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Author
MistbornSanderson
Posts: 61
Registered: ‎07-02-2009
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Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

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?

 

Hmm...  Perhaps a historical.  Something I could really sink my teeth into.  I could also see myself writing a mystery or a thriller.

 

The thing is, unless I'm under some kind of restriction, I know that any of those three would probably end up having fantasy or sf elements.  It's just how I think.

 

2)  Have you ever considered writing a non-fiction book based of Writing Excuses?

 

I have indeed considered it.  We'll see.  I guess it depends on how much interest there is.

 

3)  In MB3, What happened to Kelsier's bones, and will they play any significance in any of the sequels?

 

The bones survived the events of the last book.  We might see them again.  Speaking of relic-like items, Sazed's rings survived as well.  We might see those again.

Author
MistbornSanderson
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Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

[ Edited ]

Mi'chelle is wanting to know for a fanfic she's wanting to write if when you cut/break an object that has been awakened if the object then "dies", or if the pieces will try to carry out the command.  Also, either way, can the breaths be recovered from it?

 

The object does not die, and will try to continue its purpose.  The level of damage will determine just how well it can continue.  The Breaths are recoverable.  (Though there could be some loss of Breaths, depending on how the item is destroyed.)  There's a scene near the end where Vasher Awakens some clothing, then it gets cut down and he recovers the Breath.

 

She (and I) would also like to know more details of the mistborn movie. The last she heard, you'd rejected it being a tv series. So, yeah. Any more details?

 

Did a big post on this just above.  I think that will answer the request for details.

 

Note that I rejected the tv series not because of the idea of doing a tv series itself, but because I wasn't confident in the production studio who was making the offer. More details will come once contracts are signed.

 

Peter said  if we did enough begging, we could see some Nightblood replicas. Can you give us more details? And exactly HOW much more begging would be necessary (Mi'chelle says keep it below $100...I say below $50, but I suppose if you must go higher, I might be able to compensate...)?

 

I've had an offer from a swordsmith who was at JordanCon.  These would be more expensive replicas, though, as they be hand-made by the swordsmith himself.  He does very good work, but the price he mentioned was $200, I believe.  

 

I've put Peter in charge of looking into this and seeing how viable it is.  The cost might be too high for the readers to want to buy them.  What we'd do is take pre-orders, and then do a limited edition run of maybe ten or twenty swords, hand-made by the swordsmith. If we had ten or so preorders, we'd be able to do it. 

 

If the gang from WE were put in a horror film, obviously Dan would be the killer.  But what order do you think everyone would die in? And how would they die? (The victim list includes: you, Howard, Jordan, Pemberly, Stacy, and Peter)

 

Ha!  Well, let's see.  If Dan were the killer, I think he'd try to take out Howard first, since Howard is obviously the most dangerous of us all.  Though he sees me more often, so he might try to get to me first.  I'd put it in this order:

 

Howard

Me

Jordo

Peter

Pemberly (he'd leave the women for last because he's a very gentlemanly killer.)

 

And then Stacy would take Dan down in a surprise ending.  She'd edit him out of the script or something. 

 

 

 And lastly, Mi'chelle and I had an idea while conversing....Have you done firesides, and would you consider doing them?

 

It's an interesting idea.  I honestly don't know.  I think I could come up with something.  (For those confused, it's an LDS church-group thingy.)

 

Edit--ACK!  It's/Its error!  (Fixed.)

Message Edited by MistbornSanderson on 07-13-2009 12:25 AM
Author
MistbornSanderson
Posts: 61
Registered: ‎07-02-2009

Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

Is Adonalsium going to be mentioned by name in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings or is he going to be an underlining "God"(I don't know what to call him yet) idea?  I am curious now, so I will have to keep my eyes open for him. 

 

Adonalsium (Ahy-doe-Nahl-see-um) will be mentioned by name again.  Ruin and Preservation were what have been called Shards of Adonalsium.  (The Voice from Warbreaker is another Shard.)  

 

Is this "character" a common link between your books for religion or magical or maybe even both?

 

Adonalsium has to do with the Cosmere, which is the word Realmatic philosophers use to refer to the greater universe of the Shardworlds.  It's hard to separate religion, magic, science, and society in most of these worlds.  So "both" is a good guess.

 

I was curious because he just seemed to appear and nothing further on him/it.  Thank you for mentioning that he is in these 2 other books, I will have to look for hints of him.

 

The word Adonalsium (or, well, the miss-spelling of it) appears in only one of the books.  Other clues and links between the books can be found as well.  (Some people on my forums have spotted some of them.  Others have gone unspotted so far.)

Author
MistbornSanderson
Posts: 61
Registered: ‎07-02-2009

Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

    Melissa, I think we have members from another forum joining us and they have information that we don't have. Maybe even advanced book information, like we know nothing about the Way of Kings and only heard about the book recently and know nothing of its content.

