Recent entries

    West Jordan signing ()
    #4351 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 ()
    #4352 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 ()
    #4353 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 ()
    #4354 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?

    Isaac Stewart

    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 ()
    #4355 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 ()
    #4356 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 ()
    #4357 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 ()
    #4358 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 ()
    #4366 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 ()
    #4372 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.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4373 Copy

    Questioner

    What do you do to keep yourself from burning out? What do you do to decompress?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I play with my Magic Cards. I go and sort them, I go build a deck.

    Questioner

    Roll around in them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No! I can’t do that! Then they get bent.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4374 Copy

    Questioner

    How did you come up with the Mistborn idea?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Boy, there’s so many different places this came from. The plot came from me wanting to tell a story about a world where the hero failed. You know, the Hero’s Journey a thousand years later, the sort of “What if Frodo had kept the ring?” or “What if Voldemort had killed Harry Potter?” That was one of my big concepts for it. Another big foundational concept was the desire to do a heist story, because I really love those, and I want to do one in the fantasy world.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4376 Copy

    Questioner

    With the Alloy of Law being more Steampunk-style, and your genre of choice being fantasy, what things have you done differently in this book than in your previous ones?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Just a quick caveat—I don’t really view Alloy of Law as being Steampunk, but they put goggles on the cover, because Steampunk’s really popular, but I don’t view it as being Steampunk because it doesn’t fit the Victorian feel. It’s much more Edwardian, it’s later era, the book is really based off of 1910 New York, the feel and the culture that is there, but it’s really a Mistborn book. I think when you read it, you’ll feel that it’s more a Mistborn book than it is a Steampunk, or a Western, or anything else. It’s Mistborn. It’s Allomancers with Guns instead. (laughter)

    So what have I done differently? I really wanted it to feel like a Mistborn book, with some new elements. It’s really more of a Sherlock Holmes feel than anything else, because I wanted the mystery feel, and I wanted the character dynamic deal with things like that, so this was just a conscious choice to have two or three compelling main characters be in a more episodic story, and I was more focused on that than if it’s Steampunk, or whether this is what, I really want this thematically to feel like a Mistborn book.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4377 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you have particular Inspirations from classics that you brought in your books? I felt like Dalinar was heavily influenced by Constantine.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I did have a degree in English, and so I read lots of stuff, but my favorite classics are Moby Dick, Les Miserables, and depending on the day one of the Jane Austen books, it changes. And so those are definite influences. You can probably see some Les Mis influence, a lot of it, in the Mistborn books. There were several places where I kind of consciously let myself be influenced there. I wouldn’t say that Dalinar though. The thing is, I started writing Dalinar when I was 15. He was my first character. In fact, I posted at Tor.com when Way of Kings came out a page from my very first novel that I tried to write when I was 14, and it was really really bad, and it has Dalinar in it. He is one of the few characters that survived through all these years from maturing, growing, and things like this. The story of the brother of the king who dies, and the brother must decide: does he take control, or does he let his nephew take control. So a lot of things have influenced Dalinar, but I can’t point to one specific thing.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4378 Copy

    Questioner

    How many magic systems have you gotten rid of, and how do you decide which ones to keep?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s an ever growing process. I mean I’ve started tons of magic systems, dozens, maybe hundreds, and I keep them based on how viral they all are, against the other magic systems I’m thinking of, how well this one appeals to me. Sometimes it depends if I have a book that will fit that magic or not.

    For instance, some books are very action-oriented, and some magic systems are not very action-oriented, so the magic needs to fit the book, so they just keep on kind of spinning there till they work.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4379 Copy

    Questioner

    What’s the future for the Alcatraz books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am actually in negotiations right now to bring the Alcatraz books to Tor, because we want to recover them, and rerelease them. So it’s kind of in a little bit of a limbo until I can get it to Tor, they were at Scholastic, and we’re in negotiations. There’s some things that I very much like about Scholastic, but at this point we’re kind of want to have all of my books at the same publisher, so if we do that, we will do a rerelease with new covers, then I will do the last book.

    Questioner

    How can you rerelease a book with a new cover when sometimes you have references in the book to the covers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Then I can just add a little addendum to say that the rereleased cover makes sense.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4380 Copy

    Questioner

    Who’s going to be the focus for the next Way of Kings?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I spent a long time deliberating this, and eventually, in my plotting, I came upon one of those moments where you’re “Ah, this is what I need to do”, so it is going to be Shallan. So the focus for the next book is Shallan, and half of you want it to be Dalinar, and half of you want it to be Shallan, Dalinar will get his book, Shallan will get her book, but there’s a funny story here. In my original outline, I named many of the books, like Dalinar’s is named Highprince of War. Shallan’s book was actually named after the book that Jasnah gives her, which is very thematically important to her. But then I started telling it to people, and they started laughing, because the book that Jasnah gave her is called the Book of Endless Pages.

