Recent entries

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3701 Copy

    ReticentBondsmith

    If you infused a ruby and split it into three or more pieces, would you be able to create a groupchat spanreed?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This has been attempted so far unsuccessfully. Good question! It is very plausible in the magic system.

    ReticentBondsmith

    I've always felt this was related to quantum entanglement. Is that part of where you got the idea from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Absolutely. I mean, I know that's not how quantum entanglement actually works. But the magic systems all in the Stormlight Archive grew out of my interest in the fundamental forces. We are several magical steps removed from the actual science in each of these cases, but that was the origin for all those magics. The quantum entanglement fascinates me, particularly the way that we think things should work and find out they don't. I love that stuff.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3702 Copy

    Questioner

    Is Hoid the only one of his kind that we've met in the Cosmere books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What do you mean by his kind?

    Questioner

    Is he the only one from the planet he's originally from that we've met?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. Because Ati and Leras, the Ruin and Preservation, were both from that same planet.

    [...]

    All of the Shards of Adonalsium were from that planet.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3703 Copy

    Questioner

    How would an Awakened with Breath piece of cloth react if it got hit with a Shardblade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A Shardblade would probably be able to cut it, but it depends on how much Breath we're talking about.

    Questioner

    So if it had enough, it might be able to block it

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3704 Copy

    Questioner

    Approximately how much Breath would it take to invest a regular object enough to that a Shardblade couldn't cut it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would have to look at the notes. One of the things we're doing right now is, we're unifying the actual unit of investiture. So, I'm not going to answer that until I have that codified, but it is one of the projects we're working on right now. I'll have some answers for you more...we'll just get a unit of measurement that we can use, probably based on that.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3705 Copy

    Questioner

    Has Hoid just collected--<like he does>--the spren, or...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He has legitimately bonded the spren. Let's just say, he has given up on trying to cheat some of the systems and has decided to try to play by the rules.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3706 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you already have the Ideals figured out for all the other orders?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but I don't always stick to 100% the wording. I got the sentiment and a sample phrase. But for a lot of them, they vary based on the individual. So there's some flexibility. I don't tell people what they are, generally, because I need the freedom to change just in case I decide to.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3707 Copy

    Questioner

    If someone was a good enough writer, would you ever consider letting someone else write in the Cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is a possibility. I'd be very wary of doing it, but right now, Isaac, who's my illustrator, wants to do it, and he's been a friend for many years. So I've said, "If you really want to you can." So I'm open to the idea. You probably want to be a professional writer first, and have your own things published.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3708 Copy

    Questioner

    When you were writing Elantris, did you think of the artwork for all the symbols and stuff as you were writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did, I drew them myself. Those are the only ones that I did the symbols for. After that book, I went and got somebody who knew what they were doing, so they look a little pedestrian compared to the other ones, but I did them all myself.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3709 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there any possibility of a Legion television show?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is, we have sold the rights to a company called Cinaflex in Canada, they are trying to develop one right now. Hopefully, it turns out alright. We probably have to change the title because there is a Marvel Legion series, we would probably just call it Leeds.

    Questioner

    That would be awesome. What about Snapshot?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Snapshot's at MGM, they have a really sharp screenplay that I love. Best screenplay based on my work that anyone's ever turned in. I'm really, really excited and hopeful for that one but there is no greenlight yet so who knows.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3711 Copy

    Timsama

    Is finding out what the deal was with Mare, is that an Era 2 thing we're going find out or is that...

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, unfortunately it is to be left, probably, as a mystery. It is a minor secret that I do not consider a major Cosmere thing, more of a backstory thing. I might eventually get around to it. The chances of it factoring in are very, very slim. I stay closed lipped about it because there is a part of me that thinks I will work it into Secret History 2, sort of like flash-backing material, but I'm not 100% sure I will.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3712 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there a reason Kaladin is always talking about the Survivor.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. The Survivor? No. You're trying to get me to slip up on something; no. He does not know Kelsier, nice try.

    Questioner

    But are they connected?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Only thematically.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3713 Copy

    Questioner

    I have a question, because I really like Magic: the Gathering. What set are you collecting right now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm always kind of collecting some of everything. Right now I'm building a Theros cube, so kinda working on that. It's just, I have all my old ones so I'm just like, "Eh, I'll build a cube out of these", so I've just been putting that together, and then I've been building this really weird one that's a commander cube. So I'm grabbing specific cards from here and there and putting them together.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3717 Copy

    Questioner

    So why does Rand bow to the Empress when the actual prophecy was that she was supposed to bend to him, it was changed by one of the...

