07-08-2009 04:29 PM
Welcome and it is great to know that you live not too far from me. My question is this. I know that Orson Scott Card taught some Comparative Science Fiction class at BYU. Did you every take it and if so how much influence did it have on your wanting to write? I have enjoyed all of your books and at family gatherings that do get discussed.
Everyone needs some Tender Loving Care
07-08-2009 06:30 PM
Next Question: "Is it possible for someone who has not read all 11 books in The Wheel of Time series to be able to follow and enjoy reading The Gathering Storm?"
My agent did just that, actually. He said he had a lot of trouble through the first half of the book, then had a blast with the second half.
I honestly wouldn't suggest it. The Wheel of Time is meant to be an in-depth, immersive experience. There's a lot going on in these books, and they are not episodic--meaning the story is one long saga. It would be a little like tuning in to the Lord of the Rings movies and only watching the last chunk of the final movie.
If you're determined, you could read The Encyclopaedia-WoT has some excellent summaries of the books, chapter by chapter. But you'll be missing out on a lot of fun. There will not be summaries posted in the books themselves--the WoT is just too long and involved for that to work. (And Robert Jordan always resisted letting the publisher add anything like that.)
07-08-2009 06:38 PM
Thank you! During the early days of my career--before I got published--I found myself naturally creating a new magic system for each book I wrote. I'm not sure why I did this. I just found the process too involving, too interesting, to stop.
For Mistborn, I came to the book wanting several things. I wanted a great magic system that would enhance the graceful, martial-arts style fights. This was going to be a series of sneaking thieves, assassins, and night-time exploration. And so I developed the powers with a focus on that idea. What would make the thieving crew better at what they did? I based each power around an archetype of a thieving crew. The Thug, the Sneak, the Fast-talker, etc.
At the same time, I wanted to enhance the 'industrial revolution' feel of the novels through the magic system. I wanted something that felt like an industrial-age science, something that was a good hybrid of science and magic. I found myself drawn to Alchemy and its use of metals, then extrapolated from that to a way to release power locked inside of metal. Metabolism grew out of that. It felt natural. We metabolize food for energy; letting Allomancers metabolize metal had just the right blend of science and magic.
For Warbreaker, I was looking back a little further, shooting for a more Renaissance-era feel. And so, I extrapolated from the early beliefs that similarities created bonds. In other words, you could affect an object (in this case, bring an object to life) by creating a bond between it and yourself, letting it take on a semblance of your own life.
Moving beyond that was the idea of color as life. When a person dies, their color drains from them. The same happens when plants die. Vibrant color is a sign of life itself, and so I worked with this metaphor and the concept of Breath as life to develop the magic. In this case, I wanted magical powers that would work better 'in' society, meaning things that would enhance regular daily lives. Magical servants and soldiers, animated through arcane powers, worked better for this world than something more strictly fighting-based, like in Mistborn.
07-08-2009 06:48 PM
How long did it take for you to complete the Mistborn Trilogy?
I wrote the entire trilogy, straight through, starting in the beginning of 2003 and ending in early 2006.
How much research, if any, went into the making of the Mistborn trilogy?
I did quite a bit, mostly reading about the era of the industrial revolution, alongside researching alchemy and eunuchs.
To further the above question by Nadine: How did you ever keep the unique power systems all straight and use them so well for your readers to understand?
The powers, to me, were just so fascinating, well developed, and unique on so many levels! I think with a lesser artist than yourself the powers might have been too much to take in, but I found them quite easy to follow and understand. Just amazing! You seriously are one of my favorite authors. I'll be in line for all of your books!
Thanks! It took a lot of practice. Keeping them straight for myself isn't so difficult--it's like keeping characters straight. The more I've written, the easier it's become.
What is more difficult is keeping it all straight for the readers. This can be tough. One of the challenges with fantasy is what we call the Learning Curve. It can be very daunting to pick up a book and find not only new characters, but an entirely new world, new physics, and a lot of new words and names.
I generally try to introduce this all at a gentle curve. In some books, like Warbreaker, starting with the magic system worked. But in Mistborn, I felt that it was complex enough--and the setting complex enough--that I needed to ease into the magic, and so I did it bit by bit, with Vin.
