Recent entries

    Phoenix Comicon 2013 ()
    #4551 Copy

    Questioner

    When one of the shards, like Odium, move from world to world in the cosmere, does their presence, like the metals they leave behind and their magic, leave with them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Odium never really settled on a planet.  He is now settled on Roshar and his magic has permeated things.  Leaving would be very difficult for him. It would either involve leaving behind some of his power or ripping that out, which would be a difficult process.  So yes it is very tough to leave.

    Phoenix Comicon 2013 ()
    #4552 Copy

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, that’s a good quesiton. The question is am I going to be expanding Elantris, what am I going to do? The history of Elantris is that it was my sixth book, I sold it while I writing 13, which was the Way of Kings, the first draft of it. When I sold [Elantris], my editor said “Elantris, looks like you may be planning more for this world, you want to do a sequel?” and I said “Yes I do, but not right now. I would like to release something that people can read that’s just a standalone, for now, just to introduce myself to the community” I didn’t like the idea that everything by every new author had to be a big massive series. As much as I love those, I kind of like it as a reader when I be like “Alright here’s a standalone I can read by this author, let me get to know this author before I delve into something that may take five or six years to finish. And so we did Elantris on its own, but I always had, in the back of my mind, what I would do for sequels. I actually imagined the Elantris world, the sequels being kind of Pern-style sequels, in that each sequel is kind of about a different person, different characters but the other characters are still a big part of the plot. And so the sequel will take place ten years after the first book and I hope to release it 2015 which will be ten years after the book came out. And the star of it will be Sarene’s uncle and his family, so Kiin and his children, they’ll be the main viewpoint characters, though Sarene and Raoden would appear, but it will be about them. The plot of it is actually, they go and visit Fjorden as the ambassadors to Fjorden and things start to go kind of creepy. I will eventually write that book but I’m not sure when I will get to it.

    Phoenix Comicon 2013 ()
    #4553 Copy

    Questioner

    So this morning I just finished reading The Rithmatist. I was wondering if you could talk about your process of creating that magic system. Specifically about how it dealt with mathematics. And also if it is going to have a sequel.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This has a fun history in that it is the last book I completed before the Wheel of Time hit me like a freight train. I was working on a different book, you can find the sample chapters of that one on my website, its called the Liar of Partinel and it really was not going well. I have talked about this before, I talked about it in my essay that I posted on my blog when I released the Rithmatist. But things were just going poorly and I actually stopped writing that book and wrote the Rithmatist instead. This book that I didn’t have a contract for, that no one was expecting. Sometimes it is very liberating to do that. When you see these side projects, like last year, Emperor’s Soul and Legion and things like the Rithmatist, it’s me saying “Okay, I really love the big epic fantasies, it’s what I came in to do. But sometimes how complex they are and how much work they are, between them you need a break.”

    The Rithmatist was a break and I had been toying with this magic system where—And I don’t even really know what started it but I wanted to do a magic where you dueled with chalk. Where you would take chalk and you would draw things and you would have a duel with someone else using chalk. I wanted two-dimensional things playing out. I guess it maybe comes from me being a gamer and me wanting to- There’s so many things that we take from the modern day and we twist them and make a fantasy world out of them. Its where Steampunk came from. Let’s take modern technology but let’s build it with an ancient- or an older technology and see what cool stuff we can do. Airships with steam, and robots with clockwork. Gearpunk and things like that. And so I was like, let’s build video games with magical chalk.

    Really the magic system is, you draw a circle around yourself and you basically then play Starcraft. You draw little units and you send them over to try and break their defense—it’s more like Tower Defense honestly, like versus Tower Defense. Where you try to break through your opponent’s circle, when one of your beasties gets through the circle you have won the duel; and you can shoot off different lines of chalk that do things and stuff like that. Where this came from was just that sort of thing, all of my- One of the things that drive me to write is that “one foot in science and one foot in magic” and you can see that. When I described this magic system here I’m taking all these sort of disease concepts and the modern germ theory and all this stuff and I’m saying “let’s mix that with magic and see what we can come up with.” Mistborn was like “one foot in alchemy and one foot in vector physics” and things like that. This just gets me excited.

