Recent entries

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #4851 Copy

    Questioner

    When does Emperor's Soul take place in relation to the events of Elantris?

    Brandon Sanderson

    After them.

    Questioner

    Like how long after?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't answered that yet. A lot of people keep asking. But after them, but not so far after them that the technology level has shifted, which I allow, in my worlds, to happen. And also not so far after that the Emperor's Soul- if you keep your eyes open you will see a Derethi priest in full armor. And so, not so far after that the kingdoms we are familiar with no longer exist. They do exist and the tech level has not shifted dramatically so you can use that to kind of ballpark for yourself, a range. It's certainly not thousands of years later, in other words.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #4852 Copy

    Questioner

    You sold the rights for Mistborn for a movie, right? How is that coming along?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have had no major updates, I'm afraid. You know, I really like the script. They're pitching it in Hollywood. They're good guys, the producers are. The script is really awesome and is pretty faithful. It's adapted in the ways that adaptations need to happen. Like it's really cool, like the beginning they did this thing where they said, "You know, we really need to focus the movie on Vin, so the opening needs to be on Vin instead of Kelsier." Which is a really good move for a movie like that that's got such a shorter length of time. So, you know, they start with Vin and Reen, actually. And you know, Vin being part of a heist that goes wrong, with her brother, and things like this. And you know, there's changes like that that thematically, you know, are the same concept as the book but then work really much better in the only two hour block that you have. Then Kelsier is a mysterious figure who invites her in and recruits her into the team, which works much better in that format. So there's changes like that.

    There's this really cool prologue where they start the prologue with the march up the mountain toward the Well of Ascension, a thousand years ago and an interaction there that changes into a stained glass window and then you see stained glass windows of the interim periods until you hit the Final Empire. So there's some really awesome stuff.

    So, we'll see if this actually ends up working or not. Again, if your father is the owner of Warner Brothers, go and put in a good word for me. We're kind of long shots because all we are is an author and several producers who have no major credits to their name. And I sold it to them specifically because- you know, I sold Alcatraz to Dreamworks for a lot of money and then I just had to like say goodbye to the project and I like what they did with it but it was basically they took the project. And I, for Mistborn, wanted to have more control which also means my chances of actually getting it made go down quite dramatically. Ask Orson Scott Card how long it took to get made Ender's Game made and you will see the same sort of thing, but then he's getting it made his way, eventually. So that's what I'd like to do with Mistborn if I have that option.

    Chris King interview ()
    #4853 Copy

    Chris King

    Is there a way to reverse the Shaod?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um-- *pause* There is a way to do basically anything.

    Chris King

    So it's kind of a RAFO? Will we ever find--

    Brandon Sanderson

    No that's not what they asked, they asked if there is a way. Yes there is but how reasonable a way that is is very... vague...

    Chris King interview ()
    #4854 Copy

    Chris King

    Would it be easy for a Forger who'd once almost lost her arm (freak guillotine accident is the example that is used) to make a stamp to lose it temporarily, or would it require some more involved Forging than "my arm actually got cut off that one time"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, and-- The more plausible something is the easier the Forging is definitely.

    Chris King interview ()
    #4855 Copy

    Chris King

    Did the Lord Ruler use lerasium to gain his super Allomantic abilities or did he grant that to himself with the Well's power? If he used the bead, does he count as one of the nine original Allomancers that Sazed mentions?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Excellent question. He did not use the bead. He-- In all of this he granted himself basically, he rebuilt himself to be extremely powerful and he did not use one of the beads.

