take that as a request.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3622 Copy

    Questioner

    If you ever get the go for a movie or TV show, who do you want to pick as Kaladin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Kaladin is a hard one to cast. Because all of the Alethi are going to be hard to cast, because they're basically half Japanese/half Arab... So I'm not sure. I've been thinking for Dalinar lately, the guy who plays Drax the Destroyer. He's half Filipino and he has just the right look for Dalinar. You gotta look at him not in his make up for Guardians of the Galaxy. Get a little silvering hair on him. That's my latest casting choice. But I do not have a Kaladin.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3623 Copy

    Questioner

    I feel like you're the kind of person who sneaks little details all over the place. Do you have a favorite that you've ever snuck in somewhere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh yeah. Most definitely, the first line of The Final Empire. I have never been able to, so far, pull off as long a con as the first line of the first book being the climax of the third book. I do have some other long cons going, but they haven't paid off yet.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3625 Copy

    Questioner

    So Kaladin's in charge of the Windrunners, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Is Lift in charge of the Edgedancers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll have to see in the next book. Lift is the first Edgedancer they've found. Lift is not so good at being in charge of anything... So I wouldn't probably say the first one discovered has to be in charge. Different Orders of the Knights Radiant lend themselves to different styles of organization. Like, some of them are a lot more disorganized than the Windrunners, who you'll see have a very militaristic organization to them.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3626 Copy

    WeiryWriter

    At Emerald City Comic Con earlier this year, you stated that Singer gemhearts are a "milky white" color, and looked like bone/bone marrow. You also said they were related to something in Dragonsteel. Having read the sample chapters of The Liar of Partinel a while back, I couldn't help but be reminded of the skullmoss, which is a bone-white color. Are the singer gemhearts related to the fainlife in any meaningful or important way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah they are very similar to Tamu Keks.

    BookCon 2018 ()
    #3629 Copy

    Questioner

    If you could have any two characters cross over from different series, which ones would they be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, you will be seeing that as it happens, right? Because Stormlight and Mistborn are in the same universe, so you will see. If it were not limited to the Cosmere, then I'd be very interested in seeing Moiraine from The Wheel of Time.

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3632 Copy

    Brainless

    You've always said that your favorite sort of magic was being a Coinshot or being a Windrunner because you really want to fly. So I thought that iron Feruchemy you can fly using just iron Feruchemy. So if you had a paraglider and a place to jump off of, you're paragliding, go downwards, your momentum increases, you increase your weight when you're going downwards. You pull upward and then you decrease your weight. Your velocity will increase and you'll go up--

    Brandon Sanderson

    We have thought about that. I'm not sure if the math-- Like, we're trying to conserve momentum. We're trying to follow the math of that. So the question is, would that work? It probably would, but I'd have to look at the math. Because I tried to make very clear in the Wax and Wayne books that we conserve momentum...

    Really what we're doing is, we're breaking potential energy, right, when we're doing this. Because iron Feruchemy is just the weirdest of all of them. Because we're breaking potential energy, what you just said probably works, doesn't it.

    Brainless

    That was in context with the thing I was saying yesterday, about Feruchemical savants. If you did that every day for years, would you potentially get to the point where you could potentially make one side of your body heavier than the other side?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...There are many people in the cosmere who would think this idea has merit and they would want to test it.

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3633 Copy

    Questioner

    In your magic systems, they all require the character to go over a great stress before they obtain that-- Do you use the concept of the price that comes with magic in a plausible magic system when you came up with that idea, or was it more about the idea of flawed characters are awesome?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In the cosmere magics, a lot of times in order to get the magic, there needs to be-- the internal logic argument is: Souls, once they have gaps in them, those gaps can be filled with other things, which often give you access to magical powers. Great trauma or stress--this is an age old fantasy idea, goes back many many years in the genre--will let you attain some of these powers, kind of as a balancing thing and mostly this is for narrative reasons.

    Flawed characters are just way more interesting to write, and I gravitated to it pretty naturally as I was building the magic of the cosmere. And I would say it was mostly narrative reasons, as opposed to, when I was building the magic, some rule that felt like it needed to be there. But it's also a little of a balancing factor. It's trying to build into--whoever asked the question about the god--having god-like powers, but their flaws making it hard for them to use it.

    It's a check on giving the powers to my characters, if I make sure to establish, this character has some holes in their-- some gaps and flaws in who they are, that might make them use their powers wrong once they get them, and that is in some way a narrative check on that, if that makes sense.

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3634 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you do the Bridge Four Salute?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's very similar to the Wakanda salute. When they did that movie I'm like, "Oh no!" If we ever do get a live action thing, they'll probably have to do it differently. But I've always done it out in front. *Does the salute*

    Like that.

