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Your search for the tag 'brandon on reading' yielded 206 results

  • 1

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Benjamin Moldovan (10 January 2011)

    Have you read the Malazan series that they're rereading on Tor? What do you like/not like about it?

    Brandon Sanderson (10 January 2011)

    I've read some, and was impressed, but not enough to say more.

    Tags

  • 2

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2008

    Alex C. Telander

    So my first question here, what made you decide to become a writer? Who were your influences?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I decided to become a writer when I was fourteen. Before then I actually hadn't been a big reader. I was actually one of those boys—a lot of young boys stop reading about the fourth grade age. It's apparently a trouble time. I didn't know that, but I stopped reading about that age. Fourth, fifth, sixth grade, not a big reader. Seventh grade, not a big reader. Eighth grade, I had a really wonderful English teacher, who got a fantasy novel into my hands. And before then, I just thought books were boring. Someone had tried to give me Tolkien, but Tolkien was just too hard for me. She gave me Barbara Hambly's Dragonsbane, which I loved. Fell in love with fantasy books, discovered David Eddings, Terry Brooks over the summer. This was before Wheel of Time was even out. Just fell in love with reading and decided this was what I wanted to do for a living. Didn't really look back since then. Started my first book when I was fifteen. It was dreadful, but just kept writing and writing and writing.

    A lot of my influences were the Wheel of Time books once they came out, absolutely loved. I would often study them, read them, and try and say, "What is Robert Jordan doing here?" I remember specifically looking at passages and saying, "Okay, what’s he doing, what's making this work?"

    A lot of my other influences were, I'd say, Melanie Rawn, and Barbara Hambly, and Annie McCaffrey would be some of my big influences. I liked the sort of hybrid fantasy/science fictions—not the ones where a fantasy world meets a science fiction world—don't enjoy those as much. What I'm talking about is a fantasy book that treats its magic like a science. I loved, for instance, Melanie Rawn's magic system—really, really worked for me. When I discovered David Farland, his magic system really worked for me. I loved the Rune Lords magic. Those things, really, sort of jump out at me and sing to me, and I knew when I got published, if I got published some day, that's what I wanted to do.

    ALEX C. TELANDER

    Okay, great.

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  • 3

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2008

    Alex C. Telander

    How did you come up with the idea for the Mistborn series, and did you know it was going to be a series from the start?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did know it was going to be a series. When I was writing Mistborn, it came because—well, I had sold Elantris, and my editor came to me and said, "What do you want to do next? Do you want to do an Elantris sequel?" And I said, well, I really like Elantris being a stand-alone. But I had this unique opportunity where the next book didn't have to be in for about two years. Sold Elantris in 2003; it was coming out in 2005. That meant my next book had to be turned in in 2005. Two years' time, I thought if I write really hard, I can finish an entire trilogy before the first one has to be turned in, which would let me write a whole series, and have it all work together and be internally consistent and all of these things. And so I did know it was a series from the beginning.

    The ideas are varied, they came from all over the place. One of the ideas was the desire to tell a story about a world where the dark lord had won. I love the classic fantasy stories, but I think that it's been done really well, and doesn't need to be done any more. I think Robert Jordan nailed it. I think, even if you look—you've got Tad Williams, you've got Raymond Feist, you've got David Eddings, you've got Terry Brooks—all doing this hero's archetype journey. It's been done, it's been covered, what else can I do? And so, the story where the hero went on a quest, and then failed and the dark lord took over, that was a fascinating idea.

    Another idea was my love of the heist genre, where you get a gang of specialists who each have a different power. I had never seen a fantasy book do that in the way I wanted to. There are some that do it, and do it well. But you know, where everyone had a different magic system, every person a different magic power, got together and did something. One of my favorite movies is the movie Sneakers—something like that, but with magic.

    And those two ideas rammed together with an idea for a magic system that I'd been working on, and an idea for a character I'm working on, Vin's character. Those were all developed independently. All started to ram together. I explained, ideas are sometimes like atoms and when they ram into each other, you get a chemical reaction and they form molecules. Cool different things happen when ideas ram into each other, and that's where those came from.

    ALEX C. TELANDER

    Do you think there's ever going to be any more stories or future books set in the Mistborn world?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I always know what happens in the futures of the worlds in my stories. I don't always write those books. I think there probably will be, but they would take place hundreds of years after this trilogy, or hundreds of years before. It would be great separation of time and space. It would be more books set in the world, not a continuation of the characters or sequels. I won't do that for a while. One of the authors who I really respect is Orson Scott Card. I like that he's able to do such different things, and new things, and he's not locked into. . . even though he keeps writing Ender's books, in between, you'll have all sorts of different, cool things. And I really respect that. I would rather do that than be someone who's writing in only one setting. And so, while you probably will see more Mistborn books, it's when I'm excited about them. I want to do something else for a while.

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  • 4

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2008

    Alex C. Telander

    What do you like to read in your spare time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Whatever ends up in my hands. Sometimes nonfiction, sometimes fiction. I still, I mean, I love fantasy. I've been reading a lot of children's lately. Favorite author right now who's still publishing is probably Terry Pratchett. But favorite historical writers have been Robert Jordan, I really like Les Miserables, it's one of my favorite books of all time. I actually really like Melville. A lot of people don't, but I really like Melville.

    ALEX C. TELANDER

    I like Moby Dick, yeah.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Not just Moby Dick, but all of it. Billy Budd and other stuff, too, just fun to read. So, whatever I end up reading.

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  • 5

    Interview: Dec 3rd, 2008

    Brad Wilcox

    Sanderson had grown up a fan of Jordan and, more specifically, a fan of "The Wheel of Time."

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I grew up, when I was a teen, reading a lot of fantasy," Sanderson said in a phone interview. "But his were the books I kept coming back to."

    BRAD WILCOX

    Jordan's literature had inspired Sanderson to pursue his own passion for writing, and it wasn't long before he was pitching his first novel, Elantris. He signed with the first publishing company to make him an offer, TOR books, which coincidentally was the company that represented Jordan.

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  • 6

    Interview: May 15th, 2009

    Dave Brendon

    Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Brandon, and welcome to the South African SFF scene! First off, will you please tell us a bit about yourself? Where you grew up, what started you reading, and why you started writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was a big reader as a child, then fell away for a while. In third and fourth grade, my favorite series was the Three Investigators books, a mystery series. As I grew older, the books that other people gave me to read were realistic fiction–books that bored me out of my skull, so my reading habits dribbled off. By junior high I wasn’t reading anything new, until I had a wonderful English teacher who told me I couldn’t keep doing book reports on novels that were four grades below my reading level. Instead, she gave me her copy of Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. I had no idea books like that existed–it engaged my imagination like no other book ever had. At that point I started reading every fantasy book I could get my hands on, including The Eye of the World when it came out in paperback. I was hooked, and there was no going back. I even started writing some myself–on my website in the library section there’s a short story I wrote in high school for a writing contest at a local SF convention. It’s really not very good, but it took first place in the student division, and at the awards ceremony was one of the first times I can remember thinking, “Wow, maybe I can do this.”

    My mother, however, thought I should study something more concrete and said I could keep writing on the side. I started college as a biochemistry major, but when I took two years off to serve a mission for my church I realized I didn’t miss chemistry at all and just wanted to write. On my off days I worked on what eventually became my first novel, and when I got back to school I changed my major to English and determined to become a professional author.

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  • 7

    Interview: Jun 1st, 2009

    Damon Cap

    Yeah, and you've also made mention about that you feel like maybe there's not enough—now, let me make sure I'm quoting you correctly—there's not a lot of standalone fantasy, and Warbreaker was that standalone fantasy, and now you've gone to writing the Wheel of Time which is obviously not a standalone fantasy. What do you feel the difference is; like how do you get from a book which is all-encompassing, you know, a series of books like the Wheel of Time. And how do you as a writer say, "OK, I can still write that standalone fantasy that's going to have the same impact as, in the same—hopefully—same fan base as a longer series, a trilogy or, you know, obviously Wheel of Time is going to be twelve, thirteen, fourteen books."

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do love big series. I mean, this is what... This is what got me into fantasy; these huge monster series. And so I think every fantasy author—not every, but most of us have a deep-seated love for the great big epic. And I've wanted to do one of those eventually myself. But at the same time, there are so many ideas I have, bouncing here and there, that I feel sometimes I just want to write a single book. This was particularly true when I broke in; my first book was a standalone, Elantris. And one of the reasons why I didn't write a sequel to that was, sometimes I, as a reader, got little bit annoyed when I would see a new author's book on the shelf, that I had never heard of, and it said, "book one of nine." Or something like this. And it threw me as a fantasy fan into a conundrum. I've never tried this author before. I don't know if I'm going to enjoy their books. If I try the first one, and I like it, I've just committed myself to spending the next twenty years reading these books and doing this. If I dislike it, then I've committed myself to never finding out what happened to all these characters that I've read about. You know, even if you don't like a book, you wonder what happens. And so it puts you in this position where it's hard to win. And so, I loved it when I could pick up a standalone by an author to try them out, to see if I liked their style. Tad Williams did this with Tailchaser's Song. And so when I first published, I wanted to do a standalone that people could pick my work up and say, "OK. This is what Brandon Sanderson's like." And I actually really like that I'm releasing Warbreaker right before the Wheel of Time, because there's that same opportunity. People can go pick up Warbreaker and can read a standalone, one volume book by me before they... So they can know what I'm like.

    DAMON CAP

    Before they pick up that...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Before they pick up that Wheel of Time book. They don't have to go and read a big long series of mine; they know they can pick up that one and get closure and resolution. I like both forms, quite a bit. I am going to do a big epic. It's probably gonna be called the Stormlight Archive. The first book's called The Way of Kings. I've mentioned it a little bit on my web site. And it's coming, and I've been planning it for years and years and years, like we tend to do; it's actually been going for about eight years. And so I am going to do that. But I've always wanted to be stopping and doing the standalones. In fact, I'll probably do one or two—or two or three—in the Stormlight Archive and then do a standalone somewhere else. And then do two or three and then do a standalone. Because something about that form really appeals to me as well. Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana is just a beautiful book that wouldn't be the same if it were a big series. Just that one standalone. And the book that got me into fantasy originally was Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. She eventually did some sequels to that many years later, but for many years it was a standalone. And I loved how it was a standalone, and… I liked that form. So I had planned to always be releasing some of those, every now and then.

    Tags

  • 8

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    carmen22

    Who or what was your inspiration to start writing fantasy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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. ;)

    carmen22

    Which of your books is your favorite?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tough call. Right now, Warbreaker is the best written—though The Gathering Storm is better, I think. I think that The 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.

    carmen22

    Which of your characters is your favorite?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tie between Lightsong and Vin.

    carmen22

    Were books a natural part of your childhood?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    carmen22

    And do you have a favorite book or author?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

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  • 9

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    Melhay

    Your stories are so in-depth and unique in the magical systems and religions. I was wondering if you have always, even through childhood, been creative with stories? Have some of the ideas in these books been something you created when young and then evolved into a story now? Have you always been interested in writing stories as you grew up? Did you have that notebook in class scribbling full of stories and ideas while sitting in class supposedly taking notes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've spoken before on the fact I didn't discover fantasy, and reading, until I was fourteen. (The book, if I haven't mentioned it on this forum yet, was Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly.)

    Before then, I was a daydreamer. I was always daydreaming—I was never in the room where I was supposed to be listening or studying. I was off somewhere else. Oddly, though, I didn't make the connection between this and writing until I was given that first fantasy novel.

    When I read that book (and moved on to McCaffrey, as it was next in the card catalogue) I discovered something that blew my mind. Here were people who were taking what I did, sitting around and imagining stories, and they were making a living out of it.

    I hit the ground running, so to speak. Started my first novel the next fall, began gobbling up fantasy books wherever I could find them, began writing notes and ideas in my notebooks instead of (as you guessed) the notes I was supposed to be taking.

    Even after all this, though, I was persuaded that people couldn't make a living as an author. So I went to school my freshman year as a bio-chemist, on track for becoming a doctor. That lasted about one year of frustrating homework and classes spent daydreaming before I made the decision to try becoming a writer.

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  • 10

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    Zas678

    BTW, thank you for your Terry Pratchett recommendation. I have read almost all of them and love them.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The man's a genius. Pure and simple. It took him a little while to convert me, but now that he has, I’m a big fan.

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  • 11

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon recommends his favorite books as a kid, Three Investigators, to a young reader.

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  • 12

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon finished The Dresden Files on the plane this morning. Brandon recommends the Patrick Rothfuss trilogy; the first book is The Name of the Wind.

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  • 13

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon likes having single volume epics out because he remembers being annoyed at having to wait on even though he didn't like the author, but just to get to the ending.

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  • 14

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon initially got hooked for the series because of the hero's journey—and the size of the books (he was on a budget). It changed as he grew up, and he mentions how much he enjoyed the prologue by contrasting it with generic fantasy prologues that are long and drawn out. What kept him reading was the depth of world building and the secrets embedded within secrets.

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  • 15

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon's introduction to fantasy came by way of three female authors: Barbara Hambly, Anne McCaffrey, and I missed the third (sorry).

    Footnote

    The third was Melanie Rawn (as he has noted elsewhere).

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  • 16

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon's hook for reading WOT as a teenager was the hero's journey, but his tastes evolved since then, from growing up and becoming a parent. He enjoyed The Eye of the World prologue greatly since it was not long and drawn out like many fantasy prologues. What kept him engrossed was the depth of world building and embedded secrets.

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  • 17

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon said he loves the process of writing and that he would write a book a year for his whole life, even if none were ever published. He has all his unpublished manuscripts and didn't realize how bad he was before. He was in his early 20's and able to learn and practice to better his craft. He wasn't confident enough to submit his first five books, but the sixth was published (Elantris) though it took a few years. He had an advantage over other new writers from all his practice. He compared "getting it right" for Elantris to getting a hole-in-one in golf—part skill, part accident. Mistborn was his 14th novel.

    He said he avoids reviews unless they are starred since a bad review can spoil his day and when he is feeling down he looks at bad reviews of works he enjoyed, like Pratchett's works, Watchmen, and Hamlet. He also avoided seeing the Watchmen movie, since it would be ruined if they changed it, or the same as the book if they didn't change it, and he didn't really want to see Dr. Manhattan in full IMAX glory.

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  • 18

    Interview: Nov 19th, 2009

    Samadai

    At 7:00 the Storm Leaders came out and Brandon followed about five minutes later. I know, that like me, many of you have followed his signings and what he talks about and probably have it memorized, but I'm telling this story. :)

    Brandon Sanderson

    He talked about his love of reading, and mentioned going into his local bookstore and seeing The Eye of the World for the first time. He had to come back and get it a week later because he was broke. He mentioned how RJ and the WoT is the reason he chose to become a writer.

    He then talked about perusing the internet one day and finding out about RJ dying, how it was like finding out all his childhood friends had died at one time. He talked about the eulogy he wrote for RJ. How he came down stairs one morning (noon) and got the message from Harriet asking to talk to him. He finally decided to write the books because he could not think of another person who was a huge fan who had studied the story as much as he has and was also a published writer. He talked about flying to meet Harriet at her house, she invited him in with an offer of food, and asked him what she could get him. He said "the ending of the book and who killed Asmodean". I too have read this many times before but the impact of hearing it was phenomenal.

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  • 19

    Interview: Feb 12th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    I see myself as part of a greater movement that is doing some new and interesting things. I'm certainly not the only one doing it, and I wouldn't even know if I'm at the forefront of it. I'm part of it. But. . . I can't help but be, I think, considering all I've read and what I've been part of. If you read the fantasy that's coming out right now, it feels different from what came before. And I think a lot of that is a reaction toward or against the epic journey, and we're saying, well what else can we explore? So, a lot of reaction against the classic, standard medieval setting.

    We're also kind of stepping forward into a more modern era for our fantasy, things taking place in a more 1900s level of technology or 1800s level of technology. I feel that a lot of us, a lot of the authors during the '80s and '90s spent a lot of time exploring what Tolkien had revealed, particularly in epic fantasy which is my sub-genre, and saying, well what else can we do with this? But at the same time, telling these stories that were very classical in an archetypal sense. That ground has been explored by masters of the genre, and so we have to take a few steps outwards. And I'm part of it, I'm certainly not the only one.

    We're the first generation of fantasy writers who really grew up reading a ton of fantasy because in the early days there wasn't as much. There were some great authors who were writing, Tolkien of course being one of them, but there were many others who were writing at that era. But, before the '60s and '70s there wasn't very much of it. There was the science fiction, and there was some fantasy mixed in there with the pulp and things, but our generation grew up reading the great epic fantasies of the '70s, '80s, and '90s. And because of that I've noticed my generation is. . . we're kind of these post-modern fantasy writers. We're building upon all these things that happened before, and now seeming like we want to explore different directions because of how well some of the authors like Robert Jordan covered the topics that they did.

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  • 20

    Interview: Feb 12th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    Story, to me, is about character. And if you don't have those characters to latch onto, then your book is not just gonna hold me or grab me. There are plenty of people who enjoy just a solid plot. And a good plot is good, but it's the characters that are the heart and soul of it.

    Religion is fascinating to me. I'm a religious person. And the different ways that people approach religion, think about religion, are all very interesting to me. And I find myself dealing with these themes because what fascinates me is what I find interesting and write stories about. It's really no more complicated than that. People ask me, do I put religious themes in intentionally? No. I think that religion is very important to a lot of people, and so people end up thinking about it or talking about it. And so it becomes themes, therefore, in my books.

    Granted, what I find frightening or what I find interesting or what I find noble is influenced by who I am and by what my religion teaches. And on the flip side, the misuse of religion strikes me as a very frightening thing. And so I've made religions bad guys in my books before. That wasn't intentional, me saying religion's going to be the bad guy. It's me sitting down and saying, I want an antagonist who is legitimately frightening. What is legitimately frightening to me? Well, this is legitimately frightening: someone who misuses this, who takes things that I think are wonderful and turns them into something terrible. That's frightening. And I like to show all aspects of things if I can in my books.

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  • 21

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2010

    Question

    Question about writing/reading as a kid and early influences...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, boy. It was less about what I wrote and more about what I read. Many of you have heard my story that I wasn't a reader until I was in 8th grade, and, you know, the teacher had me read a book. And the reason that book struck me so hard in part was because, you know, that middle school's a hard age, I think most of you will agree. It's an awkward age. And...I had, without really knowing it, been searching for a while for something that was me. Something that I could do, something that my talents would work for. I was always a daydreamer. And it wasn't till I read that fantasy novel that I said, "Wow, look at this. Here is somebody who does what I do, and they do it for a living. And they've turned it into a job. And here is something that is me." And right from the beginning I realized this is something I want to be doing. And so, it was about the books I was reading at the time that made me...I felt I'd found home, even though, you know...Just in those early books I read.

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  • 22

    Interview: Sep 17th, 2010

    Mad Hatter

    You’ve obviously been indisposed the last few months with Towers of Midnight so I’m curious about what is on your nightstand to be read next?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There’s a big stack. Peter Orullian’s book, which Tor is releasing next year is one I’ve wanted to read for a while. Spellwright, which a lot of people really loved and I got to read. There are a couple of Pratchetts I still haven’t read. I’ve been slowly working my way through Jim Butcher’s books, which I think are fantastic. I’ve also started reading through Brent Weeks’ works. So there are a lot of things to read. I still want to finish The Hunger Games. There’s so much to read, but fortunately during my two-week tour there will be a plane ride every day. Hooray.

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  • 23

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2010

    Luckers

    What is your favorite aspect of the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    As I’ve read each book at different times in my life, my answer to this has changed significantly. So I guess that as I think about it now, my favorite aspect would be how the books change and grow with you as you age. I’ve said before that many of the other books I started reading as a teenager just didn’t age as well. And that’s okay. They were brilliant for the time when I read them, and they were written for who I was when I read them. The fact that they have a much narrower focus does not mean that they are bad books. But as I grew up and became more proficient at understanding stories, and my tastes in stories changed, the Wheel of Time changed with me. The fact that the Wheel of Time has such a breadth and depth to it, that it can work for so many different people in so many different walks of life, is a great monument to Robert Jordan’s ability to write.

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  • 24

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2010

    Luckers

    What is your favorite plot-line, and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s hard to define what a plotline is. I’ve said before that my favorite little chunk in the series is when Rand went into Rhuidean, because I love the nonlinear storytelling, the weaving of past and present, the ability to tell us who current people are by showing their ancestors. I think it’s just a beautiful, wonderful sequence. But I don’t know if that counts as a plotline.

    Maybe Perrin’s defense of the Two Rivers would be my favorite plotline in the series, because it has really great underdog story to it. At that point in the series, Rand is moving mountains, so to speak, and changing the world, yet this plotline focuses narrowly on real people—everyday people—and their struggles and how they’re fighting and changing. So I really enjoy that one.

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  • 25

    Interview: Nov 13th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I grew up in Nebraska. I read quite a lot when I was little, but by high school I was not a reading sort of kid. Some kids read, I watched TV. People would shove books at me in school and I just wasn't interested. Then, when I was 14, I had this one teacher, called—I swear I'm not making this up—Mrs. Reader. And she said, 'look, you are going to read a novel, and you are going to write me a book report. I have a box of books in the back room. Go on back there and pick one. Take your time.'"

    DAVID LARSEN

    One of the books had a rather fabulous picture of a dragon on the cover. Never let anyone tell you cover illustrations don't matter. It changed Sanderson's life.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    "I devoured that book, which was by Barbara Hambly. I couldn't believe there was this entire type of novel that no one had told me about. I went to the library and checked out every fantasy novel I could find, read them voraciously over the summer, fell in love with the genre, decided within a year that I wanted to be a writer, and started working on my first book. Which was atrocious, but fortunately I didn't know that."

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  • 26

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2010

    Question

    Mistborn got the Elbakin.net award for the best 2010 foreign novel. What does this trilogy represent for you in your career?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It represents several things. It is my attempt to expand the fantasy genre a little bit. I grew up reading fantasy and loving it; I love the great fantasy novels of my youth. Some of my favorite authors were Anne McCaffrey, Robert Jordan and Melanie Rawn, who I think is very underappreciated. I absolutely love their work—Tad Williams, David Eddings—and yet as a reader and a fan of fantasy, it seemed like during the late nineties and early 2000s, we hit kind of a slump in adult fantasy, particularly epic fantasy, which I write. And there were really exciting things happening in young adult fantasy—if you go look at some of the authors like Garth Nix or J.K. Rowling, who were doing really amazing work—but epic fantasy kind of slumped a little bit. I'm sure there were great things being published, it's just that they didn't get a lot of mainstream attention. It seemed like a lot of the authors who got mainstream attention were all trying to do the same story that had already been done, a lot. The young boy from an unknown village finds out he has an amazing noble heritage and has to defeat the dark lord...

    I mean, there's nothing wrong with that story; that's a good story, but it's not the only story. And for a lot of time, fantasy seemed to be having trouble growing out of its youth and growing up. As a reader I was very frustrated with this. I really wanted fantasy to step up and go beyond that. So when I started writing my own works and working on them, I was really looking for places to explore, that could expand upon this lore and take different directions. Mistborn represents several concepts of me, just as a reader and as a writer, trying to explore these new directions to go. I'm certainly not the only one doing it.

    The first book is about: what happens if evil has won? And in a lot of ways the second book is part of what started me in the trilogy. One of the big foundations or concepts was: what next? We always hear about the easy part. I always say that overthrowing something, tearing something down, actually seems easier to me than building it up. Then what next, after you've caused this great revolution, after you've blown up the Death Star and taken down the Empire? I think then you're going to realize that, whoa, administering something that large is enormously difficult, far more difficult than tearing it down.

    So it just represents my attempts and struggles as a writer and as a fan to wonder beyond fantasy's older lessons and try to figure out what we're going to be as an adult genre, as we grow up.

    Tags

  • 27

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2010

    Question

    Which are your last top choice readings? By the way, do you still have the time to read?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do have the time to read occasionally. I think it's important to read. I think it's extremely important for me to read in the fantasy genre, and be aware of what other authors are doing, because there are lot of them who are way better than I am and I want to be able to learn from them.

    My top choice to go to these days is Terry Pratchett; I love his work. And recently I've been very impressed—though of course it's been a year or two since I read it, but The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is absolutely brilliant. And sitting on my desk to be read next is a book called Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal, that I've been wanting to read for a long time, and I have a copy I just picked up at Tor offices. My wife is reading it right now. So I'll wait until she's done and maybe read it on the plane.

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  • 28

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2010

    Question

    Now that we talked about your last novels, let's go back to the beginnings : how did you come up with a passion for writing and for fantasy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My passion for fantasy comes from a teacher in eighth grade, when I was fourteen, who challenged me to read a book. I share this story a lot, but I think it's an important part of who I am. I didn't enjoy reading when I was younger. I didn't discover reading until I was given a fantasy novel. I had tried reading many other novels and had been bored by them. And it was the discovery of fantasy literature as a genre—the imagination, the power of it—that really changed me as a person and turned me into a writer.

    I mean it's really bizarre: the book that I read was called Dragonsbane, by Barbara Hambly. And this is an interesting thing, because when you know anything about literacy, there are certain things they say that you're supposed to give to boys. You're supposed to give them a book about a boy, and more specifically, about a boy who's two or three years older than them, not their age but not too old. And it's supposed to be very fast-paced, and it's supposed to be very adventuresome. That's what boys are supposed to like. Dragonsbane is about a middle-aged woman, who's the main protagonist. She is not going on fast adventures—actually she and her husband are pig farmers. And he is the last living dragonsbane, a man who has killed a dragon. A dragon has come to assault the kingdom, and someone goes off to find him. And it's a story of how unglamorous it is to kill a dragon; it's like butchering a cow, just a really big one. And she is a witch, and it's the story of her balancing her family life and her magic. She's been told that she could be the greatest witch who ever lived if she would just dedicate everything to it, but she doesn't want to because she has a family too.

    And so here's this book about a middle-aged woman, who is trying to balance her career and her family life, and that's what I liked!

    And I still look back at it as an academic and think: "Why did that work?" And actually it's an illustration of what I think is great about the fantasy genre. I feel that fantasy can do everything that any other genre can do, plus can have this added layer of world-building. And that forces you as a reader to put together a puzzle; what is the world, how do things work here? It's this wonderfully intellectual exercise and imagination exercise that a fantasy novel can give you, that other novels generally can’t.

