Recent entries

    Oathbringer London signing ()
    #4752 Copy

    kalamitous_emoashions

    Have we seen any evidence of Hemalurgy on Roshar? And, as sort of an addendum, given the end of Oathbringer, was what happened to Jezrien Hemalurgy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are certain cosmere philosophers that would count it. I would divide it as two separate things that are using similar fundamentals... I wouldn't call it myself, but there are people who would disagree with me in-world. Have we seen evidence? I would say no evidence that is easily-- easy to pick out.

    kalamitous_emoashions

    But it's there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there are people with Hemalurgy who have been to Roshar. I'm pretty sure they've been on-screen.

    Oathbringer London signing ()
    #4753 Copy

    kalamitous_emoashions

    With Hoid, we know that he's got some sort of Lightweaving, Yolen magic. If we're gonna hypothetically say that he bonds with the Cryptic, at the end of Oathbringer. Talking about resonance between magic systems, what are we going to see if he tried the two together? Would they be separate? Or would they form some sort of resonance magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I'm gonna go ahead and RAFO that.

    Oathbringer London signing ()
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    Questioner

    What is the most Invested item so far revealed?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What counts as an item?

    Questioner

    Inanimate object. Sentient swords, stuff like that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, inanimate objects, would be Nightblood. Well-- is he inanimate?

    Questioner

    Well, he's a sentient sword, but he's an inanimate object.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, yeah, he would count.

    Oathbringer London signing ()
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    Yata

    When someone dies on Nalthis, their Breaths: go away with the soul, or remain in the corpse?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Breaths return to Endowment.

    Yata

    Together with the soul? Or remain in the corpse?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The soul--

    Yata

    Passes away?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, unless it turns into a Cognitive Shadow. Then, the soul goes into the Beyond. And so the actual essence of the soul, the Investiture of it, does return to Endowment.

    Oathbringer London signing ()
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    Aurimus

    As the two Realms, the Cognitive and the Spiritual, are, well, fictional... Are they all comprised of Investiture, completely?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. No, completely? Well, here's the thing. Investiture, matter, and energy are all the same thing in the cosmere. So, just like energy and matter are the same thing here. So, yes, everything's made of Investiture, in the same way that everything's made of energy in our world. Does that make sense?

    Aurimus

    So, what about what spren are made of in the Cognitive Realm? Is that just Investiture?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, yeah, I'll dig more into that. I'm gonna go with Investiture for now, but I could change that as I move along. What I'm kind of debating is, is there a separate Cognitive state, and I don't think so. So I'm gonna go with Investiture for now.

    Aurimus

    How about Connection?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Connection is, like, the equivalent of a quantum connection in our world, so it's more like a force than something comprised of something. The question is like, "What is gravity comprised of?" And then you start asking weird questions.

    Oathbringer London signing ()
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    Aurimus

    What was the thematic decision behind the number 16? Why did you choose that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I really like how divisible it was. It looked really cool when I was playing with things like an Allomantic table and whatnot. It was mostly an aesthetic choice. Like, it just felt right.

    Aurimus

    So was it originally the Shards or the metals you decided on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I started with the metals. And then expanded out to that, yeah. So what you've gotta remember is, like, I write Elantris without knowledge of the cosmere. I knew I was gonna do something, but I didn't know what I was gonna do. And then I wrote Dragonsteel, and in Dragonsteel I had all sorts of theories and plans, but I never canonized any of that. And when I sat down to write Mistborn, I said, "All right. We're building the cosmere for real now." And before then I had just kind of been winging it. So when I did Aether of Night, which I put Shards in, I was like "Okay, there'll be some of these things, and what-not." Mistborn was, like, the first real cosmere book, if that makes any sense.

    Oathbringer London signing ()
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    yurisses

    Do kandra count as metalborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would count them, yes.

    yurisses

    And would Wax count them as metalborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He would not. Probably.

    yurisses

    'Cause he calls VenDell metalborn, and I was wondering if he was testing VenDell in some way or not...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah... I'll have to go look at what I wrote on that one, as well.

