Recent entries

    Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
    #4801 Copy

    XS-Terrain

    Is there anything that we don't know about the Expanses right now that you'd be willing to tell us?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think I've told you about all of them. Is there one I haven't told you about yet?

    XS-Terrain

    Um, I don't know, I've checked the words of Brandon before I wrote these questions. I think we know that um one of them is... Scadrial, and one of them is Warbreaker--

    Brandon Sanderson

    So Densities is Sel. We put that one on, right, Expanse of the Densities? So, if we didn't you now know, Densities is Sel.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #4804 Copy

    Questioner

    In correlation to art. Leonardo DaVinci has the Mona Lisa. Michelangelo has the Sistine Chapel. Have you created-- Do you feel you've created your Mona Lisa, or is that something you're still working on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Number one, I do not belong mentioned in the same breath. Let's establish that. I actually got to see the Sistine Chapel last year, and wow. You think you know it, because you've like, seen the pictures. It's not the same.

    So, have I? That's not for me to decide. That is actually for readers and history to decide. Most entertainment is ephemeral. Most of what we release will go out there, it'll make peoples' lives better--I hope--it'll be fun, you'll all like it, but then it vanishes, and a new generation of artists create new things for that generation. And that's fine. Right? Like, I'm not chasing Voldemort's immortality in that way. But, maybe I'll create a Dune, right? Or an Ender's Game, or something that is larger than the author by orders of magnitude, and becomes an enduring part of the pop cultural landscape. Maybe. But that's not the sort of thing I think you can set out to do. It's like a combination of all kinds of factors come into these things hitting at the right time and working in the way that certain films and books do, like Harry Potter did. You know, ask me that in 100 years, and we'll see. It's a good question to think about. But it's not a good question for me, necessarily, to answer for myself.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #4806 Copy

    Questioner

    Why do you decide to do more series like Apocalypse Guard or the Secret Project [Skyward] when you still have so many more unfinished sequels?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a good question. No, it is totally legit. *laughter* So, I did finish Legion. I did that. So, those who are looking for that, that will come out next year. Why do I do it this way? Well, most of the time, it's because I try a book, and it doesn't work. Rithmatist fans probably know, I tried to write Rithmatist 2, I built an outline, I started writing it, and the book didn't work. I wasn't-- the outline was wrong on that one. I got, like, three chapters in, and I'm like, "Nope. This book is broken." And it was mostly due to my lack of research into the proper things to do the book the right way. And because Rithmatist and Alcatraz, which you'll get Alcatraz 6 eventually, those are the two that are looming most; those are side projects. Those are things that I do for fun. They have to slot in between my main projects, if that makes any sense. Like, I have to do them when there's time from other projects. So, for instance, I couldn't go to Random House and say, "I'm gonna do Rithmatist 2 sequel," because Rithmatist is not their series. It belongs to Tor. So, if I wanna do more with Random House, I have to do something that works for them. And that's kind of the long and short of it.

    I mean, I will get around to things like Warbreaker and Elantris sequels. *cheers* But the thing about those is, those are sequels to the worlds, not necessarily sequels to the characters. I won't promise you that the same characters will appear in them. Some of them will. But it's the idea that those are standalone books that I plan to do more in the world, and the time isn't right in the cosmere to do those. For something like Rithmatist, that's more pressing, because I'm like "that promises a sequel with the same characters". But I have to find out how to write it first. And, for various reasons, a Rithmatist sequel is really tricky to pull off. So, that's kinda the answer to it. Sometimes, I also just need a break to do whatever my mind wants to do. It's not a very satisfying answer, but it is the way my brain works. But you can know that if it's, like, one of the main line things that I've got contracts for, that I won't be doing that to you on. So, Stormlight will be pretty regular, Mistborn will be pretty regular. But some of the side projects, it's just when it's right it's right.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #4807 Copy

    Questioner

    Are you worried, because of the length of the Stormlight Archive books, that the movies will not be able to encompass them fully?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What a well-stated way to say that... So, movies. Hollywood. Bless them, they try. No, seriously, like, there are a lot of really creative people who really are passionate about books in Hollywood, just none of them have any money? I'm exaggerating, strike that from the record. But we've sold the rights to people that we trust. Otherwise, we wouldn't sell them. It's always a gamble. We're never sure if it's gonna work. Like, even people who are really well-intentioned. The Golden Compass movie is a great example of this. Really good intentions. Everything about that movie should have worked: great actors, great design. And the movie was boring. And, it's like everybody tried really hard, and it just didn't work. And I know how that feels. I tried really hard on Apocalypse Guard, and it didn't work. And, so, yes, I am totally worried about that. But the thing about it is, if I don't risk that, then I can't ever have a good movie, 'cause I'll never have a movie.

