Recent entries

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3752 Copy


    Approximately how many books/series do you have concrete ideas for, aside from the ones you currently have in the pipeline?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, wow. So, go look at the State of the Sanderson 2017 and you'll find a list of the ones I've mentioned. Beyond that, I'd say I have some twenty or thirty that are somewhat fleshed out. More than I can possibly ever hope to write.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #3753 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    You guys might find this amusing. I read this threat [about Andrzej Sapkowski suing CD Projekt Red] last night at about 3:00, and came REALLY close to posting, "Dear CD Projekt. You can have the Mistborn rights, if you want them..." But this was looking like it would explode as a thread, and I REALLY didn't want to wake up to several hundred replies in my inbox. I have work to do today...

    In all seriousness, I'd love to do something with CDPR. They've made by far the best book-to-video game adaptations ever. It's the sort of thing the rest of us salivate over--if for the simple reason that the entire genre (books, film, and games) benefit from something high-quality on the market like the Witcher games.

    I would seriously consider giving CD Project Red the rights to my books for free, because the overall cultural impact that a great story adaptation can have is enormous. Though...I suspect they're done dealing with self-important fantasy authors, and are likely more interested in creating their own new IPs.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, this kind of exploded, didn't it!

    I appreciate the outpouring of enthusiasm and kind words in this thread, but let's rephrase this title a little. Saying that I'm considering giving them the rights for free implies that I have the option. I haven't talked to CDPR (though I've considered several times sending them an email and seeing if they'd be willing to meet next time I'm in the area.) I'm not in a position to offer them anything. Part of the reason I didn't post in that other thread until I was summoned was because I didn't want to come off as presumptuous.

    But...I did read the original article and think, "Man, is Sapkowski crazy? I'd practically kill to have such a high quality adaptation of my work." If you magically gave me the chance to have an adaptation on the level of the Witcher--but with no payment given to me--I'd take that in a heartbeat. I'd much rather know it will be good (or at least be in the hands of someone skillful and passionate) than gamble on big money up front with a risk of bad quality.

    Please, though, don't put CDPR on the spot or bother them too much about this. I've had some discussions with those who run video game companies, and I know a little of the stresses put upon them. If something goes wrong with a book I write, and it flops, then I'm the only one who suffers. But video game companies work on tight margins for years, employing the passion and enthusiasm of hundreds, to create a game. They need to pick their projects VERY carefully, because a flop has huge ramifications for all of their employees.

    I'll continue to explore getting a good video game adaptation of Mistborn and/or Stormlight--in part because I want to play them myself. But the proper way for me to do this is keep meeting with companies, talking to them, and learning more about their business. I didn't want to hijack a thread about another author to do this, and I feel a little bad that this exploded like it did.

    (That said, you guys are awesome.)

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3754 Copy

    Jesse Estabrook

    When it said Spensa’s father was shot down by his own flight, was it supposed to be fleet? I suppose that since there are so many errors, that this is not an example of the actual final release. Will there be further changes so that we will need to re-read all of these preview chapters all over again, once the edited final product is released?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Any errors in here are only proofreading errors--I've turned the book over to these teams, and won't be making any more story changes. So don't worry. You won't miss anything, other than a little spelling here and there. Though I did mean "flight" instead of "fleet" as they tend to use small squad tactics as pilots, and call these groups "flights."

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3755 Copy

    Karthikeyan Eswaran

    For a person to ascend as a [Vessel], is it enough to have a Connection with the Shard, or does their general intent/mindset have to align with the Intent of the Shard (like Rayse and Odium have both shown similar mindsets)? If the intent needs to be similar, how did Ati, who was described as a kind person, pick up a Shard like Ruin? And if the intent doesn't need to be similar, how did the people at the Shattering manage to ascend, as the Shards had just been created? Did they have to go through some process to create a Connection? Or did they all somehow already have a Connection with Adonalsium (and thus with all the Shards) which made it easier to Ascend?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there did need to be some Connection created--there was a lot going on with this. But it is possible for intents to not align and someone to take a Shard. It's way easier if intents do align, but humans don't tend to align 100% to any specific intent.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3759 Copy