    There was an era in our world where science was this awesome, almost magical thing. If you read back about the turn of the century, 1800’s to 1900’s you’ll find essays where people were researching- new scientific discoveries were happening all the time and everyone was so excited about them. I remember reading this essay, I’ve told this story before, someone wrote an essay in like 1910 where they went and they interviewed a bunch of ditch-diggers and they studied the Science of Ditch-Digging and they went and they told all these ditch-diggers what they learned and helped them be more efficient in digging ditches and suddenly science was for everyone. It was for the ditch-diggers- Who knew what else we could discover. And then we basically blew ourselves up and ever since then we’ve been scared of it and that’s when we got the science as an antagonist sort of thing that happened in the 50’s and 60’s in science fiction. It’s a wonderful era, and things like that. In my writing I always find that time when science was something that was for the common man that we were discovering, that there was this sense of wonder to science, it’s really fascinating to me. And I find myself returning to that time and time again, and that’s where you see this. In this one, with The Rithmatist, it’s honestly a little more lighthearted even though the prologue is someone getting attacked by these chalk monsters. The concept is more lighthearted, it’s blending teenagers playing games with magic and where would that go and what could I do with it. I did go to mathematics because I wanted the idea around all of this to have structure and rules; and I liked the idea of using “the more perfect your circle is the stronger it is, the more stable it is against someone trying to break through it.” So I started looking into the interesting properties, mathematically, of circles, and what creates-. What they do with arithmetic. And that sent me off on this whole thing where I drew all these cool whatchamadinkies and stuff like that. That’s where it came from, that’s a long explanation for a simple question.

    Phoenix Comicon 2013 ()
    #4554 Copy

    Questioner

    So I’ve heard you talk about a book and as a nurse is really interesting to me, or the idea of the book. It’s the one where viruses not only make you sick but they also give you a super power. So I was kind of wondering on the list of when projects are being...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I originally called this book Silence Divine and the idea behind this book is—I’m always looking for interesting interesting Magic systems and I came up with an idea of “what if viruses and bacteria evolved in line with the magic on the world so that when you caught the disease you got a power” Like if you catch the common cold you could fly, as long as you have it. But when you get over the cold, you can no longer fly. So they keep you alive to help spread themselves and things like that. So when your immune system beats them you lose the power. The book will be about someone who’s basically like half-counter-terrorism, half-police force, where they keep track of these things because what happens when it moves through the city. Like half-CDC, half-counter-terrorism, half-police force. Where suddenly everyone in the city can walk through walls. What do you do, as the police force, when that happens? And things like that. And they keep special people incubating diseases that have come through before and they keep their immune systems low so in an emergency they can go in and catch a bunch of diseases and stuff like that. It’s going to be really awesome.

    And the answer is, I have no idea when I can write this book. It is in the Cosmere, so it’s part of all that, but I have no idea because I really feel, coming off the Wheel of Time, the people who are fans of my work, everyone understands, at least I hope they understand, that the Wheel of Time was something I needed to do. But it did delay people getting things like Stormlight Archive and stuff like that. And I feel like right now I really need to dedicate myself to getting a few books out in the Stormlight Archive before I get too distracted by anything else, such as this, and I write books that are really cool but no one’s asking for, really, at this point. (Except for you so thank you.) So I will eventually write that book. I have toyed several times doing a novella in the world just to get that out of my system. So maybe eventually we’ll do that.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4556 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    There are two Shards on Roshar. Odium's presence is felt on Roshar, but he is on Braize, the third planet in the system.

    theofficetroll (paraphrased)

    Is that Shard on The Silence Divine?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Oh, you mean Ashyn. Ashyn is mostly barren with small fertile patches

    There are two Shards on Roshar; however, Honor is dead.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4561 Copy

    Shardlet (paraphrased)

    A slider and a pulser are standing near each other and each put up a bubble. Neither is standing close enough to the other to be within the other's bubble, but they are near enough that their bubbles would overlap what effect would you have?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The bubbles would overlap and it would be like a Venn diagram (i.e., outside both bubbles-normal time, in sliders bubble-fast time, in pulser's bubble-slow time, in the overlap-normal time).