    Brandon Sanderson

    So that was actually in Robert Jordan's notes, that this is what he was supposed to do. It was to fulfill that prophecy, and so I don't have an explanation to that other than he made sure to include "this needs to happen", so I did it.

    Questioner

    Even though the prophecy was not supposed to be that way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. That one was very clear in the notes; needs to happen.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3718 Copy

    Questioner

    If you could choose to cast someone for Vin who would you pick?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ellen Page from 10 years ago. Is that ok?

    Questioner

    *laughs* Yes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think she would've been very good.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3720 Copy

    Questioner

    I'm just curious, there are 16 Allomantic metals, 16 Feruchemical metals, there are 16 Shards of Adonalsium. Are there 16 surges?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

    Questioner

    So there's no correlation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    10 is an important number on Roshar.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3721 Copy

    Questioner

    Where do you come up with your names for books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It really depends on the book. Sometimes I'm using a real world culture's linguistics as inspiration, sometimes I'm building a linguistic trick for them, so it really depends. Listen to my podcast, Writing Excuses, look for the episode on, we're doing one on con-langs or naming. We've got some episodes on that.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3722 Copy

    Questioner

    I want to know if Nightblood can be killed in the same way as a spren.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, that's a RAFO. Nightblood does not have the same spren bond, and so the renouncing of Oaths is not going to affect him, but there are certain things that could.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3723 Copy

    Questioner

    We know the Moon Scepter helps to change Identity [and/or/of] Investiture? So in the case of Raoden using *inaudible* Elantrians off-planet, would the Moon Scepter allow them to...

    Brandon Sanderson

    So the Moon Scepter is part of a key that they are trying to figure out how to do this. Because, Elantrian magic can be really powerful. All of the Selish magics can be really powerful. Because they are drawing from the Dor the way that they do, you're basically hooked up to a giant battery.

    So, none of the other Cosmere magics you've seen have that level going on. The closest you're going to get is when you've got a Bondsmith powering the magic for the Knights Radiant.  Cracking how to make that work on other planets is a really important thing that people are trying to figure out.

    Footnote: The Moon Scepter's functionality has been described elsewhere.
    FanX 2018 ()
    #3724 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there a reason, with 16 being such an important number, that there are only 10 orders of Radiants

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is relevant.

    Questioner

    Am I going to have to read and find out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's just say 10 is a number that is relevant to Roshar and its inhabitants.

    Questioner

    And what's the significance of the number 10?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The significance is that it is very significant.

    Questioner

    Will we find out by reading it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maybe, that's why you're getting a RAFO. Potentially.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3725 Copy

    Questioner

    So, in Oathbringer, you said that Hoid still has a god worshipping him. Can you give some back story to that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I cannot, I mean I can, but I'm not going to.

    Questioner

    It will be revealed later?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maybe. I plan to get all of this stuff eventually into his memoir when he writes it. Or when I write his memoir for him.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3726 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have to post the Pattern deleted scene some time because, whenever I see someone dress up as Pattern, which doesn't happen that often, I wanna quote that scene but it's not in the book anymore, where Pattern talks about how famous he is. Yeah, so, I need to post that scene.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3731 Copy

    Questioner 1

    I know I mentioned my tattoo that I wanted to get yesterday, and I was wondering what, cause I want the planets that feature in that system to be colored and everything is black and white, and so I was wondering what color I could get for each of them.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow, ok, I don't know if I can answer that right here, you probably want to email that to us. I can give you an off the cuff answer. I don't know if it'll be like a canonical answer or something like that. Give them to me and I'll tell you what my instincts say.

    Questioner 1

    Sel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would do Sel as a blue color. Probably a light blue.

    Questioner 2

    Nalthis?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nalthis i would do as like a vibrant pink, orange, or something like that.

    Questioner 1

    Taldain?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Taldain I would do as yellow.

    Questioner 1

    Would I do like the half and half or?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would do half and half, yeah, or if you wanna do black and white. Black and white would work very well for them.