    Could some of you newcomers introduce yourselves (maybe on our "Introduce Yourself" thread and not clutter up this one) and tell us where you are from? We love the information you are bringing and introducing on this thread but we are confused.

I posted on my website that I'd be doing this, and I don't often have time to interact on forums.  (They are a delightful way to interact with readers, but have proven a HUGE time-sink for me in the past.  As you might have noticed, I tend to write--and respond--in depth when people ask questions of me.)  So I only appear on forums occasionally.  Hence the involvement of those from my forums looking for some answers to questions.

Some backstory might help you all.  I began writing in earnest in 1997. During those years, I shared the books I wrote with a group of friends.  This group worked with me on The Leading Edge, a science fiction fanzine/semiprozine at BYU.  Eventually, once we graduated, we founded the Timewaster's Guide, partially as a forum where we could hang out.  (Tage and Ookla from the TWG forums--aka Ben and Peter--are among them, and are still very good friends of mine.  Another easter egg is to watch how Ben Olsen and Peter Ahlstrom are treated in the acknowledgements of many of my books.) 

The overarching story and theme of my books, what I wanted to accomplish as a writer, and how I approached the fantasy genre, all took shape during this time.  These readers read many of my most important, and influential (on me as a writer) novels while in draft form.  The biggest three of these during this era were White Sand, Dragonsteel, and Elantris.  (On the tail end, I wrote--but never finished--the foundations of what years later became Warbreaker.)

The next era of my unpublished writing was when I worked on the worlds, stories, and themes that eventually became Mistborn, The Way of Kings, and a book called the Aether of Night. Many of my writing group friends have read these books, including the first draft of Kings(which is very, very different from the current draft.)

Anyway, these unpublished books are NOT cannon yet.  I don't canonize a novel until I publish it.  But some of the hidden themes (including Hoid and Adonalsium) of my books are present in these novels.  (Dragonsteel and Aether of Night are particularly connected--though of the unpublished Shardworld books, White Sand is probably the best written.)  Again, none of this is cannon yet.  (For instance, I've taken chunks out of Dragonsteel to use in the revision of The Way of Kings.)  However, these old books do contain clues that aren't available to the average reader. 

Dragonsteel can be ordered through inter-library loan through the university library system.  There are only four or five copies in existence.  The BYU library has one (the book was my honor's thesis.)  I believe the honors department has one.  My thesis chair has one.  (And maybe the committee has one, I can't remember.)  I've got one in my basement.  And I believe Ben's sister may have sneaked a copy out of the trash when I was cleaning out old manuscripts.  (That might be White Sand.)

I do have intentions of rewriting these books and publishing them eventually. They each have pieces of the story.  (Though I may decide to shift certain themes from one series to another as I eventually write and publish them.)  I've been known to email White Sand or Aether of Night to readers who email and ask.  (Though it does make me cringe a little to do so.  In many of these books, I was experimenting with magic, theme, and narrative style--some experiments were a success, some were failures.)

Dragonsteel is frozen; I don't send it out any longer, as to not spoil the parts of The Way of Kings that I decided fit better in that world.  So the only way to get it now is to borrow it from BYU.  I've been told that Dragonsteel is the only undergraduate BYU honor's thesis ever to have been be read so often that it needed to be rebound.  (A dubious honor, I'm not sure how I feel about so many people reading a book of mine that is that mediocre.)
Author
MistbornSanderson
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Registered: ‎07-02-2009

Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

Fantasy has always been a "series-powered" genre but it seems that lately several authors (or publishers) just don't know when to suitably end a long-running saga... Drawing out a series for the sake of more installments, it seems.

 

And there seems to be fewer and fewer standalone novels like Warbreaker and Elantris. (I love standalone novels, by the way, and am hoping that that "format" makes a return!)

 

Any comments on this from your perspective? Thanks!

It's a good question, Paul.  One I've been considering, actually, for a long time.  Certainly, there's an economic piece to it.
 
When a stand-alone comes out, it tends to gather praise from both readers and reviewers.  Then proceeds to sell far fewer copies than a series book does.  The Wheel of Time didn't hit #1 on the NYT list until book eight or nine, I believe, and I don't think Sword of Truth hit #1 until book ten.  Series tend to sell better.  Even as readers complain about them.  And so I think publishers do push for them.
 
But why do they sell better?  Well, I think this is partially the learning curve factor.  We like fantasy for the same reason that fantasy is hard to read: the learning curve.  Starting a fantasy book can be tough because of how many new names, concepts, societies, religions, and laws of physics you have to learn and get used to.  Epics, with their dozens upon dozens of characters, are even tougher in this regard.  And so, after investing so much energy into becoming an expert in the world, we want to get a good payoff and be able to USE that expertise.
 
