In Steelheart David mentions that Epics age slower, to which degree is their aging slowed?
It's not the same across the board.
In Steelheart David mentions that Epics age slower, to which degree is their aging slowed?
It's not the same across the board.
If you cloned someone using real life technology (so not magic) would they have a normal Cognitive and Spiritual make up or be something like a Drab?
Cloning would most likely work like creating a twin--the body would pull Investiture for a soul, and you probably wouldn't have a drab. Though it would be possible to do it in such a way that you did create one, if you're simply working from our current cloning technology, you'd get a fully invested human being.
What is Obliteration's usual M.O.? Does he destroy every town he goes to or does he usually just kill a couple people, melt a small neighborhood, maybe go and hold a sermon and then goes shopping?
He does not destroy every town. More in book 3.
We have seen that Epics have a compulsion to pick a name for themselves (and have been told that some apparently have very bad taste) but is there also some kind of compulsion for them to be at least somewhat appropriate or for example could Nightwielder also have called himself Sunshine Shimmer (if he were such inclined)? And on a similar note, about when does this need start to manifest itself.
It is possible for him to have named himself that.
Do you ever think of how other series might fit in the Cosmere? Are there any that you think would mesh particularly well?
I haven't really considered this. I'll give it more thought.
Doesn't Zahel mention that he has 'Lost a Friend' maybe in a worldhop he dropped it, or nightblood has grown in power since landing on roshar and was able to move enough on his own that Zahel didn't notice til it was too late and he had already been identifed by Nalan.
I'm reading the preview chapter of Shadows of Self and I'm really curious. Where does the gasoline for the cars in the Wax and Wayne books come? If Harmony remade the world, did he make crude oil too? Does that then mean he can see that far into the future?
There are clues about this in the upcoming text itself.
So I just recently read the Allomancer Jak short story in the MAG Alloy of Law supplement. I have to ask was the dynamic between Jak and Handerwym at all inspired by your relationship with Peter? I can very easily picture you blazing some sort of fantastic literary trail and Peter following behind explaining why it isn't possible (Kind of like how you initially intended the time bubbles to do red/blue shift and Peter was like "No you'll microwave people")
Peter is not nearly as biting toward me, but always having an editor looking over my shoulder and saying, "Uh...is that actually RATIONAL Brandon?" is probably a big part of my inspiration here.
I hadn't made the connection... >_>
I really wish there was a book sales equivalent to box office mojo. Would be super interesting to compare the numbers more in depth between super popular authors like yourself and less known/new authors.
There is, actually. It's called bookscan, and is generally only available to insiders. (But if you can find someone with access, you can track books back for two decades of sales info.)
Problem is, it doesn't track ebooks. (Because Amazon doesn't release them.) I wish this info were more public too, personally. But I can try to guess a kind of rough estimate, based on what I've seen. (This is for first year ebook/hardcover combined, and only applies to fiction books, and not those by a celebrity.)
On the chopping block: 5k (This is a book that did modestly well, but is probably overall losing money for the publisher. Some would keep publishing an author at this level, depending on expectations of growth, award recognition, or niche interest.)
Solid seller: 5k-10k (This is a book most publishers will always be pleased with, and will continue to pay a decent advance for. This author may not make a healthy living on their book unless they can do more than one a year, but will probably always have a writing career.)
High midlister: 10k-20k (This is an author who is well known in their genre, is a dependable seller, and has a dedicated--but small-fanbase. If you can find a writer with a number of books on the shelf, but they don't chart often on the NYT list with new books, they are probably in this category.)
Genre Bestseller: 20k-50k (This is a book that charts on the bestseller lists without hitting the #1 spot. Authors who hit this consistently set trends in the industry, are well known in their genres, and are pulling low six figure advances. Breaking out of this level and into the next takes serious luck, even in a field which already requires a lot of luck.)
Dominant Genre Bestseller: 50k-300k (These are the books that hit #1 on the bestseller list. Authors who do this consistently with each new book are generally at the top of their field, and are probably what you consider "super popular" in your post. But they--we, as this is where I am--are small potatoes compared to the next levels.)