    Now, would we rather Stormlight be a television show? Probably. And I think the chances-- So, what I've been saying is, let's just hope that the other fantasy television shows do well. Let's hope the new Lord of the Rings one does really well. Let's hope that Pat Rothfuss's show goes really, really well. If a bunch of these things get made, and they're good, it improves our chances, and things like that. I've constantly said, I would rather a television show. But, you know, I wouldn't have thought that the Lord of the Rings films could be adapted as well as they were. And they worked. So, who knows. I'm willing to roll those dice, and see what we end up with.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #4812 Copy

    Questioner

    Have you ever read a book that has made you cried? Or made you so frustrated that you wanted to throw the book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not that hard to make me emotional in a book. I'm normally a very even-keeled guy, but a really great story told really well can really get to me. It's part of why I wanted to be a writer. I've got a very even temperament. I wake up most days, just kinda feeling the same I did the day before. So, if there's, like, bipolar or things like this, I'm like the opposite. I'm, like, if you vary, like, people vary from a 0 and a 100, I'm, like, at a 75 all the time. Which can be really cool, except when everyone else is, like, super excited, and they all go to, like, 90 and 100, and I'm like, "Yay? That's cool. I'm happy too!" But a good story, that gets me, right? That can really get me. So, a lot of my favorite stories-- Anne McCaffrey was really good at doing this for me. But Terry Pratchett, right? They're comedies? If I mention that I like something, it's probably stirred powerful emotions in me.

    What have I wanted to throw across the room? I'm sorry, I know that some of you really like this, but-- and I'm sure they're really good books if you're in the right mindset, but-- this is gonna date me a little. There was a sequel series to the Willow movie, which was written. And Chris Claremont is a great writer, right? I think this is the X-Men Chris Claremont. I don't blame Chris. [George] Lucas was involved. Strike that from the record. But I loved Willow. When I was a kid, I'm like, "A fantasy movie that doesn't suck! Yes! Nothing against you Beastmaster, but, you know, a fantasy movie that doesn't suck, and Warwick Davis was awesome, I love that movie!" And then the books came out, and in the first one, you're like, "Yeah, all those people you loved? They're dead." That's how, like, the prologue goes! And the character whose life they saved in the movie, and things like that--spoilers, it's been like thirty years--is, like, a spoiled brat, and everyone's personality changed. That's probably the book I'm the most, like, throw-against-the-wall-ish. I'm like, "No, don't kill all my favorite characters!" Here's a clue for ya: if people love a whole bunch of stuff, don't start the sequel with, "Yeah, all that stuff you loved? We're just gonna..." Don't Aliens 3 your movie. Don't do that to your books. It's okay to have loss, but don't have all the people you love die in between stories. Bad idea.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #4813 Copy

    Questioner

    By and large, I love your characters. I really dislike Eshonai. Really dislike her. Is there a character that you really dislike writing? Or, if you don't dislike them, is it hard to find their voice.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Cadsuane. Sorry, Wheel of Time fans, but Cadsuane, you're not my real mom. Moiraine is my real mom. I tried to do my best with Cadsuane that I could. So, I would say-- of my own characters, they're all like my children, and I love my children all equally. *gives Joel a side hug* The same thing with my characters. When I'm writing someone, they're my favorite. I wouldn't say so, but on The Wheel of Time, definitely. Cadsuane, she can go eat a brick.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #4814 Copy

