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    YouTube Livestream 14 ()
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    Clayton

    I think you said you started with the Surges and worked from the bottom up. So what was the hardest Radiant Order to conceptualize in terms of virtual or ideal and powers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Cracking how I wanted the Dustbringers to work was probably the trickiest of them all, because I knew that we were going to have (not to give spoilers) some things happening with the Dustbringers that would predispose readers toward them in a certain way that I did not want the Radiant Order to exemplify. And I wanted to be sure what I thought the distinction was and why it was possible that they could go in a different direction. (Trying to circumlocute all of these things to not spoil you.) They were the hardest, probably.

    Building up how to make the Surges work, I would say that building up how I wanted the strong force and the weak force, and turning them into fantasticalized versions that basically have very little to do. Like, I even went kind of the surface tension, and things like that. Those were the trickiest. Like, gravity was pretty obvious and ended up working pretty well. I didn't one-to-one move the fundamental forces, by the way. I just took the idea of fundamental forces. But I wanted there to be nods to most of the fundamental forces in the Surges, just because that's where the inspiration was, and because I was gonna be using gravity, quite obviously, because that's the one that made me most excited, and as you can see the Windrunners and the Skybreakers were two of the first ones that we dealt a lot with.

    YouTube Livestream 14 ()
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    Austin

    How did you go about making all of your magic systems together in the context of the wider Cosmere in a way that feels natural?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I (like a lot of things related to the cosmere) had a leg up because I had written so many books before I got published. I had written thirteen novels before I got published, and among those novels were six or seven pretty decent magic systems. And I started to notice fundamental things that I did when building a magic system that were very common to my writing. And for a while, I'm like, "I want to make sure I'm doing lots of variety, so I'll push this further."

    But I also kept noticing these connecting tissues, such as Intent being important behind the scenes to how the magic works, to the idea of the Three Realms. Realmatic theory showed up in Dragonsteel, which is the second Cosmere novel that I wrote and is based a little bit on Plato's theory of the Forms and things like that, but kind of taken my own way. And I always kind of start thinking of magic in that context.

    And because I had designed all of these things and was noticing themes, I always asked myself, "Where does the power for the magic come from?" I'm going to bend the laws of thermodynamics, but I'm not going to break them; I'm going to have a different sort of power source. That's just fundamental to how I like to do magic. Where does the energy come from? So building a common energy source to all of these was the first thing that I started to do, just very naturally. And it's part of what made me want to link the Cosmere together. I kept having these stories where I wanted to tell stories about these kind of divine forces, the powers of gods put in the hands of mortals: what does that do? That's a common theme that started showing up in the stories that I was writing before I got published. And I said, "Well, if it's a theme, it's something you're really interested in, why not build it into the entire continuity?" And that's where the idea of the Shards came from, and creating Shadesmar and all of that. It grew out of things I did naturally and saw as themes in my writing.

    And the linking then was very natural because they all were coming from the same essential power source, and they all had a few fundamental rules they were following. Mostly because that's how I build magic systems, right? If I have a problem, it's that when I try to build something that ends up not in the Cosmere, like Rithmatist, it still just basically works with Cosmere magic because that's a way that I build magic systems.

    Good question, but like a lot of things, a lot of my career's success can be traced back to the fact that I was really bad at this when I started, and I got a long time to practice before I went pro.

    Orem signing ()
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    Questioner

    Is Koloss Head-Munching Day like Weasel Stomping Day?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Someone asked me way before I was famous, back when it was five or six people who read my books, like "Are there any holidays?" and I'm like "Yeah, Koloss Head-Munching Day!" And then the fans took it and ran with it. At the next signing, they said "What is it?" and I'm like "Uh, my birthday" and then it just became a thing.

    Questioner 2

    What is it? What does it mean?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It means it's the day that the koloss go have some heads to eat.

    Questioner 2

    What I want to know is how the koloss can make a decision on their own? To munch heads? Somebody has to tell them, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The thing about koloss is that they try to imitate and recapture being human. So they wear coin pouches and things like that, so they get it wrong. They know that holidays exist.

    It's partially just a joke.

    Footnote: Koloss Head-Munching Day/Brandon's birthday is December 19th. Weasel Stomping Day is a Weird Al song.
    Orem signing ()
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    Questioner

    How do you get the Asian themes in without it being so corny?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You try to break down... Use multiple inspirations and tie them together. Try to extrapolate. Try to look at what are caricatures and stray away from that. Being influenced by the philosophy and the thinking and the culture to create things that are similar but going their own direction will help you do that sort of thing. Justifying things in-world rather than just dropping them in. Take a look at the safehand, which is based off of not -- but as an Asian culture thing, when I lived in Korea, you didn't show the bottom of your feet to people. It was considered rude. That was really interesting to me, and creating a similar taboo but with different groups and different reasons, it was... You can see my experience in how it came out. Do things like that.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Faenors7

    They [the Alethi] are tan.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're not wrong for your observation, here, /u/Faenors7. When I saw them, I noted to Isaac that the skin tone for the Alethi in the cards [Stormlight Archive Playing Cards from the Way of Kings Leatherbound Kicksterter] was a touch darker than I imagined. But it was within the variance (I'll explain below) we imagine for the Alethi, so I decided here that we should leave it.

    The reason is that we've allowed a lot of leeway to artists in their depictions. If they paint everyone looking white, we speak up, and we usually show them some of our guides of models and pieces of art we think are on target for character designs.

    However, I haven't wanted to have a strict skin tone guide. Thing is, most Rosharans don't look at skin tone so much as eye color and hair color. It isn't that they ignore skin tone, but it isn't the same for them as it is for us, in part because a lot of cultures (like the Alethi and the Vedens) have a wide range of skin tones.

    It's something I think we (myself included) are a little blind to in American culture. Like, we call someone black if they (like President Obama) are of a mixed race heritage. This is partially because of our particular biases. But what makes someone black is actually pretty nebulous as a skin tone shade when you look at the wide variety of black skin tones. The same goes for what ethnicity we consider white, when a hundred and fifty years ago, the more olive-skinned European people's would have not been lumped into that group.

    I often point to India as a good example of what you might find in Alethkar--you find a ton of skin tones across the sub-continent, and they're all Indian. Same for the Alethi. And I don't spend a lot of time talking about whose skin tone is darker, and whose is lighter, within that range.

    So when we get back something like these cards--and this is how the artist views and imagines the characters--we roll with it, offering little pieces of feedback here and there. (We had her make tweaks to Adolin, for example, to get him closer to how I imagined him.) Same for the poster--which has the Alethi characters with lighter skin, closer to what we'd see on a Japanese person on Earth.