    And this novel worked for me, because of my own mother. My mother graduated first in her class in an accounting program. She was actually the only woman in the program; not a lot of women did that then. She got a very prestigious job offer, to go work for an accounting firm, and she turned it down because she wanted to have me, a kid. She still works as an accountant today, but at that time of her life she wanted to be a mother. And she has always balanced her career and her family.

    And I read this book, which was about a man killing a dragon, and when I got done, I felt like I understood my mother better. That is weird, that is so weird, but that's what fantasy can do, because it can have this beautiful and wonderful intellectual creative side. It can be adventuresome, it can be fun and have a story about killing a dragon, but it can also deal with real people having real situations, that help you understand the world better. It can do all of these things and be fun at the same time, so why would anyone read anything else?

    But that's what happened to me: I became a writer because of that book, and because of the books I discovered that summer: Anne McCaffrey, I mentioned Melanie Rawn, David Eddings, Tad Williams, and then Robert Jordan released later that year his first Wheel of Time book. Because of these authors I just fell in love with, I just wanted to be able to create those emotions in people, that they could create.

    And so I started writing immediately. I'd found what was me.

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  • 29

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2011

    Jvstin ()

    On your Writing Excuses podcast you mentioned a love of maps, especially maps that thematically work with the world of the book (such as the maps in your The Way of Kings). Given that, what is your all-time favorite fantasy novel map?

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Wow, that's putting me on the spot. There are many different aspects I like about a lot of different maps. I love how the map in The Hobbit is the map the characters carry around. That struck me when I read that book. I really liked how David Eddings' books had a big map and then a zoom-in for every section when the characters would go there. But I wouldn't call either of those my favorite fantasy map.

    The main Wheel of Time map is certainly one of the prettiest. But the best I've probably seen is the one from Leviathan. That one kind of blew me away.


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  • 30

    Interview: Dec 23rd, 2010

    Scott Wilson

    What are you reading at the moment and who are your favorite authors?

    Brandon Sanderson

    At the moment sitting on my shelf next to be read is The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. I also have a manuscript of Variant, a novel by a friend of mine, Robison Wells, which will will be coming out in a year or so from Harper Teen.

    Favorite authors, in no particular order: Robert Jordan, Terry Pratchett, Victor Hugo, and Dan Wells. The list really depends on my mood at the time, who I've been reading a lot of recently. There are many authors from whom I'll love one book and not be as blown away by their other novels. Here's a sampling of single books I think are fantastic: A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge, Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly, Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay, and Sabriel by Garth Nix.

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  • 31

    Interview: Apr 17th, 2011

    Terez

    [Brandon is signing my copy of Towers of Midnight and drawing a lovely picture of Goodkind.]

    You even put the yeard in! That's awesome.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, I didn't put the yeard in...

    Terez

    Yeah you did!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, I put the yeard in, but I didn't call him 'yeard', though...I called him 'Zod', which is my nickname for him, because he reminds me of General Zod in all his publicity photos, so there you are.

    Terez

    [He moves on to signing my copy of Hero of Ages, and a dude behind me joins the conversation.]

    Brandon Sanderson

    You voted for Quick Ben, didn't you?

    Terez

    In the last round.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, uh-huh.

    Terez

    Up until the semi-finals, I supported Vin, but in the finals I supported Quick Ben.

    Dude

    I never even heard of that series until the, uh...

    Terez

    Well that's what cage match is for!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. And it's actually a shame; he should be better known than he is. He's a really great writer.

    Terez

    It's the learning curve.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's the learning curve mixed with some really bad publication luck. What was going on with him is, he published first in the UK, and got a really good big following, and then he did a big launch in America with TOR, but by then, all the Americans had heard about him from the UK and were buying the UK editions, and TOR was behind, and so every time they would publish a UK edition, all his fans went and bought the UK edition, and then TOR would release several months later, and it wouldn't sell...

    Terez

    Because we wanted our books to match!

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...and so he had real trouble getting shelf presence in America for that reason.

    Dude

    Yeah, that makes sense.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And it is a shame; he's a really good author. But I think he's catching up finally. TOR is simultaneously releasing now, which will really help.

    Dude

    I definitely want to start picking up new series once the Wheel of Time is done. I've invested in too many large series that are ongoing...

    Terez

    And this one is finished!

    Brandon Sanderson

    This one is finished. He's going to do more in the world, but the series is done, so you can read it full sequence. It's very nice.

    Dude

    Thank you.

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  • 32

    Interview: Aug 1st, 2011

    SciFi Bulgaria

    What inspired you to become an author and what is your muse?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In the eighth grade, I had an English teacher who pointed me toward Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. That book changed my life. When I first read it, I was amazed—I had no idea books like that existed. It engaged my imagination like no other book ever had, and it even helped me understand my own mother better, because the main character's conflicts gave me a perspective on what my mother went through when she chose to focus on her family rather than her career. The book was creative, it was fun, yet it helped me understand life. At that point I started reading every fantasy book I could get my hands on, including Robert Jordan's first Wheel of Time book, The Eye of the World, when it came out in paperback. I was hooked, and as I read more and more books, my grades went up in school—I went from a low-end average student to someone who got top grades.

    It didn't take reading many fantasy books before I decided writing them was what I wanted to do with my life. I started my first book when I was fifteen. It was horrible, but I just kept writing and writing until I actually got any good.

    My ideas come from many different places, and all of my books combine ideas I came up with at different times. For example, I once ran into a fog bank while driving, and thought how it would be interesting to have a book set in a world of constant mist. But Mistborn didn't come together until at a different time I thought about a metal-based magic system, and another time was considering how I'd like to see a heist movie like Ocean's Eleven done as a fantasy novel. I also picture cinematic images like a Mistborn flying through the mist with mistcloak tassels fluttering in the air. Eventually these ideas bouncing around in my head coalesce into interesting combinations, and I start writing.

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  • 33

    Interview: Aug 1st, 2011

    SciFi Bulgaria

    What kind of literature do you prefer to read in your spare time and what is your favourite book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Reading fantasy is what got me into writing fantasy, and that's still what I prefer to read. But I do like novels and nonfiction in some other genres—Les Misérables is one of my favorite books of all time; I think Victor Hugo was a genius. But there are many authors from whom I'll love one book and not be as blown away by their other novels. Here's a sampling of single books I think are fantastic: A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge, Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly, Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay, and Sabriel by Garth Nix.

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  • 34

    Interview: Aug 29th, 2011

    Literatopia

    When and how did you start writing? Did you just sit down one day and decide to try it or was it a slow development? How come you write fantasy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In elementary school, I wasn't much of a reader. In the third grade I fell in love with the Three Investigators books created by Robert Arthur, and I enjoyed them much more than the "meaningful" (boring) books people tried to get me to read for the next five years. So after that I hardly read anything until the eighth grade, when I had an English teacher who told me I couldn't do a report on a Three Investigators book and instead pointed me toward Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly.

    That book changed my life. When I first read it, I was amazed—I had no idea books like that existed. It engaged my imagination like no other book ever had, and it even helped me understand my own mother better, because the main character's conflicts gave me a perspective on what my mother went through when she chose to focus on her family rather than her career. The book was creative, it was fun, yet it helped me understand life. At that point I started reading every fantasy book I could get my hands on, including Robert Jordan's first Wheel of Time book, The Eye of the World, when it came out in paperback. I was hooked, and as I read more and more books, my grades went up in school—I went from a low-end average student to someone who got top grades.

    It didn't take reading many fantasy books before I decided writing them was what I wanted to do with my life. I started my first book when I was fifteen. It was horrible, but I just kept writing and writing until I actually got any good. I've been a writer full-time since 2004, but it would never have happened if not for Mrs. Reader handing me Dragonsbane.

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  • 35

    Interview: Aug 4th, 2011

    Question

    Are they any new fantasy novels that you'd recommend?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, this year I've been reading pretty much exclusively Wheel of Time. Other than Wheel of Time I've only read three books. Two were Terry Pratchett books, and one was The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which is a really solid book. So, Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is a really good book. I... it's been nominated for the Hugo and for things like that so you don't need me to tell you that. But, yeah, that's the only one I've read. Oh. And Wise Man's Fear. But I started last year on that, I think, because I got that early. But really, I haven't read a ton this year because I've committed to rereading the whole Wheel of Time, and when you do that, your reading time just kind of vanishes and I also wanted to read for the Hugo awards, so I read all of their short fiction, for the Hugo awards, and so... I did vote.

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  • 36

    Interview: Aug 4th, 2011

    Question

    I'm just getting back into reading in general, and I'm compiling a list of books I want to read after the Wheel of Time, and going through them, there's a lot of sex in them. You know, you and I as members of the Church, how do you deal with that when you come across that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know. It depends on the book and how it's treated. I personally couldn't read Game of Thrones, I tried it once and put it down, and tried again because he's such a good writer, and I finished the first one and decided "I can't read more of these." they were too graphic for me, despite him being a brilliant writer. Other writers... [loudspeaker obnoxiously covers sound]... has very tastefully done. So it just depends on the book. I've never been pushed to put anything in my books. I think it's a myth that publishers do that. People always worry, but, well, they just want you to write great books and they're looking for greatness. They don't say "this will sell more, this will sell less". In fact, they actually like it when there's less of that because it has a broader audience. Publishers do, at least. Same reason PG-13 movies sell more than R movies. I just write what I want to write and people seem to like it.

    Wuestion

    But books, something to read, you know?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I've put down books before and I think that's just a personal choice. You know, everyone's line is going to be in a different place. There are certain books I won't read, and so, yeah.

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  • 37

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    nomoreink ()

    Are you able to read all the way through Crossroads of Twilight without pulling out your hair?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. You know, I don't mind the book as much as most people do. As a writer, I'm interested in it for reasons that most wouldn't be. (The parallel nature of it, what about it drove people crazy, that kind of thing.)

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  • 38

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    TaurusRW

    Which is your favorite Pratchett novel and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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 is 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.)

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  • 39

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Athena Franco (14 November 2011)

    Which author would you like to meet and get a book signed by him/her?

    Brandon Sanderson (14 November 2011)

    Alive? Terry Practhett. Dead? Robert Jordan.

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  • 40

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Gandy93 (14 November 2011)

    Will we ever meet Elend and Vin again? Will we see more prequels/off-spins to WoT? Do you plan a trip to Slovakia?

    Brandon Sanderson (14 November 2011)

    Elend and Vin have had their stories told. WoT spin-offs are unlikely. (Sorry.) I'd love to visit Slovakia.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'm actually reading a book about Slovakia right now, written by a friend who lived there. (It's called Vodnik.)

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  • 41

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2011

    Question

    Having worked on Robert Jordan’s world, is there any other world you would like to write for?

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I was 18, I would have said David Eddings, but that’s not true now. He’s wonderful at the right age, but I no longer want to write in his world. I would have said Star Wars but the prequels left a bit of a sour taste. If George Lucas said to me, "Do you want to re-write those prequels for me?" I’d definitely say yes, but that’s not going to happen!

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  • 42

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2011

    Question

    A lot of your work deals with stereotypes. Can you tell us more about that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s true, but I always make sure that it isn’t just about the stereotype. It’s a fun thing to challenge some of the classic fantasy models, but that shouldn’t take over the writing as that can really undermine a writer. Piers Anthony was an example where the puns were fun but eventually came to undermine the series. I like having non-stereotypical professions and I enjoyed challenging age perceptions in Way of Kings. Having a romance between a man in his 50s and a woman in her late 40s is unusual in fantasy, where it’s all about the young man falling in love.

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  • 43

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    ISw3arItWasntM3 ()

    What are 5 epic fantasy series or stand alone books you'd recommend?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Suggestions (Not including my work, or Wheel of time, which are given.) 1) Tigana. Genius. Actually, most everything by Guy Kay. 2) Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner books. (Warning, they're a little romancy.) 3) Jim Butcher's Codex Alera. 4) Dragonsbane, Barbara Hambly. (The book that got me into fantasy.) 5) Name of the Wind.

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  • 44

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    Angry Caveman Lawyer ()

    Who do you enjoy reading?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I like reading very widely, however my first love of sf/f basically holds the majority of my reading time. It kind of rubs me wrong when I hear of an author who doesn't read in their own genre. It feels like a doctor, not caring to stay up to date on what other doctors are doing.

    My favorite living writer is Terry Pratchett. Most recently, I read a big chunk of the Hugo-nominated works this year so that I could vote intelligently on the awards.

    Footnote

    Brandon was probably thinking of Terry Goodkind, who claims not to read fantasy (while also claiming that most fantasy isn't as good as his, which by the way isn't actually fantasy).

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  • 45

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    LionofLannister ()

    What was your opinion of A Dance with Dragons?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think GRRM is a genius, and I read Game of Thrones specifically to try to learn from his wonderful use of character. However, the brutality of it (Daenerys specifically) while beautiful on one hand, was just too much for me. Perhaps some day I'll read the rest.

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  • 46

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    MattSteelBlade ()

    I read A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin because on the front cover there was praise for the book from Robert Jordan. Are there any books that you would recommend?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Many. I posted a list above.

    To add to the list: Brent Weeks, Robin Hobb, Pratchett (whom I love, but don't start with the first), Daniel Abraham (warning, some people find him very slow.) Read and really enjoyed The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms recently.

    The thing about suggesting books, however, is that it's hard to make suggestions unless I know what someone likes. Someone who loves GRRM will probably like Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch, but might find Babara Hambly to be too bland. On the other hand, someone who likes Robin Hobb may find Hambly right up their alley. It's tough to judge. But those are authors I've liked. (Oh, and Erikson is quite good too; I just haven't read enough of him yet to feel like I'm doing him justice.)

    Footnote

    Brandon talked a little more about Erikson here.

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  • 47

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2011

    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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  • 48

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    alanthiana ()

    Allomancy is such a unique form of magic, in the fantasy realm of books. What was your inspiration in forming it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A mix of many things inspired Allomancy. The 'feel' of a magic that was really just a new branch of physics, as I spoke about in another post. Alchemy, which is fascinating to me from the standpoint of its place on the border, is another. Real scientists believed in Alchemy, but had to sort out that it was not scientific. It was a time of great thought, and a time when science and 'magic' were mixed in what now seems like strange ways.

    Dune was an inspiration (having a limited resource, though I didn't limit it nearly as much, to give an economic side to the magic.) Vector physics was a big influence, as was the fact that I wanted to write a heist story. I therefore designed powers that worked for thieves. The 'burning' of metals was chosen because it resonated with science—the basic way we gain energy is by ingesting things and breaking them down for chemical energy. I wanted something that felt like it had one foot in science, but was also very magical.

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  • 49

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    alanthiana ()

    If you could only have the collected works of one author with you on a deserted island... who would it be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm probably expected to say Wheel of Time, but I've practically got those memorized by this point. I'd say Pratchett, because I've only finished about half of his works, and have yet to re-read one of his books. (I discovered him pretty late.) Either that, or I'd say the collected works of Mead (meaning the paper products company) to have a near-endless supply of empty notebooks to fill with my own stories.

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  • 50

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    davebrk ()

    What's your stance about sex in books? Compared to some other authors (Martin, Bakker) your books are almost sex-free. Is that because you're religious? Or you just don't feel that sex has a place in your type of fantasy book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not one to say what has a 'place' in my type of fiction. There shouldn't be one person who has such a say—variety is exceptionally important.

    People do have sex in my books, but you're right—I don't depict it happening. Part of this is the tone I want to have in my novels. Martin and Bakker write their type of story, and do it well. It is not the type of story I want to tel. My religion plays a part in this.

    Another part is my feeling that I'd like to learn to tell stories like those in the past, who—through being reserved—were often more powerful in composition than they could have been by being graphic. I appreciated it when authors I read—like Anne McCaffrey and Robert Jordan—were not graphic in their depictions. It allowed me to play the story at the rating level I wanted to in my head, and allowed others to play the story at the rating level they wanted.

    I want to write books that I don't feel uncomfortable giving to my young teenage nieces and nephews, but which also hold power and depth of storytelling enough to be engaging to the adult readers looking for something new in fantasy. This is the balance I've come up with. It's not the only way to handle things.

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  • 51

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    halfmast ()

    How do you keep from getting tired of the fantasy genre?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I made a big change in my 20s. I started allowing myself to stop reading a book if I don't like it. I couldn't do that before; it was too hard. I had to keep going, even if the book wasn't working for me. Making that swap—only reading things that make me learn, grow, and keep me interested—helped more than anything else.

    When I read an author, and blog or tweet about liking them, it's generally because I feel they're doing something in their writing better than I am, and they have taught me to be a better writer.

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  • 52

    Interview: Dec 5th, 2011

    Helen Lowe

    What drew you to write Fantasy as opposed to any other style of fiction? What about the genre "rocks your world?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    I became a fantasy writer because of the great fantasy books I read. Other books didn't do it for me. As a young reader (I didn't really like to read), the first powerful fantasy book I read—Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly—drew me in, captivated me, and took me to this place that could not be but that I wished could be. Nothing else excited me on that level, so that's why I write fantasy.

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  • 53

    Interview: Dec 6th, 2011

    Brandon Sanderson

    Into these realms, Darrell's artwork was a breath of fresh air. He's beautiful with colors, his creatures are fantastic and fanciful, and he gets across a truly magical and wondrous feel to his art. When Mr. Sweet came along, that's when fantasy illustration started to change. Now, a lot of Wheel of Time fans like to gripe about inaccuracies in the Wheel of Time book covers. They have that luxury because we, as a genre, have seen huge strides in illustration over the last two decades. However, it would be unwise to dismiss the illustrators who—through their majestic use of imagery and color—lifted us up to this point.

    Sir, I picked up The Eye of the World in large part because of your wonderful cover, which is a true masterpiece that I would put up beside any other piece of fantasy art. You gave us beauty, wonder, and magic. You will be missed. Rest in peace.

    Brandon

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  • 54

    Interview: Nov, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    My story's a little bit different than a lot of people. I wasn't a reader when I was very young. In eighth grade, I had a teacher, Miss Reeder coincidentally, and she assigned me to do a book report. And I thought I was very smart because I went and I grabbed this book that I'd read when I was in second grade, one of the Three Investigators novels. They're like the Hardy Boys, but they're better. And I got that and I took it to her, and I said, "I'm going to read this book." And she said, "No you're not. You're in eighth grade, you've got to read a book for your age." And I said, "Well the books for my age are all boring." And she said, "Well you've been trying the wrong books."

    She took me to the back of the room. . . you know, all these teachers have these old carts full of ratty paperbacks kids have spilled meatballs on and stuff and they're loaning out and sometimes getting back. And in this cart I dug out a copy of Barbara Hambly's Dragonsbane. It does what fantasy can really really do, which is get you into the head of a character who's very different from yourself. So I read this book, it was wonderful–adventure, action, wonderful characters. And I got done with this book, and I felt like I understood my mother better. That's kind of weird, I mean, a fantasy novel about a dragonslayer. And yet, my mother who had been top of her class in accounting, graduated number one, had been offered a very prestigious scholarship and had chosen to have me instead. And she had always done some accounting and some raising of her children. And I got done with this book and I kind of thought, 'this character's like my mother'. And that was really strange to me: that I could read a novel that was so fun and adventurous, and yet feel like I understood the world better.

    And that was the beginning of the end for me. Within one year's time from when I had read Dragonsbane then, I decided I wanted to be a writer, I started my first book, and I started writing it.

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  • 55

    Interview: Jun 11th, 2007

    Kaimi Wenger

    You've established a reputation as a writer of genre fiction (fantasy). Many LDS writers (Orson Scott Card; Glen Larson) have used the genre of speculative fiction, broadly speaking. Is there something uniquely LDS about speculative fiction (or perhaps something uniquely speculative about the LDS mindset)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is, actually, a common question—one I get from LDS people as well as from New York, where they see an unusual number of fantasy authors coming from Utah. Utah readers also tend to buy more fantasy and sf books than a lot of other states. My guess is that there are many things coming together to cause these trends.

    First off, I think LDS culture emphasizes learning and reading in general. We grow up reading from the scriptures, and our prophet speaks often about the importance of education. Because of this, I think that there are just a lot of very literate people in our culture—and that translates to more writers and more readers.

    Beyond that, fantasy has a tradition of having strong values (two of the most foundational authors in the genre are C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, who both dealt a lot with good against evil and used Christian themes in their writing.) Because of this, fantasy attracts religious people, I think. Even something as generally un-religious as Harry Potter deals with the tradition of the good and the pure struggling against the corrupt and the evil.

    Finally, I think that the LDS religion—despite what some detractors may say—is far more open and accepting of new thoughts and ideas than other religious cultures. To an LDS reader, the concept of other populated worlds isn't threatening.

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  • 56

    Interview: Jun 11th, 2007

    Kaimi Wenger

    Certain speculative fiction authors (e.g., Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Ursula LeGuin) are routinely described as having transcended the trappings of the genre. What might make a book transcend its genre? What does that label mean?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a very astute question. Before we dig completely into what that means, I find myself wondering if it's even something I would like to be known for doing. Do I want to transcend my genre? I love fantasy. I love the things that made it what it is—the dragons, the quests, the stories of Hobbits and rings and all of that. Those stories are what made me into what I am.

    Do I want to transcend those excellent authors? Could I even hope to? I don't think so. And yet, if I simply do the same things that they have done, I'm likely to do a poor job of it. Others have already covered a lot of those themes quite well.

    And so, that presents a challenge for a new author. I want to add something new to the discussion, but I still want my novels to FEEL like fantasy. For me, I've done this by trying to expand the genre in new directions when it comes to the types of magic I put in my book, as well as develop some different kinds of plots.

    I do want to do something new. However, I'm no LeGuin. I don't have the literary chops, honestly, to be about transcendence. I just want to tell the best darn story I can and have people love reading it.

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  • 57

    Interview: Jun 11th, 2007

    Kaimi Wenger

    Who are your favorite LDS authors? Why? What new things have you seen in LDS fiction in the last (30?) years that you've liked?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hum. . . . I'd list Robison Wells and Dean Hughes as two that I like who are publishing in the LDS market. If you talk LDS authors, but not necessarily LDS fiction, then I'd add Shannon Hale, David Farland, Orson Scott Card, and Brandon Mull to that list as well. I'll answer the second half of the question along with the next one. [Ed. note: Shannon Hale was interviewed a few weeks back for this series.]

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  • 58

    Interview: Jun 11th, 2007

    Kaimi Wenger

    Where do the unexplored countries lie, as far as LDS writing? What could we be doing better, as a people?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Whew! That's a can of worms waiting to be opened. My biggest complaint with LDS fiction is when a moral is forced into a story simply because it's being published by an LDS publisher. They can't simply publish good works about LDS people struggling and living life, it seems—they have to learn a Sunday school lesson as well. That's changing, I think, and is one of the trends that I've liked about the market.

    However, a larger problem isn't with the writing at all, but with the way the publishing industry works in Utah. I think it's a huge conflict of interest to have the retailer ALSO be the publisher of most of the fiction, and beyond that to have the Church directing both. I don't think that method serves the authors or the public very well. The monopoly doesn't thrill me either. (Though, to give a thumbs up the same direction, I think the Shadow Mountain imprint of Deseret Book has been handled wonderfully.)

    But, that's all business. You asked more about the writing. So, in that case, I'd come back to forced morals trumping good writing. However, I hesitate to point fingers. The truth is, I don't write in this genre—so what business do I have trying to tell LDS fiction writers what to do? Plus, you can point at ANY genre and find works that don't seem to focus on good storytelling. (At least in a given person's perspective.)

    So, I'll leave it at that, and say that I'm curious to see where both LDS fiction and cinema go in the next few decades.

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  • 59

    Interview: Jun 11th, 2007

    Kaimi Wenger

    What are the limits of LDS fiction? Is there anything LDS fiction never do? Is this a good thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Limits of LDS fiction, or limits of LDS fiction, as published by the church? The church does and should have limits on what it will publish. (Which is why I think it's a conflict of interest for them to own the retail stores as well.) A book published by a Deseret Book imprint should maintain a certain standard of content. I don't think the church should have published Mistborn (though Elantris would have been just fine.) That doesn't mean I don't think LDS people should read it; it just means that I don't think it's right for that publisher.

    I think other, smaller publishers can and are exploring other aspects of what it's like to live life as an LDS person. They will continue to do so. They may never hit the mainstream, but maybe—with time—we'll see mainstream LDS fiction expand beyond preaching. As I said above, I'm curious to see what happens.

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  • 60

    Interview: Jun 11th, 2007

    Kaimi Wenger

    You're up for the Campbell, again. (Congratulations, by the way.) What can you tell our readers about the Campbell award? What does the field look like? (Um, are you allowed to discuss this?) What are the mechanics of the award—how it's given, who decides it? Does it pay a million dollars, like the Nobel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Campbell pays only in prestige. You don't even get a cool little statue, like you do with the Hugo (the big award that is presented in the same ceremony as the Campbell.) You just get a plaque and, in recent years, a tiara. (Don't ask.)

    The Campbell is the "rookie of the year" award for science fiction and fantasy. A person is eligible their first two years after they publish, and I was lucky enough to get nominated both years of my eligibility. It's voted on by fans who attend the World Science Fiction convention that year. (This year it's in Japan.)

    The field looks. . .well, rough. To be honest, I don't have a shot at this one. Naomi Novik, a nice lady who got a HUGE publishing deal and released three books in the same year, hit the scene last year. She's nominated for the Hugo for best novel, Peter Jackson bought the movie rights to her books, and she's had amazing exposure. There's really no question who's going to win. (Even if she weren't there, there are three of us that I would say are neck-and-neck for the award.)

    It sounds like a cliché, but it's an honor to be nominated. Honestly. Plus, Naomi's books are good. (She got Steven King, Ann McCaffery, and Terry Brooks all to give her cover blurbs. Talk about a marketing behemoth!) I have no problem losing gracefully to her.