    Chris King interview ()
    #4856 Copy

    Chris King

    A lot of people wanted clarification on weight in regards to Pushing and Pulling, whether or not it has a direct correlation to the power or if it's just something people say because generally someone heavier is going to Push--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, right. It's more-- I mean, the whole-- If you really dig down into it, and I've talked about this before, the whole mass, weight, Push, and Pull thing gets a little tricky when--particularly when you throw Feruchemy into the mix-- Are we changing mass? Or are we changing what the power of the earth pulling upon you is, and things like this. Generally understand that most people who are talking about this are not speaking in scientific terms and they are speaking in colloquialisms.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4857 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    [Eshonai] I believe is one that Michael Whelan intended to be one figures on the covers, one's Dalinar, and one's Eshonai. But that scene is not 100% accurate from the book. Usually with book covers we are looking for a poster for the book, like a movie poster, which isn't necessarily an exact scene from the book. But I believe it's who it was intended to be.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4859 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, what I’ve been doing lately is writing on Stormlight 2. And Stormlight 2, if you’re unaware with what’s going on in the Stormlight series, I conceived the series as ten volumes, two five book arcs, with each volume focusing on a character by giving them a flashback sequence. So if you’ve read the first one, Kaladin, one of the main characters, there’s a sequence of flashbacks that kind of inform how he came to be where he is at the start of the book. And I intended that for each of the ten primary characters because I kind of began them all in the middle of their stories, which is what happens when you’re writing a book. The beginning of a story is not the beginning of a book. It’s impossible to tell the beginning of a story because there’s always something more that could come before. So you start with people who have passions, who have lives, who have things going on and then I wanted to use these sequences to bring you back up to where they were when they started.

    This was a method I thought I would use in order to help divide each book and help me envision each book as a stand-alone volume in the series. Because one of the challenges of writing a big series like this is you don’t want them all to blend together. You want them each to feel distinct, to have their own climaxes and their own story because when they start to blend together, it can be detrimental to the series in the long run. So in my original outline, I spent a lot of time figuring out what everyone’s story was going to be, but I didn’t actually have to do them in a certain order because they all are flashbacks. It means I didn’t have to have the flashbacks in certain parts. And so I wasn’t sure whether I was going to do Dalinar or Shallan for the second book, I always knew I was going to do Kaladin for the first book. And I ended up deciding on Shallan, in part because I want to get into her story because of things that are happening in the plot but also because I wanted Dalinar’s sequence to come later.

    Now, I’m not promising that characters all survive that long. It’s entirely possible, just so you know, that I would kill someone off and still show their flashback sequence. Because the flashbacks aren’t them having a flashback, the flashbacks are- it’s not them sitting there and remembering that, it is simply a non-linear way of telling their story. So just so you know, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Dalinar survives til book five.

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Are you telling us you're going to kill one of our viewpoints?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not saying. I'm just saying, that I reserve the right, the outline, you know? I don't like giving spoilers. I like keeping people guessing.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4860 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    So what’s going on here is, for Stormlight 2, I needed a lullaby in-world. And poetry is not my forte. However, my father-in-law is a semi-professional singer/songwriter. He’s released a couple of albums, they’re just local, he does stuff like that. So, I asked him to compose a lullaby that I just left blanks in the story from. And he actually turned it in just like a couple of days ago. And it’s quite good and it fits in.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4861 Copy

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Was the Reod natural?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Reod natural? *laughs*

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Here’s the thing, you’ve answered this question for us already, we just need it on audio.

    Josh Walker

    It wasn’t the Reod that was the question it was was the earthquake natural?

    Mi'chelle Walker

    No, Eric’s [Chaos] asking if the Reod was natural.

    Josh Walker

    To heck with Eric, we don’t care about him.

    Mi'chelle Walker

    You’ve told us that the earthquake was not caused by natural events.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, but it’s a complicated question because the earthquake was not caused by natural, but the Reod was a natural effect of the earthquake, then... does that make sense? So the Reod is natural, a natural result of... does that make sense? That’s why it was a tricky question.

    Mi'chelle Walker

    But the earthquake was not natural.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it was not.

    Aaron

    So the Reod is a natural reaction to an unnatural occurrence.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Josh Walker

    And wasn’t it because there was like magical strain on the land?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is certainly part of what was going on.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4862 Copy

    Mi'chelle Walker

    What is the technology level of the singular society that existed when Adonalsium Shattered?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What was the technology level of the society that existed when Adonalsium Shattered? It was less than our own.

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Are you going to give us anything more specific than that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Less than our own. You've read the book that is the preface for all of that. So you can guess.

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Wait, really? That's the preface to it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, it's the series where that happens. I've said before: Dragonsteel is the series... Adonalsium is not Shattered in Dragonsteel.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4864 Copy

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Do people inhabit Shadesmar, like normal people?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Define normal.