In all things, practice makes perfect. I have a whole pile of unpublished novels where I didn't do nearly as good a job of this. Even still, I think I have much to learn. In the end of Mistborn One and Warbreaker both I think I leave a little too much confusion about the capabilities of the magic.
And last but definitely not least, You seem to have left the New World of Mistborn open for a book maybe featuring Spook in the future, any thoughts?
I did leave it open. But that's partially because I feel that part of any good book is the indication that the characters continue to live, the world continues to turn. I want readers to be free to imagine futures for the characters and more stories in the world.
For Mistborn, I'm not planning--right now--to do any Spook books. I do have plans to do another trilogy set in the world, though it would take place hundreds of years later, once technology has caught up to what it should be. Essentially, think guns, cars, skyscrapers--and Allomancers.
07-08-2009 06:52 PM
First of all, I want to say how awesome your books are. The Mistborn series, in particular, is on my list of "best fantasy books ever read".
Now my question: is Warbreaker going to be the start of a series?
"Fear not, for our army is strong and courageous."
"Just hope they don't sober up before we get there".
-Bored of the Rings
07-08-2009 06:54 PM
Who or what was your inspiration to start writing Fantasy?
When I was 14, I discovered the fantasy genre through Barbara Hambly's DRAGONSBANE. After her, I read McCaffrey and Rawn. They are really the ones who inspired me to start. When Robert Jordan's books came along, I was done for.
Which of Your Books is Your Favorite ?
Tough call. Right now, Warbreaker is the best written--though The Gathering Storm is better, I think. I think that Way of Kings will be awesome too. But you didn't ask for the best, you asked for my favorite. In that case, I'd probably have to say Elantris, as it was my first.
Which of Your Characters is Your Favorite?
Tie between Lightsong and Vin.
Were books a natural part of your childhood?
Unlike a lot of writers, I wasn't a big reader when I was younger. I came to it late, when I was in eighth grade. Until then, none of the books (mostly ones about boys with pet dogs) that people had given me worked. And then I discovered fantasy. From then on, you never found me without a book. Often two or three.
And Do you have a favorite book or author?
Right now, Pratchett is my favorite living author. Jordan was my favorite for a long, long time. I'd add the original three ladies--McCaffrey, Rawn, and Hambly--to that as well, as they were the ones to get me into this genre.
07-08-2009 06:57 PM
About your characters, Brandon:
- Which ones are the most like yourself?
- Your favorite male and female characters you've written?
- Your favorite male/female characters of all time?
About research: What, if any, reasearch for your novels have you done, and how did you do it?
The Eternal Question: Mac or PC?
Your word processor of choice?
Do you have music on real loud when you write (I've heard Steve King writes like that) or is it soft in the background?
Is the Way of Kings your biggest work planned or do you have something on the shelf that's bigger?
Your favorite movies?
Your favorite music?
I'd also like to thank Brandon here for being so wonderfully accessible. It's an excellent gesture Brandon, great of you. Your fans will always love you for it.
07-08-2009 07:10 PM
In a recent (May 2009) interview you stated the following:
Q: What do you have planned after you finish Wheel of Time?
A: My next series will be The Way of Kings, which is the start of a big epic for me. I've plotted it as ten books. Fantasy writers, we get into this business because we love the big epics. We grow up reading Brooks and Jordan, and we get to the point where we say, "I want to do this myself."
This should tie you up for a good ten years after you finish The Wheel of Time. Does it mean that you are not going to write anymore one- or three- volume epic fantasy novels?
Can you give us some hints as to what The Way of Kings will be about?
I've told Tor that I want to release KINGS on a schedule of two books, followed by one book in another setting, then two more KINGS. The series of KINGS has been named The Stormlight Archive. (The Way of Kings is the name of the first volume.)
So I should be doing plenty of shorter series in between. We'll see how busy this all keeps me. I think I'd go crazy if I weren't allowed to do new worlds every now and again.