    Questioner 2

    Scadrial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Scadrial I would do as a rust red, like a deep red.

    Questioner 1

    Threnody?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Threnody, lets see. 

    Questioner 1

    I was thinking like a dark blue/green mix as well.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The problem is you would want to do Roshar as either a brown or a Kholin blue. Probably a brown for the stone, so in that case you could Threnody as like a dark blue and you could do Sel as light blue. You don't have a green in there, so Sel could go green if you wanted it to.

    Questioner 1

    I forgot to ask about Sixth of the Dusk.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, that would be mostly water, so that's a blue one.

    Questioner 1

    Like a vibrant blue?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vibrant blue. So we've got three blues. But you can change one of those to green, and I would say Sel goes green.

    Questioner 1

    Like an emerald green?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Like a grass green. Because a lot of people are concentrating on the *inaudible*.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3732 Copy

    Questioner

    So Wayne is my absolute favorite character. What was your main inspiration for him?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wayne started with a character, I wanted to do someone who changed personalities based on the hat they wore, and it actually started as a haberdasher, a hat maker, and as a character staring in his own story in the Mistborn world and it didn't work. He needed somebody to play off of and so I shelved it and started The Alloy of Law where he could have somebody to play off of. Wax actually grew out of Wayne.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3733 Copy

    Questioner

    I just found out today that you have a charity called the Lightweaver Foundation.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do.

    Questioner

    What are you trying to accomplish with it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm trying to find ways to give away my money.

    Questioner

    Excellent! 

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's less that I'm trying to funnel money into it from other sources. Sometimes, we sell things or do things that I want to do for charity, but mostly it's, so far we've put a library in the homeless shelter in Salt Lake and we've donated a bunch of books to schools and prisons and libraries. When someone comes and says, "Hey, can you donate to this thing," I just funnel it through the charity. It basically exists to give away my money.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3734 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Book six is halfway done, Bastille is writing it. She's doing a very good job; I'm quite excited by her version. It involves lots of stabbing things and Bastille making fun of Alcatraz. It's turning out really well and I think you're going to like it.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3735 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you have any updates on the next Wax and Wayne book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No updates right now; cancelling the Apocalypse Guard and writing a new book in its place has put me just a little behind, but it was the right thing to do *inaudible*. And so I'm just finishing up Skyward 2 and Skyward 1 is coming out in November and I have until January to write something else, because January I need to start another Stormlight book so if it doesn't happen before then I'll probably do it in breaks between chunks of Stormlight.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3736 Copy

    Questioner

    On your Tor.com release of Oathbringer, I made a comment, it was about the Windblades being powered by Urithiru. Would that be barking up the right tree or the wrong tree?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a, barking up the wrong tree. Good question. I don't think I've seen that question before.

    Questioner

    Even [Alice?] brings it up in the next chapter.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Did she? No, that's a false correlation, the strata are more just there because of how Roshar works, than they are to make you draw a parallel there.

    Questioner

    And only Shallan and others can really see the colors *inaudible*.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mmmm. That is not a false correlation, right there.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3737 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you make good characters, good heroes, and good villains. How?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a big question. Best thing I can tell you is, try to look for the nobility in every person, even if you may not agree with them yourself. Listen to the character. Every person is a hero in their own story.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3738 Copy

    Questioner

    I was curious about how you see your writing and your job in context of your discipleship.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think that making good on talents you're given is a very important thing. I think art is good for art's sake, and it is an innate and inherent good. Expressing who you are in fiction and exploring who other people are brings us together, makes us closer, makes us understand people when you read fiction written about people very different from yourself. I think pure religion will try to understand other people's viewpoints and listen. So I think that that is all very important, and I think that fiction is comfort in a lot of people's lives

    I don't sit down to write a book and say, "My job is to convert anybody, or to preach." I try to present the world as it is through lots of different people's eyes, and I think that is an innate good. This is the big argument that C.S. Lewis and Tolkien had, though. They were on different sides of that argument. What is the nature of allegory in fiction. I err a little more on Tolkien's side.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3739 Copy

    Questioner

    I've started a lot of little things of literature, but I've never been able to finish, 'cause I start on one thing with all these ideas, and then I get all these ideas about something else, and I don't see the two worlds fitting. So I start on something else. So, how do I...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, this is Professor Sanderson saying, "You need to make yourself do it." You won't learn how to finish stories until you start doing it. And doing that, learning to keep on a story, even when it starts to get hard, and you're more excited about something else, and this one's not turning out the way you like, or things like that. Learning to finish it anyway is the only way you'll learn how to do that, and make it good. So, you have to finish stories. Don't stress too much about them turning out right. Books that you write are all practice. Even for me, right now. Practice at getting better. You want to be a better writer. Rather than a person who wrote a book, you want to be a writer who can write great books. So, practice like you're practicing piano, or whatever it is. Just tell yourself, you've just gotta finish.