    Questioner

    A lot of people probably ask you how to write better. Do you have any advice for people who want to read better?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What an interesting question. So I don't know if you can read the wrong way? Upside down, if it works for you, man. One of my speeches previous year, the little things I get up, where I go professor on you. One of those things was where I talked about "there is no wrong way to read my books." And you have the power as a reader, I feel, to have, like, line-item veto. If I describe a certain person a certain way, and you're like, "Nope." You are allowed to change that in your version of the book. I have a good friend, he's still in my writing group, actually, he's Leyten from Bridge Four. 'Cause all my friends ended up in Bridge Four. Except for Dan, who I killed horribly in the Mistborn books. He survived the first time. I let him survive, and then he died. All of my friends ended up in Bridge Four. So Leyten, he was reading The Wheel of Time back when he was a teenager, and we got to the part where Thom Merrilin has a mustache. Have you read these books? He's a guy that has this really awesome mustache. And Alan's said, "Nope. No mustache. He doesn't match my--" When he told me this, I was horrified! I'm like, "That is, like, a central feature of what Thom Merrilin looks like, he has a big, drooping mustache!" Alan's like, "Nope. Not in my version." And I'm okay with that, when you do that on my book. You can pronounce the names the way you want. You can-- like, I give you a script, and you direct it. And you can change whatever you want in your head.So, I don't know if there's a right or a wrong way to read, if that makes sense.

    I did take a speed-reading class for, like, three days. No, it was just, like, one day, where they started teaching how to speed-read. And I realized, when I was speed-reading, I was missing kind of the music of the writing for me. Like, one of the tactics of speed-reading is to stop hearing it in your head, the sounds while you're reading. Which is great for getting through something fast, but I was like, "No! This doesn't work. It makes the books-- less musical?" if that makes any sense. And so I immediately dropped out of that class. But that was for me, I need to savor the story a little bit more. If you want to speed-read it, and that works for you, go. It's an interesting question that I just basically refused to answer, I'm sorry.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #4815 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you plan to write any more books in the Steelheart universe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...There's a big story here. So, the book that I started writing right after finishing Oathbringer in June was called The Apocalypse Guard. This is in the same universe as the Reckoners. And I wrote the whole book, and there were some things wrong with it, as happens sometimes with books. And so I thought, "Eh, I'll send it to my editor, and see what my editor at Random House thinks." She read it, she got back, she's like, "I like some things about it, but it's got these problems." I'm like, "Oh, those are the same problems I thought it had; that's not a good sign." So I got on and I brainstormed, and said "What do you think we should do?" She's like, "Well, maybe this or this." I spent, like, two weeks working on a really in-depth revision document. And I revised about 20% of the book following this document and it was worse. It didn't fix the problem. And so I'm like, "I need more time on this book. This book is not working. I'm sure I can fix it eventually." Like I told you, I stopped writing The Stormlight Archive in 2002. So, I pulled that book and set it aside. And I actually, I sent it to Dan Wells, actually, 'cause he's one of the best writers I know. And I'm like, "Dan! Something's broken. Can you tell me what's broken?" I'm waiting to see what Dan has to say on that, but for now, that's where Secret Project [Skyward] came from, 'cause I'm like, "Well, I don't feel good releasing Apocalypse Guard next year, I have to fix it first, it's just not good enough." So, I pulled out an outline for something else... and I said, "Well, I'm gonna write this right now, 'cause I feel like I can write this, and it's gonna work." So, I started writing this.

    The answer is, yes, there will be more books, and there will even be, if I get around to it, a book about Mizzy as a protagonist, if I can find-- Like, I have to get The Apocalypse Guard working first.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #4816 Copy

    Questioner

    Where did you get the idea for a chasmfiend?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This actually a pretty good one. So, what has happening with the Stormlight books is-- Originally, the Shattered Plains were not in Stormlight. If you didn't know about this, Stormlight started without the Shattered Plains. And when I came back to the series to write it after kind of failing at that 2002 version and wanting to try again, I hired a concept artist to do sketches of characters and settings for me. His name was Ben McSweeney... Ben is the person I eventually hired to do a lot of the artwork, because he had done all this great concept art. And one of the things he did is, he drew a giant brain coral, 'cause I said, "Give me corals, things that you would normally find underwater in a coral reef, but above ground, and this is where we're gonna start our big brainstorming," and he did this giant one that people were walking through the cracks, and there was a little crustacean monster in there. And I'm like, "Oh, that looks like the Shattered Plains. Hey, the Shattered Plains! Why didn't I think of that? They work really well!" 'Cause they had originally been in Dragonsteel, they hadn't really worked there. So, I brought the Shattered Plains over, and the original inspiration for a chasmfiend was that little beastie. It looked more like a crayfish, that he had stuck in one of these grooves. That's where chasmfiends came from.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #4818 Copy