    Oathbringer London signing ()
    #4764 Copy

    yurisses

    Can you tell us a little bit about what Hoid was up to in Terris in The Well of Ascension?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He was hunting for the Well of Ascension.

    yurisses

    In the new continuity, he already knew where the Well was, because he used it to come back to--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, we changed the continuity, didn't we. Yeah. Oh boy. We came up with an explanation of this, because when we wrote the book-- Yeah, why don't you send me an email on that one. Now that I have the conversation with Peter, he brought that one up when I finally got around to Secret History. That was one of our big casualties. What did I come up with? I think he was just really, really-- I will have to-- because I canonzied it to Peter. We're gonna have to go to Peter and say "What's in the wiki now?" Yeah, that was one of the big casualties, and the fact that I couldn't get Kelsier to one of the places where I had left foreshadowing for him to speak in someone's head, and I can't remember what that one was, either.

    yurisses

    Oh, that one was Sazed, you said it was his imagination.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I had to make that his imagination. Because I just couldn't get people where they needed to go. This is the problem with writing an outline, then writing a book, and then writing another book so many years later. Certain things, we just can't work into the continuity. Write us an email, we'll get you the official continuity for that one. Because Peter did nail me down when we were working on the book.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    After Hoid got the bead during the scene in Secret History, he went north to Terris to do research on possibly acquiring Feruchemy. While he’s there, all hell breaks loose, and he ends up embroiled in helping the Terris people.

    Oathbringer London signing ()
    #4765 Copy

    Aurimus

    Advice for worldbuilders that are trying to create a scientific-based fantasy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Learn to differentiate between the three kinds of what we talk about with science-based magic. One is internal logic. One is logic with the world. And, oh, what is the third one? For instance, "logic with the world" meaning, "This is an explanation of how the magic actually could come to be." And a logic with "This is trying to break one rule, and then keeping the others as consistent with our universe as possible." With the difference being, like, for instance, Investiture keeping the laws of thermodynamics except for the fact that it exists is kind of a reference to the third. We're letting rules affect the laws-- the laws of our universe, we're trying to tie into that. You don't have to do that. Internal logic is the most important. Then the other one would be, kind of, the "How does this magic arise out of the nature of the universe? How could I take a few steps extra? Can I make it realistic?" That's a completely different rule. So look at those three things.

    Aurimus

    Is that where you fit Investiture in the magic? Matter, energy, Investiture?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, that's where I'm trying to do a little bit of all three of those things. But you don't have to. Understand that you can do one of the three.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    Oversleep

    What is Scadrial's primary intergalactic export?

    Ravi

    Okay so, this is what I got from Brandon.

    Prior to Kelsier exploding the Pits, Scadrial's canned goods were one of the main things exported to the intergalactic market from the planet.

    NB: This is something that Brandon can change at any time if the story calls for it.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #4768 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm a little late to this, because of travel/booksigning woes, but I did want to jump in and offer a few things here. As Lyn said above, the AMA isn't often going to be able to dig into details about what was in the original draft--that's the sort of thing we like to keep a little closer to the chest. I'm okay with revealing things like that in the abstract, but having a wholesale "let's reveal plot points in early drafts of books without context" reveal seems like it might be dangerous.

    So here, off the top of my head, are some of the things that I changed in the book related to Beta Reader comments. These topics are "open" for discussion--meaning you can ask Betas for more specifics on them, if you feel like it. These were all things I changed specifically because of Beta interaction.

    Adolin's viewpoints were added to Part One. As was a quick run-down on Renarin's powers, and what he was learning to do with them.

    The romantic angle between Shallan/Adolin/Kaladin was tweaked as I more and more referenced the idea that two different personalities of Shallan's were in love with two different people. IE--moving it further away from a love triangle, and instead showing more clearly that that Shallan was splitting further into multiple people, with different life goals.