    So, I thought that was a really cool title, but apparently, that’s going to give the reviewers too much fuel. So you can pretend in your head that it’s called that, but I’ll come up with a different name.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4381 Copy

    Zas

    Can a Drab Return?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A Drab can not Return as the Returned are known, and there are things about the Drab that are not completely understood. But a Drab without a Breath, it’s going to be very hard. Drabs do not Return. Good question, by the way. No one has ever asked me that before.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4382 Copy

    Questioner

    Have you ever done NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month], and would you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did it several times before I got published [But he never actually did it; see the link at the bottom for more info]. Way of Kings, I wrote during NaNoWriMo, a big portion of it. I actually wrote the NaNoWriMo pep talk this year, they asked me to, and so you’ll get an email from me in your inbox.

    Usually, I can’t do NaNoWriMo officially because I’m in the middle of a book, and I can’t stop a book and write another one, I will eventually be able to do that, but the Wheel of Time, and other things have been so busy lately that my schedule doesn’t allow me to in November stop writing. And I’m usually touring in November, almost always. And that’s really tough for getting 50,000 words. If you haven’t done NaNoWriMo, it’s awesome.

    A Memory of Light Los Angeles Signing ()
    #4383 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Why do the Shardblades in The Stormlight Archive have the effect on flesh (human tissue) that they do?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He originally wrote the scene in the prologue with the assassin Szeth using a traditional sword, but it was so bloody and gruesome that Brandon was actually disgusted. He had to find a way to avoid that and so he came up with a new way for the swords to behave.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4384 Copy

    Questioner

    How many marks to a broam?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh, Peter—take out the … It’s been so long. I had it at ten, but then I think he came in and said “it can’t be ten”, and so it’s actually in our wiki. Peter—hey, where’s Peter? How many marks are in a broam? Is it ten or 25? Email Peter, and he’ll tell you.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4385 Copy

    Questioner

    I know that Tolkein hated allegory in his story. What is your belief?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tolkein hated allegory. He thought that his stories should just be stories, and I actually feel similar to him. I do have themes in my books, but I let the theme come as an outgrowth of what the characters are passionate about. And certainly, there are certain things, you’ll read Way of Kings and Dalinar’s very interested, a very big theme spiritually in the book (I know, that sentence doesn’t make any sense). But, it’s not me going in and intentionally writing an allegory. I like the story to stand as a story, I like telling stories. I’m not big into writing metaphors.

    Certain people are very good at that. C.S. Lewis did a great job of that, it’s not what I try to do.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4386 Copy

    Questioner

    What’s your schedule like as a writer with so many projects?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, what I do is I get up really early in the morning—noon. I get up at noon. This is hard sometimes! Maybe I’ll get up at 11. Usually I write until 5, and that writing is interspersed with a lot of email, and things like that and kind of distractions. Then I go hang with my family, and then I go back to work, depending on the day, at around 8 or 9, and then I work until about 4, and then I go to bed.

    Usually I’m only writing one book at a time, while outlining another, and I’m often revising a third. I can’t do new material usually on two projects at once, I can only do new material on one thing at a time. But I can be doing some revising on one, and some planning on another, but the truth is I’m very much a segmented writer, and work on segments on things. Right now, with the Wheel of Time, I’m usually not working on anything else or planning, I’m all gung ho on this one thing, and then I’ll shift modes and do something else eventually.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4387 Copy

    Questioner

    Have you ever thought about making your writing class open?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes I have. There are some back and forths here. One thing, about the classes, I really do like teaching at BYU. I like being a BYU teacher, I like being involved a little bit in our Alma Mater, I like coming here, and if I were to make the class open, basically, what I would have to do, I would have to stop teaching at BYU and go to a library or something like that, and just do it in an Auditorium, and I like the class as it is. BYU has policies that say “You have to be a BYU student to go to the class” and that’s not something I can influence or change. So as long as I have it at BYU, it kind of has to be that way. Does that make sense?

    Though I’ve tried to let them get me to record it and like Webcast it, but they have requirements and rules that so far we haven’t been able to make that work. But Writing Excuses is basically the way that I do my class without doing my class, if that makes sense.

    A Memory of Light Dayton Signing ()
    #4388 Copy

    NutiketAiel (paraphrased)

    If a native of Sel or another Shardworld traveled to Nalthis, would they be a drab?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    No, they would not be a drab. But, no one would be able to take their Breath.

    NutiketAiel (paraphrased)

    If such a person died on Nalthis, could they Return?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    No, they cannot Return.