    Skyler Cecil

    Is there an Investiture cycle on Roshar? Cycling through the crem rain and flora and fauna back into the storm, or something like that. Like the water cycle. If Investiture is finite, is it recycled back into the Cosmere when Investiture like Breath or Stormlight is expended? Otherwise, wouldn't Investiture run out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there is such a cycle. It is renewed and changed time and time again. It gets in and out of the Spiritual Realm, often with the birth of new individuals.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3762 Copy

    Bryan Cross

    Where do you get your inspiration for the more technology based things such as the starships here [in Skyward] and in Firstborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    These ships came from sketches I did with the illustrator, looking for the designs that felt the right for me. I wanted most of them to feel like glass cannons--small, kind of frail seeming, but potentially deadly.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3764 Copy

    Rusty Hodges

    In book 2 of Stormlight, Mraize says Shallan is not to harm Amaram, his life belongs to another. Does he know about Kaladin at this point or is she referring to Jasnah. If he is referring to Jasnah this would insinuate he knew she was still alive, which would make sense he clearly knows a lot more then he's let on so far. This question is fulled by some conclusions I have come to about Amaram and Jasnah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll RAFO this, but you are very astute.

    Miscellaneous 2018 ()
    #3770 Copy


    I just saw the Feruchemical Table medallion on the store, and it reminded me of a question that was raised on the forums a little while back. It appears there's a mistake in the metal pattern, with regards to pure metals and alloys; Chromium and nicrosil are in the opposite places from what we'd expect. I've attached a color-coded example; with pure metals in green, and alloys in blue, it's evident that the Spiritual quadrant has them criss-cross, unlike the other quadrants.   The medallion matches the poster's layout; that's where the question originally arose, from the poster. Is there a reason for this switch? Or is it an error in the pattern?

    Isaac Stewart

    I just looked over the chart, and rather than the metals being in the wrong places, it looks like I accidentally swapped the symbols. So the medallion is correct. It's the symbols for chromium and nicrosil that ought to be swapped. I've cc'd Peter on this email, too, so he's aware of the mistake. I'll try to remedy this for future printings.

    General Twitter 2018 ()
    #3771 Copy


    Any in-world significance to the new symbols for E and U [on the Badali Mistborn rings]? (Tin/Pewter with dots moved) Or is that just creative liberty to give each English letter a unique symbol for the jewelry?

    Isaac Stewart

    From the beginning, I built the symbols to also be an alphabet. Moving the dot to create a different vowels sound is something I borrowed from baybayin: … Also planned from the beginning over ten years ago. The rings are the first chance to use it. :)

    General Twitter 2018 ()
    #3772 Copy

    Byron King

    Has there been any discussion about making the Allomantic Table print with the foiling process from the Roshar map?

    Isaac Stewart

    We haven't discussed this. But maybe that's something we could do down the road once the Hemalurgic Table has been released.

    General Twitter 2018 ()
    #3775 Copy

    John Aspler

    Just finished Oathbringer (ahhhhhhsogood) and decided to do a Warbreaker reread. Was super happy to discover that the e-book edition had your annotations. Any chance others will get an update based on existing annotations (e.g., Elantris, Mistborn)?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    That’s not planned for the other books.

    Brandon's Blog 2018 ()
    #3778 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is my third and final essay tying in with the release of my new book, Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds. The book has been released for about a week now, and I hope you've all had a chance to check it out. This story is something special to me, particularly the third part—which might be the most personal story I've ever written.

    But how did it start? The Legion stories seem, at first glance, very self-referential. They are about a man who hallucinates a wide variety of characters—but unlike many protagonists of his ilk, Stephen knows that his hallucinations aren't real, and doesn't (for most of the stories) resist the fact that he is like this. Instead, he uses this ability to help him, acting like a one-man team of experts.

    The parallels are obvious. Stephen is very much like me, in that he imagines a large cast of people who accompany him. It's quite the metaphor for being a writer, though when I was working on the first story, I didn't really see this connection. I just wanted to see if I could change something that is often portrayed in film as a huge liability into (instead) a huge advantage.