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  • 61

    Interview: Dec 15th, 2011

    Question

    We all love you as an author; are there any authors that you’ve been able to read that you would recommend?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I read a lot of Terry Pratchett. First of all because I think he’s a genius, but secondly because he’s a very different type of writer than I am. If he were writing books that were very similar to mine, I couldn’t read him as frequently, because I would worry about influence. It’s okay to read, and I love to read, and it’s okay to be influenced, but if I were to read as much of someone else as I did of Pratchett,my style would shift to theirs. It’s not going to happen with Pratchett, because he’s so distinctly different. So that’s a good reason for me to read Pratchett. Other than that, I do really like a lot of what people are doing. This year I spent half of my year reading Wheel of Time, and the other half reading the Hugo award nominees, because I wanted to vote in the Hugo awards, so I read a lot of those books. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was very good, and it was one of those.

    I do like Pat Rothfuss quite a bit, I mean he is really really good, in ways I wished I could be. I mean he is just great. There are things that I think I do better, but there are areas that he does way better than I do.

    I mean we do have different talent areas. I mean Rothfuss is able to write in a way that is just beautiful, it feels like prose, it feels like poetry. It feels like every line is poetry, but it doesn’t distract you. A lot of people will try to do that, and I’ll be like “You’re trying too hard,” or “You don’t have a good story.” But for him, I read it, and it’s beautiful, and it doesn’t burden the story. And I know of very few people who are able to do what he does in that way. He also, and this is one thing that makes him a genius, he’s able to write a main character that I really don’t like, and yet I love reading about him. The character is very deeply flawed, and yet it’s fascinating, and that is something that I haven’t seen someone do in that same way—I mean George Martin can kind of do it, but for him it’s more like I loathe them as individuals and I just watch the train wreck, but with Rothfuss, it’s “You are not a really great guy, and you don’t think you’re a great guy, and you’re kind of a jerk, but you’re also really interesting to read, and I like you while I dislike you at the same time.” And that’s a really interesting talent he has.

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  • 62

    Interview: Dec 15th, 2011

    Question

    One thing I really liked on your books is that you’ve reinvented a lot of fantasy tropes in a lot of good ways. But you also are inspired by some literary works, you’ve mentioned Les Miserables, which is a fantastic novel. So I was just wondering if what advice would you have for people in terms of speculative fiction and literary works?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, advice for drawing. We did a writing excuses podcast on this, so you can go look up those, “How to be influenced consciously.” But boy. Read good stuff, and start to think about why it’s good. It’s going to help you. I don’t know if I can specifically tell you anything other than that, but read it, decide what ‘s working for you, and try to use that, try to feel. But remember to feel what they did, not what they did. Meaning, here’s a good example. You read Tolkein. You say “Wow”. What Tolkein did wasn’t creating Elves and Dwarves. What Tolkein did was create an interesting mythology that was well interconnected. And a lot of people will say well, I want to learn from Tolkein, so I will use what he did, and they don’t dig that level deeper. They say “Well, I’m going to use the elves and dwarves.” They don’t say “What is it that he did the level down that really made this work?” And that’s what you should be emulating. So when you read the classics, say “What’s making it work?” Try to dig the level deeper if that makes sense.

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  • 63

    Interview: Dec 15th, 2011

    Question

    How do you pronounce the Mistborn Planet? [Scadrial]

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sca (as in Scab) dri (as in drink) al (sounds like ul).

    MEMBER OF AUDIENCE

    Okay. I always said Sca (as in Skate) dri (as in drink) al (as in Albert)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That’s perfectly fine. This can launch me into my little thing on pronunciation. As readers, you get the say, you’re the director. I wrote the script. The director can always change things. If you want a character to look differently in your head, that’s okay. If you want to pronounce things however you want, that’s okay too. Because a book does not exist until it has a reader. It really doesn’t live. It exists, but it doesn’t live until you read it and give it life. So however you feel like doing it, go ahead. And remember, I’ve said this numerous times before, I don’t pronounce all the names right. I’m American, so I pronounce things with an American accent. The best example I give is Kelsier, because I do say Kel (as in bell) si (as in see) er (as in air), but they say Kel (as in bell) si (as in see) er (as in hey) in-world (it sounds very French). I say E (as in the letter e) lan (as in lawn) tris (as in hiss), they say E (as in the letter e) Lan (as in lane) tris (as in hiss) in-world. So there are linguistic fundamentals of these because I do have some linguistic background, but I don’t always say them right. I like saying Sa (like suh) rene (like Reen), instead of Sa (like suh) rene (like meany), which is how they say it. Which Suh-reany sounds kind of dumb in English. And in their language, it’s a beautiful woman’s name, but here you wouldn’t call someone Suh-reany, you’d call them Suh-rean.

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  • 64

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2011

    Question

    What’s your favorite fantasy/scf characters that you haven’t written?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Excluding my books and the wheel of time, Sam Vimes from the Discworld books, I really, really like. I have a strong affection for Harry Dresden. I really am fond of Lesa from Dragon Riders. Dragon Riders was one of the early books that I really really liked. Let’s see, who else. That guy from Dragon Prince. Dragon Prince is one of my favorite all-time books. Who else? Who else is good characters? The Fool from the Assassin books by Robin Hobb that she wrote is really awesome. That’s a good place for you. I would like to say Kvothe, because I love those books, but I don’t think he and I wouldn’t get along. I love the books and think that Kvothe is a jerk, and that’s part of why I love Name of the Wind, because Kvothe is kind of a jerk.

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  • 65

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2011

    Question

    I know that Tolkein hated allegory in his story. What is your belief?

    Brandon Sandrson

    Tolkein hated allegory. He thought that his stories should just be stories, and I actually feel similar to him. I do have themes in my books, but I let the theme come as an outgrowth of what the characters are passionate about. And certainly, there are certain things, you’ll read Way of Kings and Dalinar’s very interested, a very big theme spiritually in the book (I know, that sentence doesn’t make any sense). But, it’s not me going in and intentionally writing an allegory. I like the story to stand as a story, I like telling stories. I’m not big into writing metaphors.

    Certain people are very good at that. C.S. Lewis did a great job of that, it’s not what I try to do.

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  • 66

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2011

    Question

    Do you have particular Inspirations from classics that you brought in your books? I felt like Dalinar was heavily influenced by Constantine.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I did have a degree in English, and so I read lots of stuff, but my favorite classics are Moby Dick, Les Miserables, and depending on the day one of the Jane Austen books, it changes. And so those are definite influences. You can probably see some Les Mis influence, a lot of it, in the Mistborn books. There were several places where I kind of consciously let myself be influenced there. I wouldn’t say that Dalinar though. The thing is, I started writing Dalinar when I was 15. He was my first character. In fact, I posted at Tor.com when Way of Kings came out a page from my very first novel that I tried to write when I was 14, and it was really really bad, and it has Dalinar in it. He is one of the few characters that survived through all these years from maturing, growing, and things like this. The story of the brother of the king who dies, and the brother must decide: does he take control, or does he let his nephew take control. So a lot of things have influenced Dalinar, but I can’t point to one specific thing.

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  • 67

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2011

    Question

    How did you come up with the Mistborn idea?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Boy, there’s so many different places this came from. The plot came from me wanting to tell a story about a world where the hero failed. You know, the Hero’s Journey a thousand years later, the sort of “What if Frodo had kept the ring?” or “What if Voldemort had killed Harry Potter?” That was one of my big concepts for it. Another big foundational concept was the desire to do a heist story, because I really love those, and I want to do one in the fantasy world.

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  • 68

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    onelowerlight

    You've obviously read many fantasy authors, but which SF authors have been major influences in your career?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’d say that my biggest SF influences are Asimov and Vinge. I love Asimov’s plots. I love Vinge’s worlds.

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  • 69

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    joshuapatrao

    Do you read Stephen King? Also, which fantasy tomes would you absolutely recommend reading?

    Brandon Sanderson

    King is amazing. Truly a brilliant writer. If anyone hasn’t read, try The Stand or a short story collection. I suggest Name of the Wind, Dragonsbane, or anything by Pratchett. Particualrly The Truth. I like Jordan (duh) McCaffrey and Rawn a lot too. Williams’s Sorrow and Thorn is great. Others: Tigana, or anything by Kay really, Sabriel by Nix, and The Golden Compass are all excellent.

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  • 70

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    Danbarbour

    I just finished Warbreaker and need a new book to read. I always have trouble picking a book. Any suggestions?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Gave some book suggestions below. If you haven’t read Pratchett, Guards Guards is another good place to begin. I liked Servant of a Dark God, coming out from Tor next month, I believe. Also, Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell and A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge are great.

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  • 71

    Interview: Sep 7th, 2009

    Christian Lindke

    You've talked about how your experience at a job that gave you time to write on company time aided you and that you were able to write a good number of fantasy novels—writing, kind of, the 'bad' out of you, if you will—but I also wanted to know that, you know, for a period of time you volunteered and were editor-in-chief at the sci-fi and fantasy magazine at BYU, The Leading Edge, and obviously, as a magazine, the primary story being published in that is the short story, and I wanted to ask, how a) you thought that writing short stories and reading short stories helped you hone your craft, and b) what you think about kind of the dying outlet for burgeoning writers to have their short stories published.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Those are both excellent questions. Some interesting things are happening in the short fiction market, and it's in a very big position of transition right now. I've heard a lot of publishers talk about it, and there are people who are very optimistic, who they say, you know, "The short story form is not going to die. People like reading it. We just haven't yet found the new transmission method that is going to get them to people." But some things happened to the science fiction and fantasy market during the 70s and 80s that I think really changed the way fiction—particularly in our genre—reached its audience. I think the mainstreaming of science fiction and fantasy to an extent—I mean, this is Geekerati Radio; we're talking mostly to geeks and geek topics—but you'll notice that since the 70s, progressively geek culture has invaded mainstream culture. Nowadays, if a fantasy or science fiction film comes out, the general public goes to see it and doesn't even think twice about it. That wasn't the case before Star Wars; it wasn't like that. And I think this mainstreaming that, this building on the whole gaming aspect, with RPGs and all this, where there was a larger...even those who weren't mainstream, who were the kind of the geek culture, like I was when I was growing up in the 80s, we had enclaves, because we had things we could do, and it was easier for us to create our little enclaves. The big science fiction conventions started because getting people who are interested in science fiction together to chat about science fiction was hard to do without the internet, without, some of...you know, podcasts, and things like this—it was very hard to find people with like interests, and so when you did, you all got together with these conventions. And for us, I think that there were more people that we could find, there were more activities...it was just...it was easier to be a geek in the 80s than it was in previous eras, and mixed on top of that, the paperback novel, in science fiction and fantasy, kind of came into its own, with the publishing houses like Del Rey and Tor and Ace in the 70s and 80s suddenly producing lines of science fiction and fantasy targeted an adult audience. What you saw is, really, the science fiction novel overtaking the short story. My generation didn't grow up reading short stories, in general; my fantasy grew up reading, in fantasy, you know: David Eddings, and Tad Williams, and Anne McCaffrey, and Barbary Hambly and these people who were writing the novels. And so, if you look at me, I didn't get into short stories until I had already long been a fan of the novel, which I think is backwards from the previous generation.

    I got into short stories when I was in college, and it was partially because of the magazine. And the magazine did a lot of things for me. One of the things was that it was a nice—again—place where a lot of people with similar interests in me were congregating, and we were talking about fiction, and about science fiction and fantasy, and about what made good science fiction and fantasy, and we were able to read slush from around the world because it was a paying market, and writers, we are all desperate to get published, and so as long as something pays, we'll probably submit to it. So, The Leading Edge, though, being a BYU magazine, didn't actually publish BYU student stories. It existed more as a place to practice being an editor, so to speak; it exists as one of these things that is kind of like, not really a class, but an economist [?] club that is funded by the university to give people experience with editing and managing and learning [?] express and [?] programs, and so it's not actually student work that's getting published. You read a ton of terrible stories by authors, and boy, reading a ton of terrible stories teaches you a lot about what not to do. You start to see firsthand the clichés that show up over and over again. And, when you're that age—particularly older high school, younger college student—you're thinking that a lot of your ideas are new and original, until you read and discover that no, half of these stories are all wanting to tell these same ideas. If I had a dollar for every time we got a story that ended with "And, they turned out to be Adam and Eve"—that's a great cliché in the genre now. I had no clue, but I learned it firsthand by reading, you know, a dozen or two stories—so I guess if it were a dollar for each one, I would have enough money for pizza—but still, it was fairly common that we got stories like that. So, I really enjoyed that aspect of it, and it helped me as a writer, and it also taught me to love the short story genre, as we occasionally would come across these gems, and I had to feel like what an editor felt like, sifting through all of this, reading, you know, yet another story poorly written where Adam and Even turn out to...you know, the end of the story is that they're Adam and Eve and they found the Earth. Or, reading yet another poorly-done time travel story where someone kills his own father on accident, um, and that's...or, you know, ends up becoming Hitler, or one of these stereotypical things, reading one of these, and then sifting through that, and then a gem pops out—a beautifully-written story that says something meaningful, has engaging characters, really pulls you into a world and makes you feel like you're there—it like glows on the page after reading all of these things, and I understood, "Hey, this is what it's like to be an editor; this is what the editor is feeling when they're reading through the slush pile, and this is what I want them to feel when they hit my stories. So how can I do that? What do I really need to do in order to achieve it?"

    What is going to happen to short fiction? I don't know. There are people who are much more expert than I at this sort of thing. I have been very curious at these free-distribution-on-the-web models that we've seen. The first big one was called Sci-Fiction; it was run by the Science Fiction Channel. And, it went..they actually eventually canceled it; they did it for a couple of years. I was hoping that an ad-supported model that was bringing renown to the Science Fiction Channel would be enough to pay for a short story, which really doesn't take—if you're cranking it on the internet—doesn't take a whole ton of resources. You pay the author, you pay someone to edit it, and you maybe get a little bit of art. This is what Tor.com is trying right now in order to draw people in, and I think it works wonderfully, but I don't see the numbers on it. Several pay subscription e-zines have come around too; Intergalactic Medicine Show by Orson Scott Card; Baen's Universe which just, actually, closed its doors unfortunately, and I was hoping that those would go along, but I think one of the problems with the internet is people...it's been established that, if it's on the internet, that it should be free, which...we haven't been able to get beyond that, and some things, the operating costs are just too high for it to be for free. So I don't think that the webcomic model—where you can, you know, print a webcomic and then have people come every day, read it, and then draw ad money and things like that—is going to work for short fiction, because short fiction is too long, and the costs are too big. I was hoping it would work. Maybe if there...but you would have to, like, print a page every day of a 70-page story, and I don't know if that would be enough to keep people coming back. So, I'll be very curious to see what happens. I enjoy reading it, but you know, I generally read my short fiction when it's recommended to me and I go pick up a specific issue, because a story I know in Asimov's happens to be really good, or an author I know happens to publish an Asimov—I see him on the front—or I pick up the Year's Best by Garner Dozois or David Hartwell, and just read what they have collected as the best science fiction and fantasy of the year.

    So, I'm not an expert. I do hope that the genre—the medium—stays around, because it is a nice way as an author to practice, and to kind of do an apprenticeship. Once upon a time, if you wanted to break in, it was 'the main way' to break in, was to do short fiction for a while, get published in the good short fiction market, and then eventually, you know, an editor would come knocking and you would give them your novel idea. It doesn't actually work that way any more. It's still a potential way you can do it, but that's not the norm any more, I don't think; I think more people are getting published just off of their novels—straight submissions to agents or editors—than are getting published through a long apprenticeship in short story magazines, and that's certainly how it was for me. I didn't practice short stories until I was much older; I was much more practiced...even still I feel I'm a better novelist than I am a short story writer. I'm not terribly confident in my short story, though I do have one that you can read just on Tor.com for free—maybe you guys can throw that up in the liner notes, that people can click on and read—which has had a good response, but I think I'm primarily a novelist.

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  • 72

    Interview: Sep 7th, 2009

    Christian Lindke

    You've spoken a lot about, I think, something that's really...kind of...beloved—a beloved topic of one of our panelists—and he's online and hasn't had a chance to talk yet this evening. Bill, I know you're very excited about internet promotion and the use of the internet as a distribution device, and kind of DIY publishing and promotion. Do you have a question for Brandon about how he went about it with Warbreaker, or just what his thoughts are on the industry in, kind of, extension of what he already mentioned?

    BILL CUNNINGHAM

    Right. Hi Brandon, how're you doing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Pretty good; thanks, Bill.

    BILL CUNNINGHAM

    I just...I'm sorry I'm kind of late to the show today; I have been having a computer nervous breakdown, so...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Oh boy, I hate those. I've had a couple myself.

    BILL CUNNINGHAM

    Yeah. I have been backing up some files and doing other things before I go into the major surgery. But I guess that leads me to my point, and I'm trying to back up your earlier point, [which] was, the genre community—fantasy, science fiction, horror, and so forth—we do have this collector mentality gene within our pool there. I know that if I see a book that's cheap, I will want to get the collector's edition.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Right.

    BILL CUNNINGHAM

    You know, so the whole online thing is part of that revolution—it is part of that evolution, I guess—and I think that one aspect that Tor has been able to harness is the idea that they are, you know, putting out books online for free for people to get that 'taste', to get, you know, the free one and then go, "Oh yeah, I gotta have that for my collection." Now, do you see yourself ever doing something on your own—you know, you do have your book on your website as you said earlier, for free—but do you feel that for...you know, yourself, is there a print-on-demand book from you coming out in the future?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I could see a reason to do that. You know, I've kicked around concepts. It would never be one of my main books. What I might do is, you know, if people were interested in one of those early novels of mine, just to see how I've evolved as an author, and maybe print on demand my first or second book that if you just want the collector's copy, for the collectibility, say, "Hey, let's see what Brandon was like when he was a terrible writer," and I would have to make sure that they knew, "This is a terrible book. It's a terrible book by someone who eventually became a good writer, and so maybe you can see the evolution." That...I thought about collecting...one of the things I do for my books is I release annotations. This works like a director's commentary on a DVD; every chapter in my books—during the copy-edit phase, when I read through the book for the last time—I stop after each chapter and I write a few paragraphs about it—where it came from, maybe some history for the world and the characters, or what was going on in my life when I wrote that chapter, what inspired me to write that chapter, these sort of things—and then I post them at about [?] space of about two a week after the book comes out. And so, I think that's a really fun thing that you can only do with the internet, that ties into all this. I've considered collecting all of those and adding a little bit more bonus material, and then selling that as a print-on-demand book that people can just buy a copy for, you know, ten bucks through Lulu or something, that they can set on their shelf that then they can have all the annotations printed, that they can have their own annotated version of one of my books, that sort of thing, which I think would be a really fun thing to do.

    So I see the potential for that. I see the potential for using this viral marketing—I don't know; there's a whole lot of exciting things going on with this. This all excites me; it doesn't scare me. And I think part of what's happening, um...Orson Scott Card, in one of the magazines he writes for just a couple of months ago, said that he believes fantasy is entering its Golden Age, which excites me because fantasy has lagged behind science fiction a little bit—quite a bit. For a while, science fiction was the big genre in our little spec-fic, underneath our spec-fic umbrella, which includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all of these other things. Science Fiction was dominant for a while; it really had some time to grow and to explore some ground, and I don't know that fantasy has done that yet. I think that, fantasy, the best is yet to come, so to speak. I think that, certainly we've had some fantastic writers—I'm a big proponent, obviously, of Robert Jordan; I think that he did some wonderful things with the genre—but I do think that there's a lot of space left in the genre, a lot of places to go, new things to be explored. The genre has only barely been explored. It seems like for a long time we were telling the same types of stories, essentially over and over, as we were trying it right, trying to figure it out, and I think readers got a little bit tired of those same stories. And this ties back into the whole marketing and internet thing, because the internet's going to give us an opportunity for some of those really explorational things to get out there and get some attention where they might not otherwise have done so, and I think this is going to spur the writers who, you know, the entire community, to have to stretch a little further, to be a little bit better.

    I think it's the same thing that happened to the community, honestly, in the late 90s with the YA explosion. Young adults, and middle-grade, with Harry Potter becoming so high-profile, a lot of really great authors released some really powerful fantasy during that era. Phillip Pullman, Garth Nix, and J.K. Rowling herself—I love her books; I think she's a genius—and I think 'epic'—which we, I use that instead of 'adult fantasy' cause the term 'adult fantasy' just doesn't sound right when I tell people I write 'adult fantasy'; anyway, they get the wrong impression—so, I think during that era, 'epic' was forced to say, "Whoa, what are we doing? All this exciting stuff is happening in children's, and all of our readers are going to children's, because they're doing the exciting stuff where we're the same old stuff," and I think that forced a revolution in the epic fantasy genre, that we're still feeling it shaped because of that.

    BILL CUNNINGHAM

    Yeah, nobody wants to keep on rereading Tolkien done over and over again.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah. Right.

    Tags

  • 73

    Interview: Nov 14th, 2011

    derek_downey (14 November 2011)

    Do you read ebooks or are you a purist (Have to have the physical book)?

    Brandon Sanderson (14 November 2011)

    I prefer to read physical when I am at home, and ebook when I'm on the road. (Like now.)

    Tags

  • 74

    Interview: Nov 14th, 2011

    valveriefrankel (14 November 2011)

    What's your favorite book of all time?

    Brandon Sanderson (14 November 2011)

    Probably Les Miserables. Hope I spelled that right . . .

    Tags

  • 75

    Interview: Nov 14th, 2011

    justin_9e (14 November 2011)

    What was one of the first novels you read as a child?

    Brandon Sanderson (14 November 2011)

    First real fantasy novel was Dragonsbane. As a young child, I really liked the 3 Investigators books.

    Tags

  • 76

    Interview: Nov 14th, 2011

    athenainlove (14 November 2011)

    Which author would you like to meet and get a book signed by him/her?

    Brandon Sanderson (14 November 2011)

    Alive? Terry Practhett. Dead? Robert Jordan.

    Tags

  • 77

    Interview: Jul 2nd, 2011

    Marc Aplin

    So, Brandon's always been a big fantasy fan, and he calls his characters from other fantasy novels that he's read buddies of his from college and university years. We wanted to know from Brandon, what five epic fantasy series would you recommend to the Fantasy-Faction.com readers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Five epic fantasy series I recommend people to read. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay is my go-to recommendation; I think it's one of the most brilliant standalone epic fantasies ever written. Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner books are nowadays a little less known than they used to be, and I think that they are fantastic and people should read them. I really enjoyed Jim Butcher's Codex Alera books, and I would heartily recommend them to any reader of fantasy. Let's see. Other great epic fantasies...there are so many. I just finished The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin, and I really, really enjoyed that. I think I can recommend that one whole-heartedly; it's a Hugo Award nominee, so I'm not the only one that's really enjoying that. And fifth...let's see. Let's pick one more. Well, you know, I can recommend Pat Rothfuss, but you've all already read that. I can recommend Brent Weeks, but you've already read that. Let's see if I can find something you haven't all already read, that I think is great. Um... Well. I mean, I mention Dragonsbane all the time, and so people have already heard that recommendation from me, but that's a fantastic book. I absolutely, highly, strongly recommend that you read Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly if you haven't.

    Marc Aplin

    This was the first, one of the first fantasy books...

    Brandon Sanderson

    First fantasy book I ever read, and the book that turned me into a fantasy writer, just simply because it was the one that...you know, it was the first. And I still very much love that book. So...I think that's a good list.

    Marc Aplin

    That's a good list.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Those are always the ones I recommend, though. And so...it's hard to think of new things, because you guys all read so much, you are already aware of all of them, but there you are.

    Tags

  • 78

    Interview: Mar 5th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. I’ve always wondered who “They” are, and if—by chance—they’ve never heard of Michael Whelan. Because my experience in life has been very different.

    It’s been almost twenty years now since I first discovered Michael’s work. I was fourteen when it happened, and I was not a reader. I’d been handed a succession of novels about young boys living in the wilderness and taking care of their pet dogs. (Which would die by the end of the book.) I disliked reading with a passion. So, when my eighth-grade teacher assigned me to do a book report, I did everything I could to get out of it.

    That failed. In fact, it failed so solidly that the teacher—unwilling to let me choose my own book to read, for fear I’d choose something not up my reading level—steered me to the back of the room, where she kept a group of ratty paperbacks to loan out to students. You probably know the type—ripped, stained by spaghetti sauce from cafeteria lunches, pages folded and worn. I was told I had to read one of these and had to do a book report on them—and she’d read them all, so she’d know if I tried to fake it.

    Sullen and annoyed, I began to sift through the books. Most looked terrible. I resigned myself to another dead dog story, but then one of the books actually caught my eye. It had this vivid painting of a dragon standing in the mists, a woman held limply in its hand. Dragonsbane, by Barbara Hambly. The painting was so beautiful, so realistic yet imaginative, that I snatched it up, actually a little eager to look through the pages. I ended up taking it home with me.

    I read that book in one day. It wasn’t like anything I’d ever tried reading before. (I had never been introduced to fantasy novels.) Dragonsbane was amazing, challenging, imaginative, gripping, and beautiful all wrapped up in one. I remember a severe bout of disappointment upon finishing the book because I thought surely there couldn’t be anything else like it in the entire world.

    Still, hopeful, I visited the school library the next day. I looked through the card catalog, and picked the next book—alphabetically by title—after Dragonsbane. It was called Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey. I went and pulled it out, and was once again captivated by the cover. I took it home and read it.

    My life changed. Now, we throw around sentences like that in writing, using them over and over again until they become as worn as the shoes of a traveling salesman—hardly capable of holding meaning any longer. But let me say it again. My life changed.

    I devoured every Anne McCaffrey book in the school library. Suddenly, what I’d discovered in Dragonsbane wasn’t a single, freak event. There was a pattern. If two authors could do this, perhaps there were others. Hungry for more, I went to the bookstore and discovered there was an entire fantasy genre.

    There were so many books. Which to choose? Dragons had treated me well so far, so I looked for some dragon books. And there, right on the shelf, was a beautiful book called Dragon Prince. I consumed it, and then everything else Melanie Rawn was writing.

    What do these books all share? It wasn’t just the dragons; it was the covers. Each time, there was something dramatic and special about them. I now own prints of Dragonsbane and several of Melanie’s covers. All were painted by Michael Whelan.

