Recent entries

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3854 Copy

    Josh

    Is the focus for Surgebinding the Body Focuses?

    Mi'chelle

    Is the body the focus for Surgebinding, I think is what he meant.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, okay. The Physical? Surgebinding is... Yeah, kinda. That's a "yeah, kinda."

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3858 Copy

    Josh

    Is Aona's Shard name Devotion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO, but that's more of a "Email that question to me" because I would have to look at my computer to see which term I settled on, but you're basically there. I think it actually may be Devotion. So I'll have to look. It may be a synonym.

    Josh

    Is Skai Unity?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, RAFO.

    Josh

    Passion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What? RAFO. I'm not going to tell you. You already kind of pulled out of me what Aona was.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3860 Copy

    Questioner

    Are there any author's skills that you envy, besides Robert Jordan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah! (laughter) No, there are. There are things that Pat Rothfuss does that I think are wonderful. Mostly, his poetry of language, that, I envy his ability to do that. Jim Butcher's ability to pace is just fantastic, and so, I look at him and say, wow, I want to have the ability to pace like that. You know, there are a lot of authors that write really good books that I look at and say, wow, I want to learn from that. And then you do, because that's what you do as a writer. You're like, I learned from this.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3861 Copy

    Questioner

    I'm just getting back into reading in general, and I'm compiling a list of books I want to read after the Wheel of Time, and going through them, there's a lot of sex in them. You know, you and I as members of the Church, how do you deal with that when you come across that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know. It depends on the book and how it's treated. I personally couldn't read Game of Thrones, I tried it once and put it down, and tried again because he's such a good writer, and I finished the first one and decided "I can't read more of these." they were too graphic for me, despite him being a brilliant writer. Other writers... [loudspeaker obnoxiously covers sound]... has very tastefully done. So it just depends on the book. I've never been pushed to put anything in my books. I think it's a myth that publishers do that. People always worry, but, well, they just want you to write great books and they're looking for greatness. They don't say "this will sell more, this will sell less". In fact, they actually like it when there's less of that because it has a broader audience. Publishers do, at least. Same reason PG-13 movies sell more than R movies. I just write what I want to write and people seem to like it.

    Questioner

    But books, something to read, you know?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I've put down books before and I think that's just a personal choice. You know, everyone's line is going to be in a different place. There are certain books I won't read, and so, yeah.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3862 Copy

    Questioner

    Your class that you teach at BYU, can you tell us more about it, like writing, when do you teach it...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I teach it Thursday nights, one night a week, for three hours. It is half-lecture, half-workshop, so, an hour and a half (supposedly) of lecture (it goes long sometimes) and an hour and a half of workshopping. It... you can get most everything I lecture by listening to Writing Excuses, which if you haven't listened to, is my podcast. I cover a lot of it on there, but it's just, you know. I do a lecture on magic systems. I do a lecture on sympathetic characters. I do a lecture on plotting and my goal is just to give you a bunch of tools that a bunch of different writers use, and to just say, "here is how they do it, you can try these different tools and see what works for you" because not every tool is going to work for every writer. In fact, a lot of writers have opposite processes from one another for accomplishing the same goals.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3863 Copy

    Questioner

    In the prologue in The Alloy of Law, it talks about how the guy actually spikes people to the wall. Is there going to be Hemalurgy involved?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO. Hey, RAFOs! I will say, in Alloy of Law time, Hemalurgy is not well-known and that's not been spread around, and Feruchemy as an art moved like Allomancy did in that you can have just one of the powers. And we decided... Chemings? What did we decide, Peter? Oh, Ferrings. We decided Ferirngs. We couldn't decide between the two of those. It's in the book somewhere.  But anyway, you can have one Allomantic and one Feruchemical. But not a lot of Mistborn and not a lot of full Feruchemists anymore.

    Questioner

    Do you explain how the Feruchemists came back, because at the end there were a lot of eunuchs and...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, well, that's one of the reasons why Feruchemy has been split because it's very diluted now. The Terris people did survive because they made it. And so, the genetic code is there.