    This might be the wrong path, and I'd appreciate feedback on it. I do want to be careful not to whitewash characters (something I've had trouble with before in cover art) but I also worry if we focus too much on exactly how dark or light the skin of these characters are, we're missing the point a little. I believe in letting people who read the books imagine the characters as they would like, with me providing some guidance. It's a central theme to me in how I perceive the author-reader relationship.

    This was why I was hesitant at first to even have depictions of characters in the books. (And why I liked the first cover of the US edition so much.) As we've moved along, however, I've taken a different tactic--that of admiring, and even including, different depictions from different artists, letting variety (hopefully) let the reader imagine as they want.

    Sorry for the long post. It's a topic that keeps coming up, so I thought I should say something more definitive. Hopefully, people can keep a link to this post in their pockets whenever discussions about this pop up.

    LewsTherinTelescope

    I guess I must've misremembered a quote of you talking about them as darker. Oops.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, you're probably not remembering wrong. I've been asked before if the Alethi skin tone is darker than, say, a person from Japan might have. And I'll usually say, yes--in general they are. But I also think it's all right to paint them like a modern day Earth person from that region, as that's often what artists will use for a model or reference. So in general, if you saw an Alethi person, you'd think, "Asian person, with tanner skin than most." But that's imagining an average Alethi, with some having a darker tone, and some having a lighter one.

    YouTube Livestream 13 ()
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    Questioner

    If you had to design a legendary creature for Magic: The Gathering for Szeth, what would it do? And what colors would it be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Szeth is maybe Mardu. Maybe Orzov. It depends on if you get that red in there. He's very passionate, but his passions don't really direct him, it's more the logic. So probably some sort of White/Black, maybe with Red. Like, Mardu is a pretty good fit for him, but the Red is definitely the weakest of those three.

    What would I have him do? I don't know. The tricky thing about designing characters as Magic cards is: the power sets in the Stormlight Archive do not match the colors of the personalities of characters. A lot of times, for the iconic Magic characters, they make their power set match their personality leanings. Szeth's powers may not really match a White/Black character very well. Having power to fly works in White/Black, so you could do that. So he would probably have some sort of thing like that. But there's also kind of an indestructibility, which also could work. Maybe some of the vampire designs recently would work for Szeth. I don't know; I'd have to think about it.

    YouTube Livestream 13 ()
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    Extremepayne

    Are the shash glyph on Kal's forehead that means "dangerous" and the shash glyph for the Lightweavers related? If so, how?

    Isaac Stewart

    I don't believe that they're related. I think these are words like, in English, where we have "to," "too," and "two." There is also, I think, a shash somewhere else in one of the other books; it might have been Warbreaker. And it's just a recurring sound.

    With the two glyphs, they're not related. They're as related as the words "too" and "two" are.

    YouTube Livestream 13 ()
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    Eric

    Does Syl have ADHD?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wrote Syl like I perceive my son, who has ADHD, perceiving the world. So yes, that was a touchstone when I was writing her viewpoint, was that. She would probably be diagnosed with ADHD if you had her sit down and talk to a therapist now. She's spren, so I'm not sure if I can call it true ADHD, 'cause ADHD has certain root causes in human physiology and psychology. But that's how I wrote her. I said, "What would it feel like to be Syl," and I felt like she would exhibit some of the same behaviors and same thought patterns.

    You could call that a "yes." The short answer is "yes." The long answer is, "I'm not sure if I can diagnose a spren." (And I shouldn't be diagnosing anyone, because I am not certified to do so.)

    YouTube Livestream 13 ()
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    King of Herdaz

    Roshar is themed around the number ten. Scadrial and the cosmere as a whole is themed around the number sixteen. Are there any other planets themed around certain numbers? And if so, where and what are they? Or Read and Find Out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Read and Find Out for that, but yes, this is a thing that I wanted to do at the beginning of the Cosmere and really leaned into in a couple of them. Honestly, with Mistborn, sixteen became the thing, but I was planning to lean into four more than sixteen for that series. But then sixteen became so important to the whole cosmere, and I wasn't sure... let's just say, four is where I was gonna go with that one.

    But yes, there are others. Whether I'll actually really lean into them or not remains to be seen. But yes, I have plans.

    YouTube Livestream 13 ()
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    Zman966

    You've assured readers that Kaladin is a safe name to use for a child or pet. Would you be willing to comment on Adolin in the same way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would not.

    Here's my thing. This all gives too many spoilers. You're gonna think I'm saying something about that. The reason I would not is not because of anything specific I'm planning about Adolin. Even though you're going to assume that from the way I said this, it is actually not. It is because I realized the danger in confirming that sort of thing and giving away too much of the future.

    And so, I would say that most of these names are safe in that, if they turned out to go down a dark route, you could make the argument that you named the character after them when they were on the right path. You can still name a kid Anakin; and Anakin encapsulates the good part of Anakin Skywalker. And I think you can do that and not have it be like, "You are naming your kid after a terrible space tyrant who murders children!" Well, technically, he turned into that, but...

    I am not going to tell you other names that are safe. It just potentially gives too much away. What I can promise is that I will try very hard to treat the characters well (as well as they will let me) in the arcs and journeys they decide to go on.

    YouTube Livestream 13 ()
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    Vivasher Club Emo Teen (@skywardflights)

    I know people who relate a lot to Shallan's arc due to how similar her personalities are to Dissociative Identity Disorder. Did you intentionally write her to be recognizable DID?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did, but I shied away from it in the earlier books, because I knew I was going to be doing fantastical things, and I didn't want to be offering too much commentary on DID. That was kind of my worry. With Kaladin, I knew depression well enough from family members and things that I felt like I could be a very strong contributor to the conversation. But, I started with Shallan saying, "I don't know if I'm gonna go this route." But then, the further I went, the more I felt it would be irresponsible to not do this. And so, in the last books, I just bit the bullet, dug really far into the DSM-5 and into reading firsthand, primary accounts from people. We got a very helpful person with DID to be one of our beta readers for this last book. And I just did my best to present it accurately and to present the non-Hollywood version of it. And so, basically, Oathbringer and Rhythm of War lean into it a little more than the first two books do, though that was where I was going. And I do have a working knowledge of Dissociative Identity Disorder, and did even back then. I don't think I did a terrible job, but I think it would have been irresponsible for me to go forward without digging in a little further.