    By the time Tad Williams’ Dragonbone Chair came out, I could recognize Michael’s art on sight. And I also knew to trust it. It didn’t seem logical—you really shouldn’t be able to judge a book by its cover. But a Whelan cover became a seal of approval to me, a sign that the publisher trusted the book so much that they got the best person available to do the cover.

    I can’t tell you all of the authors Whelan’s art led me to over the years: Patricia Mckillip, Joan D. Vinge, Stephen Donaldson, and even Asimov. (Yes, you read that right. I first picked up Asimov because Whelan had done the new Foundation covers.)

    I remember when winter 1993 rolled around. My local bookseller noted to me that Whelan had a new art book coming out, one half dedicated to covers, one half dedicated to his fine art. It was the only thing I requested for Christmas, and my parents bought it for me despite the cost. I spent hours leafing through the wonderous, fantastic art. Those imagines sparked things in my mind. I was an author in embryo, absorbing, thinking, dreaming. One of the very first stories I ever wrote was a ‘fanfic’ based on Whelan’s Passage series of fine art prints.

    The years have passed. There are other wonderful fantasy artists out there—and, in a way, the market has finally caught up to Whelan (much as the fantasy genre itself needed time to catch up to Tolkien.) I’ve been lucky to have some of those incredible artists paint covers for my books. But I’ve rarely felt as much excitement, wonder, and awe as I did the when I got to open an email and see the cover for The Way of Kings.

    Irene Gallo (Tor’s art director) asked me to provide a quote about how I feel having a Whelan cover on one of my books. My editor, Moshe, noted “Surely you’ll mention how it’s a dream come true for both you and your editor.” But 'Dream come true' is another one of those phrases we use so often it has lost its meaning.

    How do I really feel? Well, when I was a senior in high school, I was forced to take a life-planning class. In that class, we had to write down ten 'life goals' we wanted to achieve some day. #1 on my list, which I still have somewhere, was “Publish a book someday that is good enough to deserve a Michael Whelan cover.”

    It has always been a deep-seated desire of mine to one day have a Whelan painting on one of my works. Without this man’s skill and vision, I might never have discovered the fantasy genre, and I might not be writing novels today.

    You might say I’m a little bit pleased.

    Tags

  • 79

    Interview: 2012

    dedbodiez (January 2012)

    Is every single one of these books worth reading? Regardless of 'personal preferences' or how I operate the flow chart?

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    I appear on this list twice, so perhaps that makes me biased. As much as I though the original poll was a little too weighted toward authors who have made a big splash recently (like myself), rather than those who have proven staying power, I see almost no misses on this list.

    Now, the true answer to your question is going to be shaped by your own motives. Do you want to explore the genres and their roots? Are you as interested in investigating market trends as you are in looking at literary achievements? This list has both.

    You said that this is throwing away personal preferences, so let me tell you why these books are worth your time. These are some of the most important and influential books in their respective genres. They will give you a good grasp on the foundations of modern sf/f, and they run the spectrum, offering a wide variety of writing and story types.

    Looking just at the fantasy, we have everything from early sword and sorcery, to contemporary literary fantasy. Epic, quest, Arthurian, it really is a quite all-inclusive list. If you really want to understand fantasy and science fiction, this list will get you there quite well.

    jhudsui

    lol no, there is a lot of unremarkable genre pulp in there and some stuff that doesn't even measure up to the standards of genre pulp (yes Goodkind I'm talking about you).

    Brandon Sanderson

    I looked through your history, expecting a troll, but didn't find one. Many of your posts seem very thoughtful. That makes this post all the more baffling to me. "A Lot" of this list is "Unremarkable?" What would you consider remarkable, then?

    George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Tolkien, LeGuin, Gaiman, Alan Moore, Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Clarke, Stephenson, MZB, Dan Simmons, Connie Willis, and Cormac McCarthy are "Unremarkable?"

    Or are you turning your nose down at the bestsellers, like Brooks and Eddings? Can you really call books that have shaped a generation of writers and sold copies in the millions "Unremarkable?"

    Snobbery is not disliking something. Disliking market fiction is just fine. It IS snobbery, however, to flippantly dismiss something that millions of others find remarkable because you either don't understand it, or don't take care to. Popularity is not an indication of quality, but most of these books have proven to not just be popular, but influential, genre-defining, and well worth reading.

    To quote Stephen King, in his National Book Award speech: "What do you think? You get social or academic brownie points for deliberately staying out of touch with your own culture?"

    jhudsui

            |I looked through your history, expecting a troll, but didn't find one. Many of your posts seem very thoughtful.

    I never troll. People call what I do "trolling" when I don't sufficiently coddle them with unearned respect but that's bullshit on their part.

            |Or are you turning your nose down at the bestsellers, like Brooks and Eddings? Can you really call books that have shaped a generation of writers and sold copies in the millions "Unremarkable?"

    I've read a fair amount of Eddings so I'm pretty comfortable in calling his work unworthy of remark.

            |Popularity is not an indication of quality, but most of these books have proven to not just be popular, but influential, genre-defining, and well worth reading.

    I don't see how the Belgariad defines anything, it looked like the sheer condense essence of derivation to me when I read it and I can't imagine anyone being influenced by it to do anything but perpetuate cliche.

            |To quote Stephen King, in his National Book Award speech: "What do you think? You get social or academic brownie points for deliberately staying out of touch with your own culture?

    Keeping in touch with mainstream culture is not without value, but there is stuff both more mainstream and of higher quality than the big turds on this chart like Goodkind and Anthony. Not to mention that reading a novel is a significant time investment—taking a couple of hours out of your day to watch a popular movie is one thing, but spending time you could have been reading Vonnegut on reading licensed D&D or Star Wars novels (or Twilight, which is more popular than either) is not good prioritization.

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  • 80

    Interview: Nov 2nd, 2010

    Aidan Moher

    I always like to ask the folk who drop by to name a few of the authors they feel are criminally under-read. Who do you wish more readers would discover and why should we be reading them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, I've mentioned Daniel Abraham before. I think his series was under-read. Many fewer people now days know Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner series, which was—I think—foundational in the movement toward science-based magic systems, like I enjoy writing. And I'm sure my buddy Dan Wells wouldn't complain about some more readers. His books are truly brilliant. (He's not poorly read, but he's new, so a lot of people haven't discovered his books yet.)

    Tags

  • 81

    Interview: Sep 26th, 2007

    Aidan Moher

    Stand-alone novels are a rare occurrence is the Fantasy genre, an area of literature that is typically filled with epic, multi-book series. What prompted you to begin your writing career with a stand-alone, Elantris and why the change to a trilogy with Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Two things influenced my decision to write Elantris as a stand-alone novel. The first is the aspect that as a new author, I didn't have a proven track record. I'd grown a little frustrated with new authors releasing first books in a trilogy when I didn't know their writing well enough to trust whether or not I wanted to get bogged down in a huge series. So, I decided that I wanted my first book to be a stand-alone—a self-contained epic fantasy story that could show off what I could do without expecting people to wait years and years to see if I could finish a story or not.

    Tags

  • 82

    Interview: Oct, 2008

    lostknight (16 October 2008)

    I am curious if any changes were made to the story after you got A Memory of Light or after the Name of the Wind was published? The style hasn't changed, but the story seemed to flow much better this time around.

    Brandon Sanderson (16 October 2008)

    Actually, no. This one was finished off back before I knew anything of A Memory of Light or before I'd read Name of the Wind. Hopefully, the smoothing is a result of me trying to work out kinks in my storytelling ability. I'm learning to distance out my climax chapters, for instance. (I think I've I'd have written this book years ago, I'd have tried to overlay Spook's climactic sequence with the ending ones, for instance, which would have been a mistake.)

    Also, of the three books, I worked the hardest on this one. Choosing that ending—even though I'd planned it for some time—was very difficult. I knew that it would anger some readers. I also knew that it was the right ending for the series.

    I'm glad it worked for you.

    FLINN

    I have to admit, I am one of those angered. I will be so glad when this cliché of killing off the heroes will finally pass. I escape to fantasy for the happy ending. If I wanted to be depressed I'd grab a 3-dollar bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 and drink it all and contemplate my mundane life. I can't spend much time reflecting on the book because of the mental picture of Vin and Elend dead in a field keeps popping up instead. They didn't even get a chance to reproduce.

    Now outside of the horrible ending (which wasn't surprising in the least because it is so common to kill the heroes) I enjoyed them. I absolutely cannot wait to read your books written 10 years from now. You can definitely pick up the improvement in transitions and character development in each book I've read from you. I'm quite often reminded of David Eddings although I'm sure plenty would disagree. And while Eddings isn't one of my favorite writers to be at his level (to me) so early in your career leads me to believe great things will be coming.

    I would like to ask you one thing to consider when writing endings. Fantasy is an escape, please don't ruin it with such depressing endings. When you have had the opportunity to look upon your dead wife in her coffin, reading about others dying isn't fun at all. It is absolutely terrible. Happily ever after.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (17 OCTOBER)

    I understand your anger. I wrote the ending that felt most appropriate to me for this book and series. I didn't find it depressing at all, personally. But people have reacted this way about every ending I've written.

    I won't always do it, I promise. But I have to trust my instincts and write the stories the way they feel right to me. I didn't 'kill off' Vin and Elend in my mind. I simply let them take risks and make the sacrifices they needed to. It wasn't done to avoid cliché or to be part of a cliché, or to be shocking or surprising, or to be interesting or poetic—it was done because that was the story as I saw it.

    I will keep this in mind, though. I know it's not what a lot of people want to read. Know that I didn't do it to try to shock you or prove anything. And because of that, if a more traditionally happy ending is something that a story requires, I'll do that—even if it means the people on the other side of the fence from you will point fingers at me for being clichéd in that regard as well.

    If it helps, realize that one of the reasons I added the lines in Sazed's note was to let the characters live on for those who wanted them to live on. I ALMOST didn't have Spook even discover the bodies, leaving it more ambiguous.

    Tags

  • 83

    Interview: 2012

    Twitter 2012 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Tyler Haberle MD (23 March 2012)

    Hi Brandon—huge fan and BYU alumni. Going to reread WoT; only made it through book 9 originally. Any recommendations?

    Brandon Sanderson (23 March 2012)

    I found that knowing an ending was done and out there made some of the slower books far more enjoyable.

    Tags

  • 84

    Interview: 2012

    elquesogrande (February 2012)

    /r/Fantasy is closing in on 10,000 readers and, to celebrate, one lucky r/Fantasy member will win a hardcover copy of The Name of the Wind or The Wise Man's Fear—signed by Patrick Rothfuss with a personalized message of the winner's choice.

    To enter, simply put your favorite fantasy-related quote below. Don't have a favorite quote? Hmm...google one up or just write down something clever.

    At an arbitrary point of my choosing on Friday, February 3rd I will tally up the total number of people who entered and use a random number generator to help pick the winner.

    Brandon Sanderson (February 2012)

    So tempted to post a quote from the unpublished last book of the Wheel of Time here.

    blowing_chunks

    Please do!

    If you win, your personalised inscription could be one for the ages.

    "I, Patrick Rothfuss, acknowledge that Brandon Sanderson's beard is superior to mine."

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. Now that might just be worth it...

    Of course, I already have Pat's books signed to me. I don't want to take the chance from anyone else. More importantly, though, I haven't gotten back edits on A Memory of Light from Harriet yet—so any line I post could be one that she decided to cut, or one she found a continuity error in. If I had a draft she'd seen, I might actually do it.

    Mat does say "Blood and Bloody Ashes!" a few times, though. Does that count?

    shepherdless

    If not, at least post a quote from another source. I find it interesting to see what one the best writers of the genre (not to blow smoke up your ass) favorite quote is.

    Brandon Sanderson

    From the Wheel of Time, it's Lan's "Portion of Wisdom" quote.

    "You can never know everything, and part of what you do know will always be wrong. Perhaps even the most important part. A portion of wisdom lies in knowing this. A portion of courage lies in going on anyway."

    From any fantasy work? Wow, that would be a tough one. Maybe Vimes on the economics of buying new footwear?

    Tags

  • 85

    Interview: Nov 3rd, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Can I give a shout-out to an independent bookstore in your market?

    Louie Free

    Yeah please, go ahead. Yes, you can.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think you cover Pittsburgh, right?

    Louie Free

    Well, we're in northeast Ohio, western Pennsylvania. Absolutely, go ahead.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay. Because there's a store in Pittsburgh that I love, the Joseph-Beth Booksellers there.

    Louie Free

    Oh yeah. Well, there's also one in the Cleveland area. Yeah, there's a few of them around. Go ahead.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I love the Jo-Beth Booksellers. They are amazing people, and they've been supporters of my books from the beginning. You know, the thing you get at an indy bookstore like that is you get people who love the books, who aren't just working a job, who are working a job they love. They go there on purpose. And they read the books. The manager in the Pittsburgh Jo-Beth contacted me just out of the blue based on my own books, my Mistborn series, just saying, "I love these books. We want to do a big display on them. And would you just tell us some of the books that you've loved in your life so that we can put up the display with it?" And she took a picture of it and sent it to me. Wonderful store.

    Louie Free

    Oh god, that's great. And again, when you buy, you keep those stores alive, folks. Think of how many stores that you always loved, wherever you are, that are gone now. And then you thought, afterwards, you know what, I should have gone there more, maybe I shouldn't have ordered online, and I always knew that was important in my community, and now they're gone. And the way to keep them is to patronize them. And as I say, even if you don't have a real independent bookstore, if it's a Barnes and Noble or a Borders that's in your community, you still want to hold onto those.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. Yeah, you do. I mean, I bought all my books growing up at a little independent science fiction and fantasy bookseller. I actually bought Eye of the World, the Robert Jordan book, at this bookstore.

    Tags

  • 86

    Interview: Nov 3rd, 2009

    Louie Free

    Hey, tell me about that...tell me, tell me. Brandon Sanderson, tell me about the first book you bought—the first Robert Jordan book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I walked in the door to this bookstore—I would go there once a week because I knew when new books came out, they came out on Tuesdays—and I would walk in, and there was the new release day. And these people knew books—they only carried science fiction and fantasy, which is what I loved. And they knew how to get the right books in the hands of a little teenage guy who was just devouring them. I discovered fantasy one year before.

    And I remember walking in, and there featured displayed prominently was this big thick paperback of Eye of the World—I can just visualize it—and that's the first book in the Wheel of Time. And it was big, and it was thick. And I loved big thick books because I knew that there was immersion there. I didn't want something to be over quickly like a snap. I mean, that's what you get in a movie or something like that. In a book, I want to be immersed. I want to be able to dig my teeth in and really get to know people in the world. So I looked for the big ones. It wasn't necessarily an indication of quality, but I knew that if I found one I loved and it was big, I'd be able to spend a lot of time there. And this one was huge.

    And I remember buying that book, and just really getting sucked in, like nothing I'd read before. I mean, the generation before me read Tolkien. I hadn't read Tolkien. I'd tried Tolkien when I was too young and it had been too hard for me. It had been years since I tried Tolkien, but I grew up on The Eye of the World. This was the fantasy epic of the Wheel of Time for my generation, but I later read Tolkien and loved it.

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  • 87

    Interview: Nov 3rd, 2009

    Louie Free

    Well, when you say that, you've obviously done an incredible job of keeping your ego out of it. I think it would be hard, honestly, when you've got people that adore you, yet you push away from that. That's very interesting about you. Tell me about growing up. What was it like growing up Brandon Sanderson?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, growing up Brandon Sanderson...I've later discovered that my story isn't unique. I'm not one of those people who's been writing books since the womb. You know, you'll talk to writers sometimes, and they'll say, 'Yeah, I was two years old and I composed my first epic.' And those people amaze me. But I wasn't one of them, I wasn't a reader. And this happens to a lot of boys, I've found, doing research about it now after the fact. When they hit about fourth or fifth grade, something happens and they stop reading. And that's what happened to me—stopped reading.

    I didn't like books. People kept trying to give me books. And it seemed like they all tried to give me the same book. Which, you know, I think that there are different books for different people, and every book affects somebody. And the fact that I didn't like them doesn't mean they weren't perfect for someone else. But they were trying to give me books about boys who live in the wilderness with their pet dog, and then the dog dies, and it's traumatic and that's the end of the book. I read two or three of those and I'm like, 'Reading is boring. They're all about boys with dogs who die. And if their dog doesn't die, then their mother dies. And why are people giving me this stuff?'

    And then I got to eighth grade, and in eighth grade I had a teacher—Mrs. Reader, coincidentally. I've since sent her several books as a thank you. But anyway, she's the first who kind of grabbed a hold of me and said, 'This kid can do more than he's doing.' And she wouldn't let me wiggle out of my book reports and things like I'd done in previous classes. She took me back to her little cart. You know how teachers have these carts of old ratty books that kids have been reading, and they've spilled spaghetti sauce on, and all these things. They all have these. She took me back and she pulled out one, and it was actually called Dragonsbane—it was an epic fantasy novel. She handed it to me and she said, 'Read this one. I think you'll like it.' And I hadn't really tried fantasy except for Tolkien, which as I said earlier, I tried too young for me. When you're a reluctant reader, Tolkien is really challenging, and it wasn't right for me. It had been several years since that, though.

    And Dragonsbane, what it was is it was a story about a woman who was a witch. And she had been told when she was younger that she could be the greatest witch who'd ever lived. She was a natural prodigy. She could be amazing if she'd dedicate herself to her art. And yet at the same time, she was in love with a man and had had children with him, and was a mother. The story is actually about the last living dragonslayer, who is her husband, who's called on to kill a dragon when he's in his fifties—he's old, he's not the young man he used to be. And it's actually her story, and it's about her kind of trying to juggle her life between the magic, which is like her passion and her career, and her children.

    And at the same time, my mother graduated first in her class in accounting, in an age when women didn't really go into accounting. She was the only one in her class. She had been offered numerous prestigious scholarships. And she had actually turned those down because she was pregnant with me, and she felt it important for a few years to just focus on me. And I read this epic fantasy novel and it had adventure, it had swords, it had dragons. And I got done with this book, and I felt like I understood my mother more.

    Louie:
    Wow!
    Brandon:

    And it blew my mind. It was so weird. I'd had this wonderful adventure. And yet, I understood my mother. I understood, because she had always walked that line. She had always been a mother, and she had worked very hard at her career. She was a very great accountant, and yet she had never quite dedicated herself fully to that because she felt that her family was important. And this woman was struggling with the same thing. It didn't give you answers. It didn't say, 'oh she should have done this, she should have done that.' It just showed her life. And that’s what I think really great fiction does, is it shows someone’s life, and it gives you a perspective on it.

    And that's really what launched me into fantasy, was reading this and realizing I can have fun and adventure and magic and wonder. And the really good books can show me characters, too, characters who aren't like me. I mean, Tolkien did that. In a way, when you're reading Tolkien, in part you're reading about an elf and a dwarf who come from extremely different worlds, from you and from each other, who end up becoming friends. And it says something about racism and about prejudice, about how those characters come together that could only really be done in a fantasy book in that way. And this is what our genre does. It's metaphorical, and yet it's personal. And that's why I fell in love with it, and why I was poised, at age fifteen, to read Robert Jordan.

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  • 88

    Interview: Nov 3rd, 2009

    Louie Free

    Okay, Brandon. Brandon, I'm going to interrupt you. Where does the heart come from? I find so many men, especially, disconnected from emotion and heart. How is it that you are so connected to your heart? I love this with the eulogy. And I'm going to tell you—I'm not a writer, I don't have your skills—but I wrote some blogs. I wrote one once called...I called it "The unanswered knock of love". And I ended up doing ten of them because women were writing, and women were writing, but not men about it. Tell me about your attachment to your heart, your connection.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, it's very interesting because I as a person—and my friends will say this—I'm not a terribly emotional person. I'm actually pretty even keeled. I don't generally feel negative emotions. I don't get angry, I don't do these things. Yet the thing that can get me is fiction. I think one of the reasons I've always been attached to fiction is the thing that will make me feel emotions is reading a good story, and that's one of the very few things that can do it. And one part of my fascination with writing, why I became a writer, is because it feels to me that when I'm reading someone's story, when I can see into their heart, that's what gets me that connection, and that's what actually gets me those emotions.

    There are things that I don't think that I would ever feel as strongly if I hadn't felt them through fiction. And I don't know why that is. I don't know why I can connect on the page. Maybe it's because I was an introvert when I was young, and I discovered reading. You know, these characters in these books became my friends. I wasn't a popular kid—I was a nerd, I was a fantasy reader. Fantasy as a subculture hadn't gotten really big back then. I was kind of a loner, and I could find emotion and friends in these books. And it's always just meant so much to me that these writers were able to do this. People like Robert Jordan and Anne McCaffrey, and David Eddings, and my favorite fantasy writers.

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  • 89

    Interview: Apr 17th, 2012

    Google+ Hangout (Verbatim)

    John

    Hey Brandon, Although like stories and you know, plot characters, twists are all very important, for me a great story is made up of great moments and the question I wrote in the post there was about when Dalinar swaps his sword for the bridge men and asks the question 'how much is a life worth?' and for me that was a moment where I had to put the book down because it was just so great, it brought the characters together and all these reasonings all these visions it all came to a head and I was thinking how many moments like these do you think a great book needs for example I mean other things I'd seen in that book was when Kaladin, he tells his men to come out after the storm and see him alive again or in the gathering storms when Rand is on Dragonmount and everything you know, he destroys the Choedan Kal, so how many moments like that do you think they need an can you give me an example of a great book that you love from another Authors book where you think there is a great moment like those ones?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, excellent, I'll start with the last one, one of my favorite books of all time is Les Miserables and it's full of moments like that and I'm going to have to pick the moment where Jean Valjean goes for Marius and brings him back through the sewers and things like that, moments like that are what makes books work for me.

    What you're noticing is part of the way I design my plots, when I'm going to write a story I feel like I have to have moments like that prepared and planned that I can write towards. I will often go and turn on epic music of the right type, (whatever I'm feeling is epic at the time ) and go and walk or go on the treadmill or do something active and while doing that I will try to imagine what moments like that will be for this given book; what will be the really powerful character or plot moment that just make you, want to put the book down and sit back for a minute and say "Whoa!"

    I have to be able to imagine some of those for every book I write, otherwise I can't start the book, I write my books kind of... the points on the map philosophy, meaning I have to have something to write toward for me to get there. I -It's like having a map where you say, Ok I'm going to drive from one place to another and here are the places along the way I'm going to stop. I need to know where those places are and these places are usually these powerful moments and it's how I build stories.

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  • 90

    Interview: Apr 17th, 2012

    Google+ Hangout (Verbatim)

    Tristan

    So my question is, you're planning the Stormlight Archives as this big long ten book series and I think that obviously look at your work with the Wheel of Time the other big long epic series one of the issues that at least some fans perceive is that these series are at least perceived to sag or at least slow down at some point in the middle, people start to get very bogged down and it takes years for the next one to come out, is that something you're considering for your structuring of the Stormlight archives and what are you trying to do to address that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Excellent question, it is actually something that I've very consciously thought about when designing this story. One of the reasons that I didn't release the Way of Kings when I wrote it back in 2002 is that I hadn't figured out this problem yet, and it's one of the reasons that I shelved the book and re-wrote it from scratch back a couple of years ago.

    I really was conscious of it because I have an advantage over authors like George Martin and Robert Jordan, who have had these kinds of accusations levelled at them, in that I've read them! I've read Robert Jordan, and I can see he's kind of pushed his way in the snow for some of us to fall behind and see some of the things that he did even after he said "Boy, I think I might have done that differently." We can learn from that.

    What I'm trying to do is -first off the Stormlight archive is divided in my head into 2 five book series, it is a 10 booker but it is divided into two big five book sequences. I do think that will give me more of a vision of a beginning, middle, and end for each of the sequences.

    The other thing I'm doing is I consciously did some little thing in the books. One of the reasons we end up with sprawl in epic fantasy series is I think writers start writing side characters and getting really interested in them. The side characters are awesome, they let you see the breadth of the world and dabble in different places, so what I did is I let myself have the interludes in the Way of Kings (I will continue to do those in the future books) and I told myself I can write those interludes but those characters can't become main characters, those characters have to be just glimpses.

    The other main thing that I'm doing is that each book in the Stormlight Archives is focused on a character that character gets flashbacks and we get into the back-story and that gives me a beginning middle and end and a thematic way to tie that story together, specifically to that character, which i hope will make each chara- each book feel more individual.

    That's another part of the problem with the big long series; they start to blend. If the author starts to view some of them as blending then you stop having big climaxes at the ends of some of them and view them too blended together. This isn't a problem when the series is finished, I think that when the Wheel of Time can be read beginning to end straight through, a lot of this worry about middle-meandering is going to go away because you can see it as a whole. But certainly while you're releasing it, you get just these little glimpses that feel so short.

    I feel that if I can take each book and apply it to one character give a deep flashback for each one and thematically tie it to them, each book will have its own identity and hopefully will avoid some of that. That's my goal, who knows if I'll be able to pull it off but it is my intention.

    GOOGLE MODERATOR

    You seem to be pulling it off so far Brandon

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Well I only have one book yet! I mean none of these, none of these series- they all started with great first books, in fact I feel that a lot of them are great all the way through but the sprawl issue doesn't usually start to hit til around book four is really where the, where the problems show up.

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  • 91

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    Another interesting moment in this scene is Sarene's idiocy act. There's actually a good story behind this plotting device. I've always enjoyed this style of plot—where a character intentionally makes people underestimate them. You can see a similar plotting structure (pulled off quite a bit better) in my book THE WAY OF KINGS. (It should be published around 2008 or so. . . .) Anyway, some of my favorite plots of this type are found in HAMLET and DRAGON PRINCE (by Melanie Rawn.)

    Sarene's own act, however, plays a much smaller role in the book than I'd originally intended. I soon discovered that I'd either have to go with it full-force—having her put on a very believable show for everyone around her—or I'd have to severely weaken it in the plot. I chose the second. There just wasn't a reason, in the political climate I created for the book, to have Sarene pretend to be less intelligent than she was. (The original concept—though this never made it to drafting—was to have her pretend to be less intelligent because of how many times she'd been burned in the past with people finding her overbearing and dominant.)