    NutiketAiel (paraphrased)

    If such a person received breath, could they use BioChroma?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4389 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you get the different personalities for all your characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    With the characterization for me is a very organic thing. I acutally plot my plot in detail, do my worldbuilding in detail, before I start on my characters though, if I plan them out too much, they don’t have enough life to them. It’s a very weird thing to explain, but for me, what I have to do is I have to try writing through this character’s eyes, and if it doesn’t work, than I actually have to toss that chapter and try again, and often times you’ll see me start a book try a character a couple of times to get them right. And then they just grow into what they are as the plot goes along. And in fact, the characters have veto power over the plot, and so if I get to a point that I feel like a character would not do this, I have to either go back and cast a different person in this role, or...

    If you are very interested in how I write, I do a podcast called Writing Excuses. And what it is is it’s through your browser, so you don’t do anything special, you just go there and press play, and it’s me and Mary Robinette Kowal who writes these books, they’re like Jane Austen with magic. (laughter) Yeah, she’s good. And it’s Dan Wells, who writes these really scary creepy books, but they’re really good, and it’s Howard Tayler. So anyways, Writing Excuses, all you aspiring writers, it’s Hugo-nominated, it's very well received, I think you’ll really enjoy it. You can look by topic, and find where I talk about writing characters, and we’ll give you a ton of advice. There’s two hours of advice on characters you can listen to.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4391 Copy

    Questioner

    How many Feruchemical powers have you revealed in the Alloy of Law?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In the Ars Arcanum in the back, I have revealed them all. I have not explained them all. But I have revealed them all, they are in the back, so you are free to theorize what they mean.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4392 Copy

    Questioner

    You said you were going to rewrite Dragonsteel? Is it going to be a one-book thing, or a trilogy, or what?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dragonsteel is set to be seven books. I shouldn't tell you these things, because it scares people. The cosmere sequence is set at, what did I say, 36 books? Yeah, it's 36 books. A trilogy of Elantris, Two books from Warbreaker, ten books from Way of Kings, and the Mistborn series, and some other books. So anyways, this is a big thing, but don't get scared. You don't have to pay attention to any of this. Just go ahead and enjoy the books. This is behind the scene stuff, and in fact the reason why we don't have a book about Hoid is because I don't want you to have read all of those books in order to understand that book, does that make sense? As soon as Hoid becomes a main character, then you have to have read the whole sequence in order to get it. I don't you to have to do that. I don't want you to have to read Mistborn to understand Stormlight Archive. Hoid may be involved in these things, but he will never be a prominent character, changing things, until he gets his own sequence.

    A Memory of Light Dayton Signing ()
    #4393 Copy

    Questioner

    How did you keep Legion straight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I cheated a little bit in Legion and based each personality off an actor." He pointed out that his favorite personality was JC, who was based on [Adam] Baldwin from Firefly. He also related that Ivy was based on Gwyneth Paltrow. The fan commented that he envisioned Brandon having a folder on each personality, which Brandon confirmed.

    When asked how he approaches writing a novella as opposed to an epic, Brandon reiterated that he was an "architect" style writer, and viewed novella writing as an opportunity to practice his pre-writing skills and his "discovery writing."

    A Memory of Light Dayton Signing ()
    #4394 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    The Cosmere—How?:

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    "I don't know if it's something I can answer, simply because I don't know how." He went on to relate his feelings when reading Asimov's Foundation, and how cool it would have been if Asimov had known from the beginning that he was going to be tying all these things in, and the subtle hints he could have left in the earlier stories.

    Alloy of Law release party ()
    #4399 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you didn’t know, Mistborn was pitched to my editor as a trilogy of trilogies. I told him I wanted to do a trilogy of epic fantasy books, then the same world in a modern setting, which we’re not to yet, but it’s going to be Allomancers in the 21st century-equivalent technology. It’s an urban fantasy series. Then I wanted to do a Science Fiction series in the same world, using the Epic Fantasy world as kind of a mythology to this new world, and the magic system becoming the means of Space Travel.

    So Alloy of Law I wanted to set up things for the second trilogy. I didn’t want to do the second trilogy yet, because the second trilogy, like the first trilogy is kind of bigger books, with a very involved storyline evolved across three books, and I didn’t want to be releasing that parallel to Stormlight Archive, which is the same sort of thing. Very evolved books where you tie a lot of things together, and so I wanted a series of Mistborn novels that were more independent.

    Alloy of Law is intended to be a “read it, have fun.” Eventually I may end up doing more with those characters, but when I do, you won’t have to remember that much about this one. It’s not like you have to remember a cast of 500 characters. You can just keep track of the main characters. They’re more of an episodic adventure. I kind of imagine Alloy of Law being—I’m not totally sure how to describe it. It’s like you have the giant movie that comes out, and then you have a TV show that’s based off of it, and then another big movie series, or something like that, if that makes any sense. So that’s what Alloy of Law is.