Beyond that, I think that fantasy is character driven--and when we fall in love with characters, we want to read more about them.  Fantasy, particularly the epic series, allows us to follow characters across sweeping, life changing events.  Fantasy (like historicals) give us lots of pages and time to know these characters.  So we want more from them.  
 
But the very thing that we love about fantasy in this regard also tends to present problems.  We want lots of characters, but eventually this large cast gets overwhelms us and makes the books seem to drag.  Personally, I think these complaints will be much lessened when some of these great series are done, and you don't have to wait years and years between volumes.  
 
Anyway, Terry Brooks talks a lot about this in his biographical work Sometimes the Magic Works.  (Bet you can find it here on BN.com, and I highly suggest the book as a quick, interesting, engaging read.)  He mentions how, when he left Shannara to write other things, the fans begged and begged him for more.  Until finally he broke down and gave them more books in the world.  
 
A lot of authors I know tend to live in this state of perpetual wonder and amazement that, finally, people are actually enjoying and reading their works.  (After all the years of failure trying to break in, I know that I feel this way a lot.)  When someone comes to you and talks about how much they love one of your works, asking you to write more...well, we're storytellers.  If people want a story, we want to give it to them.  It's hard to say no.  (Though so far I have.)
 
I intend to keep writing stand-alone novels.  But I do so knowing that 1) they will not sell as well as series books and 2) readers will ask me for more, and so each stand alone will only increase the number of requests for future books that I can't write.  I'm in the fortunate place that I can write, and publish, what I want--whether it be series or stand alone--and no longer have to worry about the money.  
 
But, in my heart, I've got a strong desire to write a big epic.  I grew up reading them.  I want to see if I can do one, my way, and add something new to the genre.  So maybe that's the reason.  Looking through Robert Jordan's notes, reading interviews, I don't think he ever artificially inflated the length of his series because of publisher desire or money reasons.  I think he loved the long-form epic, and wanted to tell the story his way, no matter how long it took.  And as he added more characters, it took longer and longer. 

 

In a way, being free from the worry of finances gives creators a chance to really explore their vision the way they want to.  And...well, we’re fantasy writers, so we can get a little long winded.


Kind of like this response, eh?  :smileywink:  Thanks for the question. 

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MistbornSanderson
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Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

My question 1: Will the material written for AMoL by  Jordan remain intact in the published novel or will you rewrite it to match your on style of writing?
 
I am leaving it as intact as possible.  In some places, a paragraph at the beginning or end of a section has to be changed to streamline it into the rest of the narrative.  In others, line edits have to be done (mostly by Harriet) to fix the language.  (Nothing we have from him is in more than a rough draft form.)
 
But where I can, I'm not changing anything.  Because of this, readers who look very closely might be able to tell where I wrote and where he wrote.  But I don't think it is noticeable without detailed scrutiny.  
 
I suggest to readers that they read the book straight through the first time without trying to pick out which piece was written by which author.  I'm hoping to get permission to speak more specifically about how it was all divided once the three books are all out.  Then, you can know for certain.  But for now, I would prefer (and I'm certain Mr. Jordan would prefer) that you see through the prose and enjoy the story.  
 
My question 2: Hope you can answer this one. In the world of the wheel, would the soul of an animal be reborn as the same animal when that particular age comes again, like humans are?
 
I don't know of anything specific that Jim said about this, and I've read a lot of the FAQs and interviews.  Still, it might be out there hiding somewhere.  I'll put this on my things to ask his assistants about so I can know if he did.  As far as I understand, the only thing we know about animals and the Wheel is that wolves go to the world of dreams when they die.
 
However, looking at the sources Mr. Jordan is drawing from and the overall mythology of the series and world, I'd guess that they are reborn, and as the same animal.  There is no talk of a person being reborn as a slug in their next life, and the fact that wolves are proven to have spirits gives subtle indication that other animals do as well.  If so, I'd guess they are bound to the wheel like everything else, and rewoven into the pattern.  What I say, however, is not cannon in the same way that what Jim said was.  Let me do some more digging to find an answer, if there is one, and ask me again some other time. (And if anyone knows of an interview where he talked about this, feel free to post and point me in the right direction.)
 
My question 3: Which is your favorite Pratchett novel and why?
 