    Questioner

    And so, every once in a while, hereditarily, the gene will come up.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. But that's why there aren't very many full-blooded Feruchemists anymore. A thousand years of the Lord Ruler trying to breed it out of the population followed by a cataclysm that destroyed most of the population of the world did them in, yeah.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3864 Copy

    Questioner

    Are they any new fantasy novels that you'd recommend?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, this year I've been reading pretty much exclusively Wheel of Time. Other than Wheel of Time I've only read three books. Two were Terry Pratchett books, and one was The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which is a really solid book. So, Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is a really good book. I... it's been nominated for the Hugo and for things like that so you don't need me to tell you that. But, yeah, that's the only one I've read. Oh. And Wise Man's Fear. But I started last year on that, I think, because I got that early. But really, I haven't read a ton this year because I've committed to rereading the whole Wheel of Time, and when you do that, your reading time just kind of vanishes and I also wanted to read for the Hugo awards, so I read all of their short fiction, for the Hugo awards, and so... I did vote.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3865 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you have any considerations for ever turning any of your works into a movie?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I've sold rights on Alcatraz and those eventually lapsed. They had the option for three years. I've sold rights on Mistborn. That's still going strong. I've had inquiries about a couple of others. I can't say, though, because there's nothing sure. Though we did do the Mistborn video game and the handshake, is essentially a done deal now. We've just got to get the contract, fine details nailed down. Yes. Mistborn video game is a go. It's for sure.

    Questioner

    Tentative dates?

    Brandon Sanderson

    2013. Fall.

    Questioner

    Which company?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can't say that, though it is going to be cross-platform, all three major platforms, so PC, 360, and PS3. The plan right now is that it is going to be a prequel. So it'll have new story and I'll be writing the story.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3866 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there ever going to be a pronunciation guide for your work, perhaps? I argue with my brother on how the cities of Mistborn novels are pronounced.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah... maybe. I'm not so strict on pronunciation as some other authors are, because when I read books, I just pronounce things however I want in my head, and then I ignore what they said, how they should be pronounced.

    Maybe eventually... there is one for Elantris, I believe. Or at least, there's a linguistics guide. Elantris names are easy, though. That's mostly predictable. Yeah, the Aons.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3867 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there a link with the fact that we know that Szeth is truthless and the fact that Honorspren are what cause Surgebinding? Is there a connection there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There may be. I won't say. That's a RAFO.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3868 Copy

    Questioner

    Isaac, how closely do you work with someone like Brandon when you make the maps?

    Isaac Stewart

    Pretty closely. Brandon has a lot of say of what's on there, because of course it's his world. So I defer to him or Peter in everything as far as the maps come out.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, but he adds a lot himself. He's really good, so we give him free reign. My favorite thing that he did in Way of Kings, there's actually a map that is of the warcamps, the ten warcamps if you look at that one. And it's actually done in the style as if a famous artist came and toured them and then went home and did an idealized representation of them, and so you can read, you know "done by the artist blah blah blah". But the fun thing, Isaac kind of just did this, is yeah, I figured since he's probably got this big ego he's going to name stuff after himself, so there's a river that's named after the artist. That's not really, the artist just put it in his artwork as being named after him and you just have to notice this. You have to look and say, "by the artist such-and-such" and then at the bottom in the description is "and that goes past the mighty river..." what's his name? Vandonas, yes. Stuff like that where he's just naming stuff after himself. Yeah, Isaac gets a lot of free reign to do things like that because all the art, particularly from Way of Kings we wanted to be in-world and so the different artists doing them have different personalities and different goals. One is, you know, an official survey and another is an idealized representation, and everything in between. So you have to wear a bunch of different hats like I do when I write a book. He was becoming different artists.