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3635 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The fandom found out about The Way of Kings pretty early on. I don't know how this happened, but Amazon put up a listing for it in like, 2006. The book was eventually published four years later. I hadn't written it in 2006. I'd written a version of it that I sent to my editor at Tor when he wanted to buy Elantris. I said, "Here's the other thing I'm working on."

    And he read Way of Kings and he called me back, terrified. Because it's 400,000 words long. Well, the print version is 300,000 words. And they say, you should shoot for maybe 120,000 for your first novel. So it's big, and I had all these notes for this art I wanted to put into it. So it was going to be really expensive to print, really expensive to edit. And he called and he was like, "Uhhh can we cut this? This is enormous!"

    And I'm like, "No we can't cut it but it's not right yet." So we did a contract for Elantris and Mistborn. We never had a contract for Way of Kings. I don't know how anyone found out about it, but Amazon put up a listing for it anyway...

    So the fandom started putting up fake reviews for this book. And they also devised fake pictures of it. Amazon has this Show Your Version. So they printed off fake covers and put them around books and took pictures and sent them in. So eventually, Amazon just put one of their covers up as the cover. And it had a picture of Elvis on the front. It was called The Way of Kings. And it had a quote from Terry Goodkind that said "A hunka hunka burning good book!"

    This is what happens when you give fans a blank space on the internet and say "Fill this!" I didn't ask them to do this by the way. They just did this. I just started looking and people were like, "This book cured my dog's cancer!" Stuff like that! You know how they are.

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3636 Copy

    Glamdring804

    How advanced is astronomy on Roshar? Because it's something you haven't really talked about, and I'm thinking--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on the region. Some people, the astronomy's getting moderately well.

    Glamdring804

    Surely they've seen Ashyn and Braize in the sky, and I'm wondering how long it will be before they start detecting signs of civilization on Ashyn.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That would depend on a couple of things, such as, the easiest way to detect civilization is with radio waves, so-- You need some good telescopes. I don't think that would be, even if they spotted it, as revolutionary as you might think it would be, because we thought there were people on all of our planets for most of the history of mankind, and it didn't really affect how we viewed cosmology. I think if you went to Roshar and asked them, they'd be like "Yeah, totally, people live on those planets. Obviously." Just like if you went back and said "Do people live on the moon?" in the 1700s, people would be like, "Yeah probably, seems like they must."

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3638 Copy

    Glamdring804

    In Way of Kings, Jasnah recommends to Shallan the Devotary of Sincerity. Their motto is "There is always something more to discover." That sounds very similar to our favorite Mistborn psychopath's saying; is Kelsier connected to that at all?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3639 Copy

    Brainless

    Is the Cognitive Realm on other planets called Shadesmar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For simplicity's sake in translation, for the most part, we are going to use the word Shadesmar, acknowledging that in some of the languages it may be a different word. But the cosmere standard used in Silverlight and things is Shadesmar. That's just for ease of talking about it but the scholars in Silverlight they use the actual word Shadesmar. I'm going to force Eric to do some heavy lifting for me on some other things like this.

    Chaos

    <Expresses that not everyone will be pleased about this WoB>

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah I suspect that as I move into Era 4, Cognitive Realm might start replacing it, the more scientific term, but Shadesmar is the colloquial term. 

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3640 Copy

    Brainless

    If you had a chance to go back for Elantris and the early Mistborn books and stuff like that, would you potentially consider adding more crossover characters, because you did put Hoid in all of those, but would you potentially put other smaller things from other planets, like other worldhoppers, in it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, the cheeky answer to this is, I've read The Monkey's Paw, and I've read enough science fiction stories to know that if someone says "Do you want to change this thing about your past?" that you say "No." Because depending on the writer you are either going to end up in a horror story, or you are going to have to learn some lesson about how important you are, or your family is, and then it will all be a dream, so no, I wouldn't.

    But really the answer is no, I wouldn't change. I like the fact that the cosmere has a very light touch on those early books. I like it in part because I feel like people who are just getting into my fiction, I don't want them to feel like they have to follow everything to enjoy one book. And yeah, I'm adding little bits more into Stormlight, but that's inevitable because so much will take place in Shadesmar, which by it's nature is far more cosmere-aware, and so we're going to have to do more things the further Stormlight gets and the further Mistborn gets, because it will become inevitable. And that's fine, I'm embracing that. The further we go in the cosmere, the more you're going to have to be on board for the idea of the crossovers working. But I don't want the initial books that you get into to have to be like that. I was very intentional with my light touch on those early cosmere books and I wouldn't go back and add more. Even Way of Kings, right? Has what has Hoid and Felt in it, and that's just about it.