    YouTube Livestream 13 ()
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    King of Herdaz

    In the Stormlight books, the number ten is thematically and culturally very important. In The Way of Kings Prime, the word "tenset" is commonly used to refer to ten of something. So, when Rosharans in the published Stormlight books talk about "a dozen" of something, do they mean twelve? Or do they mean ten?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a great question. I've been using "tens" more often in Stormlight, because I've found that people will go with it. One of the problems I felt with Way of Kings Prime was that the worldbuilding, the learning curve was too steep. So when I wrote Way of Kings the new version, I scaled back a little on that. We mentioned weeks, but we don't talk about about the fact that on Roshar, a week is five days, right? We talk about hours, but we don't go into the length of time a day is. It gets all wibbly-wobbly, shall we say.

    And my explanation of this is: these are all in translation. The translator (who is me) who is interpreting it, most of the time, when they say "tens," I will write "a dozen," or something like that. But not always.

    Now, I am edging toward more "tens," because in-world they would use "tens." Peter is okay with this. Karen's like, "Eh, it makes continuity a little wonky." But I feel like, having gone as long as we have, people are okay dealing with more of that, so I'm leaning that direction. But understand, I am the translator presenting this to you. Pretend that, when Wit says something that's a pun in their language, I am finding a pun in English that is similar and writing it out, because he's not actually saying what the book is having him say.

    But this is all just something you have to put in to imagine to keep that sense of immersion for you. And whichever one works to help you. But, yeah, they would be using "tens." They'd say "tens of" this, instead of "dozens," more often.

    YouTube Livestream 13 ()
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    Marcus

    I'm really curious about how the Allomancy would be represented in a Mistborn adaptation. While you're writing the screenplay, have you already planned something? And is the screenplay still a project? Because your progress bar has been removed, and I got kind of confused.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I took the screenplay off of the progress bar because I'm not actively writing it right now because I have the [Dawnshard] novella to do. I thought I might be getting into it in July, but it doesn't look like I will. All the progress on the screenplay so far that you see is me writing the treatment, not the actual screenplay. And the treatment is, like, a big fancy outline for a screenplay. And in the treatment, what I have right now is that we represent Allomancy with: steelpushing and ironpulling, the thing that the Allomancer is pushing on is going to flash blue on the screen and you'll see a little line from them to the thing. You won't see all of the lines, most likely. There might be a scene where we show it all once or twice, but mostly it's like, "Allomancer, line to the blue thing, and then zip, off they go." This is gonna really depend on things like people who actually know how to do effects on film telling me if it's going to work or not, but it sounds good so far.

    Burning pewter, I'm using the same sort of blue feeling. With that, I'm sending a ripple of blue lines, almost more like little lightning or veins, up the person's arms or body, wherever they're increasing their strength, so to speak. (I mean, it does it for all of you, but visually, to draw attention like that.)

    The one that's still iffy is emotional Allomancy. Which, in the treatment right now, I say: when someone's been affected by emotional Allomancy, we show their eyes flash blue for just a second. The trick is, this can't be diegetic, it can't be something that's actually happening in-world, because it would be too much of a tell that someone is having emotional Allomancy. So I don't know if it is okay to go with something that's just a symbol for the viewer to know that it's happening, or if that is just too confusing and people will be like, "Why didn't he see that her eyes flashed blue?" or things like that.

    My plan is still to write the first draft of the screenplay, but to work with an established screenwriter thereafter to make it actually good. And this'll depend on the established screenwriter that I work with and who ends up being the director on the project, right? Like, there's a lot of people that we're talking to that would be interested. And it also depends on if it ends up live action or animated. Animation is not off the table, even though I really would like to do live action just because I think that our chances of doing Stormlight live action are much lower, and our chances of doing something animated are much higher, just because Stormlight's got so many weird things going on with the spren and the storyline being such that it is.

    A lot of things are up in the air with all of this. The only thing I've decided right now is that I'm tired of optioning it and then waiting to see what happens and then maybe getting a screenplay that's okay or maybe not getting a screenplay at all. Basically, from now on, whoever I work with has to be working more closely with me. I think that I have achieved prominence enough in my field that I can just say no to people more easily and not have to roll the dice quite so much. So we'll see if that works out or not.

    San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
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    Questioner

    You've mentioned before that Odium is scared of Harmony. Is it only because of the raw power of the two Shards? Or is he scared of what Harmony represents? (Meaning the possibility of merging two Shards.) Was he aware that this was possible?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He, on one level, was aware. But it was more of awareness of this as a possibility. It actually happening is part of what has him scared. It's the idea of the two merging Shards both being more powerful and finding a harmony. (Which Sazed is actually having way more trouble doing than Odium realizes.) Those two things really have Odium scared. Because, partially, this means he has to find a way to destroy or split Harmony without taking up a second Shard himself, because Odium knows if he takes up a second Shard, terrible things will happen. And so he doesn't want to do that. (Terrible things as he views them.) And so he's gotta find a way to split this apart, or somehow otherwise defeat.

    Now, the more he learns about Sazed's actual state, the less afraid he'll probably be. But that's an advantage that Sazed has right now.

    San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
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    Questioner

    We know that Soulcaster savants exist and Radiants are protected by the Nahel bond but not immune to becoming one. Can all Surges cause becoming a savant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, they could.

    Questioner

    Can other fabrials, such as the one that takes away pain and the one that offers Regrowth, cause some sort of savanthood?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Those, I'll explain the distinction in Rhythm of War. I get deep into the fabrial science. There is a big distinction between those fabrials and Soulcasters that will become manifest. Let's say that what happens to Soulcasters is more likely to cause savanthood and the side effects.

    San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
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    Questioner

    Did the Ones Above seek out First of the Sun specifically? Or did they stumble upon it mostly by chance?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, here's the thing. You can see in Shadesmar where planets with intelligent life on them are. So, on one hand, you can stumble across them. But on the other hand, you're gonna know which planets, which systems, and where the intelligent life is. Specifically, First of the Sun has this weird thing where it's got kind of a Shardpool but no Shard in attendance. Getting there, they knew it was there, but couldn't get through; and so visited it in the Physical Realm intentionally. So they didn't stumble upon it, but it was originally stumbled upon in Shadesmar, if that makes sense.

    San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
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    Questioner

    If Vasher and Shashara had Awakened a non-weapon in exactly the same way as Nightblood (say a shield), would the object exhibit the same properties as Nightblood?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, if you said "destroy evil" to a shield... no, it wouldn't be exactly the same. The Command is the most important part of all of this, but the shape, how the weapon perceives itself, how you perceive it, is all gonna play into this. They're playing with some real dangerous stuff when they made Nightblood. And it didn't go as intended.