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4562 Copy

    Shardlet (paraphrased)

    You said previously that a slider's bubble is anchored to its position on Scadrial rather than on the slider's position or on the train (if the burner was on a train). If the slider was on a rock in space, would the bubble be anchored to a position relative to Scadrial, the rock or something else?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    RAFO

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4564 Copy

    Questioner

    Were the Shattered Plains broken before Natanatan fell?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let me RAFO that one just because there's enough there that I want to... how it was Shattered and what happened is...

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4566 Copy

    Questioner

    Was the city beneath the Shattered Plains inhabited when the Plains were broken?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, good question, nicely done! Yes. Words of Radiance deals a lot with that.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4568 Copy

    Chaos

    Is Forgery completely distinct from Bloodsealing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

    Chaos

    Are they distinct magic systems?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on your definition of a system. For instance, do you call Windrunning its own magic system, or would Surgebinding be the magic system? Or would you break it down further, and say Windrunning is further composed of two different systems...

    Chaos

    I guess I did just ask earlier if they're all manifestations of the same system.

    Questioner

    Like, more closely related, to maybe some of the other ones on Sel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, they are definitely more closely related.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4569 Copy

    Questioner

    What defines the early, middle, and late eras on Sel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My instinct is (and I could be wrong) that... If you were to ask me that right now, what I mean by the early, middle, and late eras... It probably has to do with ancient being pre-Splintering. Not Pre-Shattering. And then the middle era is during Elantris' sort of reign, and then the late era is after the fall. Is probably what I meant. But that's off the top of my head, because I wrote [the Aon pendant descriptions] a long time ago.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4570 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there a similar relationship between Endowment and Hallandren's jungle as there is between Harmony and Elendel Basin ?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes and no. The flowers are being fed by something that's very similar to what you might find on other planets. So the ground is saturated with something that is having a similar effect as Elendel Basin. But it's not the same thing. Elendel Basin was just crafted really, really well, and then it was endowed with a little bit of extra oomph. Here [in Hallandren's jungle], we have this extra seeping into the ground from the pool, which is saturated around and causing the flowers and causing what's going on there.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4571 Copy

    Questioner

    Are gemstones the focus of Surgebinding?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Define how you mean focus in this conversation.

    Questioner

    The definition you gave me of focus a few years ago was... You said that the Commands were the focus for Awakening, you said and Aons were focuss for AonDor, and metals are the focus for the Metallic Arts... and you haven't given us a proper definition.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4572 Copy

    Questioner

    Before Sel's Shards were Splintered, were the Investitures there still form-based?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Umm... yes.

    Questioner

    Is "form-based" the right word we should use for that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it's not really. The are all, in my head, programming-based. They are sequences. But of course, the difference being, with the true programming, the form doesn't matter, it's the numbers. And in this case the form does. The actual depictions aver very influential. So, it is not just a magical programming.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4573 Copy

    Questioner

    Is all magic on Sel influenced by both Dominion and Devotion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Technically, yes. But they definitely have their themes and their focuses. Influence is such a tricky word, I will warn you...

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4574 Copy

    Questioner

    Are Selish magics their own distinct systems, or are they different manifestations of one system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Different manifestations of one system, which is in turn a manifestation of the common laws between the worlds.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4575 Copy

    Questioner

    How much influence... I know Harriet was very involved in the organization of the Wheel of Time. But she was also involved in The Way of Kings, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Harriet did a guest edit. Just a line edit, primarily.