    This wasn't coming across in the early drafts, though I sometimes coulen't quite tell which responses were knee jerk "Twilight ruined love triangles! Don't do them!" comments and which were "I'm not convinced these four people--counting Shallan as two--are actually working in relationships." (I'll note that I, personally, am very pleased with how this part turned out in the books--but the betas certainly helped me get there. I'd guess that this is one of the more contentious matters of fan discussion about the book. The point of bringing it up here isn't to discredit anyone's feelings about the actual arc, just point out how the betas helped me find the balance I wanted.)

    I got a LOT of help from people for writing Shallan's getting drunk scenes.

    Slightly beefed up Yelig-nar's part in the plot, as what he did wasn't coming into play enough--and originally (I can't remember if this was a beta thing or an alpha thing) he wasn't as involved in the Amaram/Kaladin fight.

    I revised part four heavily, moving the scene where Kaladin runs into our "so very beautiful" friend from Elantris (and the subsequent dip into the Spiritual Realm) from happening in the market to happening in the Lighthouse. Originally, the Lighthouse was run by Cryptics. (Which was a lot of fun.) However, I needed stronger establishment of Kaladin's motivations earlier in Part Four, which was going kind of off-the-rails a little.

    Lots more conversation between characters who weren't talking enough in Part Four. (Most specifically Azure.)

    There are hundreds more, but those are a few that might be of interest--and I need to be up in three hours to get on a train to go do more signings. Jet lag sure is fun!

    Oathbringer London signing ()
    #4770 Copy

    Overlord Jebus

    So I've noticed a pattern in the way that the Radiants learn their surges. They seem to learn their anti-clockwise surge before their clockwise surge?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They do.

    Overlord Jebus

    Excellent, everyone thought I was a crazy person!

    Brandon Sanderson

    They do tend to-- Now, I'm gonna give you some behind the sausage stuff on that. That is partially for writing expediency reasons.

    Overlord Jebus

    How do you mean?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I designed that partially because I didn't want to overwhelm people with too many magic systems at once so I came up with a little bit of a pattern so that I could have a little bit of an in-world reason why we were slowing that down. It's not a hard fast rule, it's something that I've kept to in order to not overwhelm readers so it's more of form following function than the other way around.

    Oathbringer London signing ()
    #4771 Copy

    Overlord Jebus

    This map,

    *Hands Brandon the Part Four Sea of Lost Lights Map*

    How much of a hand did you have in this map or did you kind of let Isaac go crazy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So this one is half and half, I went to Isaac and said put this and this and this and then he added some craziness. One of Isaac's voices in the cosmere is Nazh and almost everything that is written by Nazh is Isaac and he named a bunch of this stuff, he ran it all by me. I actually vetoed a few. He came up with some, I'm like "Ehh" and then I renamed them to things that actually fit.

    Overlord Jebus

    Okay, why is spren fishing banned here, is that you or Isaac?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That was Isaac...

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
    #4774 Copy

    Questioner

    I was wondering if you were ever gonna talk about how some of the names are, like, palindromes and what it means?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, in the Stormlight world, symmetry is holy. And so, palindromic names are how the names of a lot of religious figures, and things are. And even a lot of people, who-- particularly those who are based off of them. It's a religious concept. The keteks, the poems in the back, are symmetrical poems.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
    #4777 Copy

    Questioner

    In Words of Radiance, can you give me a worldhopper that you haven't told us about?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Afraid not. The problem, I just get asked that, like, twenty times per signing, and I wouldn't have anything left.... I'm sorry... The one I get asked a lot is, "Can you name a Shard you haven't named before?"

    Questioner

    There's, like, three left!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I mean... And people already pulled out from me all the worldhoppers that I am comfortable talking about.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
    #4778 Copy

    Questioner

    Had you planned to write... the whole Cosmere when you initially started?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I wrote Elantris, had a bunch of the ideas. I started planning right then, and it has evolved a lot since. A lot of Elantris kind of got retrofitted into the things I came up with over the next four or five years... By the time I did Mistborn, I had most of this in mind, but it changes so much, even while I'm writing it. 