But, then, KINGS turned out very, very well. (The first book is complete as of yesterday.) What is it about? Well...I'm struggling to find words to explain it. I could easily give a one or two line pitch on my previous books, but the scope of what I'm trying with this novel is such that it defies my attempts to pin it down.
It happens in a world where hurricane-like storms crash over the land every few days. All of plant life and animal life has had to evolve to deal with this. Plants, for instance, have shells they can withdraw into before a storm. Even trees pull in their leaves and branches. There is no soil, just endless fields of rock.
According to the mythology of the world, mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. Well, a group of evil spirits known as the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms, but the Voidbringers chased them there, trying to push them off of Roshar and into Damnation.
The voidbringers came against man a hundred by a hundred times, trying to destroy them or push them away. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, men resisted the Voidbringers ten thousand times, finally winning and finding peace.
Or so the legends say. Today, the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world, essentially, is at war with itself--and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne.
That's the backstory. Probably too much of it. (Sorry.) The book follows a young spearman forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn't understand and doesn't really want to fight. It will deal with the truth of what happened deep in mankind's past. Why did the Radiants turn against mankind, and what happened to the magic they used to wield?
I've been working on this book for ten years now. Rather than making it easier to describe and explain, that has made it more daunting. I'm sure I'll get better at it as I revise and as people ask me more often.
07-08-2009 07:28 PM
The man who died before Vin took over was named Leras. (I've occasionally written it as Laras. I've said the names in my head for years, but I'm only now writing them down as people ask me on forums.) Leras, like Ati (aka Ruin), were NOT Adonalsium. (Sorry about the typo on that one in MB3. I wrote it down on the manuscript, and it didn't get put in quite right. We'll get it fixed.)
There was mention of a man named Adonasuim. We were wondering if this man may have been Preservation, whom "died" before Vin took over. Is that who he was or was he someone else?
Adonalsium was something or someone else. You will find out more. There are clues in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings.
In Mistborn #3 Hero of Ages:Marsh survived. (He'll show up in the Mistborn sequel series.) The Kandra were restored, and have taken a vow to live only in animal bodies. There will never be any more of them, but they are functionally immortal. So you'll see them again. The Koloss who were in the cavern at the time survived, and were changed to become a race that breeds true, rather than Hemalurgic monsters. More below.
It isn't mentioned where all the Steel Inquisitors, Kandra, and Koloss went in the end. Do you feel that they were removed from the world and Sazed took all the lost souls to his better place?
Also, We just took for granted that Sazed is with Tindwyl now. Is that so?
Well, here's the thing. What Sazed is right now is something of a god in the classic Greek sense--a superpowered human being, elevated to a new stage of existence. Not GOD of all time and space. In a like manner, there are things that Sazed does not have power over. For instance, he couldn't bring Vin and Elend back.
Where Tindwyl exists is beyond space and time, in a place Sazed hasn't learned to touch yet. He might yet. If you want to add in your heads him working through that, feel free. But as it stands at the end of the book, he isn't yet with Tindwyl. (He is, however, with Kelsier--who refused to "Go toward the light" so to speak, and has been hanging around making trouble ever since he died. You can find hints of him in MB3 at the right moments.
Of the people that were sick for the 16 days in comparison to just the 1 day, it is mentioned that they would be able to burn more precious metals (atium). Could it also be possible they are/were Mistborn - with the ability to burn all 16 metals?
Well, what was going on here was a clue established and set by Leras before he died. He wanted something to indicate--should he be unable to inform mankind--that what was happening wasn't natural, but instead something intentional. He worried that men wouldn't be able to realize they were being made into Allomancers.
And so, the mist was set to do something very specific, as has to do with the interaction between the human soul, Allomancy, and the sixteen metals.
Each of the 'Shardworlds' I've written in (Mistborn, Elantris, Warbreaker, Way of Kings) exists with the same cosmology. All things exist on three realms--the spiritual, the cognitive, and the physical. What's going on here is an interaction between the three realms. I don't to bore you with my made up philosophy, but I do have a cohesive metaphysical reasoning for how my worlds and magic works. And there is a single plane of existence--called Shadesmar, the Cognative Realm--which connects them all.