    San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
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    Questioner

    The Heralds seem to be insane in the ways of their Divine Attributes, at least somewhat. Is this because they're Heralds? As Cognitive Shadows, they're subject to people's perception, like how spren are?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a very astute question, and yes, that is influencing them quite a bit. I'm doing something here with the Heralds. Like, I want the Heralds "madnesses," as we call them, to be magical diseases. And the contrast of something like Kaladin's depression, which I'm trying to treat very real-world. I'm trying to treat them as these things that couldn't exist in our world. They're fantastical mental diseases, like we have fantastic physical diseases in Elantris. So I did make them thematic, and I would say part of the reason for that is people's perception of them and their mental state reacting against that. And that should be a theme among all of the Heralds.

    San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
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    Questioner

    Shardblades burn out the eyes of the victims, and deadeyes have their eyes scratched out in Shadesmar. Is the connection here purely thematic? Or are there actual Realmatic mechanics behind it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are, but they're pretty slight. I would lean more on the idea of the thematic, this more being a Roshar thing, with the eye color, the eyes being scratched out, Shardblades burning out the eyes. There are some Realmatic things behind this, but mostly it's me trying to connect a theme in this magic system.

    As you might know (maybe, maybe not), Shardblades originally did cut flesh. I wrote the entire prologue with Szeth and them cutting flesh and... ooh, boy, was that bloody! These are books about war, but man, it was just so gory that I'm like, "I'm gonna back off on this. Let's have it burn out the eyes instead." And I liked it way better that way.

    San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
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    Stormlightning

    How the heck is Nale's spren still with him? Is his spren as wacky as he is? Or is it dead, and he still carries it around?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nale's spren is alive. The highspren... I would say "wacky" is probably a decent term for them. I would blame some of how Nale is acting more on the highspren. Obviously, it's partially being a Herald and all the things he's gone through, but they're all on board for this. So read that as you will.

    Well, "all." The ones that are making Radiants of the Order are on board for it. You'll get to see Szeth interact with his just a little bit. There's not a ton of Szeth in this book, but you've got a few chapters. At least one, for sure. And he gets to interact with his spren, and you'll get a better picture of the highspren from that moment.

    San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
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    Questioner

    Shardblades cut organic and inorganic matter differently. How would they interact with an animated construct like an Awakened straw man? What about a Lifeless?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So I walk kind of a fine line here. Something that's animated as a construct, like an Awakened straw man, is likely going to block the Shardblade to some extent, as powerful Investiture would. A Lifeless is probably just gonna act like it was a living being.

    San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
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    StarburstWrapperTie

    What is it like at the poles of Roshar, where the highstorms are circling around?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We've thought about this a lot, and I'm going to RAFO this for now. Because I need some meteorological help on some of these things. And so I'm not gonna speak until I'm sure that I know... Like, the meteorology of Roshar is bizarre anyway, the storms are magical, they're dropping crem. So it doesn't mean we have to keep to it exactly. But this is one that I don't quite want to answer yet.

    San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
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    StarburstWrapperTie

    What kind of spren is Oathbringer, the Shardblade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oathbringer is not technically a spren. Why I call these things the Honorblades, kind of where the whole Shardblade concept fits in, is that these are literally pieces of Honor's soul that he Splintered off and formed weapons out of for the Heralds. These didn't actually have sentience, in the same way that the spren forming most of the Shardblades are. They're literally a piece of the god who ruled this world turned into weapons. And the spren, who are also pieces of the same divinity, saw what was happening, and this kind of became a model by which Shardblades came about.

    So Oathbringer doesn't have a spren. If you wanted to call it something, call it a sliver of Honor that has been manifested in physical form. That does mean the blade would actually be made of Tanavast's god metal, so tanavastium, if you want to call it that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that's just me hearing what I wanted to hear, not what was actually asked. It happens more often than I'd like; I get into this groove of answering questions, and start answering what I'm thinking about rather than what actually gets asked. A lot of times, I'm expecting a question (often because it's one that gets asked a lot, like what are Shardblades made out of) and my brain defaults to the answer I've prepared. I think it might be because I've trained myself to answer questions while doing other things.

    Oathbringer's not an Honorblade. It was a Stoneward's blade a long time ago, with the corresponding spren.

    Miscellaneous 2017 ()
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    Dan Wells

    This is actually an idea we came up with on the cruise last year was to do an episode about all the things that we have tried to make work and couldn't; the novels that we abandoned halfway through or the short stories that just never came together. And we thought it would be a really fun way to end this year in kind of a backhanded, inspirational way to say, look, we're all successful at this and we still screw up all the time.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. And it's not just what we do when we were trying to break in, not those old trunk novels. It still happens every year. Let's take each, our biggest one, like the thing we got the most involved in, or the one that was most tragic to us that we couldn't make work and talk about it. And I'll just go ahead and start.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I - right before I got the call for the Wheel of Time, which changed my life dramatically - I had finished the Mistborn series, I'd finished Warbreaker and Elantris, and next I thought, I'm going to jump back in the shared universe of my Cosmere and write the prequel series that started it all, where everything came from. This is the backstory of the character known as Hoid, who is a fan favorite. And I'm like, I'm going to do this trilogy, or more books. It's going to be super awesome. It's going to just be the greatest thing ever. And I actually finished the whole book and it was a disaster. It was a train wreck of a book. The character, for the first time - it's like this whole problem you have when you have a really engaging side character that you try to make a main character - didn't work at all as a main character, at least as the personality I had for them way back when. The plot was boring. The setting just was even more boring, which is saying a lot for me. I tried to pull and incorporate some different elements from books that I had tried before and none of them meshed. And so it felt like five books with a bad character and no plot. It was a huge, just terrible thing.

    Howard Tayler

    Did it have a good magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The magic system was weak.

    Here's the thing. It had a really good magic system from another world that I ported into this world that didn't jive. And the one that was from this world never meshed well with that. And so the magic system was really weak in that it was doing cool things, but in complete contrast to the tone of the novel. Dan may have read some of it, Liar of Partinel.

    Dan Wells

    Uh, no.

    Brandon Sanderson

    OK. The writing group which just kind of baffled by this. I actually tried -speaking of what we did last week - I actually started with the clichéd scene of someone being hung and then flashing back to show how they got there - like it had so many problems with it.

    Dan Wells

    72 hours earlier.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Yeah, it was, exactly. It was one of those things. Exactly one of those things. Like "I'm going to to try this tool. Oh, this tool is not a tool," right? Like some tools you try and you're like, "Oh, that's a cool tool that doesn't deserve its reputation." Some of them you try and you're like, "This is so..."

    Dan Wells

    There's a reason everyone makes fun of this one. Wow.

    So I kind of want to ask questions about how bad it was.

    Specifically with Hoid.

    Because that's what fascinates me about this. He was, he is a fan favorite and he's always the side character, you know.