The Truth is my favorite.  As a writer, and one who likes to explore the nature of the truth in his works, a novel that deals with someone trying to publish a newspaper in a fantasy world mixed philosophy and laughs in the way only Pratchett can.  However, Guards Guards the book where I suggest people new to Pratchett start.  (I suggest avoiding the Colour of Magic as your first experience, even though it's technically the first book in the series.  They are all stand alone novels, really, and Guards Guards can be seen as the beginning of the best sub-series within the series.)
Author
MistbornSanderson
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Registered: ‎07-02-2009

Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

1. In Mistborn, you say its planet is called Scadriel. In-universe, where (or when) did the name Scadriel come to be used to be describe the Mistborn planet? Did the Lord Ruler and his obligators use that as the name of the planet, or did it come later, post-MB3? Or is "Scadriel" just what you as an author use to refer to it?
It is "In Universe" so to speak, though the name itself isn't known to the people on-planet.  The Lord Ruler was the only one who understood the exact nature of a planet, really, though some of the obligators and noble scholars had a general idea.  Astronomy was one of the scientific areas where the Lord Ruler didn't mind people doing research, so long as it kept their interest away from chemistry or a science that could lead to advances in weaponry.
 
Scadrial would then have been the name that Ruin and Preservation understood for the planet, as well as certain other groups and individuals of a less directly divine nature.
 
2. Is there a rationale to how Hemalurgic powers are distributed? I tried to look for a system, but they seem rather randomly distributed. For example, the spike which steals Allomantic powers for a particular quadrant is not always in one particular spot.
That is correct, it's not always in one particular spot.  None of them are.  I used as my model on this magic system the concept of acupuncture and pressure points.  Placing a Hemalurgic spike is a very delicate and specific art.  Imagine there being a different overlay on a human body, like a new network of nerves, representing lines, points, and 'veins' of the soul's spiritual makeup.  
 
What is happening with Hemalurgy, essentially, is that you're driving a spike through a specific point on a person's body and ripping off a piece of their soul.  It sticks to the spike on the Spiritual Realm.  Then, you place that spike on someone else in a specific place (not exactly the same place, but on the right spiritual pressure point) and 'hot wire' the spirit to give it Hemalurgy or Feruchemy.  It's like you're fooling the spiritual DNA, creating a work-around.  Or, in some cases, changing the spirit to look like something else, which has the immediate effect of distorting the body and transforming it into a new creature.
 
Hemalurgy is a very brutal way of making changes like this, though, so it often has monstrous effects.  (Like with the koloss.)  And in most cases, it leaves a kind of 'hole' in the spirit's natural defenses, which is how Ruin was able to touch the souls of Hemalurgists directly.
 
3. Can you tell us what the rest of the Feruchemical and Hemalurgic powers are? Since, you know, you won't be writing in the Mistborn world for many years, and those Feruchemical and Hemalurgic Tables might not even come into existence if the Allomantic Metals one doesn't sell. Pretty please?
 I will release this eventually.  I'm still tweaking the powers--their names, and how they function--and so I'd rather hold off on revealing anything specific right now.  We might include them in the RPG, though.
4. When is the Table of Allomantic Metals coming out?
 Printer emailed me today for final confirmation.  Should be very soon now.  
5. Hemalurgically, atium steals Allomantic Temporal Powers. But, that seems unlikely, since atium is a god metal. It wouldn't fit in with the rest of the magic system. Did Preservation, in addition to switching Cadmium and Bendalloy for Atium and Malatium, also switch atium's Feruchemical and Hemalurgic powers with Cadmium? Because it seems to me there's not a lot of atium Marsh can use to live for hundreds of years into the next Mistborn trilogy. :smileytongue:
Preservation wanted Atium and Malatium to be of use to the people, as he recognized that it would be a very powerful tool--and that using it up could help defeat Ruin.  But he also recognized that sixteen was a mythological important number, and felt it would make the best sign for his followers.  So he took out the most unlikely (difficult to make and use) metals for his sign to his followers.  But that doesn't have much to do with Hemalurgy's use here.
 
Remember that the tables--and the ars Arcanum--are 'in world' creations.  (Or, at least, in-universe.)  The knowledge represented in them is as people understand it, and can always have flaws.  That was the case with having atium on the table in the first place, and that was the case with people (specifically the Inquisitors) trying to figure out what atium did Hemalurgically.
 
Their experiments (very expensive ones) are what determined that atium (which they thought was just one of the sixteen metals) granted the Allomantic Temporal powers.  What they didn't realize is that atium (used correctly) could steal ANY of the powers.  Think of it as a wild card.  With the right knowledge, you could use it to mimic any other spike.  It works far better than other spikes as well. 

As for Marsh, he's got a whole bag of atium (taken off of the Kandra who was going to try to sell it.)  So he's all right for quite a while.  A small bead used right can reverse age someone back to their childhood. 
 