    Questioner

    Let’s rephrase that, describe the people that inhabit Shadesmar.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, you have seen people who inhabit Shadesmar.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4866 Copy

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Is the city that the Parshendi are in Urithiru?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In The Way of Kings, Jasnah tells Shallan that Urithiru is not on the Shattered Plains. So either Jasnah is incorrect or that is not Urithiru.

    Mi'chelle Walker

    In other words, you’re not going to tell me?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m just clarifying for you so that you have all the information you need in order to make judgments and ask questions.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4867 Copy

    Mi'chelle Walker

    Brandon, have we seen a point of view chapter from the character who writes the Ars Arcanum?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m not gonna tell you that. That would be way too much giving away.

    Questioner

    Is the character who writes the Ars Arcanum from Sel originally?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m not gonna tell you anything about the character who writes the Ars Arcanum.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4869 Copy

    Questioner

    So I was reading the Alloy of Law, and at the end I read through the Ars Arcanum. And I got confused because it’s written in first person, but it refers to Harmony in third person. I thought he was writing it, so who writes that part?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That’s a good question for you to be asking, one which people have been curious about, and I have not yet answered who writes all of the Ars Arcanum, but they are in-world, somebody's writing them. If you ever read The Way of Kings, it’s written in first-person too.

    Questioner

    Are they all written by the same person?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah, have I answered that yet?

    Josh Walker

    You should.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I should? They are all written by the same person.

    Questioner

    Because it sounds like they’re written by Hoid, I think.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are all written by the same person.

    Footnote: They are not written by Hoid, but rather, Khriss.
    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4870 Copy

    Questioner

    You like how you have those smaller, one-chapter type things? The burglars, I want to know more about them. Are those guys like, are those chapters going to show up more in the rest of the books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not all of them. They are all important in one way or another, but it's not always the characters who are the important part. Or not necessarily the viewpoint characters who are important. So for instance, in that particular instance, with the burglars, it's the woman who is the important one in that group.

    Questioner

    And the guy who goes measuring... cataloging different types of spren, he's going to be important later on.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Axies will most likely show up at other points in the series.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4871 Copy

    Questioner

    The Windrunners, they’re just one order of the Knights Radiant, aren’t they?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes they are, in fact they are--every order is a grouping of one of these *points to the large symbols on the Radiant tables* and two of these *points at the smaller symbols*, these are the Surges. So these are the ten, sort of forces. And so Windrunning is pressure and gravitation, which are those two. But the Skybreakers are right there, with a different combination and each of these different groupings would make one order of the Knights Radiant. And that is the symbol of the Windrunners, right there on the cover. *points at the swordgylph under the dust jacket*. So, fun little easter-egg type things there.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4873 Copy

    Questioner

    Just wanted to ask how you come up with all your different universes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, it’s hard to say where specifically where they come from. You can point to certain ones and say, okay, Mistborn, Mistborn came from me driving through a fog bank at 80 miles an hour and saying, “Wow that looks cool, can I use that?” And you can point at Warbreaker with me saying, “I’ve done this whole world of ash and I need to do something colorful, let’s build a color based magic system.” Way of Kings is definitely influenced by tidal pools and things like that. And so, each one’s different, it’s just things I see that I think will make interesting stories and settings.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4875 Copy

    Questioner

    What time period do [cosmere books] all fit in, do they all fit in time--at the same time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, like for instance, Way of Kings and Alloy of Law are pretty close to one another, but Elantris is fairly far before them. So far I’ve written them chronologically basically, except I’ve skipped certain stories, like there’s a series called White Sand which is in the middle there somewhere which will actually be a jump back in time when I end up doing it and some things like that. And Dragonsteel is like way at the beginning which I’ll eventually do, but I’ve done them chronologically so far.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4876 Copy

    Questioner

    I enjoy Way of Kings, it seems like that’s the one where everyone’s coming together. I was reading online about Galladon and Demoux being in it. I enjoyed that. Is that going to happen more often?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In that book- that series, yes. There will be more crossover. It’s kinda one of the core stories, along with the things happening on the Mistborn world and things like that. And so, there’s going to be a lot more crossover. Most of it’s still kind of subtle stuff, but if you keep your eyes open, there’ll be some real zingers in the next two books.