    I decided I liked having her personality manifest the way it is. The only remnant of the original feigning comes in the form of this little trick she plays on Iadon to try and manipulate him. Even this, I think, is a stretch—and it has annoyed a couple of readers. Still, it doesn't play a large part in the plot, and I think it does lead to some interesting moments in the story, so I left it in.

    Footnote

    This Way of Kings was the original, instead of the rewrite Brandon released in 2010.

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  • 92

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson (Chapter 15)

    When I teach writing, one of my major educational philosophies is that an author must understand his or her strengths. If you do something well, play to that strength. Write books that show off what you can do. This isn't a reason to ignore, or to not work on, your weaknesses. However, like the opportunity cost laws of economics, the more time you spend on your strengths, the greater rewards you're going to receive. That translates to better books, a better chance of publication, and better sales.

    Every writer is different. We can't all do everything perfectly. As a writer, one of the things that I don't do is beautiful prose. I don't think my prose is bad, but it is somewhat utilitarian. Some authors, like Orson Scott Card, can turn this minimalism into a strength itself. I'm not there yet—I still write with a more flamboyant style, I'm just not a brilliant prose craftsman like Gene Wolfe or Ursula LeGuin. I think I do other things, however, that are better than those two can manage.

    Anyway, despite that acknowledgement, I occasionally write a paragraph that I just think is beautiful. The first paragraph of chapter fifteen is probably my favorite descriptive paragraph in the book. I love the imagery and language of it. Perhaps others will see it as trite—I had to end up changing the first line of the prologue, after all, which I also thought was beautiful. However, one of the nice thing about being published is that I can look at this paragraph in a bound hardcover and say, 'I did that.'

    Footnote

    Brandon has mentioned that Pat Rothfuss also writes beautiful prose.

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  • 93

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    Fantasy is a slow-starting genre. Readers expect this, and hopefully they'll invest enough in the story to keep them reading this long. I love the first half of ELANTRIS—it does what I want a book to do. It presents fun characters in interesting situations, then laces their actions with just enough of a thought-provoking air and an edge of excitement that the reader feels fulfilled. Writing is truth, and it should deal with important topics. However, before that truth must come enjoyment, I believe. If a book isn't, first and foremost, fun to read, then I think the storyteller has failed. After that, he or she hopefully manages to deal with some real issues and questions—this is, in my opinion, what makes characters real.

    Anyway, on to section two!

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  • 94

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    The line about a Svordish epic is, for those of you who are wondering, a reference to the monomyth. (I.e., the heroic archetype.) It's ironic that I should include a nod to Campbell in my novel, since I rant about fantasy writers paying him too much heed in one of my critical pieces regarding ELANTRIS. (I posted it in the ELANTRIS resources section.)

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  • 95

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    Speaking of that, I haven't really talked much about viewpoint in these annotations. You may or may not have noticed that I'm a big fan of strictly-limited third-person viewpoints. Third person past tense has pretty much become the industry standard during the last fifteen years (before that time, you saw a lot more omniscient—look at DUNE, and to a lesser extent, ENDER'S GAME.) You almost never see it these days, though, and I personally think that's a good thing. Omniscient is a little better for plotting in some places, but limited is far better for characterization.

    Any time you read one of my books, you should remember that I'm almost always in strict limited. Whatever you read in the text, it is something that a character feels or has observed.

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  • 96

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Question

    What first hooked you on (WoT)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    As a young teen it was the Hero’s Journey. He also mentioned that the Eye of the World prologue was special, much different than the usual for that time which were “talky” overly drawn out. What kept him reading in later years was the depth of world building and all the embedded secrets.

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  • 97

    Interview: Jul 13th, 2012

    Questioner

    Talk about your process of writing; and also about how you creatively approach it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Every writer has a different process. There’s as many ways to do this as there are writers in the world. For me, my creative process is that I’m always searching for the ideas that I can connect into a larger story. I feel that a book is more than just one idea. A good book is a collection of ideas; usually a good idea for each character—something that forms the core of their conflict—several good ideas for the setting: something that’s going to drive the economy, something that’s going to drive (for me the magic) the setting—that sort of thing—and then several good plot ideas. These all bounce around in my head—I’ll grab them randomly.

    An example of one of these was for Mistborn: For Mistborn, one of the original seeds was, I was watching the Harry Potter movies that had come out, and I was thinking about Lord of the Rings, which I had just reread, and I was thinking, you know, I like the hero’s journey: young, plucky protagonist goes, collects a band of unlikely followers, face the Dark Lord… and I thought “yeah, but those Dark Lords always get, just like, a terrible, raw end of the deal. They’re always beat by some dufusy kid or thing like that,” and I thought “I want to write a book where the Dark Lord wins.”

    But that was kind of a downer of a book, as I considered it, a little bit, you know, “you read this book, and then at the end the hero loses,” that’s kind of a downer. So I stuck that in the back of my mind saying “I want to do something with that idea, but it’s going to take me a little while to figure out exactly what I want to do with that idea.” And then I was watching one of my favorite movies from a long time ago—both of these ideas come from movies, many of them don’t but these two did—Sneakers, if any of you have seen it, just a, like an amazingly awesome heist story, and I thought “ya’ know, I haven’t seen a heist story done in fantasy in forever,” little did I know that Scott Lynch was going to release one, like, one year later [The Lies of Locke Lamora].

    But nobody had done one, and so I said “I want to do a fantasy heist story.” The two ideas combined together in my head. Alright: world where the Dark Lord won, a hero failed; thousands of years later, a gang of thieves decided to rip the Dark Lord off and kind of try to over thrown him their way, you know, making themselves-- by making themselves rich.

    And those ideas combined together. And so a story grows in my mind like little atoms bouncing together and forming a molecule: they’ll stick to each other and make something different. Those two ideas combine to make a better idea, in my opinion, together. And then character ideas I’d been working on stuck to that, and then magic systems I’d actually been working on separately. Allomancy and Feruchemy, two of the magic systems in Mistborn, were actually designed for different worlds, and then I combined them together and they worked really well together, with the metals being a common theme.

    I did all of that, and when it comes down to write a book I sit down and I put this all on a page, and then I start filling in holes by brainstorming. “What would go well here, what would go well here, I need more here” [accompanying gestures indicate different “here’s”]. And I fill out my outline that way, and I fill out my “World Guide,” as I call it. I actually just got—the wonderful folks of Camtasia (it’s a software that records screens) sent me a copy of their software so that I can record a short story, and I’ll go—I’ll do the outline, and then I’ll do the story, and then I’ll post it on my website and you can see exactly, you know, step-by-step what happens. Just don’t make too much fun of me when I spell things wrong.

    It’s really weird when you’ve got, like, that screen capture going on, you know people are gonna’ be watching this, and you can’t spell a word, and it’s like “I don’t want to go look it up, I can get this right,” it’s like, the writerly version of the guy who refuses to go get directions. So I like try a word like seventeen different ways, and like “Gehhhh okay,” and then Google tells me in like ten seconds. Anyway, that’s your answer and I hope that works for you. Thanks for asking.

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  • 98

    Interview: 2012

    Necrosxiaoban (March 2012)

    I read the article expecting Sanderson to share some special insight but that article could have been written by anyone :(

    Brandon Sanderson

    Heh. I can give special insight into the books I worked on, but as for the early ones, I'm really just another fan. (Well, okay, that's not true—but special things I know about the early books are not mine to share, by the NDA I signed with Harriet.) I also have to squeeze writing these into five minutes or so between drafts of A Memory of Light chapters.

    So, unfortunately, with these posts you'll only get Brandon the fan talking for a little bit about why he likes each book. (Sorry.)

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  • 99

    Interview: 2012

    tsaot (June 2012)

    I'm an avid Sci-Fi/Fantasy reader, but it seems all the authors my dad has introduced me to are dying off (Gordon R. Dickson for example) and as there is no rating system for book content, it's hard to find new authors that keep the sexual content to at least a PG-13 level. So far I've struck out with Old Man's War (while not graphic, the sexual content was rather high), George RR Martin, and Mercedes Lackey. So fellow saints, what have you found that's good?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon Sanderson here, with a few suggestions.

    Garth Nix is wonderful. If you haven't tried Sabriel, I suggest it.

    Mary Robinette Kowal writes regency-style fantasy novels. I find them different, clever, and fun.

    A Fire Upon the Deep is one of my all-time favorite SF books. I can't remember if there are content issues. I'm in a re-read right now, and it is as delightful as I remember it being. But something might come up that I didn't remember being there from a read last decade.

    Tad Williams is wonderful, but very long-winded. (I happen to like how long-winded he is, but I should warn that is his style. Very little tends to happen at the start of one of his novels, as it's all set-up.)

    L.E.Modessit Jr. writes epic fantasy after the older style—more slow-paced, lots of description. I find his books to be quite good, but they're not for everyone. They do tend to be very clean, though. (Same goes for Terry Brooks, who has a strong personal rule that he will never write, or cover blurb, something that is not clean. His books do feel a tad out dated these days, though.)

    Other LDS author pals of mine who write mainstream sf/f: Shannon Hale, James Dasnher, Jessica Day George. All YA, all very good writers. Also, if you haven't read Eric James Stone's nebula-winning short piece "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made," look it up. I think he posted it free on his website. It's about an LDS branch president on a space station in the sun, trying to help beings made of plasma live the law of chastity. Really.

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  • 100

    Interview: 2012

    PirateBrittany (June 2012)

    Disappointed in GRRM; Looking for a Series with Substance

    I will most certainly be slaughtered for this, but here goes:

    I did not enjoy George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire as much as I had hoped I would. My roommate had been recommending the books to me for years, and prior to the series premiere of the HBO show, I read them.

    I felt as though the writing was mediocre, at best; the plot was slow and stagnant at times. To me, it became repetitive. When book 5 came out this past summer I thought now maybe this one is better... after all, GRRM certainly took his time writing it. Ultimately, I was wrong. Knowing that the most recent book's time-line overlaps that of the previous book I still closed the novel feeling jipped, almost conned into buying yet another book that offered me very little.

    All of this being said, I am coming to you for suggestions as to what my next read should be. I enjoy fantasy novels, historical fiction, sci-fi, etc.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    This is a tough one to answer for the OP, in my opinion. It's perfectly okay not to like GRRM, but I'd like to know more about what she/he likes or doesn't like before giving suggestions.

    Rothfuss's books or my books could be good suggestions here—but they could also be horrible ones. PirateBrittany, what have you liked in the past? Do you want something more literary? Something more fast paced? Something with more worldbuilding?

    Pat's prose is awesome—if that's something that interests you, read Name of the Wind. But if you want something faster paced than GRRM, this might not be the right suggestion. In that case, maybe Codex Alera or Brent Weeks would be better. If you want something more focused on a single, powerful character (instead of the huge cast of GRRM) something like The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms would be a good suggestion.

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  • 101

    Interview: 2012

    WhlskeyDrunk (July 2012)

    With all the kerfluffle over Sanderson lately, I decided to start reading Deadhouse Gates. Hadn't been reading more than 10 minutes and came across this great quote.

    People of civilized countenance made much of exposing the soft underbellies of their psyche—effete and sensitive were the brands of finer breeding. It was easy for them, safe, and that was the whole point, after all: a statement of coddled opulence that burned the throats of the poor more than any ostentatious show of wealth.

    So the reason that Erickson is so amazing is because he is an excellent writer. That is all.

    Ps If any r/fantasy Sanderson fans can find anything close to this excellent prose, I will donate 20 dollars to Doctors Without Borders. And ten if they can't just so I don't feel like a dick.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was confused about this post. Usually, when I start a kerfuffle, I'm aware of it... (I guess, from below, it's about giving away books?)

    In other news, Steven Erickson is quite awesome. I'm confused as to why there needs to be a post like this, however. I have never claimed my prose is like his. What I do is different from what he does.

    Your challenge is like sauntering up to an archer, slapping $20 on the table, and daring him to hit the same target with a pistol instead of the bow. You are assuming that my writing is trying to do what Steven's does. I happen to belong to a different school of thought. (Google Orwell's windowpane prose, if you're curious.)

    That said, I very much enjoy Steven's writing. Just as I play the trumpet, but quite enjoy listening to the violin. If you prefer one far over the other, then by all means, please read what you enjoy! But why draw a line in the sand like this and insist that for your preferred writer to be considered excellent, you must denigrate another?

    WhlskeyDrunk

    Not denigrating Brandon, just pointing out that there is a difference. I honestly enjoy your writing and hope you don't take this personally. That thread was one of the most vapid and stupid threads that I have seen on r/fantasy. This place is starting to feel like Enews instead of honest, inspired fantasy discussion and I felt like making a thread to circlejerk actual writing instead of another celebrity sighting.

    EDIT: But seeing that you are here, how bout giving us what you consider your most inspired prose. I will not judge and will ask r/fantasy to do the same. I will then donate the money by tomorrow night.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah, I got it. Looking at it again, I was probably too touchy. I can read your post for what it is, now.

    Erickson deserves more attention. The guy is amazing. And, truth be told, I find myself envious of what he can accomplish sometimes with both prose and characterization. Beyond that, the guy has guts. Starting books as he does—stories that feel like a punch to the face—takes some real dedication.

    I do sometimes worry about getting over-saturated on reddit. I post here, and so people tend to be somewhat kind to me—but if I get talked up too much, a point comes where raised expectations can work against me.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    spencerkami

    Well thanks to reddit, your books are my holiday reads. I hope you live up to the hype. =p I'll also have the first Malazan which I've started and, well, one doesn't expect writing quite like that in most books. I'm mostly intrigued by yours as I hear there's some pretty neat stuff and magic and all.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I hope you enjoy them. But, for goodness sake, don't believe ALL of the hype. My goal has always been just this: to write nifty stories. I'm far from the best writer in fantasy right now. (In my opinion, that award would either go to Guy Kay or Terry Pratchett.) Like all writers, I do some things well, and other things not so well. I'm proud of the Mistborn Trilogy, however. I think I was able to do some things with the genre that I (at least) hadn't seen before.

    p0x0rz

    Not sure if you're still reading this thread, but your post got me thinking.

    Not sure why, but it certainly seems like it's the way of the internet to list, rank, compare, and nerd out to the point of hyperbolic insult when it comes to your particular favorite thing. I agree with you when you say that you and Erikson are trying to accomplish different things, and comparing the two shouldn't happen. You're both fantasy authors, and are big parts of the new surge of fantasy popularity of the last 15-20 years, so I assume some of that just comes from being peers in the same field along with Martin, Abercrombie, etc. Add that in to the zeitgeist of the internet, which as I said above seems to be to compare everything, and I guess that's what it stems from. (Seriously, who cares if XBox 360 or PS3 is more powerful? They both have great games, play them both!)

    Sadly, I've even succumbed to this nasty tendency before. You get caught up in the discussions and arguments on places like reddit and before you know it you're slinging mud with the rest of them. I'm a self confessed Malazan fanboy, but I've also read everything you've ever written, but in some comparison threads I've felt the need to weigh in unnecessarily. For that, I sincerely apologize. I've loved everything you've written, and I guarantee you that I'm a "first day purchase" person of yours for the rest of your career.

    I'm not trying to confuse honest critiques with internet fanboyism, either. I've criticisms of everything I've ever read, and that's okay. When weighing in on your books, I might discuss my dissatisfaction with your female characterizations in many cases, and that's not meant to be an insult, just honest opinion. There are plenty of things about Erikson's works that drive me nuts, but I love him, too...As there are about all authors. The problem is that, once again, when it comes to the internet, everything changes. Criticisms are taken to the nth degree, and instead of "I have a problem with this, it becomes "x author is the worst thing that's ever happened to fantasy and I hope he dies in a fire." It is, sadly, the anonymity of the internet combined with the usual member-waving that takes places in threads like this.

    Critiques should be honest and free of aggrandizing, and you should be able to like one author and not denigrate another. Though I haven't done this with you, I've been guilty of it in other places, and you're right...It's unnecessary. So, I apologize.

    Thanks for reading, and keep up the great work. Looking forward to many, many more stories. :)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Just noting that I did see this, and appreciate the thoughtful reply. You have a nifty new tag in my RES... :)

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  • 102

    Interview: Jul 3rd, 2012

    Brandon Sanderson

    My good friend and Writing Excuses cohost Dan Wells' new book THE HOLLOW CITY is out today. The release party is tonight at Weller Book Works (the bookstore formerly known as Sam Weller's, at their new location, which has parking!) in Trolley Square.

    Mary, Howard, and I are going to be there, and Dan hopes to see many of you there as well to get the new book (or any other book of his) signed. This is also one of the last chances to see Dan before he and his family move to Germany for a year. Details are below.

    If you want a preview of the book, Tor.com posted a couple of chapters. Check it out! Dan also introduces the book on his site here, and talks about what's in store at the signing.

    Location: Weller Book Works
    607 Trolley Square
    Salt Lake City, UT
    801.328.2586
    7:00 p.m. July 3, 2012

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  • 103

    Interview: May, 2012

    Nalini Haynes

    What stories have influenced you in your writing other than Wheel of Time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Other than Wheel of Time? A lot of stories have influenced me. I’m both a writer and scholar—I have a Masters in English. When you’re writing, you aren’t really thinking about those things that they talked about in college. But after the fact, sometimes you’ll sit down and say ‘hmmm, what are my influences?’ and pull out the whole English professor thing.

    Specifically in fantasy, there were three women who really influence me: Anne McCaffrey, Melanie Rawn and Barbara Hambly. These were the first authors I discovered in fantasy. I wasn’t a reader before I discovered fantasy, with Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. It just so happens that these three authors were the ones that my high school library had and the books were shelved next to each other because they all started with ‘Dragon’. That’s how I found fantasy, by going from Dragonsbane to Dragonflight to Dragon Prince.

    Eventually I read everything these women had produced. I see a lot of influence. Melanie Rawn, for instance, had a very interesting rule-based magic system in her Sunrunner series, which I’ve always loved. Looking externally, it has had a deep influence on how I do magic. Anne McCaffrey’s method of doing sequels—you’ll notice when you read my books often I haven’t done any really truly continuous sequels. I finish a book and then, in the Mistborn series, there’s a period of a year in between, or in other sequels they’re about different characters: we’re jumping hundreds of years. That’s an Anne McCaffrey thing. Again I’m seeing this after the fact, looking externally, but I haven’t done, yet, any true sequels after the Robert Jordan method where we go right into the next book. I plan to do that with Way of Kings but I haven’t, yet. So those are certainly deep influences.

    Someone came to me the other day and said, ‘Why are there always ballroom sequences in your books? You always have balls. You’ve got ninjas, you’ve got fighting and you’ve got these ballroom scenes.’ I realise it’s probably because I just really, really like things like classic Jane Austen novels, novels of manners. I have a deep love of that sort of thing and I end up incorporating it into my books. Now, granted, they’re separated by action sequences, but I’m very influenced. Another classic that has influenced me are Les Misérables. I am deeply influenced by Les Mis as my favourite classic.

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  • 104

    Interview: May, 2012

    Nalini Haynes

    You’re very philosophical in your writing. I’m currently reading Warbreaker: I’m finding a lot of philosophy is coming out there.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I was a philosophy minor in college.

    Nalini Haynes

    Do you think that’s linked to Les Misérables?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think so. Certainly I love that book, I’ve read it a number of times. What I love about Les Misérables is that Victor Hugo had this brilliant way of characterizing both heroes and villains so that they felt very, very real to you. Then there is this true heroism in the everyday things they did. More than, I think, epic fantasy has. We need to learn this better. Some of the true heroism is in the little heroisms. We deal with saving the world, and I love doing that—I write epic fantasy. But some of the most heroic moments in fiction and in real life are not about saving the world, they’re about the little sacrifices that people make. I think that those are, in some ways, a more true and more real and more honest way of telling stories. So I try to let myself be influenced by stories that do a good job at that.

    Nalini Haynes

    Joss Whedon in Angel: Angel says something about nothing that we do has meaning, so the smallest thing that we do has the most incredible meaning because we’re not doing it for a reward. Is that kind of what you’re saying?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That sounds good to me. I’ve never actually watched Angel. I love Firefly but I came to Joss Whedon late: when Buffy was on I was a poor college student without access to a television and cable so I kind of missed that whole Buffy thing. It wasn’t until Firefly that I got into Joss’s work.

    Nalini Haynes

    That’s something we have in common. I got into Firefly and then from that–

    Brandon Sanderson

    You got into Buffy and Angel?

    Nalini Haynes

    Yes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I keep meaning to. My friends are all Buffy addicts, they say ‘you’ve got to watch this, you’ve got to watch this!’ and I say: ‘Where’s the tiiime?’ There’s something like six seasons of that and six seasons of Angel. But someday.

    Nalini Haynes

    Seven seasons of Buffy, five of Angel.

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  • 105

    Interview: May, 2012

    Nalini Haynes

    What would you like to share with readers about your works?

    Brandon Sanderson

    To the fans: I’m just delighted that you guys enjoy what I’m doing, and thank you all for supporting me. The response to my books in Australia has just been amazing. Deep thanks for reading and for sticking with me. I do a lot of weird things and I do that intentionally because I feel the fantasy genre has a lot of room left to grow and explore. I love what has come before, but it seems like during the 80s and 90s, fantasy really narrowed in on one major type of fantasy, at least the very popular fantasies.

    I think we have a big explosion of possibility coming. George R.R. Martin has started that: he’s taken fantasy in a different direction, really blending some historical with some gritty realism and some epic fantasy all together; he does some really fascinating things. I think that is only one of the ways of approaching fantasy that lots of people are now doing in their books. I’m really excited about the fantasy genre.

    Recently I was happy to write Mistborn, which is kind of a modernist take on fantasy where it was kind of a little bit self-aware. Now jumping ahead with Alloy of Law and doing fantasy: this is a fantasy book where the epic fantasy trilogy became the foundation for a more urban fantasy trilogy set with a more modern technology. I love doing that: I love seeing where I can take the genre, and people are sticking with me.

    I appreciate that there was a time back in the 80s where if you put guns in your fantasy nobody read it. There was kind of a rule: no guns. It’s dangerous to do something different...Not dangerous, but it’s a little bit worrisome when you do this as an author. Will people follow you along rather than sticking to one series and doing it as one big massive epic? They have stuck with me, so I appreciate it.

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  • 106

    Interview: May, 2012

    Nalini Haynes

    You released Warbreaker by installments on the Internet.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I did.

    Nalini Haynes

    The 21st century equivalent of Charles Dickens’ serial publications, except yours were free. Later you edited these chapters, releasing documents comparing the drafts so people can see the changes. What was this process like?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It did send my agent and editor into a bit of a panic. Fortunately I wasn’t very popular as a writer back then; well, not unpopular, but I didn’t have my current notoriety. I was doing all right; my books were selling fine; but I had not hit top gear as a fantasy writer yet. So me doing this did not send them into as much of a panic as it would have if I did that now. I still intend to do it again, but don’t tell them that. It was cool because it was something I hadn’t seen done before. The Web offers us the opportunity to do things like this. I thought I’d give it a try, and so I released it. They use the term crowdsourcing now; I was crowdsourcing my feedback.

    Instead of using a writing group, which I normally do, I released it to the fans to see what their reaction was. That’s dangerous because, as a writer, you have to learn to read between the lines when people are giving feedback rather than doing everything everyone suggests you. If you do everything everyone suggests to you, your book will be schizophrenic; it’s going to go all over the place. Some people will want one thing from it; some people will want another. You just can’t write to fan demands, otherwise you won’t have a cohesive story. But it was fun to see the responses and, as a writer, if you can pick between the lines and see the legitimate problems and fix those in drafts, it can be a very big help and it can be fun. I think it did help, and it gave the fan base something.

    One thing they don’t talk a lot about in New York but one thing that is absolutely true is that fantasy and science fiction readers are very tech savvy. Every person who buys one of my books could get that book for free if they wanted to. They know how to find it, even if it is not just the library: finding it online. Every one of them can pirate the books. There is nothing we can do to stop that; in fact we should stop jumping up and down about it as much we do. Anytime I want to check, it takes me thirty seconds online to find a free copy of one of my books. Every person who is buying one of my books is doing it because they want to support me as a writer. So I want to do things to give back to those readers, to say: ‘I acknowledge that you are doing this, you are supporting me. You’re not just reading, you’re supporting me as a writer.’

    In a lot of ways it takes us back to this interesting image of Dickens, because during that era a lot of writers, in order to be an artist, would have a patron. That was how you became an artist in an earlier era. Now we are kind of moving back toward that model: the readers are our patrons; they choose to give us money. They don’t just read us, they choose to support us. So I try to do things like Warbreaker. The annotations of my books are another way I try to do this. I try to go chapter by chapter and write an annotation, an extra like a behind-the-scenes DVD commentary, if you will, on my books. And for anyone reading this interview, Warbreaker is still available for free on my website: the actual published version. DRM-free, just download it. And once you read it you can compare it to the first draft. I do this as a thank you to all the readers who support me in this.

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  • 107

    Interview: May, 2012

    Nalini Haynes

    Where are you planning to take us with your writing next?

    Brandon Sanderson

    [musingly] Next, where am I planning to take you? Certainly I want to try and do the Stormlight Archive, the Way of Kings series, in a way that I hope is just awesome. I have an advantage over people like Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin in that I’ve read Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin. The big epic fantasy series is a real challenge: to do a longer series and have it work. Have it not sag during the middle, in places. To have all the characters and the narrative remain tight. Having learnt the lessons of the great writers who have come before me, I think I can try this in a new way. So I’m really eager to give it a shot. Recently a writer did it in a way that it looks like the best it’s ever been done, which was Steven Erickson. I haven’t finished his series yet but, from the fan reaction and from what I’ve read of it, he seemed to get around that. I think there are great things we can still do with the epic fantasy genre. I want to try and explore them, I want to find what the great things we can do with the genre are and try to take us there.

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  • 108

    Interview: Jul 17th, 2012

    Question

    Which authors does Brandon currently love to read?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I read a lot of Terry Pratchett. He's a legitimate genius and the books are different enough that I don't have to worry about any unconscious influence on my own writing. Guy Gavriel Kay is the best writer of fantasy today. I frequently read Robin Hobb novels. I love Vernor Vinge."

