Recent entries

    Google+ Hangout ()
    #4301 Copy

    Curt Hoyt

    Specifically, which mistakes you made as a beginning novelist that stand out the most as ones you've corrected as you've learned the craft better.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's an excellent question, I would say that my biggest mistake as a new writer was not being willing to revise. I'm a classic, what we call a one-drafter this is a type of author who likes to just imagine it, get it ready, plan a lot and then get in on the page and be done with it and that was a mistake, I've become a big believer in learning to take a book that's a good book and make it an excellent book and doing a lot of strong revisions and early on I wasn't willing to do that and I think it held me back quite a bit.

    Curt Hoyt

    Do you think that maybe not having a writing group to back you up contributed to your lack of revisions?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maybe... I actually did have a writing group, and what I would do is I would get the feedback from my writing group and my opinion was, "Oh, I did all these mistakes. I made all these mistakes." Instead of fixing them, early on I would say, "Well, I won't make those mistakes again for my next book," cause I was always so excited an eager to write the next book and I didn't slow down enough and really focus in on making books great.

    And that was a mistake that was very particular to me, I don't think... as a writer there are so many different ways to do this and so many different types of writers. Part of learning to be a writer is about learning what things hold you back and what mistakes you make and they can be very different. Depending on who you are and what type of problem you have.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4302 Copy

    Questioner

    With the maps. How much influence do you get in the creative process of building those worlds?

    Isaac Stewart

    So, Brandon's actually really good about being collaborative on the maps. There are definitely things that he wants in there. There are definitely things in the maps that he has said, "These need to be there," and there are places where he gives a lot of creative freedom. There are some places on the maps that are named, that I got to name. Which is kind of cool.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And it depends on the map, too. Like, he can tell you what he got for Mistborn. What did you get for Mistborn?

    Isaac Stewart

    Brandon gave me a picture that was drawn in MSPaint in, like, three colors. And just, like, "Stuff is here." Couple of names, but the basic directions are right. There was no map for Luthadel. I came up with that one, and then he used that to make sure everything was right in the book. So, it kinda goes both ways.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But then, Way of Kings, I actually handed him a picture and said, "Here is the shape. And here are [where] all the kingdoms. Now you can work on actually making it look like a map." But I gave him the exact shape. So it does vary, but a lot of times it'll be, I'll say, "Hey Isaac, look at this cool map I found online. Let's do something like this." Or a few months ago, he was in Europe. You were in Rome, right? You'd seen some maps that hang in the Vatican. And he said, "I wanna do one like this." And that became your back endpage for this book. Was he wanting to do a map like he had seen hanging in the Vatican for our world. And it's actually a painting on a roof that he did. So if you open up and look at the back endpage [of Words of Radiance], it is a roof that he has painted as if it is a roof in something like the Vatican.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4303 Copy

    Questioner

    At one point, you said something about how the way that the humans on Roshar perceive spren, or how that's important in their <rough position> in the Physical Realm. So, going to the interlude where we have the two ardents, they do two tests. But it seems like there's a third test that they kinda, maybe should have done. And I want to know how that would have played out.

    So, the two tests that they did were; he's measuring for real and telling her, and she's writing down what the actual measurements are, and it sticks. The second one is, write down something that's possible, and she knows this isn't right, so she writes it down and nothing happens. What would have happened in the case where she thinks she's writing down the right thing, but he's actually lying to her?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If she thinks she's writing down the right thing and he's lying to her, the first would happen. It would stick.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4304 Copy

    Questioner

    I have a question about the Mistborn video game. I wanna know how much involvement, how much of the writing do you do?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wrote the story and will be writing all the dialogue for the game. So, the first thing I did for them once we sold it, we had to write in the contract that I write the story. And I wrote the story and sent it to them. They are building a game frame around that story, for the setpieces and things, and then I will go in and write the dialogue. Now, I have this feeling when I play video games, my favorite games, the way that they do stories... For those who like video games, I like it when you don't stop the action for the story. For instance, I much prefer... Have you played the game Infamous? I really prefer the way Infamous did it, where you're going somewhere, and people are talking to you, and you're getting story as you're going; as opposed to action games, in particular, where you stop, and then you have a cutscene. I don't like that as much. So, what we're gonna try to do is integrate it like that. Where I have written side characters who will be saying things to you, hopefully amusingly, as you're charging through, trying to get to where you're going next, and stuff like that.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4305 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you suggest dealing with worldbuilding disease?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, worldbuilder's disease is what we call it when you spend all of your time worldbuilding, and none of it writing. And this is a big deal for those of us like myself who like to worldbuild. You have to learn. And my biggest piece of advice for worldbuilder's disease is to set goals. Say "I am going to be done worldbuilding on this day." Or "On this day, I at least have to write Chapter One." And just give yourself limits, and say, "I have to do this." You can always add more in later. If you write your book and find holes, you can fill those in later. You can write down, "I need to know more about this." So set a goal, and say, "I need to start writing on this date." And then keep that date. That's the number one thing I'd suggest, you've just got to practice writing.

    The other big thing, you can also practice writing something that you're not worldbuilding, to practice your writing. You say, "I'm gonna write this other story that's in the history of this world that's just gonna be for me. That's part of my worldbuilding. It's not my main story. So I don't have to stress about it, if everything's right, because it's just gonna be the background for my story eventually."