    West Jordan signing 2012 ()
    #4877 Copy

    Questioner

    [Josh and Mi’ch] were kind of explaining that your books were all in different worlds and Hoid can jump from world to world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, they’re all in the same universe. And there are some characters who have appeared in multiple books. Hoid, for instance, has appeared in all of them so far.

    Questioner

    Yeah, is he going to have his own book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He will eventually have his own book series.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #4878 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The magic systems for Elantris- the pitch to myself designing the world and magic systems was this kind of procedural-based, almost programing-based magic. Where in Elantris, you use these characters to program out a sequence of events that tells the power that's flowing through what to do.

    What Shai is doing in this book is she carves a little seal. And the seal is very much like a little program, and she stamps it on something and uses that stamp to rewrite the history of the object. As long as the seal is there, the object thinks it has this other history. The example you see in the book is you know... an old dirty table that's not been cared for, she can write a seal for its history, she has to figure out what its history was first. And she can write out a seal that basically reprograms that past, so when she stamps it, it thinks it's been cared for all along and suddenly it gains this lacquer, it's beautiful, it's been well-cared for, because in that fake Forgery of the history, that's what happened to it. And that's what her magic does, which is why she's been hired to Forge a copy of the emperor's soul.

    But, yes, the magic systems have the same root. And it's not just the Dor. I like the magics on a given planet to all have a consistent theme. And for Elantris they are these almost programming-like, very based on symbols and what-not. In Mistborn, it's based on the metals and the interactions of the metals.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #4879 Copy

    Questioner

    Mistborn, the broadsheet hints that there's a continent or whatever on the other side of the Mistborn planet. Would that also be connected to Allomancy and Feruchemy and all that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it will be. The Southern Continent does have interactions with the three Metallic Arts, but they use them in very different ways.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #4881 Copy

    Questioner

    Where did you get your inspiration for having kind of a kind of consistent universe; it's kind of similar to Stephen King and things like that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, where did I get the inspiration for that? There's a couple of places, and I don't want to go off on this too long, if you go look on the Q&A database that these guys have on the 17th Shard you can find more.

    But there were really two things that made me do it. First off is reading how Asimov did it and really being impressed with what he did and also noticing that he had to like do some patches in order to make everything work. Asimov connected his Robot series and his Foundations series after the fact many years later. It turned out really well; the two series, as it turns out, blend together in a really cool way but it felt to me it felt after the fact . And I wanted to do something from the get-go and say, "Well, if I've got something like this as a model." Stephen King did it also, but he did it after the fact. But I've got writers like this as a model to show how cool this can be, so my question to myself is, "How much cooler can it be if I do it from book one?" And you know, it's the sort of advantages you get as a writer by standing on the shoulders of authors like that, who have done these awesome things in the past. It allows us to kind of see what they did and say, "Okay, how can I expand on this? How can I do something new, rather than just doing what Asimov did?" And one of the approaches was to try it from book one.

    And the other reasoning was that I like big epics but I also want to be writing a lot of stand-alones. And early in my career in particular, it was important for me to be writing stand-alones. And so the hidden epic behind the scenes allowed me to embed some of this depth of foreshadowing and connection in a way that would not be intimidating to readers because they could just read the story and enjoy the stand-alone. And then if it's something- if they're the type that really gets into this and really wants to dig deep, they can find the other level and be like, "Wow, there's an epic on here and Mistborn is a sequel to Elantris. I didn't know that," and things like that. Or they can be read completely independently and you never have to worry about that. So I like that versatility.

    I will eventually write some stories connecting all of these things in a more obvious way, but I don't want it to come to the forefront of any series that that's not already the focus. For instance, I don't want Way of Kings to be about that, because I've already promised you what Way of Kings is about. And I don't want then to trick you into, "Oh, now it's this other thing." I have books planned that will be that, but they're a little ways off.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #4882 Copy

    Questioner

    Okay Hoid, you mentioned he's in all your books, is he in also in all your shorter stories?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He is not in all of my shorter stories. In fact, he is not in any book that references Earth. So if there's a reference to Earth- most of my science fiction has referential stuff to Earth, Alcatraz is like this. He's not in anything like that. He's not in the Wheel of Time. It would not have been appropriate for me to seed something like that into a Wheel of Time book. So he's not in Steelheart or the other children works that I've done. But he is in all my epic fantasies.