    The original cast of hallucinations—specifically JC, Ivy, and Tobias—were based on actors. This is rare for me, as I don't often "cast" my characters in stories. But to me, it felt like Stephen would have used people he'd seen in film as a jumping-off point to create these personas, much as many of my characters have their roots in the pop culture I consumed when young. Ivy, then, looks roughly like Gwyneth Paltrow, Tobias like Morgan Freeman, and J.C. like Adam Baldwin—with the name J.C. being a reference to the fact that he's played multiple characters with those initials.

    But, like any characters I create, these were just jumping-off points, used to spin me into unique characterizations. JC went into this fun mix of self-aware, playing up his quirks, while Ivy became a representation of the fight within Stephen between cynicism and sincerity.

    The more I wrote, the more this became a metaphor for the complex relationship between a writer and the characters in their head. The voices that they know aren't real—but still depend on convincing readers to buy as real people. The stories deal with mental illness, yes, but the further I wrote, the more Stephen became a stand-in for the way our perceptions—and our hopes—shape the world we perceive. And maybe for the crisis that can be caused when we realize there's a misalignment between the two.

    Going back to the points I made in the first essay, however, it isn't that I was trying to express anything specific by writing these stories. And yet, by the end of the third one, I had indeed expressed something that was deeply personal—and real in ways that it is still strange to me that a piece of fiction can reach.

    But that's the point of stories, or at least one of them. A medium through which we can all connect in ways that we never could solely by explaining ourselves. Because art reaches inside us, and expresses aspects of ourselves that aren't deliberate, there's a truth and genuineness to it. A raw sincerity that isn't always about which part of the three-act structure you're crossing right now, or which part of a character arc this event is fulfilling. Those are important to give us a framework. But it is not itself the art.

    The structure is the skeleton, but the art is the eyes. The part you can see into and feel it looking back at you. The part that somehow—despite my best attempts to quantify it—is a soul that lives on its own, and defies explanation.

    Brandon's Blog 2018 ()
    #3779 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    In the last post, I talked a little about how characters come into existence, walking the line between an instinctive process and an intentional one.

    Working this way can create some issues. The first is that sometimes when I talk about my process, this part of it ends up getting presented as a lot more… deliberate than it really is. I spend a lot of time trying to help new writers, and I worry that in presenting all of these outlines, exercises, and techniques, we miss emphasizing just how little we really understand about the process.

    In some ways, writing a story is like hitting a baseball. You can talk all you want about the physics involved in how a baseball is pitched, then hit with the bat. But the truth is, neither pitcher nor batter are thinking about any of this in the moment.

    This makes the process feel overwhelming to some new writers, who think they need to have all of this in hand before they can write a story. Truth is, I'm generally explaining things I did by instinct early in my career, then figured out ways to talk about as I proceeded to study what I'd already done.

    You don't need to feel some mystical connection to characters to start writing—and if you focus too much on the idea that your characters should "feel" right and "do what they want," you can end up frustrated, as you don't have the practice writing yet to get them to do what needs to be done to actually create an interesting story.

    Another problem with the voices in my head is the worry that I'll repeat myself. Working by instinct, as so many authors (including outliners like me) do, can lead to repetition. Something can "feel" right because you've seen that thing done so many times, you think it is the "right" way—even when it makes for a worse story.

    This sort of writing, even when you're doing something interesting and new to you, can get repetitive as you only write in one way or style. In fact, I see a lot of writers talking about the "right" way to do something, as if it's a hard and fast rule—but it's not really that, it's simply the way they've trained their instincts to respond. Something that goes against this feels off to them, but only because of a kind of tunnel vision.

    You can also start to regurgitate stereotypes and other weak or harmful tropes because they're part of your historical experience with genre—and you take them for granted. I did this in the original Mistborn novels, where I spent a lot of time working on Vin as a character, wanting an interesting and dynamic female lead for the stories. But then I wrote the rest of the team as men—not because I consciously decided it, but because stories like Ocean's Eleven, The Sting, and Sneakers (which were part of my inspiration) contained primarily male casts.