    Questioner

    Do you agree with, "You should know the ending?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on... everybody's different. Some writers are better if they don't. Some writers are better if they write toward an ending, get there, and then revise so that ending matches. You'll have to do that. Some writers are better if they have a strong outline. Go watch my university lectures, on YouTube. In the early lectures, I talk a lot about discovery writing versus outline writing, the advantages and disadvantages.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3740 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you build all your characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Characters are the hardest for me to explain. The answer I can give you is, I usually try writing and just experiment with the viewpoint and voice, and see if that works. And if it does, then I start working them into the book. But often, I'll do freewrites. I'm looking for conflict, looking for an interesting perspective of seeing the world. I'm just looking for something different about them.

    Questioner

    So, like, in Mistborn, do you create your characters individually, and then you add them to the story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A lot of times. Like, Kelsier was created before I started writing Mistborn. Vin was also, but Vin changed a whole bunch, to the point that, really, I started writing the book, experimented with different voices, and found the one I wanted for her.

    Questioner

    How were you able to diversify the amount of characters you have? Like, Shallan, she had such a dark past. How do you get that so accurately?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've had some help on Shallan. I've got some friends who have dealt with similar issues that I interview, I get notes from, and I have read the books and tell me where am I going wrong, where am I going right. That's really handy. Listening to people, interviewing people, using primary sources. Invaluable when doing characters. Even the newest book I'm working on, Skyward... Like, in that one, it's nothing about a deep, dark past, but the main character's a fighter pilot. And I got a ton of stuff wrong. But fortunately, I found some fighter pilots to read the book and tell me where I was going wrong. So it got right.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3741 Copy

    Questioner

    I'm curious, how did you get the inspiration for putting lights in spheres that give people powers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I bet, if you track back where the origin of this is, a lot of the ideas like this goes back to Dune, where magic as part of the economy was really fascinating to me when I read it as a teenager. And so, I've always looked for economic components to my magic. And I loved the idea of coinage being useful for something. So, the idea that you have these spheres that act as light was really fun for my worldbuilding and things like that. It means people just don't use fire as often, and you have an economy that can go late at night without burning candle wax to go late at night. You're just using a side effect of your money that you already have. And this led some really cool worldbuilding directions. I would say the origin probably goes back to Dune.

    Where did it come from as Stormlight? Partially, it's just, the way I built the Cosmere, I wanted commodifiable magic that you could use in an economy and trade, because of the way the Cosmere worked and the greater, larger where I was going for the future books, that just made it a lot more interesting to me.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3742 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you think you would ever teach a class at the Storymakers conference?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do, every once in a while, teach at Storymakers, yeah. I really like that conference. I think it is probably the best writing conference in the region. I can't make it every year, though. But every three or four years, I go in and I teach one.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3743 Copy

    Questioner

    I wanna know how many series you're working on right now.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you really wanna know, go Google "State of the Sanderson.' Every December, I go through all the series that I'm working on. I say where they are, and what I'm planning to do with them, and which ones are done and which ones aren't. So just Google that.

    Questioner

    Another question on that is, how do you keep your characters straight in the different books that you write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Keeping characters straight isn't tough. Keeping events, which things I've said and which things I haven't... and in that case, it's a matter of having a good continuity editor. Or rereading the books before you write the next one. Once in a while, I will have changed my mind in the middle of writing a book, and I forget. So, I go trying to write the sequel, and my continuity editor's like, "You explained this already. You have this whole thing." And I still, like... Mistborn, I changed silver to tin, and I still have just never been able to remember that. My fingers want to type "silver."