But this was a little beyond their magical understanding at the time.  
6. Will Sazed appear at all in the Stormlight Archive?
 There are no current plans for him to do so.
7. In the days of the Final Empire, how does one acquire a Kandra Contract? It's not like they can just walk up to their hidden Homeland and ask for their services.
 Same way you would go about hiring an assassin.  Secretly, using contacts who have used them before.  You have to be in the know and well-connected, either with the upper-class or the underground.
8. Are you going to write another WoT encyclopedia?
Harriet, Maria, and Alan are working on one.  Harriet promised it to Tor a few years back, and I think it's been officially announced that she's working on it.  There is no firm release date.  After AMOL is complete, I'd imagine.
Author
MistbornSanderson
Posts: 61
Registered: ‎07-02-2009

Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

Hey all!  I do mean to get through the rest of these questions.  Haven't forgotten you.  (I don't even know if anyone is still checking the thread or not.  But I intend to keep at it.)
 
I've just read Warbreaker twice now and really enjoyed it both times.

I read that although you've planned another book in the Warbreaker world you're not certain of when you can begin writing it. As it is the only book of yours that I've read to date, I've had to skip some of your answers to other questions that contain spoilers for your other book One thing I noticed in my skimming was that the character Hoid has turned up in other books of yours.

He's very intriguing and at one point I thought he might be Vasher in disguise. Is he a Returned or is he not constrained by the magical construct?
Well, he's certainly not Vasher in disguise.  Keep an eye out for him in other books of mine you read.  He's constrained by magic like everyone else, but he has some extra experience, so to speak.

Also I wondered whether you will ever publish an encyclopoedia of your interlocking worlds and their relationship to each other within their cosmos?
I plan to do something like this, as things progress.  It won't happen until the future, however, and will likely happen only on-line.  There will eventually be short stories showing some of what is going on behind the main stories of the novels.  I do have some novels planned which would deal with all of this in a more direct way, but they are decades away from being written.  
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Chaos2651
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Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

I know us from TWG haven't forgotten about this!
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Melhay
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Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

Brandon Wrote: 

Hey all!  I do mean to get through the rest of these questions.  Haven't forgotten you.  (I don't even know if anyone is still checking the thread or not.  But I intend to keep at it.)
____________________

 

Hey Brandon, we are still reading, researching, thinking, and rereading your posts.  We are glad you have come back to the site.  We will keep an eye out for when you post to read the new posts.  These little hints you are leaving us just keep us going on the books and looking into them.  All our crazy speculations on the books, we thought we where done now we just need to go back and go back through them.  Thanks

_______________________
"There are no honorable causes. There is no good or evil. Evil is only what we call those who oppose us." From Nyphron Rising, By Michael J. Sullivan

My Blog Spot: http://melissa-melsworld.blogspot.com/
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carmen22
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Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

Sanderson,

 

Of course we are all still reading your post you have given us tons of great information to think about and process, so Thanks again for joining us!

 

Krista

_______________________
"Bright colors, Vasher thought. I'll have to get used to those again. In any other nation, the vibrant blues and yellows would have been ridiculous on soldiers. This, however, was Hallandren: land of Returned gods, Lifeless servants, BioChromatic research, and - of course - color." Warbreaker By Brandon Sanderson
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MistbornSanderson
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Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

 
- Since you established that all the worlds you created in your books are linked, any chance to see in the (very) distant future a book/series that delves into this overarching story/universe/rules more directly? Possibly with a crossover of characters from your different stories, specifically characters that became "immortal" or at least achieve a "different" state: Sazed, Kelsier, Raoden. Is that something you would even be interested in doing?
 
Or will you stick to placing subtle hints in your different books/series about the overall system?

 
VERY distant future is correct.  I will confirm that I do have stories planned that delve into what is going on behind the scenes.  There will be short stories dealing with Hoid, most likely posted to my website.
 
Some of these stories are novel length, and I can't say what I'll do with them.  Perhaps I'll write them out in novel form and release them in bookstores, but I have a feeling that most of my readers would be completely confused by them.  So perhaps these will all just be on my website only.  (If they are released that way, they'll most likely be free for download and reading.)  
 
The subtle hints will continue until then.  Mostly, I want the stories to be enjoyable and self-contained.  I don't want anyone to HAVE to know any of the behind the scenes, regarding Hoid, Adonalsium, and the rest.  (Yes, there is more.)  Those are there for the readers who want to dig, and who want to see the greater story.  But I don't want them to overshadow the stories of the books themselves.  At least not yet.

- Is the world of Alcatraz part of this whole system or is that completely different since targeted to different readers?
 
 
Alcatraz is NOT part of this system.  The Alcatraz books (indeed, most of the YA books I've planned or written) need to be off on their own.
 

 - WOT question: Did you go through ALL the notes from RJ on the Wheel of time (if that is even humanly possible) or just those related to Memory of Light?
 