You will never need to know any of this to read and enjoy my books, but there is an overarching story behind all of them, going on in the background. Adonalsium, Hoid, the origin of Ati, Leras, the Dor, and the Voice (from Warbreaker) are all tied up in this.
07-08-2009 07:32 PM - edited 07-08-2009 08:30 PM
I have some more in-depth questions that might be RAFO'd. For fans who want to know what I'm talking about, go here
Here they are:
Who is Hoid in WoA? We (TWG) have found some candidates:
Terris person that Elend meets after Vin went back to Luthadel
Teur or old Jed (the two Skaa in the first Sazed chapter)
Crazy canibal Skaa (I doubt it though)
We already know it isn't the man who discovered duralumin, or the skaa leader outside the dress shop, or the old skaa who waits with the Holy First Witness when the koloss attack.
I think those were all of the characters that we found as candidates.
Now this one will probably be RAFO'd:
I know you already said that there are four shards outside of Ati and Leras in your other books. Could you tell us the numbers per book? Is just a standard two per book? Or do some have more than others?
I know that we've "interacted with two directly" (the pool in Elantris, and The Voice that called Lightsong back to life) that we've "seen it's power" (Dahkhor??) and another that we've seen their infulence (I have no idea on this one, though I think it might be whatever pointed out Aon Rao in Elantris to Raoden)
My last question shouldn't be as hard to answer and that is:
Who is in charge of the Mistborn movie you mentioned at the #tweettheauthor?
Thank you so much, I love your books!
BTW, Thank you for your Terry Pratchet recomendation. I have read almost all of them and love them.
EDIT- I fixed the formatting and added the link to the TWG
07-08-2009 07:38 PM
I'm really curious where the inspiration for Elantris came from. I really enjoyed that book. =)
As with all of my books, there wasn't one single inspiration, but a number of them. A few of them here were: Chinese and its writing system, and how it relates to Japanese and Korean. The difference between teaching others of your faith in order to help them, as opposed to teaching them in order to aggrandize yourself. What it would be like to live in a leper colony. A king made into a beggar. A woman who, like a friend of mine, felt she was too tall and too smart for men to find her attractive. Magical servants that didn't look like any I'd read about before. And the thought of telling a story about someone who was basically a good, normal person--without a deep, dark past or terrible hidden flaw--who got trust into the worst situation I could imagine.
Also just some technical questions--did you get noticed from JABberwocky from a cold-query or did you have connections?
Originally, I queried. I got turned down. I then met Joshua at the Nebula awards and he told me to query again. That time, he liked the query and read sample chapters--then rejected those, but told me to submit to him what I wrote next. That happened a number of times, each book getting a rejection--but stronger encouragement that I was getting closer.
What was the journey like when you first sought publication?
Long, frustrating, and difficult. I wrote 13 novels before I sold Elantris, which was my sixth. The big change for me happened when I managed to figure out how to revise. I always had good ideas and got better and better at storytelling. But it was the power of revision that finally got me published.
How long did it take?
About eight years of dedicated writing and being rejected.
I'd wager not long, considering how well written Elantris is. =)
You're too kind. But remember that it was my sixth book. The first ones were dreadful.
Are you comfortable working with editors and marketing people by now?
Yes, actually. I've always been very comfortable with that part of the job. I think that after working so long on my own, being ignored, I was just finally happy to HAVE editors and marketing people.
What is the best part about promoting your books? (in your opinion)
Easy. Meeting my readers and having the chance to thank them, in person, for supporting me in my writing addiction.
As a writer, what's your favorite part of the process?
The first few chapters of a new book. When the world is exciting and new, and I get to do something different and challenging.
Do you have a "drawer-full" of ideas waiting to be put to paper?
More like a brain-full, but yes. It's particularly bad now as I had to shelve a number of projects I was working on in order to do the WoT. I don't regret it at all, but those stories keep pounding on the inside of my skull, yelling and begging for me to let them out.
07-08-2009 07:46 PM
How do you come up with and create the maps for your novels? Is it a process of thought while creating the story itself or does it come later once you've written the story as a means to depict the places you've written about? Also do you scetch them yourself before having them drawn or is the process usually entirely done by a seperate artist?