Breakout Bestseller: 300k-1mil (These are books that "break out" of their genre, or are the top of larger genres, like thrillers. Teen books with a lot of momentum can hit here too. Books in this category sell in airports or walmarts to the general public for months, as opposed to those in the category below, which sell really, really well for one week--but only because fans buy their books week one, rather than waiting. I've outsold Dan Brown and John Grisham...for one week. The next week, they trounced me.)
Movie Books: 1-5mil (These are books from one of the other categories that have a film come out recently. Also, the tail end of the breakout bestsellers and the beginnings of phenomenon books. It gets really blurry in here as we're dealing with such large swaths of numbers. Game of Thrones books are in here, I believe. Note that they basically jumped over the category between, which often happens in sf/f when you get a film or tv show.)
Phenomenon books: 5-20+mil (These are books that somehow SUPER break the mold, for reasons nobody really understands. DaVinci Code. Harry Potter. Twilight.)
I only yesterday found out you changed the ending for the way of kings. So here is my question. I've only read the first version where Kaladin kills Szeth. When Szeth gets killed now, it's by the storm. What is it that specifically kills him since he can normally just evade the storm or even be healed by stormlight?
Good question! So, the idea here is that Szeth has given up, and wants to die. I wanted the storm to kill him, then, as opposed to Kaladin. What kills him is losing control in the storm, and being slammed into the ground.
The bigger change here was actually my desire to leave it at least partially clear that he's not dead, in order to avoid the 'fake out' ending. Having him be dead and reborn was important, but I felt in the first stab I erred on the side of pulling a fast one on the reader.
Could Obliteration (or an Epic with similar powers), in theory, actively suppress his danger sense, so he doesn't teleport, even if someone would score a lethal hit on him? Also, do active Epic powers like throwing energy beams or flying drain stamina?
Obliteration hasn't learned to do this. Perhaps it's possible, but difficult. As for how draining the abilities are, it varies based on the Epic.
I've got a more hypothethical question.
Iron stores weight. Pewter stores strength.
What if you both make yourself very light and very strong***? Maybe even throw in burning pewter as well; how does it all work together?
Maybe I should throw this over to askscience..
I have some ideas, and have done some research, but I'm not ready to comment on this yet. I plan to use it in a future book.
But if you do come up with some info from askscience, I'd love to see it.
How many Cutting edges does Nightblood have? I'm just trying to find out what Nightblood looks like exactly, Warbreaker is a little spars on an exact description.
Nightblood is a long, straight sword, edged on both sides.
If Nightblood was a Dark Souls weapon, which class would it be? Straight Sword, Greatsword, Ultra Greatsword? I think of it like the Claymore.
Claymore might be close. Though the dark souls ones might be a tad bigger than he is.
[conversation about the inhabited South Pole of Scadrial, and whether there are currently any other inhabited landmasses]
RAFO. (Obviously.) :)
Will Shallan undergo more apprenticeships in future SA books?
I think you'd find that she considers herself beyond that. Not because she's full of herself (though she is a little) but because she has started to resist boundaries placed on her by others.
Is gifting/power transference to normal people with Epics an all or nothing deal or could there be an Epic that can gift one ability but has another power he can't gift? And while on topic of quirks in Epic powers, how much do emotions play into them? We have some examples like Steelheart were strong emotions can cause the power to run amok, is there more of a guideline to this or just a quirk of some powers?
All powers can be gifted if any can. Gifting is a power that modifies other powers. Controlling the powers during times of great emotion is generally more difficult, but this has more to do with human nature than the powers.
So Gifters can gift gifting?
No, I'm afraid. That's a separate power.
I may be pushing my luck a bit but I have another question, this time about the symbol of the Ghostbloods. In Way of Kings it was described as three overlapping diamonds, while in Words of Radiance it was described as "triangular". I also heard that recently a fan showed you what he thought the symbol looked like and you told him he was correct, but the picture he showed wasn't triangular in any sense.
Was the triangular description a mistake? Do the Ghostbloods have more than one symbol? I personally imagined it to be something like this, which sorta looks triagular since it has three parts sticking out from the center.