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  • 109

    Interview: Jul 20th, 2012

    Casey Phillips

    In one of your essays, you write that you like "mystery more than...mysticism" in your novels. Elaborate on that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I, as a reader, like the tension that comes from "Can I figure it out?" That's one of the things that keeps me reading, "What's going on here? Can I figure it out?" The difference is that mysticism is something you can't figure out. That's alright for the stories that do it that way, but I prefer to be able to look at it and go, "OK, something is going wrong."

    It goes back to Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. Many of his early stories about robots are about, "OK, these three laws are interacting in an interesting way." It's really a mystery—"Can you figure out what's going on here?" There's this wonderful pay off in reading where you go, "Wow, that just works so beautifully." That's one of the aspects of writing that I enjoy.

    We're talking a lot about magic systems, but any time this topic comes up, I like to point out that any good story is about characters. Magic is what fantasy does uniquely. Certainly it's a hallmark of our genre, and we need to approach the setting in a cool way for our stories, but if you don't have cool characters, the story is going to fail, no matter how great the magic is.

    My goal is to create a story that is an enjoyable read because the characters are enjoyable. Then, after that, I like to go with my magic system and try and make something you've never seen before. But no amount of world building is going to succeed if the characters are bland.

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  • 110

    Interview: Jul 21st, 2012

    Jennifer Liang

    One of the things that I always like to close Wheel of Time panels with when I'm at conventions that I don't run is talking about the long-term legacy of the Wheel of Time. One of the things that pops up a lot is, Robert Jordan never won a Hugo award. He never won a Nebula, he never won a Locus...any of these major, major awards, he never won; he was only nominated once for Lord of Chaos, had a nomination for a Locus award. We have one last chance to correct this, which is with the publication of A Memory of Light. When that book comes out, not only is that book eligible for the Hugo for that year, but there's a quirk in the Hugo voting rules that if a serialized work, no individual portion has ever been nominated for a Hugo as a standalone, then when it becomes complete, the whole thing becomes eligible as one work, and so by virtue of the fact that Robert Jordan was never nominated for a Hugo during his lifetime, the entire Wheel of Time series becomes eligible for Best Novel at its publication. It would be the biggest "novel" ever nominated for a Hugo, but it's certainly possible to do so. Because of the way the publication works—it's going to be published at the very beginning of 2013, which means it's eligible in the 2014 cycle for Hugos—and I just like to put that out there for people. You know, I don't like to tell people how to vote on the Hugos, 'cause that's something that it's important for you to judge for yourself, what you think is the best novel...um....but really. (laughter)

    Brandon Sanderson

    She just wants you to be aware that the entire series is eligible.

    Jennifer Liang

    Yeah, it becomes eligible as Best Novel, and when you think of the impact of the Wheel of Time on fantasy writers over the last twenty years, on fantasy publication...I mean, seriously, do you think they would have let George R. R. Martin publish his books the way that he wants to publish them if they didn't already have some long-running series out there that they could point to and be like, "Look, people will follow it through multiple books, through long periods of waits...you know, people will follow this." Jordan really paved the way for a lot of what we take for granted in fantasy fiction now. I think that's one of the reasons why he gets a lot of flak these days, because it's been going on for so long that the things that were very innovative twenty years ago that the Wheel of Time does are not so innovative anymore, because now everybody does them, because Jim showed us how to do them. And I just feel like it's important to acknowledge that in some way, and so you'll be seeing a lot on Dragonmount about the Hugo Awards over the next couple of years to remind people that this is coming up, and if any of you guys are Hugo voters, keep that in mind. If you would like to be a Hugo voter, you just have to be a member of that year's WorldCon, which will likely be in London that year, so I don't expect you guys to go to London, but you can buy a supporting membership for about $50 usually, and that gives you voting rights to the convention, without attending.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The nice thing about a supporting membership to the Hugos, they put together a voter packet nowadays which includes electronic copies of all the nominated works, so for usually about fifty bucks, you get five or six novels, five or six novellas, five or six novelettes, and five or six short stories, all Hugo-worthy, for you to read. I do it every year even if I don't go now because of that, and you get to read the whole thing. And if you're gonna vote, really you should be reading widely and voting in multiple categories, and things like that, would be my suggestion.

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  • 111

    Interview: Sep 22nd, 2012

    Andre

    You're friends with Patrick Rothfuss, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I am.

    Andre

    Can you give him any tips to write faster?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, Pat is, he's very into beautiful prose, this is his thing. And it shows. And you can't do that fast. My prose is not as beautiful, my prose is translucent is what I try to do. I try to write prose so you don't see it, and you see the story. And that prose can go faster. And it's just a matter of writing style. I actually envy his prose sometimes, and he envies my speed.

    Andre

    I imagine.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But, I think the third one will be faster. After the first one came out he ended up with this huge performance anxiety problem because the first one took off so much; that he couldn't even write for a year because he was so stressed about how well the book had done. He got over that. And he doesn't have that anymore. So theoretically the next book should be faster. He did sign for three more books, right?

    Andre

    He signed for a new trilogy...

    Josh

    Which one would hope means he's getting close to done with the one he's in the middle of. We can all hope.

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  • 112

    Interview: Sep 22nd, 2012

    Question

    I was wondering what your five favorite books are. Regardless of genre. I ask a lot of authors that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Les Miserables. That's one. That's my favorite classic. The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan. Favorite of the WoT. Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. The book that got me into fantasy. It's hard to find nowadays. A Fire Upon The Deep Vernor Vinge. That's probably my favorite science fiction book. And let's say my favorite Pratchett, which these days is Going Postal.

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  • 113

    Interview: Sep 22nd, 2012

    Question

    How do you come up with your magic systems? Do you just open the dictionary and point to a word? "Oh, I'll make something with that."

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, I'm always looking for something that strikes me. And I'm looking for things that haven't been done before. Things that will make nice conflict, that walk the line between science and superstition.

    Question

    That's what I love, that it's all super scientific but it also has magic.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you will Google Sanderson's First Law, and Sanderson's Second Law, I have two essays that I wrote about how I do magic. They're both on my website, but Google will find them easier than trying to find them on my website.

    Question

    Did you ever read Master of 5 magics?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did. That's old school.

    Question

    Yeah, not great stories, but wonderful magic.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep. Great magic. That's what I felt about them too.

    Question

    When will the next Mistborn (Alloy of Law era) come out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It will probably come out after the next Way of Kings. Next Way of Kings is next Christmas, the next Alloy of Law era book is probably the following Spring or something like that.

    Question

    Are you planning two more or three more?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will do as many of those as strikes me. The Alloy of Law books are a deviation from the main world plotline.

    So it's just for fun. I'm not going to commit to how many I'll do or not do. Just whatever's working.

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  • 114

    Interview: Sep 2nd, 2012

    Question

    As sort of a non-plot-related question: You've had a lot of opportunity to compare your writing to Robert Jordan's after three books. What are some things that you felt that Robert Jordan did that you just can't match, and what are some things that you feel that you do in a stronger way than Robert Jordan did?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The primary thing that I think Robert Jordan was really good at that I'm just mediocre at is prose. I've always tried to create very utilitarian prose, prose that gets across my idea and my story. I use what we call Orwellian prose: I try to make my prose a clear pane of glass that you see the story through. Robert Jordan was on a completely different level. He could create very engaging, beautiful prose while not distracting from the story. There are very few writers who are capable of that. Tolkien was another one, and actually, in our current era Pat Rothfuss is one of those. I envy their prose, and I think that they are just really, really good with prose, and Robert Jordan was as well.

    Something that he does very well that I think I've learned better by working this...there are two things. I think he was very good at being subtle with his foreshadowing in a way that I think is really brilliant, and I've tried to learn from, and that's something that I like to do, and so seeing how he did it has been very helpful for me. And, the juggling of lots of viewpoints is something else he did really, really well that is something that I want to be doing in my books, and that I think I've taken steps toward, but working on these books and seeing what he has done has improved me.

    As for the other question, I'm not sure honestly if there is a right answer for this, because the primary thing that we do differently is more of a 'different' as opposed to a 'better/worse', and one of the big ones is action sequences. Robert Jordan wrote action sequences in a very specific way: he was a soldier;—he was in combat; he had been in combat before—and he wrote battle scenes...like that. I write very cinematic battle scenes. My battle sequences, I write to have a certain feel and energy, and it's different from the complete chaos and sense of terror that are in a lot of his battle scenes where you never know what's going on, because that's how real war is. And I haven't been in real war; I could try to imitate that, but instead I use my methodology for battle scenes.

    If there is one strength that I have in my writing it is endings, and so coming out of this project at the end has allowed me to apply some of my skill set toward tying things up and focusing, and trying to make sure that we have really powerful endings to each of the sequences that are happening in the books.

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  • 115

    Interview: Sep 2nd, 2012

    Chris Lough

    Brandon Sanderson

    When an audience member asked the author what scene from the entire series really stuck with him, Brandon provided three that were particularly resonant; his favorite being when Rand visits Rhuidean. A close runner-up was the sequence at the end of A Crown of Swords, where Nynaeve loses her block and Lan rushes to her aid. And another reliable favorite for Brandon? Perrin during the siege of the Two Rivers in The Shadow Rising.

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  • 116

    Interview: Apr 14th, 2012

    Question

    G'day, how's it going?

    Brandon Sanderson

    G'day! I dunno....I'm not supposed to really say that am I? It sounds really horrible from an American.

    Question

    [laughs] It's perfect.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I've been taught...cr...crikey. It's got an "oi" in it, apparently. Croikey?

    Question

    Crikey, mate. Just out of curiosity, which do you enjoy more, writing your own creations, or somehow writing somebody else's creations like the Wheel of Time and then working within those parameters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say, my own books with a caveat, and that caveat is the Wheel of Time. The Wheel of Time is not something I...I did not say yes to this because, for any other reason than a love for this series since I was a kid. And there are very few things I would have said yes to along these lines. I became a writer to tell my stories, but I studied Robert Jordan's works when learning how to be a writer. Rand, Perrin and Mat feel like my old high school buddies; they're the people I grew up with. I was one of these bookworms who sat in my room and read book, and those were my friends. And so, having the chance to help with this is a lot like, I dunno...it's a lot like completing my master's last masterpiece, if that makes sense. It's a special thing. It's not a matter of enjoyment or not; it's a special honor, and boy has it been hard. It's way hard. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. It has been the hardest thing I've ever done career-wise, and it's been amazing for me as a writer. That said, I wouldn't say yes to this for anyone else. I wouldn't even say yes if, for some reason, Lucas were to come to me and want something like that. There's nothing really I would ever say yes to doing this same thing. That isn't to say I might not...you know, I'll probably do other little novellas and things where I poke around and whatnot, but this project has meant a lot to me all my life, and so it was a thing I did because of what it was, and I don't know how to explain it other than that.

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  • 117

    Interview: Jan 3rd, 2013

    Goodreads

    What authors, books, or ideas have influenced you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How many pages do we have? The obvious one is Robert Jordan. I like to list three authors who got me into fantasy. I was not a reader when I was younger, and it was the right book at the right time, which was Barbara Hambly's Dragonsbane. I love what she has does with fiction. So she is kind of responsible for me in a lot of ways. Once I discovered that, I ran to the library and tried to dig out something that was like Dragonsbane. I didn't even know this genre existed, and next in the school library's card catalog was Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight. Her Pern books I would also list as a very big influence. And then Melanie Rawn and the Sunrunner books. Her use of magic is part of what made me interested in magic systems. Classically, I really like Les Misérables and also consider myself a Shakespeare buff and love to see Shakespeare live.

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  • 118

    Interview: Jan 3rd, 2013

    Goodreads

    What are you reading now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am reading a book by Brian McClellan, who was a student in my class during one of my first times teaching it. I teach a class at BYU [Brigham Young University] called How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. I just started reading his debut novel, Promise of Blood, and so far so good. I always have sitting on a shelf near me a Terry Pratchett novel, who I think is (well, it's probably a tie between him and Guy Gavriel Kay) the greatest fantasy writer writing right now.

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  • 119

    Interview: Jan 5th, 2013

    Michael Mason-D'Croz

    This fantasy series was first published in 1990, and that marked a beginning for many readers, including Lincoln native and current author of the series Brandon Sanderson.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I picked up the books in 1990," Sanderson said. "The series has basically been a part of all my life."

    Michael Mason-D'Croz

    Sanderson struggled as a reader as he was growing up. This was something his English teacher at Lincoln East Junior/Senior High School, where he graduated in the early 1990s, noticed and wanted to change. She assigned to him a book report and asked him to choose a story from her bookshelf—to make sure she was familiar with it. Sanderson chose Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly, and his life as a fantasy reader/author began.

    The next summer, Sanderson discovered the The Wheel of Time series, which he felt emotionally attached to and of which he felt a sense of ownership.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "The Wheel of Time is the series that I discovered and I said, 'This is mine,'" Sanderson said. "I thought it was an undiscovered gem, and I bought them all as soon as they came out."

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  • 120

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Ed Huyck

    When did you first start reading The Wheel of Time, and what were your initial impressions of the stories and the writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I still remember the first time I saw The Eye of the World on bookshelves, at age 15. I can almost feel that moment, standing and holding the book in my hands. I think the cover of Eye is the best [longtime series cover artist] Darryl Sweet has ever done—one of the best in fantasy. I loved the cover. The feel of the troop marching along, Lan and Moiraine proud and face forward. The cover screamed epic. I bought the book and loved it.

    I still think Eye is one of the greatest fantasy books ever written. It signifies an era, the culmination of the epic quest genre which had been brewing since Tolkien initiated it in the '60s. The Wheel of Time dominated my reading during the '90s, influencing heavily my first few attempts at my own fantasy novels. I think it did that to pretty much all of us; even many of the most literarily snobbish of fantasy readers were youths when I was, and read The Eye of the World when I did.

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  • 121

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    How old were you when you decided to become a writer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was sixteen. It was one year after I'd started reading the Wheel of Time, and about a year and a half after I discovered fantasy novels. Fantasy novels changed my life.

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  • 122

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    What are some newer authors that you would recommend?

    Person close to camera

    A guy called Brandon Sanderson...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, boy let's see, how new is newer? Like, Rothfuss is not that new any more is he? Everybody's already figured out Rothfuss. Um...but I really like Daniel Abraham's work, and he's a little bit lesser known, and he's fantastic. I really like everything I've read by N.K. Jemisin. She writes these fantastic books—The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was the first one, and it's amazing. Slight content warning on that one, by the way, guys. But it was a gorgeous book, so those are books that I've enjoyed reading. I really like Mary's books, if you haven't read Mary Robinette Kowal. She is a friend, so I have to give that disclaimer, but her books are very awesome. They're like regency fantasy, so it's like Jane Austen with magic. And so I enjoy those...that's just a few.

    And my current favorite living author is Terry Pratchett, which is not—yeah, he's been around for a while—but if you haven't read Terry Pratchett, you should read Terry Pratchett, but don't start at the beginning because he gets better with age. [laughter] I tried starting with the beginning in the 80s, and was like, "Oh, it was okay," and then later, seven years later, I tried another of his books, and it just blew me away. So I suggest either starting with Guards! Guards!, The Truth, or my most recent favorite, Going Postal. The end of Going Postal is awesome...[audio break]...and then Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. Slight content warning on that one as well. Tigana is gorgeous, the best one-volume epic fantasy book I've ever read. And he's the guy who wrote The Silmarillion, so he did—what I'm doing with Robert Jordan, he did for Tolkien. He just didn't get any acknowledgement for it except for a thank you on the acknowledgements page.

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  • 123

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    Can you still read the books and appreciate them after The Wheel of Time being your job for so long?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, I still read Jim's—Robert Jordan's books—and enjoy them, and I just recently picked up one and started reading through it. I don't reread my own books usually unless it's to reacquaint myself with certain things so that I can work on a sequel, because I will simply find too many things I want to change. This is the artist's dilemma; you've got to let it be done; you can't go back and continually tweak and revise and rewrite. At some point is just has to stand as a work of art, and reading your own books again...it's too dangerous for me to do that. So I don't reread mine, so I've never reread Gathering Storm, for instance. Now, I did read it fourteen times while we were revising it [laughter], so I do know that book pretty darn well, but I haven't reread it since.

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  • 124

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    All of the females in your books seem to be very independent, strong women; do you believe that you write them that way from your perspective, or is that your experience, or...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's a couple of things behind that. The first is that my mother graduated first in her class in Accounting in a year where she was the only woman in the entire Accounting department—that was in an era where that wasn't something that a lot of women did—and so I've had quite the role model in my life. But beyond that, it's kind of an interesting story. I discovered fantasy with a book I mentioned earlier, Dragonsbane. Wheel of Time was my [?], but I discovered Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly, and my teacher got me to read this, and I came back to my teacher, and said, "People write books about dragons?" She's like, "Yeah, there's a lot of books about dragons; go read them."

    And so I went to the card catalogue, which we had back then in the Stone Age [laughter], and I flipped to the next title in the card catalogue, and it was Dragonflight by Anne McCaffery. And so I'm like, "Well, this has dragons; maybe this is good." And it was fantastic! If you've ever read Dragonflight, it's amazing! So I read through all of those in the school library, and I'm like, "Well, what else is there?" The next title in line was Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn, and so I read through all of those, which are also fantastic books, and one of the best magic systems in fantasy, in Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner books.

    And so I got done with those, and at that point, a friend came to me, who'd heard I discovered fantasy, and said, "Here, you'll like this book." It was by David Eddings. And I told him, "I don't think guys can write fantasy." [laughter] That was—honest to goodness—that's what I told him. I'm like, "I don't know if I want to read a guy writer; I don't think they can get it down." And so, I did end up reading Eddings, and enjoying Eddings, but my introduction to fantasy was through three women who have at times been called feminist writers—all three of them have worn that mantle—and that's still with me as part of what makes a good fantasy book, and I think that's just an influence.

    My very first novel that I tried, which was not ElantrisWhite Sand—the female character turned out really bland, and I was really disappointed in myself, and I thought, "This is terrible." And it took me a long time to figure out—like, several books of work—what I was doing wrong. And what I was doing wrong—and I find this in a lot of new writers across the spectrum—is I was writing people—specifically "the Other"; people who are different from myself—I was putting them in their role, rather than making them a character, right? And this is an easy thing to do—like, you get into the head of your main character; they're often pretty much like you; you can write them; they're full of life; they've got lots of passions—and then, the woman is like the love interest, and the minority is the sidekick, right? Because that's....you know, how do you do that? And you stick these people in these roles, and then they only kind of march through their roles, and so while it's not insulting, the characters don't feel alive. It's like one person in a room full of cardboard cut-outs, like "Stereotypes Monthly" magazine. [laughter] And then your main character.

    And women are just as bad at doing this as men, just doing the men in that way. And so it's just something, as a writer, you need to practice, is saying, "What would this character be doing if the plot hadn't gotten in their way?" Remember, they think they're the most important character in the story. They're the hero of their own story. What are their passions and desires aside from the plot? And how is this going to make them a real person? And you start asking yourselves questions like that, and suddenly the characters start to come alive, and start to not "fill the role." And you ask yourself, "Why can't they be in the role they're in?" And that makes a better character, always, than "Why should they be?"

    Flop roles, too, if you find yourself falling into this, you say, "Okay, I've stuck—" You know, Robert Jordan kind of did this. The natural thing to do is to put the wise old man into the mentor—you know, the Obi Wan Kenobi, the Gandalf—role, and instead, Robert Jordan put a woman in that role, with Moiraine, and took the wise old man and made him a juggler. [laughter] And these two...you know, and suddenly by forcing these both into different roles, you've got...they're much more interesting characters. And you know, Thom is named after Merlin; he could have very easily been in that role, and instead he wasn't. And so, it made even the first Wheel of Time book so much better by making characters not be the standard stereotypical roles that you would expect for them to be in. So, there you go.

    Also, stay away from tokenism. If you force yourself to put two people in from the same culture in your book, that will force you to make them more realistic as characters, because if you only put one in, you can be like, "Alright, their whole race and culture is defined by this person." And putting in multiples can help you to say, "Look, now they can't both just be defined by that." Anyway, I went off on a long diatribe about that; I'm sorry.

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  • 125

    Interview: Sep, 2012

    Petra Mayer

    One of the things that I like about the Wheel of Time series is the unbelievably detailed worldbuilding that...I mean, coming into that, it was already eleven books along when you picked it up? My God, what did that feel like? How did you step into those shoes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, boy. So, the story is, I was a fan of the series—I picked the first one up when I was fifteen, and that was in 1990—and I'd been reading them all along; they are part of what inspired me to become a writer. I eventually broke into publishing myself in 2005, and two years later, Robert Jordan passed away without having finished the end of this series that I'd been following all along. And, like a lot of fans, I was heartbroken. I mean, we'd [inaudible] almost twenty years of following these characters. And one day, I got a call on the phone. I had not applied for this; I didn't know I was being considered. It was his wife. I didn't know her, but she had read my book—she had read my book Mistborn—and she had heard that I was a fan of the series, and had looked into some of the things I'd written, and then she just said, "Would you like to finish it?"

    Now, this is a major best-selling series; I'm a newbie author with a couple of books out. It was like getting hit by a freight train. And there's all this continuity and all these characters....it was a massive undertaking. I was scared out of my wits, to be perfectly honest, but honestly, I almost said no because of that, but there was that piece of me—the fan—that said, "Look, if you say no to this, and someone else comes along, and they do a bad job, it's going to be your fault, Brandon." So my own conscience was like, "I gotta do this. If Robert Jordan can't do it, they're going to have somebody do it. I've gotta do it." So I threw myself into it, and you know, the most interesting thing is, how have I done it? Well, I've had great resources, and part of those are fan resources. What the internet allows us to do with Wikis and things like this is, the fans have gotten together and created these detailed outlines and chronologies and all of these things, which have just been wonderful. You don't expect that, you know, but the fans do a better job than we do, as writers, sometimes, of keeping track of all of these things, so I've relied on their resources.

    I do think I've been able to do some fun things with the series, as a fan, that I've been wanting to do, from reading it since I was a kid, but that's actually a weird things because, as a fan coming on, I had to be careful. You don't always want to do what the inner fan wants you to do; otherwise it just becomes like a sequence of cameos and inside jokes. So I had to be very careful, but there are some things that I've been wanting to have happen, and the notes left a lot of room for me to explore. I did get to have a lot of creative involvement in it; it wasn't just an outline, which has been awesome. You know, if it had been mostly done, they would have been able to hire like a ghostwriter to clean it up, and they didn't have that. They needed an actual writer, and so there are lots of plots I got to construct, and as a fan, that's awesome.

    But he did write the last chapter. He wrote it before he passed away. He was very dedicated to his fans—there's great stories—he was on his deathbed dictating, and I have those dictations where his cousin Wilson is sitting there with a tape recorder just listening to him, and I got all these things passed on to me. It was really an interesting process. I was actually handed about two hundred pages, what would become 2500. Yeah, 2500. It's multiple volumes; it got split into three books. But, got handed two hundred pages, and in these are scenes he wrote, dictations that he did, fragments of scenes he worked on, little comments he made, Q&As with his assistants where it says, "This is what's going to happen, this is going to happen..." I just describe it like, "Imagine there's this beautiful Ming vase, and someone puts it in a paper bag and smashes it up, dumps out half the pieces, hands it to you, and says, 'Alright. Build the vase exactly as it was going to be, as it was before.' " That's kind of been my job on this.

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  • 126

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2011

    Epic Games

    How do you think the digital space is changing the publishing industry?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's doing a lot of things. It is making it easier for people who don't frequently read books to run across books. I'm hoping that people who love to play their Infinity Blade games will see the story there and download it, and remember that they once loved to read books. Because a lot of people who are playing games read occasionally. I've found that most people, when they read a good book, say, "Wow, I really do like reading great books. Why don't I do this more often?" It's just a factor of that it slips our mind or we don't find time, or video games and movies are really flashy and books are anything but flashy. But there's just a wonderful experience to reading a book. I think there's space for all of these things, and I hope that more people can discover and be reminded of why they love books.

    It's also taking away some of the constraints. Book length is no longer as much of a factor as it used to be. You can have a really long book or a really short book, and the binding doesn't dictate the length of your story, which I really like.

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  • 127

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2011

    Epic Games

    What are the benefits of people becoming more comfortable consuming their books, games, etc. digitally?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Certainly there's just a convenience factor. In book sales, we lost a big convenience factor during the 90s and early 2000s, and that is that we lost mall stores. A lot of the bookstores in malls went away. And a lot of the distribution to little gas stations and corner stores went away, for various reasons that I can't explain in the length of this interview. Basically, our science fiction and fantasy books lost a lot of the places where readers could pick them up. As I said before, a lot of people when they run across a good book and start reading it, they love it. Yet now they don’t have as many opportunities to come across books. Recently they've been having to go to one of these big box stores, they have to make reading a destination. Because of that, all the people who would pick up a cool science fiction book that they would see in their corner store aren't reading anymore. Hopefully if we can show them books on their phone or in their game, they'll be reminded, and we can replace those distribution methods we lost with these new distribution methods where we can sell books for half the price and deliver them right to you in the moment of super convenience. I'm hoping this will encourage more people to look into our stories.

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  • 128

    Interview: Oct 3rd, 2007

    Robert Thompson

    When I think about some of the bright new voices in fantasy and science fiction literature, Brandon Sanderson always comes to mind. Technically you're not that new since you've just released your third and fourth novels with lots more to follow, but for those that may not be familiar with your work, can you just tell us a little about what inspired you to become a writer, how & why you ended up at Tor, and why readers might find your books worthwhile?

    Brandon Sanderson

    After being a voracious reader as an elementary school student, I eventually got bored with the books people were handing me, and by Jr. High I didn't read at all if I could help it. Luckily, a wonderful English teacher introduced me to the fantasy genre, and I've been hooked ever since. I read everything I could get my hands on, and even tried to write a fantasy novel when I was fifteen. It was a bit of a disaster, but when I tried again at 21 things went better. Though I started college as a bio-chem major, I soon realized that I enjoyed writing so much more than chemistry. I changed my major to English and dedicated myself to becoming an author. All through my undergraduate classes I worked nights as a hotel desk clerk because they let me write during my shift, and I could still go to school full time. I began to learn about marketing and publishing and sending my works to editors. I was writing my 13th novel when Elantris, my 6th novel was sold. I met my agent at the Nebula awards. He didn't actually become my agent until I had a contract, though. I met my editor at the World Fantasy convention. Tor was my favorite publisher, and so I looked for Tor editors, and tried to get them to read my work...