    He's the one who's sits off and makes goofy comments and, you know, maybe appears once and then leaves. What did you do when you attempted to make him a main character? Like what was your process there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So I knew the biggest chance for failure on this was, you know, taking him a bit, having be too wacky through the course, right? It's the Minion movie thing, which worked for my kids, but for a lot of people are like "These side characters that add flavor to a larger story, when you make the whole story about them, are super annoying." I'm like, I can't have him be super annoying! Well, that's OK. It's you know, when he was young, when you're seeing him in the books, he's hundreds and hundreds years old. He was young, and so I will take that part out. But I did this weird dual identity thing with him, where he was like pretending to be someone else for a big chunk of the book because it had a really cool twist when I did the whole reveal. But then that meant I had to characterize him as somebody you grew too emotionally invested in somebody to...at the end you're like, "Surprise! In the next book you'll get to know who he really is." Which was part of it. And the person I was having him be was bland on purpose because it was like trying to hide and pretend to... Oh, man! There were so many problems with this character, like it was trying to be too clever, leaving out the cleverness that had made him a fan favorite on purpose. Right? So it's a different kind of cleverness. And it just did not work. Didn't work at all.

    Dan Wells

    Do you think that if you were to write that book today, you could make it work?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have completely scrapped that, and what actually changed my opinion on how to do this was Name of the Wind. It needs to be him in the future, flashing back and talking about himself because people will have already bonded to who he is in the future. And it needs to be a memoir. It needs to be...the Assassin's Apprentice is a better example of what this needs to be, because Robin Hobb does such a great job of showing you that contrast between what someone is now and what they've become. And so I need to do something like this. This is now my feel on it. If I then can set in his own voice, I can have these, you know, this first person where we're really, really fun in Hoid's voice for all, and then he fades into the story when he's telling a story, he's not nearly as, you know, he doesn't try to zing you every minute, he tries to tell the story well. That's who he is. And so he will tell the story well. And then we can pop out occasionally and get, you know, it's like Bilbo from The Hobbit.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So we'll see if I can write it. But that's my plan right now. And there is my true confession of failure. There've been other ones since, but that's the one that hurt, hit me the most. I actually wrote The Rithmatist as I was supposed to go into the sequel to this and start outlining it, and I'm just like "I can't, this book is so bad." And I wrote The Rithmatist without telling any one of my editors I sent that in instead of Liar of Partinel.

    TWG Posts ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Folks,

    I've turned my full attention back to this book, and have done a heavy rewrite of Chapter One, which helped me pound out who Midius is (in my mind at least.)  You can see the effect your comments had.  Here's the new version.  As always, comments are welcome!

    Brandon Sanderson

    All, here's an experimental change I'm considering for the Theus chapters (and note the new Midius chapter at the bottom of the previous page.) I think this may soften the brutality somewhat, even though it's all still there. It will make for a drastic change in feel for the king as a character, but I'm very tempted to do this instead. Reactions?

    NEW CHAPTER TWO BEGINNING

    It’s a bad day to kill, Theusa thought. Too cloudy. A man should be able to see the sun when he dies, feel the warmth on his skin one last time.

    She marched down the dusty path, crops to her right and left, guards behind her. The men of her personal guard wore woolen cloaks over bronze breastplates. Bronze. So expensive. What farming supplies could she have traded for instead of the valuable metal armor?

    And yet, she really had no choice. The armor meant something. Strength. Power. She needed to show both.

    Several of the soldiers pulled their cloaks tight against the morning’s spring chill. Theusa herself wore a woolen dress and shawl, the copper crown on her head the only real indication of her station. King. It had been twenty-some years since anyone had dared question her right to that title. In the open, at least.

    Her breath puffed in front of her, and she pulled her shawl close. I’m getting old, she thought with annoyance.

    Behind her towered the grand city state of Partinel, circled entirely--lake and all--by a rough stone wall reaching some fifteen feet high. The wall had been commissioned, then finished, by Yornes the grand, her father-in-law. She’d married his son, Didarion, in her twenty-third year of life.

    Didarion been a short time later. That had been almost thirty years ago, now.

    Old indeed, Theusa thought, passing out of the ring of crops. Partinel’s trune ring was one of the largest in the Cluster, but it still provided a relatively small area in which to grow food. They grew right up to the edge of the city wall in a full circle around the city. Running in a loop around them was a narrow, earthen road. Beyond that, a wide patch of carefully-watched and cultivated walnut trees ran around the city. Her people cut down one group of trees every year and planted a new patch. It was a good system, giving them both hardwood for trade and nuts for food. In the Cluster, no land could be wasted.

    Because beyond the trees, the land became white. The walnuts stands marked the border, the edge of Partinel’s trune ring and the beginning of fainlands.

    Theusa could see the fain forest through a patch of walnut saplings. She paused, looking out at the hostile, bleached landscape. Bone white trees, with colorless undergrowth twisting and creeping around the trunks. White leaves fluttered in the breeze, sometimes passing into the trune ring, dusted with a prickly white fungus.

    Skullmoss, the herald of all fain life. Her soldiers and workers gathered the leaves anyway and burned them, though it wasn’t really nessissary. Though eating something fain--animal or plant--was deadly to a human, simple interaction with it was not. Besides, fain life, even the skullmoss, could not live inside of a trune ring.

    That’s how it had always been. White trees beyond the border, trune life within. People could go out into the fainlands--there was no real danger, for skullmoss couldn’t corrupt a living creature. Some brave cities even used fain trees for lumber, though Theusa had never dared.

    She shivered, turning away from the fain forest and turning to where a group of soldiers--with leather vests and skirts--stood guarding a few huddled people. The prisoners included one man, his wife, and two children. All knelt in the dirt, wearing linen smocks tied with sashes.

    The father looked up as Theusa approached, and his eyes widened. Her reputation preceded her. The Bear of Partinel, some called her: a stocky, square-faced woman with graying hair. Theusa walked up to the kneeling father, then bent down on one knee, regarding the man.

    The peasant had a face covered in dirt, but his sandaled feet were a dusty white. Skullmoss. Theusa avoided touching the dust, though it should be unable to infect anything within a trune ring. She studied the man for a time, reading the pain and fear in his face. He lowered his eyes beneath the scruitiny.

    “Everyone has a place, young man,” she finally said.

    The outsider glanced back up.

    “The people of this city,” Theusa continued, “they belong here. They work these crops, hauling water from the stormsea to the troughs. Their fathers bled to build and defend that wall. They were born here. They will die here. They are mine.”

    “I can work, lady,” the man whispered. “I can grow food, build walls, and fight.”

    Theusa shook her head. “That’s not your place, I’m afraid. Our men wait upon drawn lots for the right to work the fields and gain a little extra for their families. There is no room for you. You know this.”