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4306 Copy

    Questioner

    I'm interested in the background that takes place before the events of the first Mistborn book. Are you interested at all in looking at the histories of some of your past books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. But I probably won't be writing a lot of books back there. Just because every time I've read or seen a prequel, I find myself disappointed in it. With some famous examples. And I think that's partially because you, as the writer, feel like you've already finished the story. And the reader feels, "I've already finished the story." Now, there are some really great ones out there. Ender's Shadow is kind of a prequel, that is a fantastic book. So there are people capable of doing this. You just have to find the exact right thing. I think it's better to explore in something like a video game, where there's enough new going on with the style of the storytelling that I get excited about it.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4307 Copy

    Questioner

    I'm a writer, and I'm trying to further my writing. As I've been reading The Way of Kings, I've noticed that there's a bunch of different details, stuff that I would never even think of. How do you juggle everything and make sure everything fits together?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The number one thing you want to know is: just practice. Practice is gonna solve so many of these things. When I was your age, and I would read books... how old are you, by the way? Twelve? When I was twelve, I was not reading books like this. So, kudos to you. When I was older than you, and reading fantasy books; when I was fourteen and I was reading them, I had the same sort of thing. I wanted to do this. I loved this. I'd found myself in these books; and I had no idea how to. My first things that I tried, they were not coming together. It's just a matter of practicing. Do you play an instrument? You play the piano? When you first start, you aren't playing these beautiful music by the old masters. You're playing scales. And that's okay. And when you write right now, you get to skip the scales part, because you already know how to write the words. You learned all that in grade school. Now, you're moving onto the next step, which is creating these stories, but you've still gotta practice that. But don't stress it. Don't worry about it. The thing I would do is, I would keep open a notebook beside you as you type, as you write. Or another file on the screen. And every time you run across something that you're like, "Oh, maybe I should expand this," write that down in your thing. And then later on, when you're sitting somewhere that you don't have your laptop with you, you can open up that book and be like, "Oh, I need more about this." And you can just start writing down brainstorming ideas about that. Later on, when you revise your book, you can put that all in.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4308 Copy

    Questioner

    Wow did working on the Wheel of Time series change the way that you made Way of Kings?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The biggest thing it did was it helped me juggle a large cast. When I wrote Way of Kings the first time (This was in 2002, this was the version I sent to my editor), the story really got away from me. To the point that, when he was saying "I don't want to publish it," he said, "Do you mind if we break it," I said, "Why don't I pitch you my new thing, because I want to do a new draft of Way of Kings." And it was because the characters, there were too many of them for me to juggle at that time. And working on the Wheel of Time, I had to learn how to juggle a lot of different characters very quickly. And by the end of writing the first one... I actually, after writing Gathering Storm, called my editor and said, "I think I can do Way of Kings now." Which is why Way of Kings came in such a weird place. It probably would have been better to write all three Wheel of Time books and then done the Stormlight Archive. Then you wouldn't have had a four-year wait because I had to finish four Wheel of Time books in between. But I was really excited at that point, and I had learned so much, and I'm like, "I have to write this book right now. It's in there; it's gotta come out." And so I took six months. And that draft was six months to write it, which is the fastest I've written in... basically, ever, for something that long. But I had already written a draft of the book. I did start on page one again, and write all the way through, and I changed a fundamental decision made in the first chapter. If you have read the first book, when you come the line you can ask about that if you're curious. But it's a spoiler for Way of Kings for me to tell you what I changed between what I call now Way of Kings Prime, the 2002 version, and the 2010 version that you guys read.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4309 Copy

    Questioner

    Obviously, you've written different styles of books, with Rithmatist and Alcatraz and the Librarians versus huge epic fantasies and how big the Stormlight Archive looks to be. I want to know, how did your approach differ between those two books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I approach each book a little bit differently. There are a few things I'm trying to do with each book. With each book, I will pick something I generally want to work on to get better at as a writer, to practice. And, of course, I want to get better in all areas, but each book has a theme. If you read Warbreaker, I wanted to practice humor, and different styles of humor. That was a big part of Warbreaker. Specifically humor in a non-humorous book, character humor. Whereas, Way of Kings, it's obviously worldbuilding. I wanted to bring the worldbuilding up a notch. And so, each book, that's a big difference. When you see me writing things like Legion, which is contemporary, often it's saying, "Can I do this genre? What is this genre like? Can I practice this genre?" One big difference between the Alcatraz books and other book is that I freewrite, I discovery write the Alcatraz books. I don't plan a big outline. I have, like, a sentence for each book. And then I brainstorm all the goofiest things I can think of that make me laugh, and I write them all down and say "I've gotta use all them in the book somehow." So, if you've seen Whose Line Is It Anyway, where they're like, "You must take these things and use these props and design a story," that's what I do with Alcatraz, is I brainstorm all these props, and say, "I've gotta have talking dinosaurs, and I've gotta have this and this and this, and at some point people have to ride on a giant pig." I've just gotta make all these things work in a story, it's a creative exercise on my part, and I think discovery-write them. I don't outline, I just go. Which is why they feel so different in tone. It's my goal to make them feel different in tone. I stay productive as a writer by doing very different projects sequentially. What I'm doing, after I finish a book, is I've gotta usually do something very different from that book in order to refresh myself, stay creative, and be doing new things. Which is why you see stuff like Legion and Alcatraz and what-not. And I'm never gonna be one of these authors that's only in one world, because I would get burned out too quickly on that.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4310 Copy

    Questioner

    We know Elantris and all the other worlds have their own calendars. What does Scadrial's calendar look like, especially relative to Earth?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For those who don't know, the Mistborn world was designed as my earth analogue. Meaning, if you go look at Scadrial and say, "Does this creature exist on Scadrial?" It probably doesn't exist on Roshar, and it's a toss-up if it exists on Sel, the Elantris world. But on Scadrial, if I haven't said otherwise, you can guess that it does exist. And that's why the cultures and the languages and the linguistics, I just built that one to kind of be the familiar place. And that's because... so, you would say, like, seven-day week. Basically seven-day week, like our calendar-ish.

    Roshar's, by the way, is pretty bizarre. Roshar is five-day week, set into fifty-day months, which there are ten months in the year, with a double-year cycle of highstorms. So, it's a thousand-day cycle with two years in between those. It's this really bizarre thing we came up with, but Roshar's supposed to have bizarre stuff.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4311 Copy

    Questioner

    I was wonder when all the continuity will come together?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll see it coming together all through the series. But the series that's really important for that is the third Mistborn trilogy.