Mr. Jordan left behind notes for the series which, word-length wise, is in EXCESS of the length of the written novels.  That was just too much for me to handle.  I've used Mr. Jordan's assistants for fetching information from these reserves, and have focused most of my efforts on the notes specifically left for AMOL.  The Guide has been very helpful.  But mostly, if I need to know something from the notes, I send Maria and Alan searching while I work on the actual prose.
 
 
-  WOT question: Rereading the series right now to get ready for TGS, currently on book 4. Has RJ included details in his note about who made Callandor and who placed it in the Stone of Tear  (and how).
 
There were notes on Callandor, and the sword will play a part in the final three books.  More, I cannot say.  However, I'll make a note to suggest that Harriet consider this question when creating the Encyclopedia, so anything that doesn't end up in the last books is revealed there.
 

 -  WOT question: Probably RAFO, but same question about the land beyond the Aiel Waste (don't remember the name)? Has RJ done some worldbuilding on it and are we going to see it before the series ends or is it some Tolkienish "Oh yeah, forgot to mention or include it on the map but there's some other kind of lands out there, just so you know. But you ain't going to see it, besides they probably don't care about the fate of the world out there".
 
RAFO.  (But don't hold your breath.  Robert Jordan said specifically: "I have no plans to send Rand to Shara" and I know several other times where he said similar things.)
Author
MistbornSanderson
Posts: 61
Registered: ‎07-02-2009

Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

You mentioned in an earlier answer that learning to revise was one of the biggest factors in making your work publishable.
Would you give us an idea of the process you go through when you revise?

Thanks for the question, Isaac!  (Isaac, by the way, is the person who introduced me to my wife and set us up on our first blind date.)


I view working on a book in the same way a sculptor might view working on a block of wood.  The first draft is generally focused on getting things in place so I can work on them.  In essence, I cut out the crude features of the sculpture--but when it’s done, there is still a lot of work to be done.  Readers who see the book in this stage can tell what the basic arcs and characters will be, but the emotional impact is lessened by the crude edges and unfinished lines.


Here’s my process in a nutshell:


Draft one: Write the book in draft form.


Draft two:  Read through the entire book, fixing the major problems.  Often, I’ll change character personalities halfway through the first draft as I search to figure out how I want the character to sound.  I don’t go back then and revise, as I need to try out this personality for a while before I decide to actually use it.  Similarly, often I’ll drop in new characters out of the blue, pretending that they’ve been there all along.  In the second draft, I settle on how I want things to really look, feel, and work.


Draft three:  Language draft.  Here I’m seeking to cut the book down by 10%.  I write with a lot of extra words, knowing I’ll need a trim.  This will make the prose more vibrant, and will make the pacing work better.


In a perfect world, this is where I writing group the piece and/or send it to my editor.  (For lack of time, my writing group is getting Draft Two of THE WAY OF KINGS.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to do draft three by the end of the year.)


I let readers read the book, and I take some time off of it.  I begin collecting things I want to change in the book in a separate file, called “Revision notes for ***”, listing the name of the book.  I organize these by character and by importance and/or pervasiveness.  For instance, a need to rewrite a character’s motivations will be at the top.  Fixing one specific scene so that it has proper foreshadowing will be near the bottom.


Once this is all done, and I’ve gotten feedback and had time to think, I read through the book again with my revision notes file open beside the book file itself.  I actively look for places to change, kind of like a sculptor looking over the statue and seeking places to knock off jagged chunks and smooth out the sculpture’s features.


I’ll do this process several times, usually.  In-between, I’ll often do line-edit drafts, like the language draft above, where I’m focused on getting rid of the passive voice and adding more concrete details.  

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Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

 A bit left of center question. Are you a role player? I ask because on writing excuses I think I heard you mention it

Yes,  I am a role player.  Have been since I discovered the TMNT RPG back when I was a young teen, and have been doing it pretty much ever since.  When I play, I’m almost always some kind of magic user (duh).  When I GM, I prefer to homebrew my own system. 

. The question that I have for you is, now that you know the ending of Wheel of Time after the final book has been released will it be a world that you could set a game in? Or will it be like Tolkien where after the end of LOTR the world is pretty much over? I ask cos it looks to be a great place to set an RPG and I want to know if I should be looking to a time before Eye of the World or if I should run a new age?

I’m going to stick pretty close to things Mr. Jordan has said or implied regarding this.  Things he has said have implied strongly that it is not going to be like Tolkien; though the Wheel will eventually turn to a point where the One Power is forgotten and the land becomes like our world, that is NOT the 4th age.  I think it would still be a fantastic place to set an RPG game.

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Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

Again, sorry to take so long on these.  I am still planning to get through all of them, eventually. I’m on the home stretch.  (If anyone’s still around to read.)

WOT questions: Will all three AMOL books feature Rand, Mat, and Perrin?

Short answer:  Yes.  