I usually sketch myself out something vague to use as reference, then make it more and more detailed as I work through the book. At that point, I approach and artist and have them help me come up with a good visual style for the book and the map. If it's an artist I know well, I can sometimes let them do more of the work--the mistborn maps, for instance, were developed by Isaac with very little input from me beyond the text and some basic instructions.
07-08-2009 07:54 PM
1. As the Gathering Storm draws near release, there are many WOT fans that have a large worry that you will not do RJ justice and ruin his series (especially after 4 years of waiting). How big of a worry is this for you, having to fill his shoes, and what are you doing to prepare yourself?
They are right to worry, and I don't blame them at all. They have no assurance whatsoever that I won't ruin their book--the past has proven, I think, that series get ruined more than they get saved when a new author steps in.
I hope, very sincerely, to be in the second category, the one who saves a series rather than kills it. But only November will offer any proof other than my word, and I fully expect people to worry right up until they've read the novel.
The only preparation a person could really have for something like this was to be a lifelong fan. I think this book is good. I think it is VERY good. I'm not worried anymore myself, though I was quite worried when I began.
What can I offer fans right now? Only the promise that the book has had Harriet and Mr. Jordan's assistants working from the beginning to make certain I didn't screw it up. Beyond that, I've made it my first priority to stay true to his wishes and notes, and not deviate unless there is a very, very good reason.
(The only times I've 'deviated' was in to offer more explanation or depth to a scene. I haven't cut anything he wanted to be in the book, save for a few places where he contradicted himself. I.E. There were some scenes where he said "I'm thinking of doing this or this" or "I'm thinking of doing this, but I don't know." In those places, I've made the final call.)
All I can ask is this. Give me a chance. Read the book. After that, we'll talk.
(The most stressful part is probably the realization that no matter what I do, I won't be able to please everyone. Robert Jordan couldn't do that himself. So I will fail some of you. But I hope to please the vast majority of you.)
2. Are you annoyed that people call you BS? After all your initials aren't the most flattering acronym.
Honestly, I've lived with it all of my life. I've been called that since grade school. Heck, I sign my books with my initials. So no, it doesn't bother me.
All: I'm going to have to let that be it for the time being. I'll try to come back later tonight and do some more, but I'm driving home from Idaho tonight. So I might not be back until tomorrow afternoon.
07-08-2009 07:55 PM
Mr. Sanderson thank you so much for coming and asking our "thousands" of questions.
I have a very specific question about The Wheel of Time series. One of my favorite characters has been MIA for way too long. I'm assuming Moiraine Damodred returns to the playing field I'm just wanting to know if it will be in the upcoming book or further on?
07-08-2009 08:18 PM - edited 07-08-2009 08:20 PM
Thanks so much for answering these questions!
I'm feeling a little bewildered; I keep seeing references to "Hoid" throughout these boards and the twitter page, and I'm assuming this is a character who makes a short appearance in each book. If so, is there an actual story going on with him, or was he just someone put in as a sort of "Easter egg?"
07-08-2009 08:29 PM - edited 07-08-2009 09:35 PM
1) If you were going to write a novel in a genre other than scifi/fantasy which genre do you think that you would write in?
2) Have you ever considered writing a non-fiction book based of Writing Excuses?
3) In MB3, What happened to Kelsier's bones, and will they play any significance in any of the sequels?
07-08-2009 08:44 PM
Wow. Talk about a massive amount of information – awesome! Thanks for a great first day, Brandon! I can hardly wait until tomorrow! (Hope this isn't too overwhelming!)
07-08-2009 09:01 PM
Wow. Talk about a massive amount of information – awesome! Thanks for a great first day, Brandon! I can hardly wait until tomorrow! (Hope this isn't too overwhelming!)
Some really fantastic stuff that we didn't consider in our recent book discussions. I have pulled and saved some of the really relevant stuff. We still have active threads on virtually all the books and we can bring them up for discussion. I'm sure our body of "experts" will want to consider some of the topics we covered in light of these new revelations.