    Questioner

    Will she be doing more?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, that was a gift she gave to me as a thank-you for working on the Wheel of Time books. She's a fantastic editor. If you're not aware of Harriet, Robert Jordan's wife, she discovered him and then married him. She's edited a few other books you might have heard of, such as Ender's Game, little tiny books. But she is retired, and has been for many years. So, she did a guest edit on Way of Kings, but she's not editing anything anymore.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4576 Copy

    Questioner

    Lines of Protection. Is the field generated once the line is completed? Or is it a progressive thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Almost everything that's going with this takes effect as the person's thinking of it taking effect. There is a mental connection. So, as you are drawing, until you are finished, there is nothing there;  unless, sometimes, you want it to be. There is a direct link. The Rithmatist does have a magic that is consistent with cosmere rules. I decided not to set it in the cosmere primarily because I did not want Earth to be in the cosmere.

    Questioner

    So how strongly consistent is it with <realmatic theory>?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I didn't keep myself completely to the rules. It could fit, but... don't take anything The Rithmatist does and apply it to the other books.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4577 Copy

    Questioner

    I was wondering about Alcatraz. Is the last book coming out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, ish. So, the progress on Alcatraz has been... This is my middle-grade series, Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians. They're very fun, if you haven't read them, but they're goofy. They're just completely different from anything I've done before. So go into it knowing you're getting pure, unadulterated craziness. And I wrote these to blow off steam between the Mistborn books. I need to do something different between projects, that is very different often, in order to get me... just to refresh myself. I pitched the series to them as five books, they bought four, and then they only published four, they didn't want the fifth one. So, in annoyance, I bought the entire series back from them, and we're now in the process of reselling them to Tor to repackage and rerelease them. If you can't find them, that's because I bought them back. But as a stopgap until the Tor editions get going, I told my UK publisher they can start distribution of their omnibus, which is the first four books collected, and that should be appearing in stories late August, early September. Or at least ordering it, you can go to the Barnes & Noble and say "Hey can you get this?" At that point, it should be in their system, they should have them in the warehouses over here. So you should be able to get that. Eventually, I will do the fifth book. But I've gotta have distribution for the series first. Eventually it's gonna happen. It will, I promise, happen. I've already written part of it. But I don't know exactly when, because it's gonna depend on when the Tor editions come out.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4578 Copy

    Questioner

    One of the big things in The Way of Kings was a frustration between me and my wife of trying to explain spren. Is that going to be addressed? A lot of the mysteries will be unfolded, or is this gonna be continually progressive throughout the books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The spren are gonna be a continually progressive thing that if you... They are deeply related to the shared sort of physics to the worlds that I am doing. But you will find out more about them, quite a bit more. But there are also things you will not find out for a while. Yes, the spren are one of the most fun parts about the series for me. And the thing you have to realize is that, to them, spren are normal. So, going in and having them explaining exactly what spren are would feel unnatural, because they've lived their lives in a certain way where, when you have a powerful emotion, these little things appear around you. And that's just how it is. Very convenient for being able to say, "I know how you feel."

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4579 Copy

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    That scene you're talking about, Robert Jordan wrote that scene himself. He did not tell us what the scene means. If you've read the last scene of the Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan wrote that. It's what became the epilogue. And he wrote it and left it, and Harriet said, he left it and he laughed. He laughed and smiled. She doesn't even know what it means. I don't know what it means. You can ask me when you come through the line, I'll tell you her interpretation and mine. But we don't know for sure what it means.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4580 Copy

    Questioner

    You recently announced in your blog post a new Cosmere short story called Skyward. I was wondering if you could talk about that a little bit?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Skyward is the working title. I've talked a little about it before in my class, so if you watch my videos, I talk about it a little bit in there. It will be a teen novel in the cosmere. It is science fiction era.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4581 Copy

    Questioner

    Other than finishing the Wheel of Time, with established work than you started with. Did you have any particular target audience or imaginary perfect reader in mind?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, myself. I'm basically the only person I can imagine 100% and say "This is the person this book is for." And I think that's what a lot of writers do. I'm fortunate in that what I write seems to have a lot of broad market implications. That's not what happens for a lot of writers. Like my friend Dan [Wells], the original things he loved to write did not have broad market implications, and they were really weird and fascination but not very marketable. He has since found some things that he loves that are. But I really feel like you should write what you love, and then explore finding a place to put that, as opposed to saying "What sells? What person am I writing for?"