Longer answer:  They will all three appear in all three books, but it will not be equally balanced.  Some characters will be more of a focus in some of the books, and other will be more of a focus in others.  This is  particularly true of the first two volumes, where I had to juggle which characters would be a focus in one, and which will be a focus in the other.

I ask because you said the prologue Robert Jordan wrote would probably be split over two books.

Yes, it will be.  I don’t know yet if the third volume will have a prologue or not.  The Material Mr. Jordan wrote for the prologue is split, half in the prologue of TGS, half in the prologue of the second volume.  

 Does this mean story arcs are getting split as well?

I tried to keep story arcs contained in a single book.  We’ll get glimpses from some of the characters in the first book, with a more complete story arc in the second book.  And we’ll get story arcs in the first book from some characters, followed by glimpses in the second.

The split actually turned out really well.  I think I managed to get a balance working where characters don’t vanish for entire volumes, but we still get to have complete character arcs.  

Also, who was your favourite character to write? And don't say Bela  

It’s really, really hard for me to answer this, since when I’m in a character’s head, that character is the most important in the book.  They’re all my favorite when I’m writing them--that’s just the way it has to be as a writer.

It is also hard to answer without giving spoilers that I’m not certain I want to give.  For instance, some characters were interesting to write for different reasons.  In some places, I was expanding on things Mr. Jordan left behind, in other places I was trying to piece together what I think he would have done based on the momentum of the books.  In some places, I was writing based mostly on my instincts as a writer.  I was doing a lot of different things with a lot of different characters, getting a balance of action, drama, and fun.  Which is my favorite among all of that?  It depends on what I’m feeling like that day.

If really pressed on it, I’ll probably say that going into this, my favorite thing that I anticipated would be finally (after all of this time) writing Rand’s character through the end of the series.  Like many, I was initially hooked into this all by his story, and--regardless of other favorites at different points in the series--who he is as a person is vitally important for driving these last books.

Any plans to tour Warbreaker or The Gathering Storm in Toronto or other Canadian cities?

I’ll be in Montreal on Saturday the eighth!  Less than a week away now.  I’m hoping to get to other cities in Canada for future tours, but I’m going to start with this one visit.  We’ll see.  We might be able to manage a several-city Canadian Tour next year.
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I'm not English and I hope you won't mind too much the grammar and spelling errors left leave here and there.

Well, I do speak English as my native language--and I’m certain I’ve got my fair share of errors here and there in my posts.  So if you’ll forgive me, I’ll of course forgive you.  :smileywink:

As many, I'm a huge fan of the wheel of time series, I can't say why it appeals to me so much but it just feels so epic, so detailed, so grand, I wonder how can anyone not love it.

I'm also really eager to read the end of the saga, and I must say that I'm really happy with your decision to split the book in 3 and cover all that is left to be answered.

Knowing you will finish Robert Jordan's book I was curious to read your previous works and see if  I will like or love them as I do with wot.

I must say that I found them quite enjoying and yet, and I beg you not to be offended by my impressions, I could not find the epic feeling I love so much in wot.

I find your characters to be very practical which is great in a way but for me it takes away the epic feeling, the unknown, the maybe, the what if.

So finally reaching my question, if it's not too silly, do you plan to make the characters react, speak and think, as they do in your books or will you follow a more Jordan's way of doing.

I think the thing you’re talking about is something very intentional on my part, related to the fact that I wanted my books (particularly the ones I did at the beginning of my career) to be more self contained.  Elantris, Warbreaker, and even Mistborn exist (in my mind) as a kind of ‘calling card’  to readers.  Something that says “I want to show you that I can tell a story, so that you’ll trust me--eventually--when I do something much larger in scope, something where the pay-offs aren’t as immediate.” 

I love the self-contained fantasy epic form.  However, one of the things I felt that those books needed was cohesion.  I had to make my magic very, very tight.

Unknowns are great, and they DO lend to the epic feel of a story.  One of the things that the WoT has over my books (beyond Mr. Jordan’s fantastic storytelling ability) is the sheer power of scope.  The magic is far from being understood, and it’s larger--and vaster--than the characters can understand.  There’s a vast wealth of history and world--not to mention numerous machinations by dozens of different groups and secret cabals--making the characters (particularly at the beginning) feel very small compared to it all. 

I think that’s the sense of what you’re talking about.  It has to do with the characters, and it has to do with the magic.  But it also has to do with the scope.  You don’t always get an immediate pay-off in the WoT books.  Some threads hang through books, finally getting revealed or resolved long after they were introduced. 

I’m not trying to imitate Mr. Jordan.  Instead, I’m trying to adapt myself to the Wheel of Time.  (If that makes any sense at all.)  In other words, I want to maintain this feel, and write these books appropriate to the Wheel of Time.  I don’t want these volumes to feel like Brandon Sanderson books; I want them to feel like Wheel of Time books. 