    So when I pitched Mistborn to my editor. This was years ago, almost ten years ago now. I sent him Elantris. It sat on his desk for eighteen months. He finally read it, called me the next day, and is like, "I need to buy this!" I'm like, "Great, finally." This was the early days, when I was trying to break in. He said, "What else do you have?" And I sent him The Way of Kings. And then he called me terrified. Because, if you don't know the story, The Way of Kings was the book that I wrote after I just assumed no one was ever going to publish me. I was sending out books and getting rejected. My thirteenth novel (I had written thirteen unpublished books), and I'm like, "No one's gonna publish me. They're telling me my books are too long. I'm gonna write one that's even longer. That has all this screwy stuff. And it's gonna be, like, my opus. And it's gonna be my 'Too bad for you guys you'll never publish this.'" And then someone wanted to buy my books. And I'm like, "Oh, great." And so I sent them Way of Kings, and he was just like, "What do we do with it? This is awesome, but I can't publish this by a new author." Because, if you look at The Way of Kings, the endpages, those cost a lot of money per copy to print. The nice paper we use so you can see the artwork costs a lot of money as well. Every copy costs a little bit extra. And that really cuts into the publisher's profit. And so they need to be printing a lot of copies for it to justify itself. That's basic economics, right? So, for a new author, either I had to decide to cut it and not include all this artwork, or I had to do something else.

    So I said, "I've got this idea," and I pitched him Mistborn. And my idea on Mistborn was that it was going to be a set of three trilogies. An epic fantasy trilogy, a contemporary modern-day trilogy, and a science fiction trilogy set in the same world where the magic had become the means by which space travel happened. And so, I built into the magic systems space travel. Which is another discussion. I won't talk about that one. So, I pitched him this grand epic of nine books. Which the Wax and Wayne books are not part of, by the way. They are just me having fun with the world. So, you will eventually get to the official third Mistborn trilogy, which is a space opera. Science fiction. And then you will start to see a lot of things coming together that have been seeded for a long, long time.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4312 Copy

    Questioner

    Would you consider doing a Kickstarter for the Mistborn movie?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would not consider that right now. The reason being that I think that Kickstartering movies can happen, but it would need to be done by somebody who knows how to make movies. Or at least who has produced movies. It doesn't have to be done by the director, but it needs to be somebody who knows you can guarantee put it together. If I did a Kickstarter... I don't know. I can't promise you that I know how to use all this correctly and make the film the right way. I think you will see this happening more in the future, and if it starts becoming a thing, maybe I can approach the right people who would be interested and we can make it happen. But currently, it is not something that I would consider doing.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4314 Copy

    Questioner

    Tarah. She shows up late in The Way of Kings. Kaladin's fighting his inner wretch, as you call him. And he goes through the list a few times, and then near the end of the book a new name comes up. I'm wondering if she's important or is left out of the first book, or if we're gonna hear more about her in the second.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a person that is important to Kaladin. Definitely. From his past, and it is... Yes, a woman who is important to Kaladin. So, it's from his past. You will find out more eventually. Light RAFO.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4315 Copy

    Questioner

    If one mark is worth five chips, does it hold five times as much Stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Where's Peter? Peter! Five chips does not hold the exact same amount of light as a mark, correct? Correct. So, they do not hold... I just have to check with my continuity guy. They do not hold exactly five times as much.

    Questioner

    So a mark holds more or less?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I believe a mark holds more. Peter, am I correct? Less. Mark holds less. He keeps the money. Actually, because it is such a deal to keep the money straight, it's so important. I just put in "Worth about this much." And then he actually puts in a value. I'll say, "Oh, about the same amount as three meals." And he's like, "Eh, that's this much." Which is something that I can go do, because I can go find that. It's in the wiki. But it would take five or six minutes of searching, which is five or six minutes of breaking my momentum and doing the plot and characters. So now one of the reasons why I hired Peter was so that I could do things like that, and he could keep track of it all. I don't work like... For instance, Robert Jordan was famous for keeping almost all of it in his head all the time. It was all up there. I put it all in wikis so I don't have to remember it. And this was really actually kind of awkward with the Wheel of Time fans, who would come ask me this questions, and I would say "I can look that in Robert Jordan's notes." And they'd be like, "But you don't know the answer?" And I'm like, "No. When I want the answer, I will go look it up in his notes, and then I'll use that and write the scene."

    So, while there's a lot I know, I keep the plots and a lot of the characters and things like that going. When I want to find out how much something's worth, I just go to my own wiki. And I'm like, "Oh, this." By the way, this is a wiki you can't get to; it's an internal wiki. You're wondering. But there's a very nice wiki kept by the 17th Shard. Theirs is pretty good.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4317 Copy

    Questioner

    Where on the timeline is the next Mistborn book, and will it continue the story arc of Wax and Wayne, that started in The Alloy of Law?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I signed for two more books with Tor, direct sequels to Alloy of Law. So, Wax and Wayne books. I was planning to write that one in the fall. Tom Doherty, the president, called me and said, "We really would rather you do the next Stormlight first, just because people waited so long for the second one, we don't want to get in a pattern of waiting so long." So, it will probably be my next book for older people after the next Stormlight book. Shadows of Self is what it's called.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4318 Copy

    Questioner

    What are your plans for Alcatraz 5?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am working on it. I really want to do it. The books are getting rereleased by Tor next year, so that's kind of my deadline. I'd like, once they get all the rereleases out, to have the next book. But I'm planning to do that one, too. That one's looming over me a bunch more than Warbreaker 2 is. I wanna do Warbreaker 2, but it's not like it's immediate. I kinda ended Alcatraz 4 with a cliffhanger. Which was this great idea, I'm like, "Surely the publisher will want a fifth one if I end on a cliffhanger." And then they didn't! And they wrote at the end, "And that ends the Alcatraz series." They added a line about that at the end, or something. I'm like, "What!" So, I bought the books back from the publisher, which is why Tor is now going to be publishing them. So, yeah, you will get the fifth book eventually. It involves all sorts of lunacy, I promise. And I'm telling you, the scene that Alcatraz mentions in the first book, in the first paragraph, actually happens in the fifth book. That's me telling you, not him. So you can actually believe it.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4319 Copy

    Questioner

    I've seen online, but I haven't been able to find an actual confirmation. In Way of Kings, it describes Shin Warriors as being bought and sold by means of small stones. Are those Oathstones?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Those are very similar to Oathstones indeed. You will find out a lot more. But yes, you're on the right track.