    Questioner

    Now my main question actually, which magic systems, if any, does he have access to?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's an excellent question. He is familiar with very many of them, and lots that you haven't seen yet.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #4884 Copy

    Questioner

    Who was the first Feruchemist?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Who was the first Feruchemist? I don't have their name written down. It's fairly ancient of date.

    Questioner

    Were they born or were they created?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The first Feruchemist, were they born or created? Both. I don't see those two as mutually exclusive. See how good I am at dodging questions, now? I've been dealing with the Wheel of Time fans long enough. They've really whipped me into shape for dodging questions.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #4885 Copy

    Questioner

    Were there highstorms on Roshar before Adonalsium Shattered?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Were there highstorms on Roshar before Adonalsium Shattered? I'm gonna RAFO that. I'm not gonna answer you, because I'm mean. Maybe someday you shall have your answer to this important question.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #4886 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you have any future plans for the character of Stephen Leeds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah, Stephen Leeds. So this is the main character from Legion. Legion is- actually kind of got some cool stories behind it. Legion, you know, is one of these quirky ideas I came up with. And actually since it was mainstream and things I said, "Hey Dan," talking to Dan Wells, my friend, "You should write this story, let me tell you about it." And he was not nearly as excited about it as I was. I'm like, "Dan, you need to write this story, you need to write this story." And finally I realized, "Oh, I should write this story cause I came up with the idea, rather than telling Dan to. It's okay, Brandon. You can write something mainstream."

    So, I kicked it around for a while. For me, I viewed it as being a television show, a pitch for a television show particularly. So I wrote a pitch on it, and I wrote that story to be kind of a pilot pitch. Which then sold the television rights on it, which was always kind of the goal for me was to get that because I view it as being a really awesome television show. So we sold the rights to Lionsgate and I went ahead and released the story that I wrote

    I would like to do more things like that. I have so much on my plate, who knows? My little notebook that I carry around places where I expect to be bored, it has scribblings, you know, of maybe a quarter of another Stephen Leeds story. I ran into a hangup with some of the science and so I fired off a furious email to Peter, my assistant, and he was like, "I don't know". And usually that doesn't happen with Peter on the science, so maybe it is a real quandry. So, answer is, yes there should be more. Hopefully we can get the television show off the ground and that would be a lot of fun.

    Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
    #4887 Copy

    Questioner

    I was just wondering, how Stormlight 2 is coming?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How is Stormlight 2 going? It's going pretty well. This whole being trapped in a hotel during the storm thing was not actually as conducive as you might think. Cause I sat down and I worked on it for a bit but being away from home, being, you know, annoyed that I'm trapped in a hotel and things like that I actually ended up writing a short story I owed somebody instead, just to kind of further clear the plate.

    I owe Charlaine Harris a story. Charlaine's a friend and she's been a dear to me and she keeps trying to get me into one of her anthologies. And I'm like "Charlaine, this isn't really my thing," but she keeps asking so I finally said yes to one of them because the concept sounds fun, it was called Games Dead People Play. So I wrote her a story for her Games Dead People Play anthology. So we'll see about that.

    It was actually four thousand words; you can be impressed now. I don't write things very short very often, if you can't tell. My short stories are as long as the book you're holding in your hand usually. So that's how that tends to go. So four thousand words is really short for me; it's only like 20 pages or something, it's tiny. Anyway, Stormlight 2 is coming along well. Hopefully next Christmas-time is when it should be coming out. I'm supposed to be turning in a new title this week and a cover concept by the end of the month, so that Michael Whelan can paint one. So we will see if I'm able to keep these deadlines.

    Phoenix Comicon 2013 ()
    #4888 Copy

    Questioner

    What are your feelings on fanfiction?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am perfectly fine with fanfiction.  I think fanfiction is cool. I don’t read a ton of fanfiction, I probably won’t specifically read fanfiction based on my works just for the idea contamination potential and things like that, but I think fanfiction is awesome and you should feel free to write fanfiction in my worlds, as long as its not for profit.  I don’t know if I will buy into this Amazon Fanfiction for profit thing or not, I'm not sure what I think about it yet. But at the end of the day I think it’s cool and it’s good practice for a lot of writers. So go for it.