    Chaos

    Felt's in Words of Radiance.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, is he in Words of Radiance? He's not even in Way of Kings.

    Several Questioners

    *talking over each other*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, you saw Galladon, you saw the seventeenth shard. So there's like one scene in the whole book, maybe two, depending, but Hoid isn't even very Hoid-like in that first one. It's the second one where he mentions Adonalsium and stuff—

    Several Questioners

    *correct the previous statement*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Is it the first one? It's the first one. It's that party at the thing with Dalinar. So there's two scenes in Way of Kings, and that's very intentional. By the time we get to the second stage Stormlight books, and the fourth stage Mistborn books, you'll just have to be on-board. But by then you're entrenched. If you're reading Stormlight seven, then the Stormlight series is already longer than everything else, so you might as well just've read everything else.

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3641 Copy

    Questioner

    Speaking of the cosmere, because it's this multiverse that's the setting for all these different epic fantasy series, do you ever feel restricted by the cosmere in a sense of sort of wanting to do with a plot or the magic or wanting something really epic to happen but be like, "Wait that's not legal in the system I've created?" 

    Brandon Sanderson

    It doesn't happen very often because, most of the times in my outlining process, I notice these things and I move something out of the cosmere. If it's just not going to work with the cosmere magic, it just doesn't have to be cosmere. And I'm really glad I gave myself that freedom because I think that you can get too locked in, right? If I'm like, "Everything has to be cosmere!" then either I'm going to break it, which is going to decrease the value of the continuity, or I'm just not going to be able to write some books that I'm excited about. And I don't like either of those options.

    And so being able to say, "You know what? This magic that I'm working on for FTL does not match any of the ways that the cosmere FTL could work. I'm going to move this out of the cosmere." That's what happened to Skyward. Skyward was in the cosmere for a little while, but then I moved it out. I'm like, "No this matches other stuff better. I'm going to go with this FTL, that is not a cosmere FTL." That frees me like--

    Skyward is a science fiction space opera, starship pilots and things like that. And if I would have done this in the cosmere, I would have just had to avoid talking about things that would be spoilers for other cosmere books, which would have been terrible, right? So either you have the Skyward books that have their hands bound so that I can't give spoilers, or Skyward gives all the spoilers, and then cool things happening in the future of the cosmere are just like, "whatever". I take option number three, which is I'm just not going to do this as a cosmere book because obviously it doesn't fit.

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3643 Copy

    Questioner

    On Sel, in the dialogue from Khriss, the Arcanum Unbounded, she mentions that the Cognitive Realm is especially dangerous because Devotion and Dominion were killed there. Why is it dangerous? Are there bad spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well it's called the Expanse of the Densities in Roshar for a very good reason.

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3645 Copy

    Chaos

    Odium said to Taravangian, "You did this without access to Fortune or the Spiritual Realm?" How does one access Fortune without the Spiritual Realm or Feruchemical chromium, as almost all future sight tends to utilize the Spiritual Realm in some way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, that line is mostly just me saying... *long pause* I think you're picking apart those things too much.

    Chaos

    Right, that makes sense. Hey, Odium said it, so I didn't know-- Gotta take that seriously, so.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, yeah, don't read too much into picking apart those two things. You can read it as-- Honestly, that is me making sure I am being clear in the text.

    Chaos

    That there are those are two different things.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah those are two different things, but they are just interrelated. Fortune is a property, and the Spiritual Realm is a place, but not a place. Do you know what I mean? To use Fortune, you're always involving the Spiritual Realm, but in the Spiritual Realm, you're not always involving Fortune.

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3646 Copy

    Brainless

    So if you jumped off a high place and you were a steel Feruchemist, could you store the speed of you falling?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, because-- I'm going to say you need to be moving under your own-- because otherwise it's all relative, right? If you're falling, it's no different than if you're traveling on the planet or things like that.

    Glamdring804

    So it's related more to muscle contractions.

    Brandon Sanderson

    *hesitantly* Yes, kind of. Feruchemy bends all sorts of weird things, ever since I started doing the weight one. So, yes.

    Brainless

    The thing about Feruchemy is it feels like you could be like a savant short of it, but it would be much more minor than something like a savant for-- It would be more things like what you could get for exercise and stuff like that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. Yeah, that's possible.

    MisCon 2018 ()
    #3650 Copy

    Glamdring804

    Szeth has an afterglow because his soul is lagging behind his body slightly.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Glamdring804

    So if he was moving fast enough, could a Shardblade pass through his physical body and not cut the soul?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ummm, that sounds like the sort of thing-- I'm going to say, the soul is more stretchy, so I don't think that's possible. But you could do some weird things where you're cutting the soul and not the body.