But artists in any medium learn to work with different styles and forms.  Many of the things that seem like natural voice in a novel are conscious choices we make, as we work to create a certain feel for a novel.  If you read and compare my Alcatraz books to my Epics, you’ll see what I mean.  Even the Mistborn novels have a different feel from the stand-alones.  (And Mistborn 2 and 3 have a different feel from number one.) 

So, the end answer is this.  Yes, I’m trying very hard to maintain what it is you love about the Wheel of Time, rather than trying to force the Wheel of Time into a different box or style.

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So, Brandon. Hoid. I remember you saying at the I.F. signing last year that he was in WoA. We, your dedicated fans who like scouring books searching for obscure characters who have any possibility of being the mysterious Hoid, have yet to find him. Peter sent us on a hunt for him (Hoid, not Peter...) in the deleted scenes, and we found his boot-print.
Now, I think he broke the pottery there too--the one holding the larasium--and since there's broken pottery in the actual version, I think he may have snuck into the cavern and broken it as well. If so, is this Hoid's part in WoA? This trace of him? I commend you if it is. It is clever, making us think it was a person, when in fact it's just something he did.

You are on the right track, but wrong on one point.  Hoid does appear in the book.

 

I had originally toyed with making his touch on the novel more obscure, but decided that I wanted to be consistent with the other novels by actually having him appear.  Once I realized I’d probably cut the scene with the footprint, I decided I needed this actual appearance even more badly.


Fortunately, I knew what Hoid had been up to all this time, and had placed him in a position where several characters could run into him.  In WoA, Hoid believed (as Vin did) that the Well was in the North, even though it was not.  He spent much of the book pursuing this idea.


Through events, however, he discovered he was wrong.  He made the realization after Vin did, but only because of a chance meeting.  (This is recorded in the books.  Let’s just say he was listening in when someone implied that the Well was in Luthadel.)


He hurried to Luthadel, and was in the town, skulking about in the last parts of the novel.  He isn’t seen here, though he does still infiltrate the Well.  (Hoid is quite proficient at manipulating Shadesmar for his own ends.) 

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[ Edited ]
Just a sudden question that popped into my head:  Do you like Joss Whedon's work, specifically Firefly and Dr. Horrible?
 

I enjoyed Firefly quite a bit; I was actually among the (apparently small) group of people who watched it during its original broadcast run.  I’m impressed with Joss’s writing, though I’m not an enormous fan of his on the level of many of my friends.

 

I missed Dr. Horrible.  Been meaning to watch that, actually...

 

There.  Just added it to my Netflix queue. 

 

Additionally, how much time would you say that you spend researching on any given work, and what are some of the things that you research?
 

That one’s really too hard to judge.

 

Research for me is on-going for any given work, and I don’t track how much time I spend on it.  Generally, I dig into specific topics when the need arises, then do more ‘cast out the net’ general reading for ideas the rest of the time.  Generally, I’ll only dig in deeply if a topic is important to a specific story.  (Such as--for Mistborn--researching canals or the effects of being made a eunuch at various ages.)  

Message Edited by MistbornSanderson on 08-03-2009 01:57 AM
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I hope this isn't a RAFO, but how accurate is the WoT 12 product description on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites? It implies Rand and Egwene get the spotlight in book 12.

 

Well, it so happens that I wrote the majority of that product description myself, and so I'd say that it is rather accurate. 

 

Jason's review (http://www.dragonmount.com/News/?p=585) implies some things about the focus of the book as well.

 

You'll notice that I'm not flat out answering the question you seemed to be getting at.  (Is this book mostly about Rand and Egwene?)  That's because I don't want to dig into this too deeply.  If I begin talking about which characters have the focus in this volume, people will start trying to pry out of me if "such and such" character appears, and if so, how often.  I want to spoil as little of this book as possible.

 

Therefore, I refer you to the two sources above (the product description and Jason's review) and will say that they are accurate in as much as what they say, but will note that neither talks about everything that is in the book.  I have said before that almost all major viewpoint characters appear in TGS (there is one absent) and that it focuses on several of the characters, while the second book focuses on others.  But even the characters not being focused on have parts in each book.  Some of the things you've been waiting a long time to see happen in this book.  Others were reserved for the next volume.

 

Let's leave it at that for now.  

 

 

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Re: Post Questions For Brandon Sanderson Here!

One other question, what is the name of the planet that Elantris is on?
 

Elantris:  Sel

Warbreaker:  Nalthis

Mistborn: Scadrial

Way of Kings:  Roshar

White Sand: Taldain

Dragonsteel: Yolen

 

There are others, but I haven't talked much about those yet, so I'll leave them off for now.