    Questioner

    So, like, when you had Warbreaker, it was--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Warbreaker, I wrote as a prequel to Stormlight. I had already written Stormlight One by that point, but I didn't like it, so I wrote about Kaladin's swordmaster, who was in the first book in that version.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
    #4782 Copy

    Questioner

    Everybody talks about steel-steel twinborns. A big topic of discussion. What I'm thinking about, I haven't seen anybody ask, what happens when somebody who's tapping speed, does a steelpush, does the steelpush react in realtime or accelerated time? And the object-- is it like a railgun?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm surprised that no one's asked me that before. This gets really dangerous really fast... It's RAFO territory, but you are thinking along the right lines.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
    #4783 Copy

    Questioner

    So, you always talk about how you're an outliner. So, what do your outlines look like, and how long are they ranging from your YA books to something like Stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, the one for the new book, Skyward, is about five pages long, and it's mostly-- first it's "Here's the worldbuilding paragraph," there's a bunch of headings and paragraphs. Characters, about a paragraph or two about each one. And then five parts, I tend to do a lot of five act things. So, prologue, part one, part two, part three, climax. Just a bunch of bullet points.

    Questioner

    And how long would one be for, like, Oathbringer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oathbringer one's, like, 30 pages.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
    #4785 Copy

    Questioner

    In the past, you have said... that we've seen a metal that is from a Shard that we know, on Scadrial. You said Wax has seen the influence of a Shard other than Preservation, Ruin, or Harmony, and that the spike that Bleeder was using was a metal from a Shard we know. It seems like there's another Shard influencing Scadrial. Is Trell an extension of that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    And is that Odium?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
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    Questioner

    So, if a person claims a new set of Shardplate, and there's a difference in size between the new wielder and the previous wielder, does it adjust to the size of the new wielder?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It does... And there are things they can do to size it and things like that. But it slowly changes over time, like a Blade sometimes does under certain circumstances.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
    #4788 Copy

    Questioner

    On the eye colors on Roshar, there are some weird ones, like orange and yellow. Are those there for a specific reason, or are they just--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. The whole eye color thing is kinda based a little bit on the Knights Radiant, the eyes changing is involved there. What's normal eye colors to them, it's just normal to them. It's not weird to see violet eyes and things like that. But it would be weird to us.

    Questioner

    Did the eyes have to do with the Orders?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
    #4789 Copy

    Questioner

    I want to know if there is a toxic level for Stormlight? If you're in the storm, can you get to the point where you have too much?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it doesn't quite work that way. Good question, though.

    Questioner

    You said there was one person, I guess it was the Soulcasters, who were starting to change because of that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's more the magic changing their soul over time. It's not necessarily a function of the storms.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
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    Questioner

    I was wondering, in Roshar, if any of the women were left-handed, if that interfered with the safehand? Or do they force them to--

    Brandon Sanderson

    They force them. It doesn't work for everybody, but at least--I read into this--there are countries where you're not allowed to be, in our world, left-handed. It's not a thing. They just force people to not be left-handed. It works better for some than others...

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
    #4795 Copy

    FirstSelector

    So, do you have a name, like an in-world name for a large magical construction, like the things that picks Elantrians?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That was why I invented the term "fabrial." It will become widespread eventually, as the term for meaning, kind of, magic-type devices in the cosmere. That's not what you call it right now, but you can start calling them all fabrials.

    FirstSelector

    But what about something that isn't, like-- I always imagined that Aona left, like, a device, a magical device running--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will have to RAFO that.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
    #4796 Copy

    Questioner

    What's going on with White Sand? The sequel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...Sequel looks really good. It fixed a few problems I had with the first one, and improves upon it, and it's good. I think they're looking at February. The date that was online earlier was just somebody guessing, and it kinda got perpetuated and Amazon picked it up. But there was no official date. And February is what we're looking at. The art's all done, and it's looking really good. So, February.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
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    Questioner

    We have a lot of fan theories about your work, and most of them are wrong by necessity.

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...That is true.