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  • 129

    Interview: 2008

    Rebecca Cressman

    Now Brandon, I know that you probably are asked this frequently, but when did you begin the creative writing process? Was it as a child?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well actually, I'm a little bit different than most authors. I didn't start as early as a lot of them. If you asked a lot of authors that question, they'll say, "Oh, I wrote my first book when I was in first grade, and ever since then I wanted to be a writer." Well, I didn't start off as a writer. I actually had a big period in my life where I didn't like to read, didn't like books at all. And it wasn't until I was in junior high and a teacher handed me a fantasy novel that it really all started.

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  • 130

    Interview: 2008

    Rebecca Cressman

    Interestingly enough. Do you find that parents have a hard time connecting with adolescent's and children's love of fantasy? Do you find that...

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, sometimes.

    Rebecca Cressman

    ...because it seems to be—I will go ahead and mention those two words: Harry Potter. He again opened the door to a whole generation of readers. And from there on, and there's been readers all along, but he captured worldwide attention, and parents are reading it with their kids. When you talk with adults about how to share the world of fantasy with children, what advice to do you give?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well there are a couple things I say. First off, there are plenty of adults, like myself, who love it as well. And I mentioned fantasy isn't just a kid's thing. But something about kids, they are willing to look at something not as a genre but as its story. You will notice that children's literature isn't shelved by what type of genre it is. The fantasy books are next door to the books about the Great Depression. And the kids will just read it if it is a good book no matter what. Now there are a lot of us who really get into the fantasy, and I have had parents come to me sometimes at my book signings and say, "My children only read this fantasy stuff. I'm fine with a little bit of it, but can't I get them to read some classics?" And I always tell them, "Don't worry, if they love reading... What you want from them when they are that age is to love reading, whatever it is they are reading. And if they truly fall in love with it, they will get into the classics. They will read broadly once they get a little bit older." It happened with me. I got into fantasy. I didn't want to touch anything that wasn't fantasy for a long time. Until I got to college and then I started to get into Jane Austen, and I started to get into Milton, and I started to get into some of these other things. I still love fantasy, but I had been taught by my reading experience to just love a good story and good literature. I have every confidence that if someone learns to love reading, they will end up reading all sorts of different things. One genre won't be able to satisfy them.

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  • 131

    Interview: Feb 6th, 2013

    Question

    I was wondering what inspired you to write your own things, and what were some of the first steps you took?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's an enormous question. Listen to Writing Excuses, I'll talk about that later. What started me? I was kind of a lost boy in school in middle school. I didn't do bad, I got Bs and Cs. I didn't have passion about anything, I was just kind of wandering. And then, I discovered fantasy novels. And it's dumb to say, but fantasy novels changed my life. I don't know why. Now, as a 37-year-old, I can look back and say "Well, obviously, it was THIS" But I don't know what it was. I discovered specifically Dragonsbane, the works of Anne McCaffrey, and the works of Melanie Rawn. Which were right after one another in the card catalog, and they all three had Michael Whelan covers. And I don't know why, but those three things grabbed me, and then I realized this is what I wanted to do. I realized this is a job people do, and it's awesome. So I told my Mom, and she said "Well, you better get better grades, then." That's what my Mom does, she's an accountant. And I got straight As in 9th grade. I did. Because I'm like, I now know why I'm doing this, and I have to be literate if I'm going to be an author. So it's hokey to say "Fantasy novels saved my life". They didn't save my life, but they sure changed my life.

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  • 132

    Interview: Feb 11th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    Another frequently asked question that I will get a bunch of times in line, so I will answer now: I am working on the second Stormlight book. (applause) Tor thinks it's coming out this fall; I'm hoping to meet their expectations. (laughter) If not, it will be the following spring. A sequel to Alloy of Law would be the next thing I would work on. (applause) Yeah, it's funny how these things happen. One of my favorite stories about Robert Jordan and the series is, you know...I started reading these books in 1990, right? How many people picked it up in 1990, when Great Hunt wasn't out yet? That's...the few the proud, right? 23 years?

    Question

    How many times did you reread it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, and you would reread it every time a new book would come out, right? That's what I did. Until you...at one point, I reread the whole series, and by the time I got done, the next new book was out, and I'm like, "Whoa, this takes a long time!" (laughter) And...there's a lot of questions I had as a fan that I have now been able to get answers to.

    For instance, I went to Tom Doherty—Tom Doherty is the publisher at Tor; he started the company, and I don't know if you guys know, Harriet was the first person he hired, as editorial director; she was in charge of editorial, and Harriet edited a lot of wonderful books. One of the books she edited is Ender's Game, if you're familiar with that. (applause) And she did also discover Robert Jordan, and then she married him. (laughter) I've always noted that's a great way to make sure your editorial advice gets taken, right? (laughter)

    And so I went to Tom, and I said, "Tom, really...how many books was it?" When you hear this talk of, "Oh, we expect it to be this long," "We expect it to be this long..." And Tom sat me down and said, "Okay, let me tell you Brandon. Robert Jordan came in, and he had this pitch for me, and he gave me this big, long description of this awesome book. He said in the first book...the first book ends with our hero taking a sword that's not a sword from a stone that's not a stone. That's where the first book ends. And from there, we have two more books; it's a trilogy." This is what Tom Doherty said, exactly. And then Tom said, "Jim,"—Robert Jordan's real name was Jim Rigney—"Jim, I know how you are. Why don't we sign you for six books?" (laughter) And Jim said, "Well, I don't need six books. This is a trilogy." And Tom said, "Well, if you think you don't need that, we can do something else. You know, let's just sign you for six books in the series." Tom looked me right in the eyes, and he said, "Brandon, I thought I was so smart." (laughter) "I thought I was buying that whole series for sure." And here we are on book fourteen.

    And so, yeah; this has been quite the experience; quite the ride, quite the journey of 23 years, and it's been amazing to be part of it.

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  • 133

    Interview: Feb 19th, 2013

    AndrewB

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He explained how he first got interested in the fantasy genre (his first fantasy book was Dragonsbane). He then preceded to tell how he discovered The Eye of the World and how he became a fan of the series. BWS then described how he wanted to become a professional writer.

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  • 134

    Interview: Jan 24th, 2013

    Krista Holmes Hanby

    Although he is now a six-time best-selling author known for creating relatable characters, vivid settings, and unique magic systems, Sanderson was not a bred-in-the-womb writer. Like many adolescent boys, he avoided reading. But when his eighth-grade teacher convinced him to pick a book off her shelf, he chose Dragonsbane, by Barbara Hambly—because of its cool dragon cover.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "It was like the story of my mom, except in a fantasy world with dragons, and that was just awesome," Sanderson says. "It had all the action and adventure, and it had all the relate-ability."

    Krista Holmes Hanby

    Sanderson went on to read every fantasy book in his high school.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Fantasy gives us this imagination, this power, this wonder, alongside real human problems, and it mixes all these things together in a package that is fun and readable and interesting," he explains. "It grabbed me, and that's when I decided I was going to be a fantasy writer—and I started writing."

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  • 135

    Interview: Feb 19th, 2013

    Rob B

    Brandon and Harriet arrived after their dinner with the library staff to rousing applause.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Brandon apologized for his voice because he'd be sucking on cough drops because, well, he's been touring. He recounted the story of his introduction to The Wheel of Time and fantasy in general. Brandon told the story (which I'm sure he's recounted at many of these signings and many interviews) of how Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly (a terrific novel recently re-released by Open Road Media in eBook) was gently forced upon him by his teacher named Mrs. Reader and Brandon was hooked on fantasy. Realizing he liked big books, he found The Eye of the World at his local comic/book/Magic store and was happy to finally have a series that was 'his' to share with his friends who were always sharing 'their' series with him. When Brandon mentioned submitting his novels for publication, the one novel he submitted directly to Tor rather than through his agent was the first published novel Elantris. Brandon recounted how he didn't let Joshua do his job and negotiate because he wanted to be published by Tor, specifically because they published The Wheel of Time. In 2005 Elantris was published.

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  • 136

    Interview: 2012

    Kaladin_Stormblessed (July 2012)

    My Dad's moving, so he let me pick through his book collection and choose some to take home with me. It's like Christmas in July.

    My Dad got me into reading fantasy and scifi when I was in Elementary School, but he wouldn't let me read many of these because of cough mature content cough (I'm looking at you, Wizard's First Rule & Stranger in a Strange Land). It was really, really cool to be able to go through his collection and pick up some older books in the genre that I had never even heard of.

    List:

    Dune, Children of Dune, and Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

    A Heinlein Trio by Robert A. Heinlein

    Sword, Elfstones, Elf Queen, Druid, Wishsong and Talismans of Shannara by Terry Brooks

    Kingdom of Summer by Gillian Bradshaw

    The Dragonstone by Dennis L. McKiernan

    The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

    Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind (I know, I know, the first book's not bad on its own though)

    The Lost Swords (The First and Second Triads) and The Complete Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen

    The Once and Future King by T.H. White

    The Hollow Hills, The Crystal Cave, and The Last Enchantment by Mary Stewart

    Demons & Dreams (The Best Science Fiction and Horror), edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (This one has a short story by George R. R. Martin)

    Darkspell by Katharine Kerr

    Stranger in a Strange Land (uncut) by Robert A. Heinlein

    The Book of Lost Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien

    The Bardic Voices Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey

    The Bachman Books by Stephen King

    and finally,

    Buck Rogers hardcover collection

    I've only read about half of these. The covers on some of them are so deliciously 80s and 90s...

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    I haven't seen a number of those covers in a long, long time.

    I'll second the Saberhagen, by the way. I really enjoyed those books. (And, of course, if you haven't read Dune or Dragonriders, they're both awesome.)

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  • 137

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Question

    So what do you read? You are a writer, what do you read?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I read Terry Pratchett. Whenever I can find a chance to do so, I love his works. And I like to read books by new writers, to see what's going on in the field, and see what people are doing.

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  • 138

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Question

    What up and coming fantasy writer would you read?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I really like Brent Weeks, but you probably already know about Brent. If you haven't read the Lightbringer books, they're wonderful. I like Brian McClellan, who has a new book coming out this year, it's his first. I would suggest that you keep an eye on him.

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  • 139

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Question

    What's on your reading list?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right now I am in the middle of Mary Robinette Kowal's new book. She sent me her latest unpublished one. Before that I read a Pratchett.

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  • 140

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    DeleriumTrigger ()

    Maybe I'm a bit ignorant here, but what is the motivation for a fascinating character like Wit/Hoid?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have always been impressed by masterworks like those done by King/Asimov, weaving multiple works by one author together into a single continuity. I felt that most authors who have done it didn't have the chance to start from the beginning intending to combine worlds. It is something that they decided upon after the fact. So, I thought I'd give it a try from book one.

    I love stand alone novels, but I also love big epics. This was a way to let me have both at the same time with some of my works. And so, Hoid was born as a character plotting behind the scenes of my novels, connecting them together into a larger tapestry.

    Kurkistan

    Have you ever felt constrained by this commitment to consistency across the Cosmere, or does it amount to "limitations are more interesting than powers" as applies to own options as an author?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I feel it has always helped. If an idea doesn't fit into the limitations, I simply move it to a non-Cosmere story instead.

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  • 141

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    Severian_of_Nessus ()

    What fantasy or science fiction authors do you consider underrated? Got any recommendations for us?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow. Lots. I doubt many of these are truly underrated on a place like /r/fantasy, but they sometimes don't get the sales I feel they deserve. Guy Gavrial Kay is one of these. (He has a new book out, and did an AMA recently.) You're probably familiar with him, but I would put him and Pratchett as the best two things in fantasy right now.

    Melanie Rawn's sunrunner books are some of my classic favorites, and not as well known by many modern readers.

    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and its sequels are just plain awesome.

    Daniel Abraham's works are very good. He's more well known now than he once was.

    Tags

  • 142

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    elquesogrande ()

    Whose writing has impressed you lately and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lately, I've been trying to find time to finish Brian McClellan's book. (I feel embarrassed I haven't done so yet.) But MAN that kid can write. He's great with the turn of a phrase and with the 'punch you in the gut' moments of good storytelling.

    Tags

  • 143

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    evilmeg ()

    What are you currently reading? What have you recently read and recommend?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brian's book Promise of Blood and Mary Robinette Kowall's new book. (The sequel to the one out now.) I recommend both. I posted some other favorites above.

    Tags

  • 144

    Interview: Sep, 2012

    Ryan

    Hey Brandon, thanks for doing this. My question is only tangentially related to your books. See, I've already read all of them. What book (or series of books) would you recommend while I wait for the next one?

    Current "Brandon Suggests" list:

    *Anything by Guy Gavrial Kay (Tigana in specific.) Slight content warning.

    *Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly

    *A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge

    *Anything by Robin Hobb, but particularly the Fitz books.

    *Brent Weeks (Black Prism in particular.)

    *Going Postal is my favorite Pratchett right now. (If you read him, don't start with the first book. Start here or with Guards Guards.)

    *Anything by Daniel Abraham under any of his various pen names.

    *Anne McCaffrey if by some miracle you haven't read her yet.

    *The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Slight content warning.)

    *And, of course, Pat Rothfuss--who is a genius.

    Tags

  • 145

    Interview: May 13th, 2013

    The Book Smugglers

    We Book Smugglers are faced with constant threats and criticisms from our significant others concerning the sheer volume of books we purchase and read—hence, we have resorted to 'smuggling books' home to escape scrutinizing eyes. Have you ever had to smuggle books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I married an English teacher with a book collection as large as my own, so I haven't had to worry about that for a long time. The smuggling of books I had to do was when I was a kid. I would be up late at night reading, and my parents would want me to go to bed for whatever reason. I mean, who needs sleep? But they would come and turn off my lights or do various things to get me to go to bed. I actually lit a Melanie Rawn book on fire once, by accident, because I was reading by candlelight. I've still got the copy.

    In high school, I would do the standard super-nerd-reader-boy thing where I would sneak a book into my lap as I was listening to some lecture in a boring math class.

    Wisely, when I got to college, I became an English major in my sophomore year. Now people expect me to read. In fact, part of my job is reading and keeping up to date on what everyone's doing. So I don't need to smuggle any books anymore, but I feel for those of you who do, and I would warn you not to read your books too close by candlelight, otherwise dire consequences can occur.

    Tags

  • 146

    Interview: Feb 13th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, way back in 1990, I wandered into my local bookstore. It's called Cosmic Comics. It's a little tiny shop. I actually usually rode my bike there even though I was approaching 16. I couldn't legally drive . . . but I'll just say I rode my bike there. And every week I would go in, and I would see what new books were on the shelf.

    To the right of me, right as I'd walk in, they had this little shelf—they sold science fiction and fantasy books, and comic books—I wasn't as interested in the comics books. I was there for the fantasy novels, and they had this thing where you'd buy ten and you get one free, which had me sold, right. Free book, right? So I would always plan and I would buy ten cheap ones and then find the really expensive thick one, which was like a dollar more, and get that one free. I thought—I'm the son of an accountant, so I thought I was getting away with something. And there on the shelf was a big book. A big book.

    Now I always say, length of the book doesn't actually indicate its quality, but I had learned very early on as a fantasy reader that you wanted the big books because if you liked the book, you had that much more to love. If you got a short book and you fell in love with it, it was over before you knew it. And if you got a big book, you would say, well, by the time you fell in love with it you had this big book to read. And there was a big book.

    I'm not your typical writer. I guess there are no typical writers. But a lot of writers I know—you'd ask them when they first started writing, they're like, 'oh yeah, I was six months old, started my first story. It was a war epic'. And you talk to writers and you know . . . all this stuff. I was what we call a reluctant reader. That's a literacy person term. I didn't it know back then—all I know is I didn't like books. All through the latter part of my grade school days and my first two years of middle school—seventh and eighth grade—I did not like books. In fact, I was convinced that books were boring. And people kept trying to get me to read books, and they would give me these books. And every one of these books would have like this boy who goes off and lives in the forest, and he has like this pet dog and his dog dies, and everyone's sad. And I read like three of these, and I'm like books are dumb, why is there . . . I don't like dogs. I'm a cat person. So I'm actually happy when the dogs die. I'm just joking–dogs are wonderful. My wife’s a dog person, so . . . But no, I just thought books were not for me.

    Last part of my eighth grade year, I had a teacher—her name was Ms. Reeder, by coincidence. She was my English teacher, and she insisted that I read a book on her shelf. This is because I'd gotten really good at faking my way through book reports, and I was a clever little boy that realized you could find out what was in a book without reading it, and then write a very convincing book report.

    And my teacher made me pick a book that she had read recently. There's a little stack of them—you know, like in these schools they have these racks of ratty paperbacks that like a hundred students have read, and there's like—yesterday's spaghetti is stained on one. But you know, every teacher has these things, and I had to pick one of these books. And so—she wouldn't let me get away with it this time, so dragging my feet went to the back of the classroom and browsed through these ratty books and came across this book with a dragon on the cover. Now, I had not tried a fantasy book since Lord of the Rings, which, if you give Lord of the Rings to a boy who's not really that good at reading, despite it being a brilliant novel, all it does is convince you that Lord of the Rings is a lot like Isaiah, right? You're like oh, I'm sure this is wonderful, but I'll let someone else tell me why.

    And I had not finished Lord of the Rings. But I saw this and there was this dragon, and it also had a very attractive young woman on the cover, which I will admit helped quite a bit also. It was a Michael Whelan painting—he's a fantastic illustrator—it was Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly, if any of you have read this. I highly recommend, it's a wonderful book. I picked this up even though it was a bit thicker than I perhaps had wanted. You know, I did the normal middle schooler thing looking for the shortest ones first. And I took this book home and read it, and it changed my life. This sounds stupid when I say it, I realize. It's a dopey little fantasy novel, right?

    But it changed my life. There was something in there. The imagination, the realism of the characters mixed with this wonderful scenario. Dragonsbane is about a middle-aged woman who tries to convince her husband not to go slay a dragon. He did it when he was young and now there's another dragon, but now they're middle aged and you know they're probably like in their early 40s, but to me they were like ancient when I was reading this. And like, why should a 14-year-old boy connect, right, with this book about a middle-aged woman having a midlife crisis, which is what the book's about, but I loved it. It was amazing.

    And I ran back to my teacher and I said, people write books about dragons? This is wonderful. She's like, yeah there's lots of them. There's this thing called the card catalog—you should go investigate this. And so I did. Now these . . . For the younger people in the audience, card catalogs were these things . . .

    [laughter]

    They were chiseled out of stone, actually, and you had to lug them open. And inside in caveman script, it would write the authors alphabetically and the titles alphabetically. We had two of them in my school. So I went to the title card catalog and said well, Dragonsbane was good. What's the next card after it? It was a book called Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. And I'm like well, this one has a dragon on the cover, and that looks like an attractive young woman also, so I will read that book. Lo and behold, Dragonflight is one of the best fantasy books ever written—Hugo award winning novel by one of the greatest names in the genre, also with this wonderful Michael Whelan cover. And so I read through everything they had of that. And the next one in line actually was Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn. Also with an attractive young woman on the cover—by coincidence, I'm sure.

    And I became a fantasy addict. I read every fantasy book I could get my hands on. And it's kind of a funny story. That summer someone gave me a David Eddings novel, which some of you may have read. I actually was skeptical because I'm like, I don't know if a guy can write fantasy. Because I was reading Barbara Hambly and Anne McCaffrey at that point. But I gave David Eddings a chance, and David Eddings further got fantasy's hooks in me. And so by that fall, I was super fantasy addict man. I was reading everything I could get my hands on, and was absolutely loving it.

    And it I think it was—actually I've been telling this story wrong, because I think it was actually the following spring that Wheel of Time came out, because I think I would have been 14 there, turned 15. But whenever it was, I got Eye of the World. I remember when it came out in paperback, and I picked this book up, and it was a big book. And I had been searching for something. My friends had given me David Eddings. One of my friends was a huge Ray Feist fan. And everyone had their series that they followed that they were in love with. And everything I'd read—Thomas Covenant and Dragonriders and all these things—were series that were already established that people suggested to me, and I had not yet found my series to suggest to people.

    And I was kind of searching for it, right? You know how that is. Fantasy had become my thing. I'm like, I want to be a fantasy hipster but I'm not, because everybody's giving me the books. Hipsters didn't exist back then, but that was the mindset. And I found this book and I’m like, all right, I'm going to give this one a try. And it was amazing. I loved this book, Eye of the World, and I remember distinctly getting done with it and thinking aha, I've found it. I'm going to be on the ground floor for this one. And then when this trilogy is done . . . [laughter] I'm going to be the one giving it to people and talking about how you should read this. But I remember when The Great Hunt came out—and my little bookstore did not get the hardcovers or trade paperbacks very often—but The Great Hunt came out in trade paperback. And I said aha, other people are figuring it out. Now the book is being released in trade paperback, it must be getting popular. And then The Dragon Reborn came out in hardcover. And I thought, I knew it—this is the series, it's taking off, and I was there first.

    Tags

  • 147

    Interview: Feb 13th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a really interesting thing. When I got to college, I decided I wanted to be a writer, and I started reading the books that I loved as a youth and studying them and trying to figure out how to do writing. Because . . . I love my professors, but writing teachers don't actually teach you how to write. I don't know if any of you guys have taken writing classes, but they're like well, let's explore your inner voice. And I'm like, you're telling me I have to hear voices? Well, I already do but they're not telling me how to write. How do I write? How do I make a character cool? And teachers aren't really big on teaching you how to make characters cool. They like to teach you how to develop your style.

    And so I started reading books, and I was actually very very disappointed because some of authors that I read—I won't mention names—but some of authors I read as a youth did not hold up when I was an adult. And they were perfect for me at the age, but as I tried to inspect them as an adult writer trying to develop my style, I didn't find the depth that I wanted to dig into that I thought would teach me how to write. Robert Jordan still did. In fact, Robert Jordan was the one that I would dig into and find how much I'd missed. I constantly tell a story about as a 15 year old reading these books, you know, there's this character Moiraine who's just like always keeping the boys down and not letting them . . . She's always giving them orders, and I was always like, Moiraine, just leave them alone, they need to go off and do cool things! And then I read the books as an adult and I'm studying them and I'm like, you stupid kids, listen to Moiraine!

    [laughter]

    There's this depth to Wheel of Time books that the various characters are all expressed on very different levels. And Moiraine has an entire story going on behind the scenes that you don't see because you don't see through her viewpoints. And there's a little subtlety and detail. I mean, maybe I'm dense, but I didn't get the whole thing with it being our world, and there . . . and who was it? Not Buzz Aldrin, um—

    Harriet McDougal

    John Glenn.

    Brandon Sanderson

    John Glenn being in the book referenced, and America and Russia and the Cold War being referenced in legend. I didn't get that stuff till I was in college, and I'm like how did it miss that? You know, it's like a smack to the face, right, the first time you realize that Egwene is Egwene al'Vere, which is Guinevere. And you know, I didn't get this as a kid, and building these things out and understanding them and seeing the depth of writing that he was capable of—the really wonderful sentences that evoke so much feeling, emotion, and description.

    I started studying the Wheel of Time to learn how to write. It became my primary model, just on a prose level, of how to do this thing that no one could teach me how to do. I spent the next . . . I decided I wanted to be a writer—actually, I was serving mission for the LDS church in Korea. The reason is I . . . I really wanted to be a writer before then, but my mother convinced me that writers don't get scholarships, and that I should be a doctor instead. And so I actually applied to BYU—I grew up in Nebraska—to go be a chemistry major, because that got scholarships. And then I got into college and realized what they do to all those people who just said they want to be chemistry majors to get a scholarship, is they put them in a really hard chemistry class that other people don't have to take their freshman year to show you what chemistry is like.

    And I then went to Korea and was so happy to be on a different continent from chemistry. I did not enjoy that freshman year, but I did spend a lot of that time writing. And I decided I missed writing so much, but I didn't miss chemistry, that I had made the wrong choice, and I decided to start writing a book on my days off during my missionary work, and I just started writing in a notebook. And I completely fell in love with the process. I'd known since a kid this is what I wanted to do, but that's the first time that it clicked for me, that what I loved to do should be my job, right? That I could spend eight hours working on a story and come out of it feeling awesome and have not missed that time at all. I get the same thing from a lot of my friends who are code monkeys. It kind of scratches the same itch—that you get into it, and you're creating something, and it's working, and it's clicking. And yes, it can be hard but you love it at the same time. That's what I wanted to do.

    Over the course of the next eight years I wrote 13 novels, trying to break in. And I eventually sold Elantris, my sixth book. And I sold it to Tor books. And when I got an offer from Tor . . . It was funny, I called up my agent. He said, well, I want to take this and I want to shop it, because usually you can get a better offer if you have one offer from somebody. This is basic business philosophy, right? And you go to everyone else and say, well, we got this offer from this company, will you beat it? And I said no, you can't do that. And he's like, but we can get more money. And I said, Tor is Robert Jordan's publisher. [laughter] We're not going anywhere else. When you have an offer from the top you just take it, and I did. And he, to this . . . not to this day, because things have kind of changed in my career, but there were many years where he would say to me, you know, I still wish you'd let me taken that, I bet we could have, you know, got a bigger launch, and yada yada yada. And when I did start working on the Wheel of Time, I actually called him and I said, so do you still wish? And he's like ah, you know, ah . . .

    Harriet McDougal

    [laughter]

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  • 148

    Interview: Feb 13th, 2013

    Question

    Hi. Thanks very much for coming and doing this, I appreciate it. I've been looking at some of your . . . You've done the webcasts where you record yourself writing, and something I've noticed—maybe it's just because of the thought process going on in your head—but you seem to type fairly slowly for somebody who's written multiple thousand page novels. Is that intentional, and it sort of goes along as you're thinking, or is it something that you wish that you could speed up? Have you ever actually formally trained on how to type quickly?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can type very quickly. I can get up to, I think, 87 or something like that. I work by the process. The creative process is slower than the fingers. I'm not actually a very fast writer. I'm not a slow writer. I'm about middle of the pack. People talk about how quickly I write. I don't write quickly. I write a lot.