    So, my children's books will be for me at that age. My epic fantasies are basically, "What would I, as a reader of this genre, love to see right now?" Which is why we end up with something like Way of Kings which has a very steep learning curve, intended for the person who loves epic fantasy. This is the book for you, that's the book for me, if you've read a lot in the genre. If you haven't, I still hope you'll pick it up, but do realize that at the beginning, it's gonna take a lot more work to get into than you might expect because of who the target audience is.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4583 Copy

    Questioner

    When you optioned out the game for Mistborn, what happened to the tabletop RPG?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is still in print, and it's been made. They came to me and pitched, and I said, "This sounds awesome. I like gaming. This is the sort of game that I would like." And we sat and we chatted about game mechanics and things. They designed it all, but I was involved in saying, "This is what I love, this is what I do, and this is the kind of game that I enjoy." So they built it kind of based on the type of gaming I like. And then I kind of annotated the sourcebook. I think they are going to be releasing soon an Alloy of Law supplement. The thing about the Alloy of Law supplement is, because I haven't written the books yet, and I haven't nailed down a bunch of things, I'm allowing them some extrapolation that may not become canon as I write the books. So, keep that in mind, particularly the Alloy of Law one. It's easier when they had a complete series. And even then, I let them extrapolate a bit on magic to make the mechanics of the game work. But when you get the Alloy of Law supplement, if you do, realize that they may be going places that aren't 100% canon.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4584 Copy

    Questioner

    What are you willing to reveal about the Seventeenth Shard?

    Questioner

    The three guys that you meet in Ishikk's interlude are all from the Seventeenth Shard. And it is an organization of people who about... They aren't convinced that what Hoid is doing is what he should be doing.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4585 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you write and not subconsciously incorporate other elements from other authors? Do you have a plan to avoid that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's an excellent question. We did a whole podcast on that in Writing Excuses. And you may want to go listen to that one, because we talk about it in length.

    It is something to be aware of. Oftentimes, when I'm working on something, I'll try to read something very different. Like, it's why I love Terry Prachett novels, they are so different from what I do that I can read them and love them and enjoy them, but not worry about unconscious influence. In other cases, I would read something, and be like... I can kind of tell what is influencing me in what way, and I'll try to be aware of it and conscious of it. The trick is, I don't feel like I should stop reading, because that would be like a doctor not keeping up on what the current medical practices are. If you do that, I think you're gonna have a bad time as a doctor. So I feel like as a writer, I need to be aware of what the new writers are doing, what the established writers are doing, where the genre is moving. I can't talk with expertise about a lot of genres. I don't know science fiction; I love reading it, but I don't know it so well that I can do that. Same thing with paranormal. But with fantasy, for epic fantasy, I want to be on top of the game, and know exactly what other authors are doing, so I can be aware of it.

    So, I have to just try and manage it. It is a concern, though, a very big concern.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4586 Copy

    Questioner

    You have books that contain three completely different magic systems, that they're little or no resemblance to anything I've seen before. Where do they come from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This comes from my personal philosophy on the fantasy genre. I've been reading it for 20+ years now. I love the fantasy genre. But I personally feel that the genre hit some points in its career where it stagnated a little bit. It was not branching out as much as it should. And that was part of the drive behind me writing what I write. Now, I'm not pointing any fingers, it was just on us of the new generation to say, "All right, where can we take this genre?"

    That's what happened in science fiction. If you go back, science fiction was one thing. And then the next generation made it something else. And then the next generation made it something else. It's why science fiction has such depth to it. And you can still find all the original stuff, and people are writing things like that right now, but you can also find this whole wide variety. And so the genre is extremely varied. And fantasy is a newer genre. It really is epic fantasy, really though. Fantasy goes all the way back. But epic fantasy was a genre that did not have enough of this variation to it, in my opinion.

