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Interviews: Alloy of Law Signing Report - Green Hoodie Mistborn

Summary:

Entries

11

Date

Nov 10th, 2011

Type

Verbatim

Location

Huntington Beach, CA

TourCon

Alloy of Law Book Tour

Bookstore

Barnes and Noble

Reporter

Green Hoodie Mistborn

Links

17th Shard

YouTube

Theoryland

  • 1

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can hear me back there right? You can probably hear me all the way over in Torrance with this thing. It seems like it’s got a good power to it.
  • 2

    Question

    What’s the status of the second book of the Stormlight Archive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will be going right into that as soon as I finish A Memory of Light. I have it outlined, I have decided whose book it will be, each of the Stormlight books will have a focal character who gets flashbacks. It’s going to be Shallan’s book. So the first major cycle of the Stormlight Archive is looking like it’s going to be Kaladin, Shallan, Szeth, Navani, and Dalinar as the five book arc. And if you haven’t heard, I’m doing it in two 5-book arcs, so the first 5 books should wrap a lot of things up and whatnot. And I might even stop then and do like an Elantris sequel and things like that, and then start the second 5-book arc. So I will do that immediately, I’m actually planning to do that and have it out, it probably won’t be next year, it’ll probably be the following spring, but it’s a little over a year away. I’ve got it all outlined, so it should be...I’ve done a lot of work on it, I just haven’t written it.

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  • 3

    Question

    Was the Almighty still alive when the Heralds packed it in, and did the Radiants pack it in in direct response to what the Heralds did?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Radiants did NOT abandon their post as a response to the Heralds. The Radiants abandoned it for some other reason which will become evident eventually. The Almighty was still around when the Heralds did their thing.

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  • 4

    Question

    How does it feel to write the final piece to the Wheel of Time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Umm, well, on one hand I can’t answer that because Robert Jordan did write the final piece himself (audience laughter), the last chapter he wrote before he passed away. On the other hand I can’t answer that because I haven’t finished my part yet (more audience laughter). I’m like so close, but there’s so much still left to do, but in it’s more general sense, I assume you’re asking, “How does it feel to be part of this thing that I’m writing the end of?” And it’s really be, kind of a bittersweet experience. Like, if you follow my tweets, on Twitter I posted a little while back that “Oh I was looking forward to being back to a certain character”, you know because I’d been away from them for a while, and then I stopped and realized, I wrote that character first for A Memory of Light, all the way through, beginning to end, and so they’re done. I will never be going back to that character, because that character’s story is told, and I’ve done that for almost everybody now in the book. There’s only a few characters who haven’t had their story told, so for a lot of the characters, it’s done. Which is really a weird experience for something you’ve been reading since, you know I picked up the first one in 1990, so 21 years of reading, and since 2007, so now four years of it kind of dominating my life, to have it actually being done, it’s really really kind of surreal and weird to have this being finished. But it’s a great honor also and it's awesome, but it’s also weird.

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  • 5

    Green Hoodie Mistborn

    Is there any relation between the smoke that is emitted when a Shardblade cuts somebody and the smoke that Nightblood emits in Warbreaker?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there is. You've been...are you a 17th Sharder?

    GREEN HOODIE MISTBORN

    Yeah.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That's a really smart question. [laughter] If you're not aware of this and you're kind of baffled by this, people have figured out that all of my books are connected, and there is a continuing character who was in Elantris who shows up in Mistborn who also is in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings. This person is trying to figure out some of the connections between the worlds.

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  • 6

    Question

    I’ve really enjoyed reading the annotations you have on your website and my question is two parts related to that, have you been keeping, or will you be writing annotations for the Wheel of Time books you’ve been working on and then, will ever try to release an actual annotated volume of any of your works?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ok, the question is twofold. The first one is: mentioning the annotations I do on my website, I’ve annotated a large number of my books chapter-by-chapter on my website, so if you like behind the scenes stuff, particularly on the Mistborn Trilogy, there’s a lot of really good information there. I did do annotations for Alloy of Law that we’ll eventually start releasing. I’ve not done them for Way of Kings yet. And so the question was, will I be doing them for the Wheel of Time?

    Once the book is out, I would really like to do a collection of Robert Jordan's notes—it alternates with annotations, with me saying, "Here is what he left me, you can now read these notes, and here is why I decided to adapt it the way I did, and here is a hole in the notes, so you can see what I did."—essentially do an annotation that way, a book about the process. I don't know if Harriet will want to do that. It'd be up to her, and she has a really good reason for not wanting to do that, and that is that she doesn't want people's last memories of Robert Jordan to be the unfinished. He was very...he didn't like showing his material to people, when it was in an unfinished state. He liked showing them finished things, and so it made him uncomfortable when people would read early drafts, and it would have to release some early drafts in that. And so, it would really be her call, and I can't make that call for her. If she lets me do it, I'll do it.

    I would like to release some annotated editions of my books, maybe for the tenth anniversary of Elantris, we'll do an annotated edition, and then a sequel the next year. That's kind of what I'm hoping to do, if I can.

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  • 7

    Question

    You mentioned in your newsletter that you were thinking of doing a Mistborn film, and I'm wondering because it's an internal magic system, how you would differentiate which metal was being burned?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We've got a couple of tricks up our sleeve that we've been working on. One thing that we're changing in the screenplay is, when you burn iron and steel it makes metals glow blue rather than shooting out blue lines. Basically this will keep it less cluttered, and you can kind of dim the screen a little bit and show everything glowing blue. We're doing that, and when you start burning one of the, for instance, one of the metals that influences personality, we're gonna actually kind of like send a pulse out of the person, and have it kind of wash across people, and things like that, so we're coming up with visual clues to show them.