    TheFulgid

    Where do gemstones come from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Gemstones on Roshar are mostly coming from gemhearts. And, I remembered to stick in some mentions of this in Oathbringer, 'cause a lot of people have been asking about this. It's not something-- like, the daily ranching of animals for their gemhearts is not something that we bring up a lot, but there is some limited mining operations on Roshar as well, you've just gotta get through the crem.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #4824 Copy

    Mason Wheeler (paraphrased)

    It seems like the Diagram Cult derives their entire moral authority for the atrocities they commit from the notion that "this is a very, very smart plan."

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Basically, yeah.

    Mason Wheeler (paraphrased)

    And they're filling in the gaps with information gleaned from Death Rattles, despite knowing full well that they're coming from one of Odium's Unmade spren. This seams very, very dumb. Have they ever considered the possibility that they could be being fed disinformation?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, but they figure that the benefits of having access to someone who can see the future outweigh that risk. And even if they are being deliberately given bad information, knowing what subjects they're being misinformed about tells them something useful.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
    #4828 Copy

    Questioner

    *inaudible* find yourself foreshadowing in any of your books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    All the time. Like, the thing I love to do the most.

    Questioner

    Anything you found that we haven't found yet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, yeah. But they can't really find it yet because the foreshadowing is for books way in the future. One thing I've mentioned that you can keep an eye on is the shapes the spren sometimes take, sometimes unconsciously, is related to certain connections that are going on.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
    #4829 Copy

    classicalkhlennium

    Could a Shard like Harmony create new elemental metals, like harmonium, or is that unconscious--

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, unconscious isn't the right word, but a manifestation of his will being the same as manifestation of the laws of physics in the world, if that makes sense. It's not like a choice, it's not, like, not a choice either, to create others, it is theoretically possible, but what has happened is more in line with the laws of his realm.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
    #4830 Copy

    Questioner

    So we know that spren come about through interactions? Could there be other things that situation could create?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    'Cause a read about the *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, same thing, yes.

    Questioner

    I was wondering if *inaudible* spren were created by *inaudible*?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is possible.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
    #4836 Copy

    Questioner

    So, I was actually wondering whether Tanavast constructed the confrontation with Rayse in such a way that *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    That nailed his foot to the floor?

    Questioner

    He's stuck on Braize - at least for now.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah, yes. That was, in effect, that was an intentional -

    Questioner

    It was deliberate? Okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was deliberate. Yup.

    Questioner

    *Inaudible, possibly 'Rayse'* started to win?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, well...

    Questioner

    I'll keep it secret until it shows up on Facebook.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it... so, Odium came at him, and he gave - not as good as he got - but he made it cost.

    Questioner

    Did he sacrifice himself, or is Odium better at that sort of thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wouldn't say that he sacrificed himself, I'd say he went out swinging.

    Questioner

    Is Odium just better at that sort of thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say, yes.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
    #4838 Copy

    Questioner

    Can you give us some of the magic systems that you've rejected?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Magic systems I've rejected. Rejects for me are kind of a weird thing in that they stick in the back of my brain, and when I reject something, it's more along the lines of "this isn't ready yet." And I'm constantly thinking, do I want to do this, do I not want to do this. I've wanted to do one with sound waves forever, visualizing sound waves and things, and I have not been able to write it in a way that either felt different enough from other magic systems that approached this, or that just worked on the page. It's very hard to take something auditory and make it-- put it into a book for some reason. Some things work, I mean, Pat [Rothfuss] has made an entire career of having music to his language... so it can work, but I've never been able to get a really solidly sound-wave-focused magic to work, but I think of and discard tons of these things everyday. Sometimes, I discard them, because I'm like, "No, that's too Brandon." It's like, it's too much, a challenge. "Can I make peanuts into a magic system?" That's one I haven't done.