We'll release this eventually. Yours is not as I imagined it, I'm afraid.
My question for you is this - I got the heeby-jeebies when Shallan heard about Amaram's collection of flutes within just a few pages of Wit bringing up the flute Kaladin lost?
All I can think of is that either: A) Wit's flute will end up among Amaram's collection to resurface later or B) In his work with the Sons of Honor, Amaram or his fellows have stumbled across some flute-related magic or splinterization and his flutes are the brethren and sistren of Wit's flute.
Is either of these the case? Or is there some other significance to Amaram's collection of nigh forbidden flutes?
It is significant. It is not a huge deal, but it is significant.
To what extent can virtual objects be forced into Stephen's subconscious? Stephen says that "those who work closely with [him] know to just pantomime letting [his] mind fill in the details." Does there have to be a physical object present in order for it to interact with his aspects? JC conjures a virtual phone that clearly had no physical counterpart. Could someone lie to Stephen that they have a bazooka in a box, then pretend to pull it out and proceed to virtually blow holes in the room?
The object does not have to be present, but his subconscious has to see an idea as part of his psychosis for it to appear.
You confirmed at the Atlanta signing that 9-point constructions could be applied to ellipses to generate valid Rithmatic defenses. Could the same be done using open conics such as hyperbolas and parabolas? (Or do open conics become lines of Forbiddance instead of lines of Warding?) Also, the disparity in strength between the sides and points of an ellipse is attributed to their difference in curvature. Does this mean that a large circle is inherently weaker than a small circle since its local curvature is less?
Yes to all questions, though with a circle, there is an innate structural strength that does weaken with larger sizes, but it isn't as fast as the curvature would indicate.
Is there any more lyrics to the listener songs? If so, can you share some, please?
I'm afraid I went to a poet and had them rewrite my versions for me, as my poetry chops are pretty weak. So I don't have any more than the ones in the book.
With the second draft of Calamity done and awaiting editor revisions, I thought I'd take this opportunity to re-approach a very common fan question. Do we learn Regalia's weakness in this novel, and if not, would you mind telling us what it is here?
Boy, I do get this one a lot. I'm wary of saying anything until Calamity is out, not because Regalia's weakness is specifically relevant, but because I've found that even the most innocent of things I say can sometimes lead to spoilers. The nature of the weaknesses is a big part of the three book arc of the Reckoners, so I don't want to hurt anything.
That said, as I mentioned, Regalia's weakness is not actually relevant. I've just been avoiding the question for reasons stated above.
Regalia's weakness was being proven wrong. If you could figure out something she'd done incorrectly, and prove it to her so she couldn't avoid the truth, she'd briefly lose local control of her powers. But I didn't want that book to be about figuring out/using her weakness, in order to distinguish it from books one and three, which use that as the major plot. So I avoided bringing up the idea, or really even using it in the story at all.
How hard would it be to trigger exactly? For example when David called Regalia to his location in the Reckoner hideout she figured out that she was searching for it in the wrong location. Is that why she took a while to appear or was there something specific about that situation that made it not count?
Yes. That is a time that would trigger her weakess.
Silly Shardblade question: Dick Cheney's artificial heart was a continuous flow model, which meant he had no pulse. If you gave him a Shardblade, how would summoning it work?
You know, I've actually had to think about this. (Not because of Cheney, but because of cosmere applications.) Just as blind people dream differently from people without visuals, I feel a Shardbearer without a pulse would end up having another method of representing the way their soul reaches toward a dead Shardblade and summons it. But it would vary based on the individual.
Current Mistborn Eras:
Era One: Vin and Elend Era Two: Wax and Wayne Era Three: 1980's Era Four: Science Fiction
We'll see if this changes. I wasn't planning on what is now Era Two, so I could see another Era between Three and Four.
have you decided to not do the 1940(?)'s story? or is it just that that won't count towards a separate era designation?
Haven't decided 100%, but I'm leaning against it. We'll see.
In Steelheart you mentioned mind control Epics. Just how extensive are some of the mind control powers and are they likely to diffentiate between normal people and other Epics?