    “Please,” the man said. He tried to move forward, but one of the soldiers had his hand on the man’s shoulder, holding him down.

    Theusa stood. Jend, faithful as always, waited at the head of her soldiers. He handed Theusa a small sack. She judged the weight, feeling the kernels of grain through the canvas, then tossed it to the ground before the outsider. The man looked confused.

    “Take it,” Theusa said. “Go find a spot of ground that the fainlands have relinquished, try to live there as a chance cropper.”

    “The moss is everywhere lately,” the man said. “If clearings open up, they are gone before the next season begins.”

    “Then boil the grain and use it to sustain you as you find your way to Rens,” Theusa said. “They take in outsiders. I don’t care. Just take the sack and go.”

    The man reached out a careful hand, accepting the grain. His family watched, silent, yet obviously confused. This was the Bear of Partinel? A woman who would give free grain to those who tried to sneak into her city? What of the rumors?

    “Thank you, lady,” the man whispered.

    Theusa nodded, then looked to Jend. “Kill the woman.”

    “Wha--” the outsider got halfway through the word before Jend unsheathed his bronze gladius and rammed it into the stomach of the kneeling outsider woman. She gasped in shock, and her husband screamed, trying to get to her. The guards held him firmly as Jend pulled the sword free, then he cut at the woman’s neck. The weapon got lodged in the vertebrae, and it took him three hacks to get the head free. Even so, the execution was over in just a few heartbeats.

    The outsider continued to scream. Theusa stooped down again--just out of the man’s reach--blood trickling across the packed earth in front of her. One of the guards slapped the outsider, interrupting his yells.

    “I am sorry to do this,” Theusa said. “Though I doubt you care how I feel. You must understand, however. Everyone has a place. The people of this city, they are mine--and my place is to look after them.”

    The outsider hissed curses at her. His children--the boy a young teen, the girl perhaps a few years younger--were sobbing at the sight of their mother’s death.

    “You knew the penalty for trying to sneak into my city,” Theusa said softly. “Everyone does. Try it again, and my men will find the rest of your family--wherever you’ve left them--and kill them.”

    Then, she stood, leaving the screaming peasant behind to yell himself ragged. Theusa’s personal guards moved behind her as she returned to the corridor through the wheat, Jend cleaning his gladius and sheathing it. Over the tops of the green spring plants, Theusa could see a man waiting for her before the city.

    (Edit, cleaned up language.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thanks for the comments, folks.  A new version has been uploaded, mostly making minor tweaks as suggested by db.  Some good points, and the prose needed streamlining.

    Dawn:

    For some reason, this just feels less brutal to me.  Theusa's language is softer than Theus's had been, and I think more reasonable.  Still brutal, yet somehow it works better for me.  That might just be because I've seen (and written) too many characters that feel like Theus, and changing the character to a female (who's a bit older, and who is arguably the legitimate ruler of the city) makes them feel a lot more exciting to write. 

    Gruff, Gritty, Male solder king: Feels overdone.

    Gruff, gritty, grandmother king: Not so much.

    I know it's more about how well the character is done, and less about whether it's been done before or not.  However, excitement on my part seems to make for a better story over-all.  So, I'm wondering if this character will be more exciting for me this way, or just much more trouble.  (I'll have to think of what to do for the next Theus chapter, for instance.  I really liked the fight there, and I can't really put Theusa in the same role.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    DavidB

    There are, unfortunately, reasons why I have to start the book where I did.  I can't get into it without major spoilers.  You are perfectly right about this chapter lacking a hook, which is why I decided from the get-go that I'd need to start with a scene from the middle of the book, then jump back. 

    So, this chapter should be considered the SECOND, and not the one that introduces Midius's character. 

    My goal is to try some new things with this book.  Who knows if it will work, but they will present narrative challenges for me, because even when we flash back, we're starting in the middle of a story, with Hoid already dead.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll admit, I'm really torn on this one.  I can't quite decide which way to go.  The thing is, I've been thinking about the characters so much that they're both--Theus and Theusa--now formed in my head.  I know their motivations and their feelings, but I can only use one of them.  

    With Theus I gain the ability to have he, himself fight.  I can show him with his family, which could really round out his character.  Yet, I worry that he's too similar to other characters I've written.  (Cett and Straff both come to mind from the Mistborn trilogy, though neither of them are as rounded, as well as Iadon from Elantris.  I've done a lot of brutal rulers.)   

    With Thesua, I lose the two things I mentioned above.  I couldn't soften her by showing a spouse and children, and while she'd still have a daughter, I don't see the child being as much of an influence on reader opinion.  And, there would be less action in the book by a slight amount as Theusa will not be a warrior, and will have to rely on Jend to do her combat.   

    However, I gain a tad of originality.  (How many tyrant grandmother city-state rulers are there in fiction?  Have to be fewer than men like Theus.)  I also gain some subtlety--Theusa's rule would be much more tenuous, because of her gender, and there would be a lot of politics working against her.   

    Both would play off of Yunmi very well, if for different reasons.  Midius's interactions lean slightly toward me liking Theus, but not a huge amount.   

    I keep going back and forth on this one.  So, I'll put off the decision until tomorrow and write a Yunmi chapter instead.  Huzzah!

    Brandon Sanderson

    After much playing with the plot and wrangling, I've decided to go with the male version of the character.  The new Midius chapter is here to stay, however.

    I'll just have to do the old grandma tyrant king in some other book. 

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    Questioner

    Who is your favorite minor Stormlight character?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    There's a new guy in Rhythm of War who has a really cool name.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Is this the Tuckerization? Stargyle? That's Steve Argyle. It is a cool name. I'm like, "How can I put a 'Steve' in that doesn't sound... He's a Lightweaver; what if he just made up a really cool stage name for himself?"

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    Questioner

    Did you do anything for Way of Kings Prime?

    Karen Ahlstrom

    I did not. I don't think I've even read that one. I did read Dragonsteel, but I haven't read Way of Kings Prime.

    Brandon Sanderson

    We had Kristy [Gilbert] look over it, who is a freelance editor friend of ours that we have do a lot of work because she's really good. She looked over Way of Kings Prime, but she's the only one, really.

    You are getting this pretty raw. This has seen one editor, whose job was just to make changes. We just said, "Change things you think need to be changed to make it more readable." But it's still a draft.

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    Peter Ahlstrom

    In Sadeas's warcamp [in Way of Kings], we had this character named Laresh, who came and delivered some recruits for the bridge. And we decided that he was really kind of a prototype for a different character who does the same thing, whose name also starts with "LA" [Lamaril], so we essentially said, "Eh, these are really the same guy. We'll just make them the same guy [in revision]."