    Isaac Stewart

    It's also fun too because Brandon will say things like "eh... there's a bunch of cities over here. Why don't you name them and I'll see if they fit." So there's some cities on the Way of Kings map I wrote down and he let them stay there. Who knows if people will actually go there.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3869 Copy

    Questioner

    With your writing, what is the most difficult thing and has it evolved as you've grown? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most difficult for me was to learn how to revise. I was not a natural reviser, and my books didn't start getting to publishable level until I learned actually how to do that. I didn't know how to take something good and make it better.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3870 Copy

    Questioner

    How much influence do you have over audiobooks? I know some authors that get really good audio...

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can replace that question with: how much influence do you have over X? You can replace the X with anything and the answer's going to be the same: how many books do you sell? Nowadays, I have a lot of influence over what happens with stuff. I can ask for things. Early on, I had very little influence over these things.

    Questioner

    Did Michael...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I asked specifically for Michael Kramer and Kate Reading, yes. I like their style, and I know, I've met Michael and I really like him. So, yeah.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3871 Copy

    Questioner

    So, apart from writing the short story for the Mistborn RPG, how involved were you in developing it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Mistborn RPG? I sat down in several brainstorming sessions with them and gave them all of my notes from the world and now they have sent me what they have come up with and it's actually half rules, half world book, is the idea. Now I'm going to go through and revise it to make sure there's nothing wrong with it. But, you know, I did a lot of brainstorming with them, but they're the game designers so I let them kind of design the game as they wanted to.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3872 Copy

    Questioner

    I was just wondering how you organize and plan such huge worlds and how you get about planning and writing your books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do an outline and a lot of worldbuilding. I use, most recently I've found a wiki software most useful. It's called wikidpad. I use that to keep my setting in because there are hundreds of thousands of words of worldbuilding that I do. So, it's between those two things. Organizationally, I work from an outline, a bullet-point outline meaning: here's a list of things I want to have happen, and they don't always have to happen in this order, and that's how I approach it.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3873 Copy

    Questioner

    Just real quick: the short that's in the RPG, the short story. Is that ever going to be available outside the RPG?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maybe eventually. The idea is that we gave it to them exclusively for a certain period; I don't know how long the period is. It's probably a couple of years. The idea being: the short story is there as a goodie for the RPG. You know, the RPG guys, RPGs are not big sellers. These are an independent company making it because they love it. It's not their day job. They all have other day jobs. Though, we wanted to put something in there that would attract people's attention to look at it and be interested in it. They will eventually, probably be available elsewhere. If you can read other languages, it'll probably be in the translations of Alloy of Law. But that's only if you want to read it in translation.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3874 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you have any plans to write any type of science fiction...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've got lots of ideas but I have no plans in the near future. I have done one military science fiction coauthored with my buddy Ethan Skarstedt, my buddy in the military. We'll see if that ever coalesces into a book that we can ever publish. We did write a cool military SF together. Nothing big, epic science fiction. I've got enough on my plate right now.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3875 Copy

    Questioner

    With Elantris, is there something happening to that with a second book or...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I had the second book planned for 2015, at the ten year anniversary. We'll see if I still manage to make that or not. If it's going to do that, I'm going to have to write it in the next couple of years here. But my goal is to release a nice trade paperback edition of Elantris and a sequel at the same time. With maybe a redo of the map done by Isaac or something like that.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3876 Copy

    Questioner

    In (?) someone told me about the switching over from Scholastic to Tor. I know you've mentioned before with Alcatraz you were unhappy how Scholastic portrayed the covers. So is changing the covers what you wanted it to be, or just to differ the Tor versions?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We're going to try and get them to something more like I envisioned originally. I originally wrote the Alcatraz books with Alcatraz at fifteen, and Scholastic pushed for him to be thirteen, and I'm not completely convinced that that was the right thing for his personality. So I may actually move him up a little bit in age. It would probably be Peter doing it: go find all references to 'thirteen'!

    Questioner

    Would Bastille's age go up too?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. They were both fifteen in the original draft. In the book they bought, they pushed it down to thirteen.