Mind control powers among Epics are more subtle than you might find in something like the Marvel universe. (Making someone think they want a sandwich, so they wander away from their post, instead of directly controlling them.) But stronger manifestations do exist. They're more rare.
Generally, mind control powers will have more trouble with Epics.
How many Epics have "unique" powers like Firefight or Mitosis?
Less than 10% are both unique and useful.
What about unique and useless? ;)
Happens fairly often.
So, a power to, say, conjure Big Macs out of their pocket wouldn't be too crazy?
No. That's actually well within reason.
And actually quite powerful if you don't put a limit on concurrent mass created or speed of creation.
What about an Epic whose only ability is to accurately tell the time?
Can an Epic be given powers that are permanently countered by their weakness? Ex: Being able to breathe underwater, but whose weakness is water?
I'm going to say no on this one, unless the weakness is something more specific. (I.E, you can breathe under water, but your weakness is water with food coloring in it.) The weakness can relate somehow to the powers, but not in a way that if every time you use the abilities, they're automatically negated.
What are some of the more common powers, then?
I based this off of comic books, so I assumed classic comic book superhero powers--various forms of flight, invulnerability, control over various types of matter, energy blasts--are common enough to have "standard powersets" for research purposes. Basically, this means that people like David and the lorists can make references that readers with a familiarity with comics can understand.
Is there any chance we could see the lorist categorization system published someday? As a sort of Reckonerverse Ars Arcanum?
This is possible, but likely only if I come back to the world for more books beyond the original trilogy.
How common would teleporting be?
Are powers such as being able to negate others' powers or being immune to Epic powers possible?
Will you be posting what you change in the Elantris 10th year anniversary re-release like with how you changed the Words of Radiance ending? Also thanks for writing amazing books!
We'll try. The changes are, on one hand, way more pervasive--but on the other hand, far less substantial. There is a lot of cleaning up language, and a little of moving about the locations of buildings and the like for the sake of continuity.
Can Epics have children?
Could an Epic have children? Would the children have the parent's Epicness?
Yes, Epics can have children. Epicness does not necessarily travel down the line, but it can. (I have to be vague here because of the next book.)
At the time of Steelheart, are there any regions (besides those mentioned in Firefight) that are uninhabitable?
Yes. Not many in the states, but nukes WERE used fighting the Epics. There are some irradiated areas around the world.
And, another poster just reminded me that people are doing a Role Play for the Reckoners, which is the source of these questions. So for that context, I might be able to dig up some more info for you on your questions.
What are the extent of Snowfall's powers and territory?
I have notes on this, but if I come back to the Reckoners world in the future, I don't want to be locked into things I say here. Part of the point of mentioning Epics like this is to foreshadow for future books, but not leave myself too locked in, so I can construct the story I need to.
In Steelheart you mention the Coven, a group of Epics that I've found immensely intriguing ever since hearing their name. Is there anything you can say about their group or one of their members?
A member of the Coven will appear in Calamity, and others will be referenced.
How do you pronounce Sazed in your mind? Is it Saysd, Say-Zid, or Say-Zed?
I say Say-zed, as does Kelsier. But he has a different accent from Sazed himself, who might say it differently among his people.
I'm actually surprised it wasn't Saysd. Now it's going to take me a little longer to get through book 3 with that extra syllable in my head!
If it helps, I feel that's pretty close to the way the Terris would say his name.
Was White Sands inspired by that one episode of Writing Excuses, where you guys brainstorm sea travel on a tidally locked planet?
Good question! White Sand was actually my first novel, written starting in 1994. It wasn't very good, but I took another stab at it in 1998, and that version was far better. (It's the version I'm adapting to the graphic novel.) It was tidally locked from the get-go, as I found the idea of a planet with a "Dayside" and a "Darkside" very interesting as a fantasy world.
Some statistics/fun facts on [Calamity]:
Love you work, spent way to many late nights reading your series. any chance the latest Mistborn books you wrote will be much longer? The series has so much potential that I feel like you weren't able to fully draw out in the shorter length of Alloy of Law.
The new Mistborn novels will be Alloy-length, but since I plotted the three of them as a trilogy, they should have a little more weight to them across books--adding some of that depth you're wanting.