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    Questioner

    What is the biggest continuity error you've caught?

    Karen Ahlstrom

    If he puts in somebody that's dead...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Once in a while, it usually happens with Bridge Four characters, the side characters. One of them, I had accidentally get resurrected.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Karen came to me yesterday, and she's like, "This guy is dead!" I'm like, "No no no, it's a different guy, it's okay."

    Karen Ahlstrom

    They didn't write his name. But there is a character with that exact description that is dead, and Peter convinced me it could have been a relative of theirs. So I'll give it to you.

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    Espion200

    What cosmere location has the best tacos or equivalent? And is Hoid a regular visitor to that location?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on how you feel about Soulcast meat. For people who are vegan, Soulcast meat involves using gemstones to make meat. Also, I would say that Soulcast meat has a certain flavor that is not bad, but it is acquired. And so, for some people, chouta is going to be, probably, the best street food in the cosmere.

    But otherwise, like most things, if you want to default to "What has the most Earth-like of X," it is going to be Scadrial. Scadrial is the one that I intentionally kind of keep closer to Earth-style cultures and things. For various reasons; like, for instance, the fact that I want to do a computer programmer as a protagonist in an upcoming sequence, there are things like that that I've built Scadrial to feel more Earth-like.

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    17th Shard

    Originally, it was said Way of Kings Prime had spoilers for later Stormlight. But we've released it now. Why is that? Do you still feel it has spoilers, or do you think it's safe or fine?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think it is fine, though it still has minor spoilers. The whole thread with Dalinar and Elhokar, I felt, was a pretty big spoiler. Because a very similar relationship played out in the published books, just with different results. I thought that one's a spoiler.

    I felt that some of the Taln stuff is slight spoilers. But one of the things that worked passably well in Way of Kings Prime is the question of, "Is this guy a Herald, or is he crazy?" That was a central theme for him. And that whole arc got transposed to Dalinar. "Am I seeing visions, or am I crazy?" Whole thing got transposed, and I knew by the time I was into the actual published versions of the Stormlight Archive, I knew by then that I couldn't do the same thing with Taln. We'd already had a plot cycle like that, plus I was going to be introducing the Heralds, and it was going to be very clear that the Heralds are back and that the Voidbringers are here. And so the question of "Are the Voidbringers actually coming back? Were the Heralds real?" Thats, like, a major theme of Way of Kings Prime. And that cannot be a theme of the published version. And so, for a while, I was still holding onto the hope that maybe I can do something like this with Taln. And eventually, I said, "No, I just can't." It would be too repetitive and what-not, and that's part of what made me realize it's okay to release Way of Kings Prime. The stuff that happens to Taln is going to be so different from where I'm going to be taking him moving forward that it's okay.

    There's still some minor, slight things that are still gonna show up, but it would be hard to pick out what those are. And when they happen in the actual series, you'd be like, "Oh, I can see the resonance of this to the original." Just like the Elhokar/Dalinar thing (which is more overt) resonates through that one into this one.

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    Pai Lanningham

    Given that the 17th Shard picks through every word you say with a fine-toothed comb and argues over the tiniest details, what have you said in the past to most thoroughly troll them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I try not to actively troll on those sorts of things. I like that people are interested in my work and are treating it with sincerity. It is far better than the alternative. So I don't do a ton of trolling. But I would call things like the Shardhunt and things like that that we did a bit of trolling. (If you weren't aware, that's where I was giving out codes you could find or could get from me that would unlock things. We did it for Steelheart, we did it for Wheel of Time, and I think we did it for one of the other books. And there's some trolling that goes on involved in that where I'm hiding these things and playing coy about what they would reveal, and stuff like that.)

    I guess you would count, when someone asks me a question that a "yes" is a technically true answer but I know it's going to mislead them, I will still often say "yes." Because if they give me wiggle room on some of these very detailed questions, I will take it. So because of that, sometimes they grossly misinterpret things I say.

    But I also, sometimes, am really tired and don't hear the question right and answer something, and then they don't grossly misinterpret it; I have just misled them. Both of those things happen.

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    Esper

    Have you ever followed the cremposting subreddit?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't really follow it. I go to it when people tag me, and that's about it. I think it's hilarious, but it's not one that I track a lot.

    That's for Cosmere memes, basically, and/or Brandon Sanderson memes. If you feel like going there and cremposting, you may do so. They tag me on some interesting things, now and then.

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    Robert

    In your last Reddit update, you gave a good rundown of your future projects until Stormlight Five. Time permitting, could you talk about other side projects, like the non-Cosmere short works collection, Apocalypse Guard, Alcatraz, and The Rithmatist?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Alcatraz Six is done, being illustrated as we speak. We have the deal in hand from Tor to publish it. Alcatraz Six is a go. Should happen next year, I would suspect. And that is the actual ending to the Alcatraz series. Co-authored with Janci, who is amazing.

    Apocalypse Guard has been kicked back to me from Dan, I think I mentioned before. I need to do a draft on it. Dan improved it wonderfully, but what he didn't fix is the ending, which is still broken, because endings aren't Dan's thing in the first place, they're kind of my thing. Which is part of why I pulled the book, is that the ending was not working. So, I need to fix the ending. Fortunately, I came up with a pretty good plan for doing it. So it's going to go on my list sometime during these next couple years, when I need a break between things I will do an Apocalypse Guard revision. It will probably only take me, I would guess, two to three weeks of work to fix it. So that's a strong plausibility that I will be fixing that book in the coming months.

    Non-Cosmere collection. I have lots of stories for it; we actually commissioned all the art for it, but that's when we thought that Snapshot was going to get greenlit. It got really close to being greenlit as a movie, but then the option on that lapsed, as they didn't end up doing the greenlight last year. So now, we don't have a movie tie-in to push us to do that, which we still probably should do at some point, is get that collection out. With the couple of short stories I've written that would go in there that we're not gonna necessarily publish somewhere else. Though I did tell you guys, I am sending them out under a false name to see if I can get any magazines to pick them up. It's going to happen eventually; I don't know when. There's some new, cool talks that are happening around Snapshot, which is the most movie-friendly of the things for the non-Cosmere collection. We will see.

    I know, for instance, in Spain, they want to take Defending Elysium, which is tied to the Skyward books, and do a Spanish translation of that, in conjunction with a Skyward book, so that might be happening. But I'm not sure how that's going to end up working.