    It isn't that you can't make a story that does this, or couldn't have reasons for writing a primarily male cast in a story. But I didn't have any of those reasons in mind; I did it because I was mimicking, without conscious thought, things I'd seen before. It felt "right" to me, but during examination later, I felt the story would have been stronger if I hadn't just run with the default that way.

    Overall, I think that repeating myself is my biggest worry as a writer. Specifically, I worry that I'll end up writing the same characters over and over, or look at themes the same way time and time again, without even realizing that I'm doing it. That's one of the reasons I force myself to approach stories like the Legion ones—where I have to get out of my comfort zone, write in a different kind of setting with different kinds of storytelling expectations, and see where that takes me.

    And so, the third part of this series will look at the Legion stories specifically, and where the voices in my head came from in that regard.

    Brandon's Blog 2018 ()
    #3780 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the most common questions I get, as a writer, is some variation on, "Do you ever hear voices, or feel like your characters are real?" People ask it timidly, as they don't want to be offensive, but there seems to be genuine curiosity about the way a writer's brain works. (Other variations on this theme are questions such as, "What are your dreams like?" or "Do you ever get so wrapped up in your worlds that you have trouble coming back to our world?")

    They're legitimate questions, though I'm not convinced that a writer's brain works in any consistently different way from someone else's brain. I think you'll find the same amount of variation in the way writers work as you'll find in any profession. There are as many ways to approach stories as there are people writing stories.

    That said, I have talked to a lot of writers who imply a certain autonomy to their characters. "I had to write their story," one might say. "They wouldn't leave me alone until I did." Or some version of, "I was writing one story, but the characters just didn't want to go that way, and so took off in another direction."

    To me, these are ways of trying to voice the fact that the way our minds work—and the way we construct art—is in some cases a mystery even to those involved. Human beings have this fascinating mix of instinct and intent, where we train ourselves to do complex tasks quickly through repetition. In this way, writing a book is somewhat similar to driving home from work—you can consciously think about it, and make each decision along the way. Or, more often, you just let your body do the work, interpreting things your brain says should happen without you thinking about it directly.

    I spend a lot of time teaching how to write and talking about writing, but I don't consciously use a lot of the techniques I talk about. I've used them so much that I just move forward, without formally saying something like, "Now I'm making sure my chapter ties together the sub-themes it introduced at the beginning." The truly conscious technique comes during troubleshooting, when a story isn't coming together for me—and so I have to step back, take apart what I've been doing, and find the broken bits.

    So again, a mix of intent and instinct is where books come from for me. I don't generally feel that the characters "want" to do things—but I still write them by gut feeling most of the way, and only look at breaking down their motivations specifically when I'm either working on the outline or trying to fix something in revisions.

    On one hand, I know exactly who the character is and what they would do in a situation. So it does feel a little mystical sometimes, and you can have eureka moments during writing where you finally find a method to express this character that will convey the right idea to the reader. In that way, there's almost this Platonic version of the character that you're chasing—and trying to explore, figure out, and commit to paper.

    On the other hand, it's likely that these characters feel right to me not because of any mystical connection to the abstract. It's because I'm unconsciously drawing from tropes, characterizations, and people I've known before—and I am putting them together on the page to form something that will feel right because of the backgrounds I'm drawing upon.

    It's an exhilarating process for me, but also can lead to troubles. Which I'll talk about in Part Two.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #3781 Copy


    I can’t wait for the sequel [to the Legion collection.]. I’m sure you’ll be joining me soon.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    This is the complete Legion collection and there won't be a sequel.

    Brandon is feeling the need to tie up some of his projects to get them off his plate. The third Legion story was always intended to be the conclusion, and it is.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #3782 Copy


    A while ago someone mentioned it would be sweet to have a metal box for the Era 1 leather-bounds. As I recall, Peter seemed to think that was a cool idea, but I haven't heard anything about it since.

    If it happens, I would guess it'd be announced alongside book 3's official reveal. /u/peterahlstrom would be the one to ask, though they might be waiting to make that reveal.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    There aren’t any current plans.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #3783 Copy


    Marsh treats seeking and smoking as an either/or

    And what would be the greater advantage? Being immune to — but ignorant of — some Soother's attentions? Or instead knowing — from your bronze — exactly which emotions he is trying to suppress?