When I get to Era Three (the 1980s spy mistborn books) they will return to the length of the original trilogy.
Hail Brandon Sanderson, Master Worldsmith
That's the nature of my question, I'm not quite sure how to make it broad enough, but just how did you birth Roshar? Let alone the entire Cosmere? I find it too easy to view the worlds I've built in my own writing as silly or contrived. Do you see yours in dreams or did you construct yours? Please, I would be personally grateful for the backstory on how these places were forged.
Building these worlds was a long, long process. Most of that process, however, was in building myself--creating a practiced writer who had build enough worlds that he got an instinct for what created good conflicts and settings, and what did not. So the best thing you can do is keep practicing and writing.
In more specifics, Roshar's origin was in studying the great storm of Jupiter. I went with the idea of a constant, traveling storm, then tried to build the ecology off of that idea. From there, I asked myself how this affected sapient beings, and how I could use the storms to shape culture, and how the characters I was planning to use could interact with it.
Most of this comes down to instinct now, though. Keep writing, and don't stress too much about whether you are silly or contrived. We all feel that way at some point. Put characters into the worlds we care about, and let the rest sort itself out.
Say an Epic was dying of old age and had reincarnation - like Firefight - would they get stuck in a "death loop" When they died and came back?
No. That Epic would just die.
I'm like a previous poster and making a reddit account so I can ask you a question about the Alloy of Law setting. How fast would you say technology is developing at that time? I ask because I tried to start a Mistborn game with my friends and they decided they wanted to build a zeppelin and give the rail companies competition due to party grudges against the rail barons.
Zepplins are totally believable for that era in Mistborn. (Also, rail barons are basically a big theme of upcoming books, so you guys are totally in line with where the story is going anyway.) Tech on Scadrial is following a kind of loopy progress, both because of the Metallurgic Arts and because of the artificial suppression of some technological paths by the Lord Ruler. So you can make arguments for just about anything.
I was re-reading through Vin's fight with Zane, and I think that her method of killing him might be more complicated than necessary. Here is the strategy I would use to fight a mistborn with atium (assuming I have no atium myself or electrum). First I would use a duralumin enhanced soothing to deaden everything except complacency. I would at the same time use a duralumin enhanced riot to spike their sense of complacency. I would then go for the jugular with a duralumin enhanced pewter slash. I think this strategy has a good chance of victory since atium does not show what is going on inside of you, only what you will physically do. Therefore, your enemy will not see the emotional allomancy coming which gives you a few seconds to work with as he is stunned. By the way, if you do not think complacency is a riotable emotion replace it with love. What do you think? Does my strategy have a chance of success?
I like this strategy. Thinking outside the proverbial box. I think it has a good chance of succeeding, depending. Remember, emotional Allomancy is NOT mind control. And a duralumin-fueled blast of emotion is going to draw a lot of attention to itself, but will still be stunning. So yes, I'd say this is a valid method of taking on someone with atium.
Why doesn't Nighwielder's weakness penetrate his blanket over Newcago when it does pierce the shadow tendrils he attacks David with? Could the reason be that his clouds act as some kind of "security blanket" if for example he got his weakness from being stranded in the dessert clouds like his would have protected him from the sun, which keeps the UV-rays of the sun from triggering his weakness, because they can't recreate the situation it originates from.
I've been dodgy about answering this one, as I thought I might get into it in Book Three, but as I work on it I don't know that I am. The answer is actually pretty simple--it's for the same reason that someone manifesting Regalia's weakness in Babilar doesn't make the waters suddenly retreat. Or that Steelheart's powers didn't leave pockets of open material around anybody who hadn't ever heard of him. (Which is where this exception started in my mind, as without it, the first book would never have worked.)
Basically, I had to make the rule that a large scale, general use of the powers had a kind of immunity to the weakness--one of diffusion. But the general spreading of the powers on the large scale were also far less precise. (For example, Nightwielder could cloud the sky with darkness, but not stop rain from falling.)