    The trick is that being really varied with your plots, you can do it, it just makes generally bad plot. You can do completely unexpected or completely depressing, you can do weird things with plot, but they're either confusing, or they aren't very fun to read. That's not to say nobody has ever done it, people do, but I really felt that fantasy, rather than plot, the place that it needed to innovate was in setting, and maybe in style. I really like how fantasy is kind of inching toward this... you see more gunpowder fantasies nowadays, you see more fantasies set in an African culture or an Asian culture, things like this. And this sort of expansion has really helped the genre quite a bit.

    So, the magic systems, where do they come from? They're what I'm most excited about in the genre, so it's what I do naturally. Mostly, when I buy books and I read them, I'm like, "Come on. This same magic. Again? Can't we do something new?" So, it just happens naturally. I do want to say, at the end of the day, a generic magic system and a generic setting plus fantastic writing and characters is still better than the best setting you can imagine with boring characters. So, as writers, I would say to you, keep that in mind. You really need to learn to write killer characters and an engaging plot. But then, I suggest a lot of variety with the setting or the style, and ways that you can approach your writing.

    SpoCon 2013 ()
    #4588 Copy

    Questioner

    How much are you willing to reveal about Hoid and worldhoppers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, for those who aren't aware, there is a... People noticed really early on, it did not take them long, that a character from Elantris actually showed up in Mistborn. And they assumed it was just me reusing the name, until this character kept showing up and kept being involved in things tangentially. If you've read The Way of Kings, it's the King's Wit. It is the guy named Dust, who... did I name him Dust? I just changed his name to Hoid. He's the storyteller in Warbreaker who tells stories with dust. He's the old beggar that has the shadowed that Sarene talks to in Elantris, that she sends in with supplies into the city. So, this same character kept showing up. And then other characters kept showing up. Like Galladon's in The Way of Kings, if you missed that. He's a character from Elantris.

    So, the question is, how much am I willing to reveal? What I'm willing to reveal is what goes in the books. People like yourself, and these indivdiuals, have made a profession out of teasing extra hints out of me. Because I write the books too slowly, apparently. How much am I willing to reveal? Well, what I want to reveal, I've put in the books. But I will say other things when people ask questions, and they can tease them out of me.

    Google+ Hangout ()
    #4589 Copy

    Google Moderator

    Before we wrap up, Brandon have you got any news about movies or a Mistborn game?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, the Mistborn video game is very much a go. The guys at Little Orbit have just been awesome. We are working together to make an excellent game, I hope. I'm working on the story. I've turned in to them an overarching story for the whole, for the game and they are taking that and building the game and level design around that and then I will come back after they've done that and actually write the dialogue for the characters that moves the story along. So the video game is a completely go, cross-platform PS3, Xbox 360 and Steam for 2013.

    The movie we are pitching to studios this month, so hopefully we can get something rolling on that, I have no news other than what I posted on my blog which is we've now got a good screenplay, it's quite good and now we're trying to pitch to studios and trying to convince somebody to pick this thing up and run with it. We're really hoping that, you know, fantasy has a really good reputation right now because of the excellent Game of Thrones adaptation, and so we're hoping that people will take a look at some good fantasy properties and that we can get a film made.

    Google+ Hangout ()
    #4590 Copy

    Gabriel Rumbaut

    How did the whole cosmere come about?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh that's a good question. The cosmere came about because- there's really two genesises of it. First off I'm a big fan of Asimov's work and if you know Asimov's work, he tied his two universes together later in his life and I thought he did a brilliant job of it, though patching it together later in his life as he did there were certain continuity problems in doing it and I always thought, "Boy, I bet he wished he'd done it from the beginning".

    So, as I started to work on things, I thought, "Well why don't I try something like that from the beginning." Once again I got to see what one of the masters did and learn from them, stand on their shoulders.

    The other thing is, early in my career I realized that if I were writing mini-books, writing them all in the same series would be a bad for getting published. Let's say I wrote five, I'm gonna write five books and a publisher rejects the first one. If the other four are in the same series, it's going to be very hard to convince that publisher to read book two if they've already said no to book one. However, if they are five standalone books, set in different worlds, then I can say if someone says, "I liked this book but not enough to publish it," I could send them another one and say, "Hey this one is different but similar, maybe you'll like that." It just increased my chances.