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3744 Copy

    Questioner

    I have to say, I find more gospel conversations after going through The Stormlight Archive with people than any other fictional book I've ever read. Does that intentionally bleed in, or is that just part of who you are?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a little of both. I don't preach in my books. What I am determines part of what I find heroic. But I'm very fascinated by religion. So I like to have lots of different people in the books who have lots of different viewpoints on religion that talk about it, like we kind of do in real life. So, you know, you have someone like Dalinar, who is kind of very... almost revolutionarily faithful. And you have Kaladin who's just straight-up agnostic, "Don't know, don't care." You have Jasnah, who's an atheist. You have someone more like Navani, who's a classic conservative faithful. I just like having all of these different people interacting.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3745 Copy

    Questioner

    When you kill characters, how do you make them dramatic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are lots of different philosophies on this. Certain authors do it certain ways. It depends on the emotion you're going for. Usually, it depends on if it's a tragedy or not. A tragedy is, they don't fulfill the character arc that they're promised. They make wrong decisions at the wrong moment. And you, the reader, are left disappointed in them. And the opposite, like a heroic story, they make the decision. It might have consequences, so you're left sad, but also thrilled. And it depends on which emotion you want. And some writers prefer a method where they want you to never know who's safe and who isn't. And those writers will often kill a character in the middle of a plot arc, out of nowhere. And those are three different ways. I am way more likely to use the first two. A character who makes the wrong decision, and then dies because of it, as a tragedy. Or a character who makes a hard decision, fulfills their character arc, and may not make it anyway, still can feel very uplifting despite the loss.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3746 Copy

    Questioner

    Are you planning on doing a sixth Alcatraz?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, from Bastille's viewpoint. She is currently writing it. We are just waiting for her to finish. That shouldn't be too long.

    And things aren't as bad as Alcatraz made them seem. He's a little melodramatic, if you can't tell.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3747 Copy

    Questioner

    Where would you suggest a beginning writer start writing? Like, novellas? With short stories?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd recommend you start with the format you read the most. Once upon a time, short stories was the way to begin. But that's because a lot of the readership read short stories, got used to reading them, and magazine subscriptions were a big deal. Once the novel became the dominant form... I don't feel like you should write something you don't read. We use, in writing, a phrase: "Write what you know." This doesn't necessarily mean you can't write about someone very different from yourself. But your experience is part of what's gonna make your story unique. And so, putting part of yourself into every book is important. And also, writing in genres that you are familiar with, that you know the tropes of so you can use them in new ways. So, start on novels if you read novels.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3748 Copy

    Questioner

    Have you ever wanted to write an alternate ending to a book or a series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually did that with Words of Radiance. There's some small tweaks that I made. The end result was too much confusion among fans, which one's the canon, even though they were just minor things, that I feel like that was an experiment that I just don't ever wanna go back on.

    Like Mistborn One, there are things I don't like about the ending of that. It's a little too deus ex machina. A little too unforeshadowed, some of the things that happen. But that's just my lack of skill as a writer during that era. And you just learn and grow. You learn how to do things right by doing them poorly on occasion.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3749 Copy

    Questioner

    Have you ever regretted killing off a character, or not killing off a character, in your book series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. In the middle of Words of Radiance, there is a character who dies, but comes back. And in my original draft, it was very clear. (Wink wink, reader; this character's coming back.) And I think that was actually the version I wanted. Because I felt like, when I did the original draft, and I sent it to beta readers, they're like, "Oh, well this character's obviously gonna come back." And I'm like, "They figured me out!" And I made it hardcore, so they had real worry the character wasn't coming back. But that was not a major moment in the series, it was removing a character so another character could shine. So, I should have just been okay with them knowing that character was coming back, because there are... I feel like I faked out the readers for no big gain. There wasn't really reason to try so hard to fake out readers on that thing. Where there are some legitimate characters where, you know, either, really they're dead and I want people to mourn their deaths. Or there are other characters where their return, I want to be very dramatic. And I feel like you've only got a certain amount of that energy from readers that you can play with them that way. And I shouldn't use it for things where I just want a character out of the way for a while.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3750 Copy

    Questioner

    What's the book that you've enjoyed writing the most?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably Bands of Mourning. I basically, for Bands of Mourning, just kind of took the "I am just gonna have fun with this" route, and it turns out it worked really well for those characters.