Otherwise, you could just find the pockets where the Epic's powers on the grand scale were not working, and easily figure out their weakness. Hence, engaging Nightwielder directly ruins his immediate powers, but on the grand scale the darkness remains in place over the city.
It's the only way I could make the powers work on the grand scale I wanted, in turning Newcago to Steel or sinking NYC.
What exactly is needed to make a motivator? In Firefight they operated on Oblivion to build the bomb, yet people still trade with any amount of Epic cells. Does the amount simply relate to power or is there something else?
This is covered in detail in book three. I've been pretty sneaky about some of this setup, on purpose.
While Epics already age slower can their powers protect them from aging completely, be it by simply negating it or for example returning them to a specific age, upon resurrection.
There are no known Epics who don't age at all.
Concerning the terminology for Epics, the definitions given for High Epics and a prime invincibility are effectively the same, meaning every High Epic should have one. However, in Steelheart David says that only a couple of the hundredths of High Epics in Newcago have one. Did David change his terminology between books or is there another reason. (I would also appreciate definitions for what differentiates a minor from a lesser Epic.)
Prime invincibility is the cream of the crop of High Epic, in David's estimation. The hardest of the hard to kill. However, other people define things differently. "High Epic" means "I have a power that, if you stand there and try to shoot me, it doesn't work." That's why in his definition, Regalia doesn't fit the bill--though many others would say her power of keeping herself hidden as she does would totally count. All a matter of semantics, but to him, there's a specific gradation.
With Jasnah not being dead when we thought she was dead and Szeth coming back to life; how will you retain tension during future battles if the audience thinks that death might not be the end of someone?
I try hard to make sure things like this are well foreshadowed, but it's always a concern as a writer. Basically every book you write, in an action/adventure world, will contain fake outs like this.
There's certainly a balance. Gandalf coming back in LOTR worked, and Anakin turning out to be alive Empire Strikes back is a powerful moment--but I feel RJ, for example, may have brought people back too often.
Not sure where this balance is for me yet. I know the story I want to tell, though, and I try to leave clues when something like this is going to happen so that it feels less like a fake out and more like an "Aha. I knew it."
Will we ever see you write a series with a non-rigid magic system? Not that there's anything wrong with allomancy etc. (they're pretty cool to be honest), but I would be really interested in seeing you handle something vague.
I understand exactly what you mean, and I've played with some, but they don't work as well in the Cosmere. I think I might be able to slip one in, or, do something non-Cosmere.
Finally, can you tell us what Regalia's weakness is? We never did find that out.
Not ready to talk about this one yet, as I haven't finished the third book yet. It's likely irrelevant, but I'll RAFO in case I decide to reference it.
The Kandra were my favorite part of the Mistborn series. What was your inspiration for them?
For the kandra, I started with the idea that a thieving crew would need a good "inside man" type, who could do costumes. None of the powers fit this, but I knew I also wanted to foreshadow Hemalurgy. From there, developing them was an organic process digging deeply into the history and worldbuilding I was doing.
The idea of the wolfhound kandra appealed to me a great deal before even starting the first book, and was where I targeted my plotting after it struck me.
As a women, I loved reading about Vin who was a strong female leading character in Mistborn. It's not something easily found in the fantasy world unfortunately. While I loved Vin, I felt pretty sad after reading about the swooning-over-an-older-man tripe that was Marasi in The Alloy of Law. It felt like kind of a 360 for me after reading about Vin.
I really loved Mistborn and The Way of Kings was great, but I am just wondering if you are planning any more work with strong female leads?
Marasi was designed specifically to be a contrast to Vin, and to put her in a place where she really had some growth to do. I spent periods of time as a Marasi (though, in my case, swooning over women) when I was younger. I think most of us are like that at some point in our lives, and I like trying characters with different types of arcs and personalities, so I suggest giving her a little time.
I have several stories in the works I think will fit this conversation, though when they come out will really depend on timing. The 1980's era Mistborn series also has a female lead, as does one of my YA projects.
Out of the genres you haven't written in, which one do you really want to give a shot?
Hmmm... Noir. Maybe true urban fantasy, though I have one unpublished manuscript in that genre, which means technically I have given it a shot.