    The problem with that is I grew up reading the big epics and I love big epics and they are the books of my heart, are things like the Wheel of Time. I wanted to write big epics and so I started writing a secret big epic. It started with Elantris, which is the first one that I wrote in the cosmere and right after it Dragonsteel, which is actually a prequel but in a different universe [world]. I started putting characters from each of these books in the other books to have what I call a hidden epic, mostly for myself, because I had all these books I was going to be selling and marketing separately. But when Elantris sold, all of that stuff was buried in there, and I said, "Well, I love it, I'm not gonna cut it, I'm just gonna put it in there to see if people notice." I'm going to keep telling my hidden epic because eventually I will be telling the greater story with Dragonsteel and the third Mistborn trilogy dealing with these things and so that's where the idea for the cosmere came from, those two pieces.

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    Luke Monahan

    Brandon you do a lot of interesting stuff with publishing formats like Warbreaker being free. I know you talked recently about bundling the last, the last book with an ebook and a hardcover. So what kind of stuff do you see happening in the future and what do you like as far as formats?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think a lot of exciting things are happening. One thing that's happening, I think the digital revolution is changing things a lot, and I think this is gonna let people like me get away with more things. For one thing, digitally our lengths don't matter as much. Theoretically, I doubt we'd be able to pull this off, but theoretically, we could do something like re-release Gathering Storms, Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light reordered with their chapters in the original order as before they were split, I had originally put them, which i think would be awesome. You could release that as one book which in print you never could do, so length sort of shenanigans are things we can do.

    I also like the idea of bundling. I think eventually I'm going to be able to convince people to do this. I would love to do something more like what we've seen in movies and in records, where we release a really nice special edition of a book with a hardcover and with an included ebook copy, and with included audio book copy and like something like a book-end or a medallion and like an art book. You know, something that we release for just uh--you know, make it expensive. It'd be like a two hundred and fifty dollar product that comes signed and numbered and all this stuff. We can do that, and at the same time release a very cheap ebook for those who don't have the cash for that, or don't have the interest. And I think that by doing that we can allow the people who want a really nice collectors thing to pay what they want, and people who want a few dollar ebook to pay that and we actually end up at the same amount of money that we're making, except everybody’s happier.

    And so I don't see why we wouldn't be choosing these sorts of things, there are just so many questions. The big one is we don't want to disenfranchise retailers. A lot of particularly independent bookstores have stuck with us over the years and you know a lot of these stores are wonderful in that they will grab new authors like me when I was brand new and really promote them and get behind them and do these wonderful things for them, and we don't want to do anything where we are cutting them out of the loop. I really want there to be strong independent bookstores in the coming years, because I think it's really important for the genre, so we have to find a way to work all of this with them at the same time.

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    Lauren Newberg

    If you could have the abilities of one of your characters, what abilities would you want and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Any one of my characters? Well I would love to be able to, if I were to pick one superpower it would probably be flying and so I would totally go with, probably Steelpushing just because I think it would be so much fun. The ideas of the, of the Lashings from Way of Kings would be a nice second but the Steelpushing just sounds like fun, so I would totally be a Mistborn. I would get them all.

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    CrazyRioter

    Was Honor Splintered?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Was Honor Splintered? Ooh someone's been paying attention, very much. I would say that yes, Honor was Splintered. That is a very important question to be asking, someone knows their stuff.

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    Alex Stephens

    I loved the character reversal that took place with [Vivenna] and Siri [Moderator: and actually I'm enjoying that at the moment]. Did you come up with that idea--was that an early idea in your planning or did it emerge as a result of the story writing itself?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a good question, for most of those they were early ideas. I had two main themes for myself when writing Warbreaker, one was character reversals. I wanted to play with the idea of reversed roles, you see it from the very beginning when the two sisters are forced to reverse roles and also the role reversal between Vasher and Denth.