    If you could do both at the same time what he's saying doesn't really make sense.

    In addition, Vin switches off her copper before burning bronze and vice versa


    Curious, Vin extinguished her copper for a moment, burning bronze instead, trying to sense Breeze's use of Allomancy. No pulses came from him. Of course, she thought. I forgot about Clubs's apprentice— he'd keep me from sensing any Allomantic pulses. She turned her copper back on.


    Let's try something, then, Vin thought, extinguishing her bronze. She lightly began burning copper to mask her Allomancy.


    The Thugs charged, but Vin retreated, frowning. Why kill the Smoker? He wasn't a threat anymore.

    Unless. . .

    Vin extinguished her copper, then burned bronze, the metal that let her sense when other Allomancers were using powers nearby. She couldn't feel the Thugs burning pewter. They were still being Smoked, their Allomancy hidden.

    Someone else was burning copper.


    She still wanted to find those Allomancers, and there was only one way to be certain. She turned off her copper, then burned bronze.

    It would be extremely odd for Vin to keep doing this if the powers didn't interfere with each other. Maybe /u/peterahlstrom can put the topic to rest?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The seeker being at the soothing station is an interesting example. I want to say they might be able to sense from outside the coppercloud, but that contradicts that secondhand WoB. I also don't think the soother and smoker were on the lower floors. It says those are unused.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3786 Copy


    How do you go about setting the age/reading level of your books? Alcatraz, Reckoners, and Mistborn feel completely different...

    Also, where does Skyward fit in the spectrum of maturity?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's mostly done by instinct as I look at similar books, at myself at a given age, and at what my readers think. (Particularly those of younger ages.)

    Skyward is somewhere just underneath Reckoners in age.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3790 Copy


    When can we expect to see anything new cosmere-wise?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll start working on Stormlight 4 in January, and hopefully can get a novella (a la Edgedancer) written during the process, so you don't have to wait all the way to 2020 for more Cosmere.


    So Stormlight 4 will come before Mistborn 2-4?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Potentially--it depends. A Stormlight book takes a LONG time to write, and often I sneak other books in the middle, because I need a break.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3791 Copy


    About your characters - they're always a lot of fun to read about, and varied. Do you have a method while coming up with them and their personalities/motivations that you use?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Character is the most difficult for me to pinpoint my process on because I do a lot of experimenting, trying different things, and searching for the right voice. The most important thing for me tends to be finding a way this person sees the world that I want to explore more in depth.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3793 Copy


    In Stormlight Archive, all three main characters, Dalinar, Shallan and Kaladin, suffer from various mental health issues. Is that a normal psychological condition for all Radiants or the lead three is an extreme example of how people break?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am very interested in mental health, and the way that we--as human beings--react to and interpret the world around us in different ways. This is a theme of the Stormlight books, but it's going to take a lot of work to do it justice--and I want to approach it from different directions. So yes, it's a theme, and these sorts of issues were common for Knights Radiant.

    But I'd point out that they are also common themes for being human. And one of the correlations between orders of Knights Radiant is people who overcome, persist, and push through very difficult trials.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3795 Copy


    I am looking forward to picking up this new story and I had no idea it was coming out so soon! What made you decide to put aside all of your other stories to write Skyward?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I usually need a big break between Stormlight books to recharge, and I look for something different in style and genre. A space opera fight that really well, and gave me a much-needed breather.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3798 Copy


    By the time of Sixth of the Dusk, are the Ones Above undisputably the most technologically advanced society in the cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, they aren't. There has been some concurrent development, and a lot of sharing technology--to the point that you could make an argument for several societies being equal, though some better in specific areas.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3799 Copy


    Shalash will be having back-five flashback POVs. In Oathbringer, you seemed to portray her as pre-Shattering. For example, "Oh, Adonalsium!" and referring to Hoid as Midius. Will later Stormlight books focus on pre-Shattering stuff at all or will we have to wait for Dragonsteel for that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will be more of a pre-Shattering focus, but not as much as you're probably hoping.