    Words of Radiance release party ()
    #4320 Copy

    Questioner

    I want to know when we're gonna hear of Denth and his further adventures?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Further adventures. Denth? You probably mean Vasher. Oh, that's... you will get more. It's not in the immediate future, because I feel like spending four years to get the second Stormlight book out was too long. I will write more Warbreaker in the coming years. More is coming. There's very important stories to be told, but I have to... It's not in line until at least I finish Stormlight Three. Which will be my next adult book that I'm gonna write. I'm writing Rithmatist 2 next, during the summer, and then I'm doing Stormlight next. It will be a couple years. But when I do write the sequel, which is called Nightblood, I will post the chapters online as I write them, just like I did with the first book.

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
    #4321 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there any chance that we could get a lexicon or grammar book high Imperial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can give you a few basic rules. Put everything in the present progressive, number one. Then, you're usually gonna go verb first, and you're gonna throw lots of "to be" in, and you're gonna add extraneous words in order to confuse the people who don't speak it. They actually do this. If you look in the books, it mentions they put in extraneous words. There's one other rule I'm forgetting. But you kinda go through that, and then you say whatever feels right to you as you're speaking it. The thing about High Imperial is it's supposed to evolve, and each little group that was speaking it was kinda making up their own slang of it as they went. And so, even if you met someone from another city who spoke it, you would have a lot of trouble. Now, now it's all been nailed down. But you can get pretty close by doing those things I said to you. There's one other one, I can't remember what it is.

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
    #4322 Copy

    Questioner

    So, you spend a lot of time comparing lifespren and rotspren. They're complementary colors, *inaudible*. The rotspren can appear around animals, as well, whereas lifespren only appear around plants. Is that a misnomer? Is there something that we're missing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, there's nothing you're missing. It just takes a large number of organisms in the same place. So, in a herd of animals, you could find lifespren. They don't come to people as often. But, the thing you have to remember about spren is: spren are attracted by something. And they have to be nearby, and they have to make their way there. So, sometimes, you will have an emotion, and no spren will appear. Because there's not one nearby enough. Or they just didn't feel like this. I worked this in because I didn't want the spren popping up too much. They're a big symbol of Roshar, they're a way, in very early chapters, for you to realize this is a different place and a different world. But if every other sentence were, "And a spren appeared," it would go crazy way too fast.

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
    #4323 Copy

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, ideas bounced off of my editor? I needed epigraphs for Part One that increased the tension for the book. Because I was really worried that Part One was very establishing, and I wanted to ramp up the tension. And so, a lot of ideas we bounced off of him. I eventually came up with what to do, but I did a lot of talking on that.

    Failing continuity? Keeping track of how many Shardblades the Alethi has, and how many Adolin had won? I just fail continuity at that completely. That's, like, math, or something! So I just let Peter tell me. I'll write, "How many do they have now?" Or, "Does this guy have one yet?" And then, once I write the book, it all goes in the wiki, and I can just look it up. But until then, I kind of need Peter. And, you know, eye color. I don't remember what people's eye color is. But it's really important to the books what color someone's eyes are! So, I fail continuity at those sorts of things. I'm really good with plot arcs and stories, but remembering what someone's eye color is, I just have to look it up. I did the same thing in the Wheel of Time. It gave them so many headaches. Where they're like, "How can you not know what somebody's uncle is?" I'm like, "I don't care what their uncle is! What's their emotional resonance?"

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
    #4324 Copy

    Questioner

    Were you ever influenced by the Silmarillion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Excellent question. I didn't read Tolkien until late. I tried Tolkien when I was young, and I bounced off of it because I was not a really good reader at the time. And I didn't read Tolkien 'til college. I didn't read the Silmarillion 'til grad school. So, while I would say "Yes," I am not as Tolkien-influenced as a lot of writers are. I'm more influenced by the writers who were influenced by Tolkien. Like Robert Jordan, and people like this, who were very Tolkien-influenced. And I read them growing up. And Tolkien, I was finally able to read and really get an appreciation for, but it was later in my life.

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
    #4325 Copy

    Questioner

    I love your books, and I'd like to know (not big authors), but what smaller authors do you like?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I really like Daniel Abraham's work in all its various forms. Tor has a series by Daniel that's been very good. Recently, I've liked Brian McLellan's book that came out. That was very good. I liked N.K. Jemisin a lot, though I'd put a content warning on her books just in case. There is some more explicit content. She's really good. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay should be something that everyone knows, but a lot of people don't know of it. It is the single best single-volume epic fantasy ever written. Guy Gavriel Kay is Christopher Tolkien's friend in college, who help him put together the Silmarillion. A lot of people think he ghostwrote parts of it, but he's not allowed to say, so we're not sure. He's a fantasy writer into his own right; all of his stuff is amazing. He is lesser-known, and should be better-known than he is. I think there's a Tor book I just covered for, but I can't remember what it is.

    Questioner

    Was it The Emperor's Blades, by Brian Staveley?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I think it was that. Yeah.

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
    #4326 Copy

    Questioner

    In all of your books, except for, like, Warbreaker, there's always a very big symbology to your types of magic systems. Like, with the AonDor, with Allomancy. Is that intentional, is that something you have in your head before you get started on your books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Is the symbolism, the symbology, the actual symbols in the books important? The magic systems, a lot of them have these... Is this something that I did intentionally? Yes, it is. When I built the cosmere, I built some underlying rules of magic that I would use in all of the books to give a cohesion. And not every one of these books is going to be very obvious. There will be different takes on them. But for a lot of them, they are sharing these attributes. And you can notice similarities between them. Because when I eventually do cosmere-centric books, I want Allomancy and AonDor to share things in common, so it doesn't feel like everything and the kitchen sink just thrown into a book. But there are underlying reasons and rules and things like that.

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
    #4327 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you ever take inspiration for your characters from people you know in real life?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I do. Usually, it's one small thing about a person that I know. Sarene from Elantris is based on a friend of mine named Annie. And many of my characters have some little attribute... I was just talking online with <?>, who is a guy that I know from Mongolia. I'm LDS, and I served a mission, and he was one of the other missionaries. And he threw shoes at people. This was his deal. Like, when he got mad at you, off came the big old Doc Marten and he threw it at you! So, in Dragonsteel, one of my books that's unpublished but we'll publish someday, there is an entire race that that's what they do when they're offended. The shoes come off. And Hoid once described it as, "When a bunch of them when they get angry, it's like a tornado hitting a cobbler shop." And shoes go everywhere.