    Questioner

    Are there things that are sort of directly designed to encourage or dissuade certain theories?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...As a member of Wheel of Time fandom growing up, I have experience on both sides of this now. And I decided after-- and this was partially looking at Robert Jordan's notes, looking at how he approached it, how it worked, being a fan-- I decided that that direction lies madness. Trying to stay ahead of the fans, trying-- if you try to twist so much that the fans can't guess, then that just means your foreshadowing is not going to work. On the other hand, doing too many in-jokes and things like this, it risks just making your book uninteresting, or not long-lasting.

    And so while I read a lot of fan theories, and I even take them on occasion-- like Shardfork? That was totally a fan thing. Someone suggested that, I'm like, "Yeah, that would totally happen." But I kinda have to approach it from the frame of mind of "What would the characters do?" And I try not to actively write things that dissuade or encourage certain theories, I try to write what is best for the story. And let the fans then-- if they're going to guess, they're going to guess. If my foreshadowing is good, they probably are going to guess. At the same time, I know how insane they all are, 'cause I'm one of them, and I know they're just gonna go off on weird tangents. And that's just fine too.

    So, it's this weird balance where I try to be part of the fandom, but make sure not being overly influenced by the fandom, and Wheel of Time gave me a lot of good practice on this. One of the things I really worried about with Wheel of Time was that the book would become a sequence of in-jokes for people who had read the series before. And yet, at the same time, as a fan, there were certain things I really wanted to see happen. I wanted to see certain characters meet up again after a long time apart, and I had been waiting for that for, like, a decade, and I was gonna make that happen, right? And I had to balance those two things, and that's just what I do with my books, even still.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
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    Questioner

    How many of the worlds in the cosmere do you eventually plan to talk about that we don't know about?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...From what's been released, you've gotten almost all the important ones. There's, like, two or three ones I would consider relevant to... for instance, the planet that the Aethers, from Aether of Night, which is an unpublished book-- that's still part of the cosmere, I'm gonna do some stuff there. There are a couple of other worlds, one is mentioned in Oathbringer, just very briefly, in one of the epigraphs. There are others that I'll get to. But, when I designed the cosmere: Scadrial (Mistborn), Sel (Elantris), and Roshar were my pillars of the Cosmere story. With Yolen, the planet where it all started, just kind of being behind-the-scenes relevant. Those are the pillars of our story. Other planets will come into it, but those three-- there's nothing more important than the ones you've seen already.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
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    Questioner

    In Elantris, you have this array of people who are essentially gods, immortal, but they appear with absurdly high frequency. How come they basically don't take over the planet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...There are a couple reasons for this. One is that magic on Sel is very strongly tied to location, and was even back when the Elantrians were at the height of their power. So, this is a big part of it, location-based magic. Meaning, the further you get from Elantris, the less powerful your magic was, and the Elantrians really didn't like going places where they were not super-powerful. And so this is certainly part of it, and I explored this idea in Warbreaker, where the people who happen to be gods are really aggressive and kind of slowly conquering outward and things like that. It felt right for me in Elantris to be doing it that way.

    Questioner

    Why can't they just increase their numbers. Because their numbers increase over time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...The number of Elantrians had certain thresholds and upper limits, that I haven't described in the books yet.

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
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    Questioner

    In Way of Kings, all of the philosophers and logic masters are male, and reading and writing is described as a feminine art. It was long ago, so was there...

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...This was a shift that happened in Roshar at a certain distinct point, where reading and writing became feminine arts. It was related to a power struggle over Shardblades and Shardplate, where certain people in charge realized, "If we can push the women towards something else, we can have all their weapons!" I know, it's not a good thing. But it happens. That's where safehands came form, and things like this, philosophies written in the past being taken kind of as dogma, and power struggles being involved, and things like this, and there was a shift happening. You'll find there's plenty of female philosophers, but they tend-- that tends to be a dividing point, and you start to see female philosophers appearing in Roshar after that divide, and you tend to see a lot more male philosophers beforehand. Good question.