    By the way, I wanted to do a story about a leekromancer, who had power over legumes. Yeah? Uh-huh. See. That's just too Brandon. You can read that, and say, "He wrote this entire story just to make the leekromancer pun!"

    Footnote: Brandon has mentioned a leekromancer character in relation to the potential story Mullholland Homebrew's Sinister Shop for Secret Pets.
    Oathbringer Portland signing ()
    #4843 Copy

    Questioner

    How do states of matter affect how things look in the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, generally, how people perceive something is very important to the reflection in the Cognitive Realm, and so the physical state of matter is going to be involved in that, but generally, it flows the other direction from the Spiritual Realm.

    Questioner

    Do the forms of Investiture that we've seen, Stormlight, metals, Shardpools, do the fact that those happen in general the same types of states of matter, all physical, solid, is kinda going to be like metal for Investiture?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that is generally the way it will be.

    Oathbringer Portland signing ()
    #4846 Copy

    Questioner

    How did you design the mistcloak cloaks?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Because it looks cool, obviously!

    Questioner

    It is highly impractical!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not if you're Mistborn! The only trouble we really had is stepping on the tassels. 

    Questioner

    And getting tangled up in them.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, a lot of the tassels, a lot of the ones for mistcloaks we've made, use thicker material in them, and they lie straighter, and they don't tangle nearly as much. As long as you don't make them too long, 'cause if you do, you step on them, particularly on stairs... We've got some costume persons that work-- you'll find, if you use a thicker, stronger material-- yeah.

    Oathbringer Portland signing ()
    #4848 Copy

    Questioner

    I want to ask you a question about Pattern. Could you speak to anything about where your idea for...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wanted different spren to look drastically different. And, as I was building-- Like, I wanted a lot of the spren of a lot of the Orders of Knights Radiant to kind of have an internal, natural conflict. Like, that's one of the division lines between a spren that's not sapient, and spren that is. For instance, Windrunner, honorspren, right? Honor is about rigidity in a lot of ways, and Syl is the embodiment of a lot of the opposite of that. And Pattern, who is so interested in lies, is a mathematical fractal-- a mathematical equation. This sort of thing, like naming the inkspren Ivory is just-- I want that internal, natural contrast to be part of them. And Pattern, I really wanted a spren that wasn't just another ball of light. 'Cause Syl is basically a ball of light. And a lot of the others are basically balls of light. And I'm like, I need something that's different, I want something that looks different, that feels different. That's where I went.

    Oathbringer Portland signing ()
    #4849 Copy

    Questioner

    I just have been noticing this, and it's not exclusive to any author, it's just this kind of theme that simply tires me. Main characters, they die, and then they come back to life. or they just don't die. And it makes it so much less exciting for me. So, I wanted to ask you what you think about that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, here's the thing. Because fiction isn't real, death is meaningless in fiction. The only real things in fiction are the emotions we make you feel, and different stories try to do that in different ways with different themes. For instance, I don't think Lord of the Rings is ruined by the fact that Gandalf has a resurrection, because of the emotions you feel, and then the other emotions you feel, and things like this-- and there's something universal about it. And so, I don't think I'm as big on it as that, because deaths-- maybe it's because I'm a writer, everything feels arbitrary in books, except the emotion that I put upon it, if that makes sense? And I always find that what the characters are going through is the more interesting than an abrupt end, but I guess that's just kinda me.

    If you say that, then books can't have resurrection as a theme, or rebirth, which is, like, one of the most interesting themes in existence. But everyone has different tastes, there's no wrong. Not liking it is not wrong. I mean, plot armor also has this thing where we tend to not kill characters arbitrarily, we tend to do it at dramatic moments, and things like this, because the story is better that way, right? And there are some people, like George Martin, who just try to throw this out the window, to tell a different story by doing that. But, of course, resurrection is a huge theme in those books.

    Oathbringer Portland signing ()
    #4850 Copy

    Questioner

    Why pancakes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My kids love pancakes, I thought Lift would really like pancakes. And pancakes are pretty universal, like, most cultures come up with a pancake-type thing. Now they aren't always the sweet pancakes, fluffy ones that we imagine. But, like, almost every culture, pancakes are a thing. Some weird batter with stuff in it you pour onto a hot skillet.