    This schedule for me does not include any little side novellas that I decide to write, or side short stories. It leaves some wiggle room, but not a lot, for me to do something like that. So we'll have to see. If some Secret Project pops up on the progress bars, you will know that I have felt too constrained by the schedule I have set for myself and have started writing something else. That hasn't happened in a little while, but it totally could happen. I think the last one of those was the Wizards of the Coast story, where I just had to write that.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    I will feel bad if the [Dawnshard] ebook isn't out by the time that Stormlight Four is. You don't have to have read that before this one; it's not hugely integrated, because it's about Rysn. But there are some things that happen, that you'll get to Book Four and be like, "Wait a minute, wait a minute. They're mentioning a trip to Aimia. What happened there?" That the novella would help you with. And then, when you get to the Rysn interlude in this book (which is a little different from previous Rysn interludes), I wrote it in such a way as to not spoil the novella, in case people hadn't read it yet. And so it's a very different sort of interlude. But you would appreciate having read the novella when you get to it, I suspect.

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    Questioner

    Will [Dawnshard] be available to buy in hardcover later?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it should be. We are probably only going to print for the Kickstarter, starting. As part of the Kickstarter, you get the ebook; everybody gets that. And then those who have ordered it will get the print book. I assume we'll have hardcovers on our store for sale. I assume we'll print enough that we can have some for sale.

    One warning I'll make to you is that if I do an Arcanum Unbounded 2, we would put this as one of the anchor stories in that. So if you prefer to collect them in physical form in the collections, you can get the ebook now as part of the Kickstarter, and then you could wait for the physical form until later to get it in the collection. But we do have these nice ones that'll match the Edgedancer hardcover, if you'd rather have nice little hardcovers on your shelf. And my guess is that we'll do a printing with Tor as well to have bookstore distribution.

    There probably will be an audiobook of it. My guess is that we would do an audiobook first, just of it, and then we would eventually do an audiobook of the full Arcanum Unbounded 2. If and when I end up writing that. The thing about Arcanum Unbounded 1, I had a bunch of stories waiting to be published in that. This would be the first, I think, new Cosmere story since Arcanum Unbounded. So it's probably a number of years away before we would get to a number 2. There will be a collection someday, I would bet; but I have to write a bunch more stories to go in it, first.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    I will start writing [Dawnshard] on Monday. I'm almost through with my revision of Songs of the Dead. Takes a lot less time for me to do a revision on that, because basically instead of fixing problems, because I'm co-authoring with Peter Orullian, I get to say, "This is working. Maybe change this to be like this." And give Peter the chance to make the changes. The book is looking really good, this last revision.

    I thought a lot about the title for this one, because I wanted to fit with the other two: Edgedancer, and Horneater (which I will write). So I was thinking I need some sort of classic Brandon mashup word. For a while, I was thinking of calling it Wandersail, because Rysn's ship is the Wandersail, but I thought that would be duplicitous because the story has nothing to do with the story Wandersail, from Hoid's stories. And in fact, I'm more and more thinking that I want to do some picture book versions of Hoid's stories that would make nice read-alouds, and I would call one of those Wandersail. So I'm like, this is just a bad title for this book.

    So, I thought I would dig into instead one of the things that we were talking about in the book, which is the Dawnshards. So, it is named Dawnshard. For those who are deep lore cosmerenauts and are wondering about the Dawnshards, we are going to talk about them in this novella. So, yes, we will be going to Aimia.

    Right now, Rysn, probably Lopen as a secondary viewpoint character is my guess. But I haven't written it yet, so I have to see how the viewpoints work out.

    Stormlight Book Four Updates ()
    #450 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    All right, so most of you were probably expecting this one to appear sometime today--and here it is. The Previous Update can be found here. As I announced over social media this weekend, I have finished the final draft of Book Four. Rhythm of War is finally done. (Or, rather, my part is done. At least for the prose text of the book. See below.)

    I finished the revisions on Saturday, and then today wrote the ketek and the back of the book text. (The in-world text. Tor does the marketing blurb.) The only thing I have left to do is the acknowledgements, plus the ars arcanum. The bulk of the work left to be done will be handled by Peter, my editorial director, who will oversee the copyedit (which is like a really in-depth proofread that also watches for style guide changes and things like in-book continuity) and the proofreads. In addition, Art Director Isaac will be finalizing the artwork done by himself and his artists. (Including Ben, who now works for us full time. He usually drops by the comments to say hi.)

    Peter/Isaac's work will take several months to complete, and then the book will be sent separately to the US, UK, and Australian printers for English Language distribution. Excitingly, for the first time, we're hoping to do a simultaneous Spanish launch for the book, and my Spanish publisher has been putting a lot of extra effort into trying to make this happen. So if you live in Spain, and meet my team over there--translator, editor, etc--buy them a drink. They've been putting in some heroic work to try to get this beast of a novel ready in time.

    I can't promise timelines for other foreign language editions; but if the Spanish experiment works, we will approach some of our other publishers to suggest trying the same thing with them.

    Other random updates of note. The tour seems likely to go digital at this point because of the virus. We'll keep you in the loop. (This will likely include the release party.) Goal is to ship huge cases of books for me to sign so we can get them to partner bookstores for a signed launch, with talks/readings done digitally. Don't consider this an official confirmation of that yet, though. Tor is the one working it out, and we'll need to wait for them to figure out the details.

    The kickstarter has been...well, a little crazy. We're in the process of adding new stretch goals; if you didn't see today's update over there, it has a poll of suggested new stretch goal rewards for you to mull over.

    So, what's next for me? This week, I'm doing a quick revision of Songs of the Dead, the book-formely-known-as-death-by-pizza, which I'm writing with Peter Orullian. I plan this to take about a week. After that, I'm going to dive into the kickstarter novella, the official title of which I believe we'll be announcing tomorrow.

    After that is done, I owe Skyward 3 to my very patient YA publisher, who has been sitting in the wings waiting for eighteen months or so for me to start it. Wax and Wayne 4 will follow, with my goal being to start it January 1st. Skyward 4 (the final book of that series) will follow starting about a year from now. After that, it will be time (already) for Stormlight 5, final book of this sequence of Stormlight novels. (Whew!) That will mark roughly the halfway point of the cosmere.

    Thanks, as always, for your patience as I juggle all of these projects. Also, I'll be doing another livestream this Thursday, where I'll be chatting more about the kickstarter and this book (we keep it non-spoiler, so don't worry.)

    I'll be turning off inbox replies to this thread, as usual, so I apologize if I don't see your questions here.

    With that, I officially conclude my Book Four updates series. Expect to see me back in around eighteen months, January 2022, when I start updates for Book Five. (I do plan to do updates for Mistborn on that subreddit when I start the fourth Wax and Wayne. So if you're really hungry for more rambling posts about in-progress books, you can visit there.)

    As always, thanks for everything. You folks are great. It's been quite the pleasure working on these books for you.

    Brandon