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  • 8

    Question

    How much time do you spend per day writing and doing other writing-related activities, because you put out more than any other author that I ever… [applause]

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thank you for clapping at that, rather than thinking I'm a hack. [laughter] I do this very compulsively. I basically spend—how many hours do I spend?—I basically spend all of them, and when I'm not doing something else. So basically, I usually take two or three hours off with my family, um...so I get up at around noon [laugher], I work until five—yes, I get up at noon. Don't knock it; it's the author's way; I'm an artist—and then, I hang out with my family from about five to eight, and then I go back to work and I work generally to about four. Um...and, if there are other things going on in the evening—you know, going out to dinner or things like that—I'll do them, but my default is to working on my books. And that's been pretty steady for the last few years because the Wheel of Time has been so dominating. I'll probably ease up a little once it's done and, you know, maybe play a few more video games and read a few more Pratchett novels. Yeah, it was really, that joker back there that I pointed out works at Blizzard, Blizzard brought me in today and gave me a whole bunch of games [laughter], “yeah here Diablo 3, you can go play that...”, “agh, don’t do this to me guys”. [laughter]

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  • 9

    Question

    I don’t know if this question will come out right...is there a difference between being an author that works for Tor and an author that Tor works for?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Most authors, you'll find, are actually independent businesspeople who license their books to a publisher for various languages, and so I don't actually work for Tor. Now, Tor and I get along really well, and they've done very well by me, but I've also done very well by them, and so we have a very good working relationship. But actually I, as a businessperson, license them the books, and that means that I control all the characters, they can't insert or change anything without my approval—they can't even change commas without my approval—and that's the way it goes for most people. Now, everything outside the cover I have is theirs, their packaging, so that's why authors don't get a lot of say in cover and things, because the marketing copy on the cover, the picture and stuff, that's the publisher's. They license the works. So, there is a difference. There are some authors who will do a work-for-hire sort of thing, like I did with the Wheel of Time. I work for Harriet on the Wheel of Time. I am employed by her. It's a very good contract—I mean, she was very awesome to me—but at the end of the day, I am an employee working for her, a contractor working for her, and in that case, it's a different sort of business relationship.

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  • 10

    Question

    I really appreciate all the work you've done on the Wheel of Time, and everything else. Now that you're starting your own really epic fantasy series, you know, I've noticed an issue that Robert Jordan had and that George R.R. Martin has is that the series kind of bloats on them over time. So, how would you approach that with your series, and how are you dealing with the possibility of that happening?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a really good question, actually. A lot of the great series that we love did get a little bit...they feel like they may have gotten away from their authors a little bit, and I have a big advantage that Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin didn't have, which is that I got to read Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin. [laughter] And I say that—we laugh at it—but if you really think about it, a lot of these big epic fantasy series, these people are treading new ground, and they didn't have—you know, the best they have is Tolkien, three books. What do you do with that? I mean, maybe you have Zelazny with Amber, and a lot of books, but they're really thin, and I mean nobody had really done what Robert Jordan did, before he did it. What I'm trying to do, is I kind of have a mantra for myself on these books, is that they must be...each one must be individual. Meaning, it's gotta have its own conflicts, its own feel, it's gotta have its own art. I can't let them just blend together, and I think that will help a lot. And so, for doing that, that's why I assign each book in the series a character, and I do the flashbacks in that book for that character in that book, and tell what I want to be a complete arc for that character in that book. Doesn't mean the other characters won't be in the books; Kaladin will be in all the books; Dalinar will be in all the books—assuming they survive. [laughter] But each book will have a character as being kind of the soul of that book, which I think will make them all feel self-contained, and be their own thing. The other thing that I'm doing is I'm trying to avoid secondary character bloat. One of the reasons secondary characters show up is you want to show off this little piece of the world, and so you write this thing about this character, and then you're like, "Wow, that's an awesome character; I wanna write more!" And then...BOOM. And so, in The Way of Kings, I actually gave myself these Interludes, which are in-between parts of the book; I let myself do basically two short stories set in the world, or maybe three, and the purpose of that is to show the scope of the world, but to use characters that you don't really need to come back to, for most of them. And so it kind of gets it out of my system, but I have kind of written down as my mantra: "These characters cannot become main viewpoint characters." That's the purpose of doing them in that, and so by doing that and giving myself a sort of pressure valve in one way, and a kind of constraint in the other, that each book must be about a specific character, I'm hoping it will keep this series more focused.

    Footnote

    Brandon had, at this point, only read Game of Thrones by GRRM, but the phenomenon of bloat in GRRM's series is something that is talked about a lot in the internet circles Brandon has frequented, so he is familiar with it, and the comparison to WoT.

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  • 11

    Question

    I’ve always wondered what Atium looks like when you’re burning it, do you have possible things coming out of you or do have one shadow just walking out or like an accordion of shadows?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I see one shadow that bursts out that leaves a trail, so like a really faint blur, and then the one shadow in the front, for each...and yeah, if you've got like two Atiums then it's a whole bunch of those, but I see one shadow with a blur of all the pieces and things behind it.

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