    The other big thing was I wanted to work on my humor and try and approach new ways of being, of having humor in a book and seeing what different types of character humor I could use. It was really actually me delving into a lot of Shakespeare at the time and seeing the way he pulled reversals and the way he used multiple levels of humor and I wanted to play with that concept in fantasy novels, so a lot of those were planned. Some of them were not, some of them came spontaneously, as you're writing the book, you always come up with great ideas for books while you're working on them so you kind of see the evolution of a few of them.

    Warbreaker is posted for free on my website, the complete draft of it and I actually posted the first draft all the way through to the last draft and so you can actually take and compare the published draft to the very first draft and even the chapters as I wrote them, you can see how some things were evolving and coming to be and I was realizing certain things while I was doing it and other things just were very well foreshadowed from the beginning.

    Footnote: Many early ideas from Warbreaker, such as Vivenna and Siri and the role-reversal, came from an unfinished novel named Mythwalker.
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    Gabriel Rumbaut

    In a lot of your books the internal struggle is just as important as the external conflict. How do you keep that internal struggle from devolving into just, into whining essentially?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, no, that's a real danger. We call it "navel gazing" a lot in writing where if you delve too much into that, you just have scenes with characters sitting and pondering and nothing happens. I have to walk that line. In fact some of mine probably turns into navel-gazing because I probably err on that side a little too much. I would say that the way I try to work on this is to mirror internal conflict with external conflict, meaning what the character is working on inside is, is enhanced, is conflicted, is in some ways changed by what's happening externally which then allows some very powerful ways of showing them working through their problems in the real world, not just sitting and thinking about them.

    That has worked with me so far, it is certainly a danger that I'm aware of and something that I think writers need to be aware of. At the same time, you know, what fiction can do is show internal conflict, emotions, thoughts, feelings in a way that other mediums can't. It's one of our specialties and I think that avoiding it completely is the wrong move because, yes, any time you delve into that you risk just getting boring, but when you don't delve into that you're basically just trying to imitate what a film can do, do everything external and a film can do that much better. I like taking what we can do as writers and really playing to our strengths and exploring what the medium is capable of and so that's why I do it.

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    Questioner

    Are chasmfiends related to thunderclasts?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. Good question though. Thunderclasts are actually... It shows up pretty early in the series, the second book, more what thunderclasts are. Dalinar sees one in a flashback in the second book. So you'll get a good explanation of where they come from, but they are more related to the voidbringers, whereas chasmfiends are actually a living part of the ecosystem.

    Questioner

    So what is the purpose of the pupating?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will find out. Shallan is asking that very question.

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    Questioner

    What would you like to be working on? Do you have any ideas bouncing around in your head?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would like to write the book I've wanted to write for a long time (I'll probably do it as a novella), about the planet where catching a disease gives you a magical talent. And I'm probably gonna do that one as my next novella, next year. So in between projects I'll write that one.

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    Questioner

    If you were to be a misting, which...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Coinshot. Easy answer. Bouncing around off of cars and things would be so cool!

    Questioner

    But without pewter, you would land too hard and break something?

    Brandon Sanderson

    eh, Wax manages. You just have to be really careful. Pewter would be number two.

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    Questioner

    Are TenSoon and MeLaan gonna be in the Wax and Wayne series at all?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You have seen TenSoon in Alloy of Law, and MeLaan was mentioned by reference, though they didn't know her name.

    Questioner

    Was it in the broadsheet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nope. You just watch. They both are in there. TenSoon is wearing someone's body. So watch for somebody who changes personalities drastically between the beginning and the end of the book.

    Questioner

    Is it the police guy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

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    Questioner

    Most of your magic systems seem superhero-ish to begin with, people have an ability or two that they can do. With the exception of Elantris. Do you intend to return to that one, or do another system that's similar to that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will. I like to do all kinds of different things. The thing about it is that I like having discrete powers that I can really explore. I find that a lot of magic system that have just so many things you can do — it's not necessarily that it's a bad magic system, I just find that I like to take one thing and dig into it deeply. Like, I love reading the Wheel of Time, that had a very expansive magic system. But when you see my books come along, you see the characters focusing on a few weaves and using them really well. That's just kind of more of a me thing.