    Phoenix Comicon 2013 ()
    #4889 Copy

    Questioner

    On that note, the book that you were just talking about earlier I read that it was supposed to be Hoid’s origin story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it was Hoid’s origin story, yeah.  I will re-write it eventually. One of the problems with it, about halfway through I felt this should really have been a first person book all along and it wasn’t.  So that was part of the big reason it wasn’t working. It needs to be his voice telling a story as opposed to the way I was doing it and that is going to involve a major re-write.

    Phoenix Comicon 2013 ()
    #4890 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    For those of you who don’t know, when I was writing these thirteen books.  I started working on them and I loved the big epics but when I sat down to write Elantris a lot of the advice I had heard from editors said “Don’t write a big series in the beginning.  You want to write a standalone book with sequel potential. So when you sell that you can then write the sequels to it, but if you don’t sell it you’re not locked into spending all of your time writing these.”  The idea was if you’re going to write five novels, write five first novels as opposed to one book and four more so if you can’t sell the first one the others you can sell somewhere. And that’s decent advice, it’s not the only advice. Naomi Novik who writes the Temeraire books, if you’ve read them they’re quite good, she wrote the whole trilogy right off.  She ignored that advice and when she sold the first one she had the other two ready and they bought those too and they released her books one at a time one month after another. I think the Iron Druid guy did that too. It can allow for a really explosive start where you’ve already got shelf space, you’ve got three books there. Instead of being a nobody with one book, you’re a nobody with three and suddenly you look more important.  

    Anyways I heard this, and I really do like jumping to a lot of different projects so this is what I tried but in the back of my mind I did love the idea of the big epic.  It is what got me into this, I love the Wheel of Time and things like this. So I started writing a hidden epic so I embedded into Elantris hints of a character I had been developing for years which was a guy who went from world to world in a fantasy universe investigating the different magic systems.  I started embedding this story behind the story using an outline I had used for my very first book that I had never actually finished as a background for all of this. So I was basically writing a sequel to that book but on a different planet, with different characters. I started writing my next book each had these same hints and allusions hidden behind with different characters crossing between the worlds and sharing.

    I eventually published Elantris and decided this is something that I thought was cool and wanted to do and I’ve seen people do it.  Stephen King connected all of his worlds. And other authors, Terry Brooks eventually combined a bunch of his worlds together and I thought that what they did was really interesting and I had never seen anyone do it from the get go though right?  Like when Asimov linked the Robot books and the Foundation books it was something he did later in his life where he’s like “I’m going to blend these two together and make one universe out of them.” I hadn’t seen anyone do it from the start, and again I have an advantage on Isaac Asimov and Terry Brooks and people because I’ve read them.  I’ve been able to see what they did and say “Well I’m going to do this from the get go, to see if I can tell this cool hidden epic behind the stories.” So that’s called-- I called that the cosmere, it was my name for it when I was sixteen. It now seems almost a little silly to me but I’ve kept with it because, you know, it is one of those old remnants that I have from my teenage days.  There are characters-- There is a character that has shown up in all of my epic fantasies, things like the Rithmatist are not part of the cosmere, Earth isn’t so if it references Earth you know it’s not. But they show up, and there’s like an underlying, fundamental laws of magic. And there’s a story that happened long in the past and a lot of these people are reacting to this and things like that.  The thing that I want you to know though is I do it in such a way that you don’t feel like you have to have read my whole body of work to read one. Like you don’t have to have read Elantris to read Mistborn. You don’t have to read Mistborn to read Way of Kings even though there is a character from Mistborn in Way of Kings. You don’t have to do that, it’s all behind the scenes and it will never take over a series.  You will never get to like book 8 of the Stormlight Archive and be like “Wow, now its all about the cosmere, its not about--” It’s not going to happen happen like that. I will write books about the cosmere but I will be upfront from the beginning about this is going to be the cosmere series. If you don’t know the different magic systems you’re going to kind of be confused because they are going to interact with each other and things like that.  Eventually that will happen but for right now, you don’t need to worry about it. They are all easter eggs, you can read them in any order and you can piece them together and stuff like that.

    Phoenix Comicon 2013 ()
    #4891 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 ()
    #4892 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 ()
    #4893 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 ()
    #4894 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 ()
    #4896 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.