    Questioner

    With changing the covers, will Alcatraz have different comments on the cover of book two?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Boy, I don't know. I’ll have to watch that one. Maybe we'll have to put the original one in there, the original cover of book two. Oh boy, that cover... it was like: this in space! This is a fantasy book. Why are they in space? O...kay.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3877 Copy

    Questioner

    Second question kind of goes to your Alloy of Law book. I was wondering: what was the inspiration for using Breeze’s relative, and just kind of the time frame of the thing.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There were a lot of inspirations for a lot of different things. You'll kind of have to wait until I post the annotations. I talk a lot about it in the annotations. Basically, I wanted, since we're jumping forward so far, I wanted there to be some roots in there of the series you already read and loved. And for those who have read the earlier series, there will be at least one Easter egg per chapter about things like that. If you haven't, I didn't want it to be a big deal that would keep you from reading the book, but I want a lot of that to be in there. And so, when other characters are mentioned you'll see the characters of the first three books become the mythology to the people there.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3878 Copy

    Questioner

    Two questions, actually. First, on Alcatraz, she wanted to know when the next book will come out.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It will come out eventually. It's probably about a year or so away at the earliest. We are in negotiations to move the books over to Tor from Scholastic and put new covers on them. So that negotiation started this week and I don't want to do the last book until we know what's going on there.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3879 Copy

    Questioner

    So, Michael Whelan did the cover for The Way of Kings, and I read that Tom Doherty called him up personally and asked him to do it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, he did.

    Questioner

    Are there any plans for him to continue to do them, like Darrel K. Sweet has done for the Wheel of Time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He's a very busy man. He said that, if it fits in the schedule, yes he will. But since we don't even have book two written yet, we don’t know. He's my favorite artist, so that would be wonderful. But, we will see.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3880 Copy

    Questioner

    With Szeth, the Assassin in White, is he tied to the stone or is it a genetic thing or is it kind of like a spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You mean his oathstone? Aah. You will get, here, have one of these. Proudly presented to you, the first RAFO card of the night.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3881 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    One thing I want to have is, after the Warbreaker annotations finish, next week is the last one, is to start putting up chapters of Mythwalker

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, yeah... (groans) that book is bad.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    But what I'd want... is like art annotations. Like for each of the Shallan things and then, Isaac's stuff, have Isaac write annotations for his art.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That would be cool! The hi-res thing, and then that, that would be way cool. We also should start putting up some of the RPG art. I think they said we could do that so we might have to start putting up some of that. You know, drive people to look at the RPG.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3882 Copy

    Questioner

    This is for Isaac, actually. What are you working on right now? Are you working with anything with Brandon or with someone else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I am. I just finished a version of the Feruchemical table. If you’ve seen the Allomantic table, it's very similar to that. New frames. I actually created it a different way, and I think it looks nicer than the other one. It makes me want to go back and redo the other one, but it also has new symbols and some new information.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That'll debut in the Mistborn RPG, and then we'll sell prints.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3883 Copy

    Questioner

    So in The Way of Kings you had a whole bunch of chapters with different characters. How are you planning on tying these chapters that you didn’t really go into depth with, in the next [book]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The whole purpose of the interludes is when I sat down to write this book, I thought: Okay. I want to get across the scope of this world and how big and immense this world is, and how big and immense just all of the different political structures and all of these things are. And looking at what other authors have done, namely Robert Jordan and George R. R. Martin recently as a way to do that, they add new characters to show all this. But then that seems to kind of snowball on them, and by the middle books, there are so many characters that keeping track of them becomes a challenge, which may be the biggest challenge in those books. So when I sat down to write Way of Kings, I said, I want to do that, but I'm going to do that with throwaway characters. Meaning, all of the characters in the interludes are not necessarily characters you will ever see again. You can read the interludes as if they were short stories set in the world in between the main stories going on. Everything in those is important, but those characters you don't need to worry about remembering who they are because you may not ever see from them again. They may occasionally show up for things like this and if you love keeping track of all these characters—but you won't have to, in book two try and remember who those two ardents who were working with the spren were, or things like that. That's not generally going to be that important. I will usually do one interlude with a more major character, though, that I'm introducing like Szeth, in each section. Szeth, the Assassin in White. But most of those, don't worry about those. The whole point of those is that you can read them and and enjoy that chapter and then jump to something else.