    So, definitely, they do.

    Words of Radiance Los Angeles signing ()
    #4328 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did start writing on a new novella, just right after I finished Firefight. (Which is the sequel to Steelheart, which is done.) After I finished that, I started writing a little novella. I didn't finish it, but I got a few pages in. Just to try out something I've been thinking about doing for a while.

    So, this is based off of one of the very cool ideas I've had for a magic system for a long time, in which magic is granted by bacteria and viruses. You catch a disease, and the disease has evolved to give you a magical talent for a short time while you have the disease. In order to keep you alive and encourage you to spread the disease. And then when you get over the cold or whatever you've gotten, you lose that power. Which is a really cool idea to me, and the idea of what you would do with that and what culture and society would do with that.

    Words of Radiance Los Angeles signing ()
    #4329 Copy

    Questioner

    Does it mean anything different for you now that this is your own stuff, rather than the Wheel of Time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here's the weird thing. The Wheel of Time feels as much my own, even though probably, it shouldn't. The Wheel of Time is Robert Jordan's, let's be very frank on that. But the characters feel as much my own as Dalinar does. And the truth is, I knew Rand and Mat before I knew Dalinar, because I picked up the Wheel of Time in 1990, and I started writing Dragonsteel in '91. And so, I've known those characters longer than I've known any of my own characters. Even Hoid, who was there in that first one. He came after the Wheel of Time. And so, when I said yes to Harriet on the Wheel of Time, I did it... I mean, it was a fantastic opportunity. But I did it because this is something I would legitimately want to be part of. And I've talked before about some of the exciting things. Like, for years I'd been playing with a teleportation-based magic system, like gateways, because I had been reading Wheel of Time books and I'm like, "This is where that magic could go!" And I had it all sketched out in my notes. And then I had written, "I can't ever do this. It is too similar to the Wheel of Time."

    And then the Wheel of Time... I was writing it. And I'd be like, "Well, here are my notes on how to manipulate this magic system," because I'd spent years wanting to do this. And Perrin is, like, my high school friend. I was one of these nerdy, bookish people, who my friends were my characters in the books. (And, yes, I wasn't that lonely. I did have real friends.)

    So, does it feel different to me? No, it really doesn't. I mean, I'm really proud of this. I've been planning forever for this. So, this is my baby. But... When I was offered the Wheel of Time, one thing about it was, when Harriet gave it to me... Finding somebody to finish the Wheel of Time had been a dying request from Robert Jordan for her. She didn't grieve until she found someone to do it, and then she went and grieved for a year, and left me basically on my own. Now, when it came to editing, she then came in as an editor and had a very strong hand and was very important that she do that. But in the process of outlining the three books, writing the first one, and deciding on the plot archetypes and all these things, I did that basically just me and Robert Jordan's notes. And there was a large amount of ownership that Harriet allowed me to take, even though it's made very clear, "The Wheel of Time is not mine." But the characters kind of are mine, in the same way they're all of yours, if that makes any sense.

    So, no. It's a long answer, isn't it? One question I get a lot, people ask me, "Does it hurt to kill off characters? Does it hurt to have characters that you don't get to write about anymore?" And usually, my answer is "No." Because I have built a plot arc for years when I'm writing a book, where I know what risks that character's going to take, and I build into it then the consequences of those actions. And it's like, they demand to be allowed to do this, and then there is a ramification. And when I actually write it, yes, there's a sorrow to it, but at the same time, it's fulfilling what that character wanted to do for years and who they are, if that makes any sense. So, they are then done, and I don't feel a need to write any more about them. I'm not gonna mention any names, not give spoilers, but for a lot of these characters, I'm like, "No, I don't feel a need to write any more stories, because I told the story that they needed to have told, and that feels awesome."

    The exception is the Wheel of Time. Because, in some ways, the Wheel of Time is the only one... Now, I made the decision that no more Wheel of Time books should be written. It really belongs to Harriet, but when Harriet... She actually asked me what I thought we should do, and I was very up front with "No more Wheel of Time should be done." Because Robert Jordan didn't want it to be done. But the only ones that hurt are not being able to write more stories about some of those characters, because I don't feel their stories are completely told, and I don't feel that I can. So, that is painful. I feel it's good. It's the pain of having lost Robert Jordan. So, it's not a good pain, but it's a necessary pain. And it's a pain that I shouldn't relinquish by simply going and writing all these books, but that is a pain. Not being able to tell the stories of these characters that I really feel didn't quite get told. So you'll have to tell them all in your own head.

    Words of Radiance Los Angeles signing ()
    #4330 Copy

    Questioner

    Will Lift become a recurring character in future novels?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lift is one of the characters which I have seeded to be a main character in future novels. For those who don't know, the Stormlight Archive is two arcs of five. The first five book arc is basically about the characters we're dealing [with] now, and it's almost like its own series. But I really like the idea of the form of the novel. (Sorry if this gets boring to you... I'm a professor.) But I love the form of the novel, and I llike ove doing things with it, which is why I've got that big essay on tor.com, if your read that one, the idea that I plotted Words of Radiance as a series of three books, that I put together in one volume, to force you to read a trilogy bound together. I plotted exactly the same way as I would plot a trilogy. So when you read this book, you're getting a trilogy. But it goes beyond that, 'cause as you're a writer, what you're doing is, you take this... first, you start with a sentence. And you want the sentence to have some sort of contrast in the sentence. You want it to be doing multiple things and have a contrast with itself. And then you build a paragraph. And a really good paragraph has a bit of a rise and fall to itself. You begin with something, and then you go, you dig into an idea, and then you come out of that idea. And you combine those paragraphs into scenes, and the scenes have a beginning, middle, and end of their own arc. And then you combine those scenes into chapters. And each chapter, when it works really well, has its own sculpted feel. And then the chapters come together for character arcs. And the character arcs come together for books. And then those books came together to be bound into what we call Words of Radiance, which is really three books bound as one. And then these become part of a five-book arc, and then those two five-book arcs become a mega arc for what I'm trying to do. This is just me playing with this idea of, "How many brackets can I put in here? How can I make this scope work the way I want it to?"