    Questioner

    The Assassin in White, you know how he tied into the story, with the crazy king who had people killed. Is that going to tie into the story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's very important.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3884 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you think writing Robert Jordan's books affected your writing style in any way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It did. It affected me, you know, It definitely affected me. Robert Jordan was very good at some very important things. He was great with viewpoint, he was very good at foreshadowing and subtlety. In fact, I think he was way more subtle than I've been, and I think those are things I've learned by working on this project. And also, just being able to balance so many different characters and viewpoints. That's something I think I learned. Though you know, I consciously when I wrote Alloy of Law, which is next, I consciously said, you know, I think I'm going to use a different style. There are some people who love the Wheel of Time, there are some people who don't like the Wheel of Time, and I don't want to become, you know, my style to become the Wheel of Time style. It's my own style. The Way of Kings is certainly more like Wheel of Time, you know, but also more like all the classic epics and fantasy that I read. Alloy of Law is intentionally not like that. Alloy of Law is more of a fast-paced thriller plotting style than it is epic fantasy.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3885 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there any iconography planned for the [Ten] Heralds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Like in what specific way?

    Questioner

    Images of them as the *inaudible*?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's already some in the book. Front cover. Look at the corners.

    Maybe eventually. The thing is, the Heralds are... they're mythological figures of lore. So what you'll see are things like that. Those are actually large representations of them in the archways.

    Questioner

    I remember reading about statues.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there are statues, and so maybe eventually you will get some drawings from Shallan regarding things like that. We'll see. It's a good question, though.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #3886 Copy

    Questioner

    I think I saw on Facebook that you are involved with a Mistborn movie and game. Can you tell us about that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah, yes. The Mistborn movie and game. The movie rights were optioned to a production studio called Paloopa Pictures. We'll see what happens with that. I mean, they have a screenplay—if you don't know, getting a film made, there are a lot of ways that it happens; most of them seem kind of chaotic. One of the primary ways is a production company will option rights on something or option a screenplay. In my case, they optioned the rights, they write a screenplay, they do a big pitch, then they go to the studios. And the studios have to fund the thing. The production company would then become the producers on it, with the studios funding and make the film.

    That's why what'll happen, often you'll see a film that'll [have] these five production studios at the start. Those are the people who did that sort of thing. So that's where we are there.

    Sometimes you'll get lucky and a film will just get optioned by a studio directly. That doesn't happen as often. For instance, the Wheel of Time books got optioned to Red Eagle Entertainment, which is a production company. They did all of this, then went to Universal and got Universal to buy the rights and fund the movie... We have that. We also have some people with a video game that I can't announce yet, because I'm sure they want to announce it, but we had a nice offer on a video game that would be slated for around 2013. It will be cross-platform, so it would be on PC, Xbox, and PS3. I will probably be writing the story and the dialogue for it.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #3894 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    How do Kandra decide gender? Is it just intellectual? Or are there subtle physical differences?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Kandra have a specific gender that is associated with scent- you can tell if a kandra is a boy or girl depending on how they smell. There is more to it than that. They also know who they are attracted to.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #3900 Copy

    Questioner

    With all the books you have planned, how many years of your life do you have planned out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m intending to live till my 90’s probably, and I’ve got enough books for two books a year until then. But I also write quickly, so you’ll get books consistently and hopefully they’ll be funny and interesting. I really do try to work hard to make sure that they are each a self-contained story. The place where I stop doing that is in the last chapter and epilogue, where I really like to punch you, and I’m sorry, it’s just some sort of instinct that I have. It’s like “Oh, everything’s wrapped up—NO IT’S NOT!” So I’m sorry about that.