    And so, what you end up with is, hopefully, something that feels very cool, even though you have to wait a long time between them because of this. It takes a long time to write a trilogy. I really mean that... I don't know if you know how long this book is. But each of those pieces in there is longer than most novels, each of the three. And then there's a short story collection stapled in there, as well. In the interludes.

    The back five will have different characters, though some of the characters from the first five will still show up. And I'm seeding characters who will be important in the back five, in the front five. And Lift is important. Lift is... In my outline, she's one of those things, I had her in my wiki. (I have an internal wiki. You can't find it. It's on my computers only.) There's entries for characters that my assistants get to, and they're like "Who is this? You have this character being a main character, and they haven't even shown up yet." And I'm like, "Oh, let me tell you about them!"

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #4331 Copy

    Questioner

    And [The Silence Divine] is a short story that I started working on right after I finished Words of Radiance. And I was going to finish this, but then Firefight really needed to be done, so I've only written about ten pages of this story. But it's partially inspired by my trip to Costa Rica. I usually write short stories based on places I've traveled.

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #4332 Copy

    Questioner

    In Alloy of Law, were you influenced by steampunk stuff?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I did. I love steampunk. I would say Rithmatist is a little bit more directly influenced. Alloy of Law is more influenced by... When I pitched Mistborn to my editor, I pitched it as a continuum. The idea being that I would take a fantasy world and grow it all the way up straight from epic fantasy, classic times, up straight through science fiction, where the magic is running through all of it. And I'd never seen that done before. So, I pitched it as nine books, it's probably gonna be more than that. But that was definitely an influence on me. A bigger influence are the Edgar Allen Poe detective stories, which are some of my favorites. I would say those were a big influence on me in developing this. So, yes.

    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #4334 Copy

    Questioner

    When you have written, did you ever write with other people in pairs? Or do you focus on writing solely as a...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Do I ever write with other people in pairs? I've tried it once, and it didn't work so well. So it's not something I'll probably do again. It works very well for some people, and it just didn't end up being something that worked really well for me.

    Questioner

    Was there something that caused it to fail?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, there wasn't something specific that caused it to fail, other than the fact that I kind of like to be in control of my stories. And not being in control of my stories just didn't end up working out for me. It didn't save me any time, and it didn't save the other writer any time. It made both of us have to do more work.

    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #4335 Copy

    Questioner

    You do a lot of insider *inaudible* and you have *inaudible. How does that inform your process going forward *inaudible* the new books, knowing that you might someday have to tell people-?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, how does it inform my new books, knowing that I put so much stuff on my website? On there, I have annotations for a lot of my books, chapter-by-chapter. I have a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff. I grew up in the internet era. Well, at least I became a writer in the internet era. So I'm used to having extra information. I remember waiting for Wheel of Time books, and like, "When is this gonna be done?" And nobody knew, it was all hearsay. So, when I developed my website, I'm like, "Let's put a progress bar on so that it's right there, and you can go to the source and find out when the next book is gonna be done." So I just started, from the get-go, doing this extra bonus material. I feel like in this genre... Science fiction and fantasy people are very tech savvy. I'm willing to bet that every one in this room could torrent the books for free if they wanted to. And instead they buy them and support me. It's a genre where I am directly supported by fans as a conscious choice on their part. So I feel that it's my part to give them everything I can as this sort of additional content with the book. Because it's not just the book, it's everything surrounding it that you're buying into. And that's just kind of a personal quest of mine. It does make me more aware of my process. Because I'm like, "Oh, they're gonna ask me where I came up with this character. Where did I come up with this character as I'm designing it?" And I'll write down some notes on, "This is what inspired me here." It gets much harder for me to talk about Elantris and Mistborn, 'cause I can't dig so deep into my my influences, even Way of Kings sometimes, because they go back so far. But books that are newer, I can be, "Hey, this is exactly where my influences came from." Because I am <so conscious> now. Good question.

    Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
    #4336 Copy

    Questioner

    With regards to the audiobook, how does it feel hearing Rand and Egwene, and Kaladin and Shallan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that's really weird. In regards to the audiobook, how does it feel to hear some of the same voices coming out from my characters that are in the Wheel of Time. That's really weird. But after just a few minutes, my mind shifts over.

    Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
    #4338 Copy

    Questioner

    How many books do you read per year?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not as many as I want. Maybe twelve or fifteen.

    Questioner

    Do you ever stop reading something, or do you always finish a book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I stop reading nowadays, if it's just not working for me. I couldn't do that when I was younger. But now that I'm a writer... I hit this moment, a lot of writers hit this, where reading becomes less fun for you for a while, while you're becoming a writer. And then, a lot of us just push over it, but it changes you. And what changed me is, I just don't stick with a book that I'm not enjoying. I do always give them twenty percent. 'cause I figure, you need to give a book enough time to get its hooks in you. You can't judge it based on the first little bits. But if by about a quarter, it's just not working for me, I will abandon it.

    Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
    #4339 Copy

    Questioner

    Out of all of the covers for any of your books, anywhere in the world, what was your favorite cover?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My favorite cover of all of my covers is the first cover of The Way of Kings by Michael Whelan. Because I have this, kind of, emotional connection to Michael's work. The first fantasy book I ever read was Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly, with its gorgeous Michael Whelan cover, and I didn't even know the genre really existed, I just went to the bookstore and found the next book in the card catalogue, and it was Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, also with its gorgeous Whelan cover. And I read all of those. And so, it went hand-in-hand. The next one I started was Melanie Rawn, which was another Whelan cover. So, the first three series I ever read were all done by him, and were all done by these feminist fantasy writers. And those two things have kind of shaped how I see the fantasy genre. But I would recommend all three of those series, by the way, to you guys, they are fantastic. Dragonsbane, in particular, is still very close to my heart. The first one, in particular. Barbara was kind of depressed when she wrote the rest of them.

    Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
    #4340 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there any genre that you really want to do a book for, but you haven't had the opportunity yet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If I really wanted... you know, I haven't. I've had stories that I haven't had time to do, that I haven't had a chance for. But I've kind of hit the genres I want to, because Legion let me dabble in the police mystery thing, and Emperor's Soul let me dabble in a little more literary. I've done science fiction, I've done fantasy. I'm sure there are other genres, but, you know...

    Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
    #4342 Copy

    Questioner

    When designing the Aons for AonDor, how many did you intentionally sneak in sneaky hints about the universe in them, or were those happy accidents?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I snuck in a whole bunch of stuff, but then there's a whole bunch more stuff that was happy accidents. A lot of the cosmere stuff was intentional. Because, when I sold my first book, I had already written drafts of Dragonsteel, which was Hoid's origin story. I had written drafts of the Way of Kings. I had written drafts of Mistborn. I had written all of these things, so I could sit down and say, "Okay, I've got this whole work, let's get it together." So I kinda was able to cheat, because I'd finished all these books before, so I was able to release Elantris with a lot of really cool hints built into it.

    But there are always things that fans point out and say, "Wow, you did this cool thing." And you don't want to say "No, I wasn't that cool." I'll do that one occasionally. Mostly, I'm like, "Ooh, yes. Hmmm." I was smarter than I thought I was, that's okay. Reader response literary criticism means I can say, "Yes, you are right!"

    Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
    #4343 Copy

    Questioner

    If you could write a story from another author's character and point of view, who would it be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would be Wheel of Time. And I say that a little bit cheekily, and a little bit not. We are not gonna write any more Wheel of Time books. This is because I don't feel Robert Jordan would want it to happen. But if I had my wish, I would summon him back from the dead, and he'd say "What the heck," but I'd say, "Can I really just write this one more?" And if he said yes then I'd love to write it. I would love to tell some more stores, but I'm not going to; knowing what I know and having read the interviews I read with him, he would not approve of it, so I'm not gonna do it. If I were able to make *inaudible* happen, that's the one I would pick.

    If you want something more realistic, I don't know, because all my favorite writers, I'm like, "I want to read what they are working on, I don't want to do it myself." The whole idea of loving it is that they're do it. I have turned down writing for the Marvel universe. They came to me and said, "Hey! Pick a character, write a book on him. We don't care who. Please?" These are the sort of weird things that start happening to you when you're in my position, and you have to say no. 'Cause I'm just like, "I've read comic books. I like comic books. You guys are doing great stuff. I'm doing my own great stuff. You don't need me." Robert Jordan needed me. So, I don't know that I would do anything else unless there were a friend or a series that needed me.

    Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
    #4344 Copy

    Questioner

    For people who are not familiar with fantasy and science fiction novels, what novel would you suggest they start with?

    People who are not familiar with your works, which novel would you suggest first, and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a hard question to answer because, usually, when I run into this, I try to talk with the person and see what they like in their fiction. Because the great thing about fantasy and science fiction is it basically does everything that every other genre does, plus has dragons. That's the definition of fantasy: whatever you love from any other book, we will do, and we will add dragons. Naomi Novik, right? It's Master and Commander, and everything you love about those, plus dragons. So, if someone is on the more literary side of things, I'll find something more literary. Like, I'll give them Ursula Le Guin, probably. But if someone's like, a teen, who just is like, "I don't know what I like, I just like cool stuff," then I'll try to dig out one of the great teen books, like The Blue Sword (which really got my wife into fantasy when she was a teenager) or David Eddings, or one of these things that, you know, if they were published today, they'd probably publish as YA books, but back then they just were published however. So, it depends on the person. If someone likes big historical epics, like they're reading stuff like that, 'cause the big historicals are thick, then I'm gonna give them Wheel of Time. Be like, "This is a historical epic in a world that doens't exist"

    For my own, I kinda do the same thing. If someone is more literary, I give them Emperors Soul. If somebody likes more romance or humor, I'll give them Warbreaker. And if someone likes action adventure, or is kinda like, "I just like all kinds of things," I'll give them Mistborn, 'cause it kind of touches on everything. And if they are masochistic, I'll give them The Way of Kings. Way of Kings is my best work, but it's also the one that hits you in the face the most, particularly at the beginning. I'ts like, "Oh you wanna read this book? Haha, BAM BAM BAM BAM." And then by the end you love it because you're not getting hit anymore.

    Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
    #4345 Copy

    Questioner

    On the subject of audiobooks, was there every one you listened to and heard something that was read really differently than the way you imagined?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, every time I listen to an audiobook, there are certain interpretations that are different. And I like that. It's like getting cover art that is a different art form. I really like how this different art form goes. So it's not, like, "Oh, they shouldn't have done this." It's a, "Oh, here is how he interpreted it.

    Questioner

    Is there one in particular that springs to your mind?

    Brandon Sanderson

    When Michael Kramer made the Herdazians from Way of Kings sound Australian. That was kinda different because they're Hispanic. But it's okay, it's a fantasy world. So, they actually aren't Hispanic, and they actually aren't Australian. But, the Herdazians came, because my wife, who teaches ESL, and speaks very fluent Spanish, says, "Why does everyone always put cool Asian cultures and cool western cultures into their fantasy novels? Where are the Hispanics?" And that stuck in my head for, like, five or six years, until The Lopen popped out.

    Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
    #4347 Copy

    Questioner

    When you're having a hard time writing some of your... for example, the Rithmatist, you said came out of struggling to finish something.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I was struggling to finish another attempt at Hoid's origin story that wasn't working. So I jumped over and wrote something else.

    Questioner

    I was wondering if you could talking a little bit about how working on another project... Is it the fact that that idea is sitting around in your head that's keeping you from...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question. So, the question is, "Working on another project. What makes me jump? What makes me excited? What's going on?" It's very dangerous to get in the habit of jumping projects. And I've trained myself not to do this except in extreme cases. But once in a while, you just hit a funk on a book so much that you don't want to let it become a theme, you don't want it to let it become momentum for you, or the lack of it. And so I would jump to something else that it's just repeatedly, it's just not working for me. And I know my writing style enough to know that that's not common to me. If it happened every project, then it would be a problem I'd need to push past. In that case, the book just wasn't working, and I'm gonna work on this other thing that I'm really excited about, just to make sure I'm recapturing my love of writing, and not getting into a funk. And that, actually, is kind of how I manage my writing overall. I will jump projects after I finish something to make sure I don't get burned out on writing. As soon as I finish something, I look for something very different to do, in order to keep myself fresh. And that's why you see these lots of different things for me, is because that is how my psychology works. I always need to be doing something new.

    Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
    #4348 Copy

    Questioner

    When you're designing your magic systems, what is it you typically go into?

    Brandon Sanderson

    At that thing I said, brandonsanderson.com/writing/advice, I've got three essays on magic systems that can cover it way better than talking about it right now. That'll get you really into it. I would suggest those, they're called Sanderson's Laws, because I'm really humble. Asimov has them, and Clarke has them; so I can have them, there's not fantasy guys who have laws. So go read those, and they will talk you through how I develop a magic system.

    Questioner

    I was wondering about the background behind one of them. Stormlight.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Background behind the magic system in Stormlight traces back to my early history as a science major. I was a biochemistry major in college, before I jumped ship to English. And I've always been interested in the sciences quite a bit, and you'll see that in writing as a theme through my magics. The magic system of Roshar is based on the idea of the fundamental forces. I love the idea of the fundamental forces. This idea that there are certain interactions between parts of matter and energy that transcend everything else and rule how our entire world works was fascinating. So I wanted to come up with this idea of ten fundamental forces that worked with the magic system of the cosmere. Because there are extra forces, because there's weird stuff in the cosmere. Some of them are one-to-one. Gravitation is just one of the fundamental forces. And the strong and weak forces, I played with and came up with some things for that too, so you'll see that. But on the other hand, we've got things like transcending between the Physical Realm and the Cognitive Realm, which is a very cosmere-type thing. So, I built ten fundamental forces. And then I was playing with the idea (which I have in the cosmere) of pieces of energy becoming sapient. You've seen it happen in Elantris, you've seen it happen in Warbreaker. Way of Kings is one of the places I really wanted to show off how this works. So, the idea of the spren connecting a bond to the force that they're related to in certain ways, that just grew out of that.

    Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
    #4349 Copy

    Questioner

    If Patrick Rothfuss dropped dead tomorrow, would you finish the Kingkiller Chronicles?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So... if there were no other options. The thing is, I'm not sure how good a match I would be for Kingkiller. I might be able to do it. Thing is, Pat and I have... some similarities; our use of magic is very similar, and our use of viewpoint. We're very similar in those two things. Pat is very different from me in narrative structure. And more importantly (because I could do his narrative structure), he is a prose stylist, that has a lyricism to his writing that is very different from what I try to do. I have spent my life practicing something that in the industry we call Orwellian prose, which is... George Orwell would talk about how he wanted his prose to be a window pane. That through which you saw the story, but didn't distract you in any way. And I try to move my writing, most of the time, away from anything that draws attention to itself. Except for the occasional flourish at, like, the beginning of the chapter, or something like that.

    Pat, every one of his lines is gorgeous. It's part of what makes the Kingkiller work so well. And that is not a skill I have practiced. I would think that somebody like Guy Gavriel Kay, or Nora Jemisin, who are fantastic prose stylists, might be a better match, because that's something you can't just fake. You can maybe work with a bad plot, but voice, it's so different.

    I was a very similar voice to Robert Jordan. I had studied his things. While he's more flowery than I am, I knew his style enough that it was a good match. So, someone like Brent Weeks, who writes like me, then that's something that I could do. But someone like Pat... Pat would be a really tough one for me to pull off.

    One of the weird things is, people joke about me taking over George Martin. Which you shouldn't joke about, we totally want George to make it through... My prose is much closer to George Martin's, but my thematic content is way different. People talk about this like, "Let's just give it to Sanderson." I'm like, "Really? Do you want all these Game of Thrones people to stop swearing and get married, because that's what I..." *inaudible* You don't want me taking over George. You'd rather me taking over Pat.

    Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
    #4350 Copy

    Questioner

    You mentioned networking. Which, I've always wondered, for things like this, is there any point in me trying to make a connection with you *inaudible* ten years?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's very hard to make any kind of meaningful connection with the established authors. If you want to network, you can try, but I just don't have the time. People will ask me out to dinner on tour, and I've already got, like, five friends and family I've got to say no to. I can't even go to dinner with Jason. (Hi, Jason.) One of my long-term friends, because I'm just popping all the time on tour. At a convention, you can usually grab an author, if you're at a con, and be like, "Hey, can I ask you questions for a few minutes," and it's less about networking then, and more about getting information. People you should be networking with are your colleagues.

    Here's an interesting story. So, I took a class in 2000 at BYU as an undergraduate. And it was taught by David Farland, who's a fantasy novelist. I'm like, "Oh, there's a real novelist teaching a class. I'm gonna take that." Some of my friends felt... people I didn't know, but other people like me, went and took this class. In this class, I met a man named Dan Wells. I met another man named Peter Ahlstrom. A woman named Kaylynn ZoBell. A group of our friends, the people who became my friends, I started a writing group with them. Well, I sold a book, went full-time. Dan sold a book and went full-time. Peter became an editor at TokyoPop and went full-time. And Kaylynn sold a book. She hasn't gone full-time because that panics her. But, of the people in that class, we are the only ones who went pro. And all of us did. Which should tell you something. And that is, having a community of people who support you as writers... I don't think we were the best writers in that group. I think we're the ones that supported each other, kept practicing, and we became the best writers. But that's that support group. And what happened is, Dan came up to me at a con, and said, "Hey, I found this guy, Moshe Feder. You should come talk to him." So Dan pulled me over and I talked to Moshe. I sold a book to Moshe. Years later, Dan had written a book I thought Moshe would like, and I called Moshe and said, "Hey, the guy who introduced us has a book. You should read it." And Moshe bought Dan's book. And you kind of help each other out, and things like that.

    You should be networking with those people. And the other people are the editors and agents. They're at conventions and conferences to work with new writers. That's the purpose. They're always hunting for new talent there. An editor and agent, because they love science fiction and fantasy, and are looking for people to bring out to the world. Every editor wants to be Hugo Gernsback, who discovers these new writers, and things like that. So those are the people to network with.