    I do this compulsively. I love to tell stories, and one quirk of mine is that in order to take a break from telling stories, I just tell a story I'm not supposed to be telling. Which is where a lot of the interesting books—I'll talk about a few of them in a few minutes, because Dwayne has them for sale—that's where a lot of those things come from. And so, yeah, I do not wish I could speed up.

    In fact, I don't even want to be able to read faster. I actually started taking a speed reading class in school, and the first thing they said is: you need to stop hearing the words as you read them, in order to read faster. And I said, I don't want to stop hearing the words. That's part of the beauty. And I actually dropped that class like that because I realized that's not what I want. Speed reading is not what I want. I don't want to go faster through the Wheel of Time—that doesn't make any sense. And it's the same thing with the creative process.

    Tags

  • 149

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    chrismansell ()

    Do you feel your Mormonism is ever at odds with some of the hivemind aspects of Reddit? For example, Orson Scott Card is particularly reviled around here, though more for his personal views on what many consider to be a societal issue rather than a religious one.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I mostly hang out in places like /r/fantasy, /r/askhistorians, and /r/magicTCG. Things like foodforthought and truereddit also interest me. The smaller subreddits are a wonderful thing.

    At times, I feel at odds with what I'm reading—which is just fine. If I only ever read things that are what I would say, I'm not learning anything new. Now, sometimes when you combine large groups and anonymity, you get some pretty caustic interactions. I avoid those. I don't feel reddit is any worse or better in this regard than other websites. But, then, I have RES and actively use it to manage things, so perhaps I don't see much of the worst of it.

    Tags

  • 150

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    chrismansell ()

    How do you feel about modern fantasy? I'm not sure if it's down to religion, but I've noticed you never write sex, and thought you have action, it's never crossed into what I consider to be gory. Do you feel fantasy is going too far down the 'realistic grimdark' route?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do prefer to both read and write things that are more reserved in these areas. What I like about fantasy, however, is that it is a very broad and expansive genre. It has room in it for everything. Some of these people are fantastic writers. For my own writing, I feel that I can both tackle interesting and complex issues while writing works that do not include graphic content. It is a personal decision, and an intentional one.

    Tags

  • 151

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    RobinHobb

    Hey Brandon!!!! Here's my question, and I fully expect you'll never get to it, so no worries on that account.

    We live in an era of instant gratification and fleeting interests. Relationships that once lasted a lifetime, such as marriages, sometimes come and go in years or even months. Readers' commitment to long range tales, such as the Wheel of Time, now often outlasts their commitments to spouses and careers. What do you think it is about these epic fantasies that draws people in and keeps them coming back for literally decades of their lives? Good luck on not wearing out your typing fingers on these questions!

    Robin

    Brandon Sanderson

    Robin! Hey, hope you're having a cool AMA yourself today.

    You ask a very interesting question, one I haven't thought nearly enough about. For me, the Wheel of Time was like the high school friend that stayed with me. As relationships drifted apart, as I stopped being able to see many of the people I knew back then, I could always come back to the Wheel of Time and find some of my old friends. Perhaps that has something to do with it.

    There was also, of course, the sense of, "I have to know the ending." I know I've met more than one reader who expressed this as the reason they kept going all those years.

    There's just something wonderful about the constant like this in our lives.

    Tags

  • 152

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    AngryData ()

    What two books would you recommend to someone who hasn't read any of your books yet but is a huge reading especially in fantasy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say either Mistborn or Warbreaker. Mistborn (also called The Final Empire) is more action-oriented, and has the stronger magic system and plot. Warbreaker is more character and humor driven, and is a stand alone, rather than being part of a larger series.

    Thanks!

    Tags

  • 153

    Interview: 2013

    thabombshelter (March 2013)

    I've just been told that I get to be the first one to teach a brand new Science Fiction & Fantasy elective at my High School. I am building this class from scratch and since the students will be responsible for getting the books themselves, I have pretty much free-reign for my book choices. Great, right? Absolutely! However, I want to expand my initial book search so I wanted to enlist the Hive Mind to help with this initial salvo.

    This class is an elective for 10, 11, and 12 and meets 2 or 3 times a week. I haven't even begun the process of planning the structure of the class, but I'm thinking of doing about a novel every 3 weeks or so plus one choice novel a quarter. This is a semester course and I'm thinking of doing a quarter of fantasy and a quarter of science fiction.

    My wheelhouse is primarily epic, series based, high fantasy (Malazan, Recluce, Pern, SoT). I'm not that familiar with standalone fantasy novels, and since this is a short class, I would like to probably focus on single novels (or maybe individual novels of a series that can stand alone).

    I'm also much more familiar with the classic Sci-Fi canon (Asimov, Bradbury, Dick, Bova) but I'm not really well versed in current Sci-Fi.

    I also am not very up-to-date on YA Sci-fi/Fantasy, so any suggestions along those lines would be greatly appreciated.

    My request is the following: Please suggest books that would be great to use in a High School elective. At this point I'm not really concerned about Lexile scores so much as I am about quality and length. While I would love have the kids read a book like Reamde or Name of the Wind, those 1000 page tomes are a bit out of reach for my purposes.

    Thanks in advance!

    JDHallowell

    Don't neglect Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. Rider Haggard, Robert Louis Stevenson, etc.

    There are a lot of great SF & F books that are either in the public domain or available for free, legal e-book download either from Project Gutenberg, the Baen Free Library, or other sites.

    H. Beam Piper's books are now public domain.

    Cory Doctorow's Little Brother is available to read free on his website.

    Drawing as much of your curriculum as possible from free books will be a kindness to students who might otherwise not be able to afford to take your class.

    I hope you have fun with it!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I agree with this, particularly about Little Brother, which would be an excellent book for OP to consider. I also think, in line with the free books, that doing some short fiction would be good for the class and the readers. In my early SF classes, I remember the impact of some really great short fiction pieces—it allows you to have something to read quickly for class and have a discussion.

    If I were doing a class like this, I'd break it up by topic or subgenre. For example, these two free short stories are among the best SF I've ever read.

    Wikihistory

    They're Made of Meat

    Both are excellent because of their use of non-standard viewpoint. One is first person epistolary, the other done only through dialogue. You could do a great job in combining these as in-class reads for a given day (both take under 5 min to read) while working on a longer work that also uses viewpoint in an interesting way. (I'd suggest The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms for this, but I'm not sure if the content is acceptable for the audience. Dracula is a great fallback for a classic with an interesting use of voice—and you could contrast it with Wikihistory in some very interesting ways.)

    Another example would be to do dystopian, which is very big in YA because of the Hunger Games. Have them read Harrison Bergeron (my all-time favorite piece of short fiction) or something like the lottery, then read Little Brother or Uglies (both strong dystopian novels in recent years.)

    For metaphoric fiction, look up Ponies. It's another excellent, very short piece that I think your students would really get.

    In the Baen Free Library posted right above, you can find a free copy of 1632, one of the foundational works of alternate history. Niven's "All the Myriad Ways" might be a good match for that, or you could match it with Amber for multi-world connections. His Majesty's Dragon and the Yiddish Policeman's Union would fit really well here, as would some steampunk stories. (Hungry City Chronicles?)

    Basically, I would pick a theme for every two weeks or so, get one central novel for that theme, then have a half dozen shorts to either read in-class or as additional homework. Give yourself a topic to dig into, not just a book to read.

    Also, drop me a PM. I've got a whole stack of ARCs of Legion, one of my novellas, lying around. I could send them to you for your students.

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  • 154

    Interview: 2013

    CargoCulture (March 2013)

    I might not prefer your stuff, sir, but you are a class act all the way.

    windolf7

    Just curious, what don't you like about it?

    CargoCulture

    Pacing and tone, mostly. But it's a minor quibble. Mr. Sanderson is a great writer, just not one I tend to enjoy reading.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thumbs up from me, CargoCulture. There are plenty of fantastic writers I could name who just...well, don't click with me. There's nothing at all wrong with that. In fact, I really wish more people were like you—capable of simply not liking something, rather than making an issue of it.

    Tags

  • 155

    Interview: 2013

    jag51989 (July 2013)

    Which book should be my next to read?

    Elantris and Rithmatist were my next two books on my list and I was going to read which ever I just got my hands on first. I ended up getting both of them in my hands right now, so I don't know what I should read first.

    Elantris is his first novel and many people really love it while Rithmatist is new and sounds really interesting.

    What would you suggest reading next?

    Also, if it makes a difference, I will be going to an event that he will be at over the weekend, so I want to be able to talk about more than just Mistborn.

    Thanks for the help.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Elantris was my first published book, and it does show. I think it's still perfectly readable, but do go into it knowing that it wanders in places, that the prose is a little rough, and the characters a little more straightforward than those of Mistborn. It would be a good one to read if you are interested in the Cosmere, as The Rithmatist isn't a Cosmere book.

    The Rithmatist is a stronger work overall, but has a weaker start. (That's the roughest part of the book.) It is also more narrow—it has one viewpoint character, and is about basically one event. It's going to read faster than Elantris, come together more tightly, but overall is going to feel less deep because of its focused nature.

    Either way, thanks for reading.

    --Brandon

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  • 156

    Interview: 2012

    tritlo (September 2012)

    Great effort from Brandon!

    Hey all,

    I just wanted to share with you this mail I got from Subterranean Press, through which Brandon sells his new book Legion.

    Here it is.

    I think this is a great development, and I hope this experiment succeeds. Keep up the good work, Brandon!

    serenityunlimited

    That is fantastic. Brandon appears to be approaching the ebook market in a really wonderful way, embracing it, and delivering intuitively. Now that I have an ereader, I don't buy physical books as much, but I love having the actual paper copy, too.

    I wonder if this is for anyone who buys it hereon out, as well? The website doesn't seem to have those details available. EDIT Brandon Sanderson is a really rocking dude. (reddit thread)

    I will happily purchase the paper copy of books if an ebook comes along with it. Does anyone know which version, the paper vs. electronic, gives more to the author? Ultimately, I want to pay my dues here! Brandon is a really great author, and I'd love to support him as best I can. (Would it be weird to check out a copy from the library, then paypal/mail Brandon the retail price of the book? He's an exception- I wouldn't do that for every author!)

    Anyway, I love ebooks and this is a great step towards helping and forwarding the market. Kudos Brandon, thank you for all you do, and for furthering this cause.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The offer will last the life of the book.

    In this case, I make about the same from either copy, so don't worry about that. Do remember that this is a novella, however, so either think of it as a very long short story or a very, very short novel. At $20, that length can be a bit pricy for some wallets, which is one reason for the $2.99 ebook.

    If you ever read my books from the library, don't feel bad about me money wise. I love libraries, and your interest in my books there makes them order in more copies. If you want to give something back to me in that case, just loan one of my books that you own to someone else and get them to read it. That can do wonders for an author.

    trimeta

    Just a heads-up: you may want to have the folks at Dragonmount.com work on their SEO a bit. The page to purchase the ebook version of Legion doesn't come in the first page of search results for "Sanderson Legion ebook."

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. Okay, I'll give them a heads up. Thanks. :)

    Tags

  • 157

    Interview: 2011

    Reddit 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    HSMOM (January 2011)

    A Dance With Dragons, I'm hoping for an announcement soon.

    I have a feeling we waiting for all the Harry Potter Hype to die down.
    The show coming out has to be putting preasure on him.
    A few months ago he said he only has 5 chapters left to finish. He's almost DONE with it!

    TL;DR I'm expecting the release date to come out some time around April.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    A timeline for reference:

    I turned in Towers of Midnight somewhere around July First. It was done being edited by mid-August. Book was on shelves first week of November. I'd guess this speed would be similar for ADWD. On our part, we'd done some editing along the way (as I was turning in chunks to the editor all through the first half of the year.)

    GRRM might have been doing the same, though I'd suspect—in all honesty—GRRM is edited less than me, and needs editing less than I do. He's been at this much longer, and he labors over his prose long enough to get things perfect before sending it in.

    So...minimum turn-in-to-shelves will be three months. I'd honestly guess it at five or six here, as Tor would have rather taken that long, but felt they really wanted TofM out for the holiday season. Without the holiday worry, they'd have taken a few more months.

    CatfishRadiator

    Are you... Brandon Sanderson?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I am. Also, I should have mentioned why this timeline is relevant. I sometimes forget that people don't know the insides of publishing.

    Normally, turn-in to on-shelf time for a book is at least a year, usually longer. One of my books (Warbreaker) was turned in (first draft) in mid 2006, and came out in mid 2009. That's not uncommon.

    With a book expected to sell more copies, you can push things faster. You pay overtime at the printers, you shove other projects aside for the designers and typesetters, that sort of thing. In addition, book scheduling has to do with 'slots.' You don't want to self-compete too much, or compete with other books of the same nature from other publishers, so you make a schedule where you're trying to give each book the best fighting chance of survival.

    That means for a newer author, there may not be a 'slot' for your type of book until months and months after you turn in the book. However, a GRRM book will set the schedule for everyone else—they can drop it where they want, and shuffle everything else. However, a GRRM book will ALSO involve a lot more publicity and marketing—which means that once you pick a month, it's much harder to change, as you are losing marketing momentum.

    It makes them a little more hesitant to name a month on a book that has been floating for a while—but once they're confident, it's got a very good shot of not changing months. (Unless Grisham decides to release a book the same week after you've slotted, which happened with us on The Gathering Storm. So we bumped back a week.)

    I should probably start doing a TL;DR with these posts of mine, eh?

    BunjiX

    GRRM might have been doing the same, though I'd suspect—in all honesty—GRRM is edited less than me, and needs editing less than I do. He's been at this much longer, and he labors over his prose long enough to get things perfect before sending it in.

    Did you ever meet GRRM in person?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have met him, actually. Several times. One of the two years I lost the Campbell award (the year I lost to Scalzi, I think) GRRM lost the Hugo. At the party, we were chatting, and he told me about how he lost the Campbell to Jerry Pournelle the first year the award was offered. Then he gave me the 'Hugo Loser' badge he'd been given by someone and told me to wear it with pride. Extremely awesome person.

    Tags

  • 158

    Interview: 2011

    Reddit 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    HSMOM (January 2011)

    A Dance With Dragons, I'm hoping for an announcement soon.

    I have a feeling we waiting for all the Harry Potter Hype to die down.
    The show coming out has to be putting preasure on him.
    A few months ago he said he only has 5 chapters left to finish. He's almost DONE with it!

    TL;DR I'm expecting the release date to come out some time around April.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    A timeline for reference:

    I turned in Towers of Midnight somewhere around July First. It was done being edited by mid-August. Book was on shelves first week of November. I'd guess this speed would be similar for ADWD. On our part, we'd done some editing along the way (as I was turning in chunks to the editor all through the first half of the year.)

    GRRM might have been doing the same, though I'd suspect—in all honesty—GRRM is edited less than me, and needs editing less than I do. He's been at this much longer, and he labors over his prose long enough to get things perfect before sending it in.

    So...minimum turn-in-to-shelves will be three months. I'd honestly guess it at five or six here, as Tor would have rather taken that long, but felt they really wanted TofM out for the holiday season. Without the holiday worry, they'd have taken a few more months.

    CatfishRadiator

    Are you... Brandon Sanderson?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I am. Also, I should have mentioned why this timeline is relevant. I sometimes forget that people don't know the insides of publishing.

    Normally, turn-in to on-shelf time for a book is at least a year, usually longer. One of my books (Warbreaker) was turned in (first draft) in mid 2006, and came out in mid 2009. That's not uncommon.

    With a book expected to sell more copies, you can push things faster. You pay overtime at the printers, you shove other projects aside for the designers and typesetters, that sort of thing. In addition, book scheduling has to do with 'slots.' You don't want to self-compete too much, or compete with other books of the same nature from other publishers, so you make a schedule where you're trying to give each book the best fighting chance of survival.

    That means for a newer author, there may not be a 'slot' for your type of book until months and months after you turn in the book. However, a GRRM book will set the schedule for everyone else—they can drop it where they want, and shuffle everything else. However, a GRRM book will ALSO involve a lot more publicity and marketing—which means that once you pick a month, it's much harder to change, as you are losing marketing momentum.

    It makes them a little more hesitant to name a month on a book that has been floating for a while—but once they're confident, it's got a very good shot of not changing months. (Unless Grisham decides to release a book the same week after you've slotted, which happened with us on The Gathering Storm. So we bumped back a week.)

    I should probably start doing a TL;DR with these posts of mine, eh?

    BunjiX

    GRRM might have been doing the same, though I'd suspect—in all honesty—GRRM is edited less than me, and needs editing less than I do. He's been at this much longer, and he labors over his prose long enough to get things perfect before sending it in.

    Did you ever meet GRRM in person?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have met him, actually. Several times. One of the two years I lost the Campbell award (the year I lost to Scalzi, I think) GRRM lost the Hugo. At the party, we were chatting, and he told me about how he lost the Campbell to Jerry Pournelle the first year the award was offered. Then he gave me the 'Hugo Loser' badge he'd been given by someone and told me to wear it with pride. Extremely awesome person.

    Tags

  • 159

    Interview: 2011

    Question (January 2011)

    Just re-read everything by Douglas Adams, really love his writing style, especially in HHGTTG. Anyone know a similar author/book(s)?

    LunaticMalk

    Terry Pratchett is a fantasy writer known best for his Discworld series, I've heard him compared to Douglas Adams many times. Give him a shot if you haven't already, I would suggest starting with The Colour of Magic.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    These two authors get compared a lot, for legitimate reasons. For what it's worth, here's a writer's look at them. Note that I'm going to use terms (Parody/Satire) that are subject to a lot of different definitions. I'll set my definitions of them specifically for this comment. Also, to get it out of the way, I personally prefer Pratchett—though I like both authors, and think that Adams has a higher level of 'genius' quality writing in his books.

    When I look at Adams, I see a deep and meaningful satire of the human condition combined with a healthy dose of surrealism and a lot of absurd imagery. The books tend to involve less of a focus on plot or character and more on the ideas, the satire, and the surrealism. They make for tripy, yet intelligent, reads.

    Pratchett began writing with more of a focus on parody—which I'll define here as spoofing a specific genre, along with its tropes and cliches. The more broad satire of the human condition was there, but it was placed behind a parody of fantasy novels. I think this is the reason you often see people suggesting that one skip the first few Pratchett books. They're great when you 'get' him and his writing, and some people enjoy them right off. But for some readers, the trappings of a fantasy parody novel (ala Bored of the Rings) strikes too close to something akin to "Scary Movie" rather than true satire, which (by these limited definitions) is more thoughtful and intellectual.

    As Pratchett hits his groove in later books, he drops much (but not all) of the parody and replaces it with satire and, in many cases, a stronger plot and characters. You get sympathetic protagonists working toward important goals, mixed with some good, deep satire, some clever wit and puns, and still some good fantasy novel insider jokes.

    When Pratchett is on, therefore, he's doing some of what Adams does. However, the books also often involve an interesting mystery of some sort. (This is particularly evident in the guards books.) Plot was always a problem with me for Adams—I loved reading them, but felt a little at sea, wishing I had more of a story to go along with the ideas. (This is why my favorite of his was Dirk Gently.)

    Pratchett does sometimes hit pure brilliance, like Adams often did. The books are not as surreal, however. And you're often getting a hybrid dose of a mystery and a satire, which means that he can't do either as deeply as a single book dedicated to one of the two. For this reason, plot/characters end up feeling trite to some, and the satire isn't prevalent enough for others.

    I still think you should give him a try. He is probably my favorite living fantasy author, and am often blown away by all the things he can pack into a single novel. (I suggest people start with The Truth, personally.)

    Tags

  • 160

    Interview: 2011

    saintbonifaceDandelion Wine (January 2011)

    Hey Bookit,

    I am looking for some fantasy novel recommendations for the new year. Here's some of the ones I've read so far:

    LOTR Trilogy (of course)

    Wheel of Time Series — Robert Jordan

    Sword of Truth Series — Terry Goodkind

    Quarters Novels 1 & 2 — Tanya Huff

    Mirror of Her Dreams/A Man Rides Through — Stephen Donaldson (I also started the Thomas Covenant series, but I didn't like them as much as these ones.)

    Assassin's Apprentice — Robin Hobb

    Earthsea Trilogy — Ursula K. LeGuin

    Kushiel's Scion — Jaqueline Carey

    The Mists of Avalon — Marion Zimmer Bradley

    Lots of Mercedes Lackey/Anne McCaffrey

    Eyes of the Dragon/Dark Tower Series — Stephen King

    Game of Thrones — George R.R. Martin (Not my favorite book. It was well-written, but I didn't really get into it.)

    In general, I like novels with strong female characters, magical storylines, and maybe a bit of romance/sexual tension thrown in (I'm a girl, I can't help it. :D) I don't like fantasy novels that revolve around wars or political intrigue as much; I tend to get bored with them quickly.

    Thanks for your recommendations!

    DiscursiveMind

    Mistborn should be right up your alley. Female protagonist, innovative magic system. That would be my number one pick for you. If you like the Mistborn saga, I'd also suggest trying out Sanderson's newest series, The Way of Kings, I really enjoyed it.

    Name of the Wind is a great book, don't miss out on that one.

    The Lies of Locke Lamore is a bit outside of what you might be looking for (more Ocean's Eleven less LotR), but I'd suggest taking a look.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    The problem with my books is that she seems to want less political intrigue/wars and more sword and sorcery/adventure. I tend to do quite a bit of the first.

    Name of the Wind is a very good suggestion here.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay...less warfare/political intrigue. Female protagonists, high magic, some romance if possible. Didn't like GRRM as much, liked some YA novels...

    1) Sabriel, Garth Nix. Not much on the romance, but hits the other points solidly.

    2) Dig into some Barbara Hambly books. Many of them are from the same era of fantasy as Lackey/McCaffrey/MZB at their height, and will have a similar feel. Dragonsbane is my go-to suggestion for Hambly.

    3) Dragon Prince, by Melanie Rawn, hits all of your points solidly except has a stronger political intrigue plot than you might like. Great romance in the novel, however.

    4) Also, if you've never read the Blue Sword...well, this book has a good chance of being exactly what you're looking for. Really. Go for it. Note that it would probably be packaged as YA if it were released today.

    5) Howl's moving castle. Great book, has everything you want. I'd give this one a high probability of being a hit.

    Honorable mentions to consider: Michelle West, Sherwood Smith, His Dark Materials. If you like stylized prose: Patricia Mckillip. If you want to get your Emo on: C.S. Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy. If you want to laugh, Wee Free Men. (But really, go read the Blue Sword.)

    --Brandon Sanderson

    Tags

  • 161

    Interview: 2011

    mafoo (January 2011)

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Is it me, or is it very odd that the first two items on this list are books by authors who have multiple books out, none of which Shawn has read. You'd think that if he was so eager to read their work, he'd...I don't know, look up one of their other books?

    That said, I'm quite eager for new Abraham novels. I've made no secret of the fact that I like his work.

    Tags

  • 162

    Interview: 2011

    geemachine (January 2011)

    So Song of Ice and Fire has hooked me into fantasy reading—what can you recommend?

    What I particularly liked was the grittyness and adult themes, not to mention the epicness of the plot and story. I'm into the action and swordplay but not too much magic. Searching the threads there seems to be a lot to say for WoT and Mazalan but they seem very magic based. Any suggestions and some education to the genre much appreciated!

    EDIT: Thanks a bunch everyone—great stuff—Gonna carry on with WoT for time being and lots of great options for after—Name of the Wind probs. Cheers everyone.

    nowonmai666

    If you are looking more for swordplay than magic, then perhaps some historical fiction might be more up your street than out and out fantasy? I'm thinking here of Bernard Cornwell, whose Saxon Chronicles (start with The Last Kingdom) and Warlord Trilogy (about King Arthur; start with The Winter King) might suit nicely. For fantasy written for grown-ups, my favourites are Guy Gavriel Kay (his standalone novels set in an alternate Europe, such as Tigana or Last Light of The Sun, not the trite Summer Tree series) and Louis McMaster Bujold (start with The Curse of Chalion). These, like A Song of Ice and Fire, feature complex, believable characters with human motives, as opposed to the Good Guys vs The Dark Lord style of fantasy. They are as real and believable as ASOIAF, although the worlds they are set in are more overtly magical.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    OP, listen to this person. They know exactly what they're talking about. Might I add that you try David Gemmell? (Think of his books as being much like the movie 300 in novel form.) Moorcock is the other I'd suggest.

    I'll warn you, though, that Martin tends to be one of the few that does what you're talking about. Generally, in fantasy, epic tends to be equated with high magic. Gritty, real-world tends to be equated with shorter, fast-paced stories. It's not always that way, but it is a rule of thumb.

    So, you'll find that epics like WoT, Name of the Wind, and Malazan are going to be high magic, while gritty, swordplay tales like Abercombie and Gemmell are going to be shorter and more self-contained. Guy Gavriel Kay tends to do epics in a single volume with a lot of 'grown up' storytelling, but there's not as much swordplay.

    Maybe Codex Alera by Jim Butcher? (Mentioned by djduni.) It's more high magic, but the magic is focused on battle magic, and the pacing is much more of a swordplay story while the tale at length is an epic.

    SgtScream

    I have to ask: What are your top 5 fantasy novels?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow. That'll be a tough one—I'm not one to pick favorites. And, when pushed into it, I have a habit of changing 'favorites' with my mood. But I'll do my best, but I won't put them in any order.

    - The Shadow Rising, Robert Jordan. My favorite of the WoT books.
    - Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay.
    - Dragonsbane, Barbara Hambly (The book that got me into fantasy, so it has a very special place in my heart.)
    - The Truth, Terry Pratchett (My favorite Pratchett.)
    - Watchmen. (Can I count that?)

    Honorable Mention
    - Name of the Wind. (Hasn't been around long enough to see if it stands the test of time.)
    - Dragonflight

    As you can see, my 'favorites' slant strongly toward older books, but that's because I've read them more often, and because of the 'first' factor. (The Truth was my first Pratchett, Tigana my first Kay.) I very much enjoy Jim Butcher, among newer writers, among many others.

    I think GRRM is a genius, and certainly one of the very best fantasy writers around. (Up there with Kay and Pratchett.) The reason he's not on the list is because he's just too brutal for me. I've said before that I admire him and think he's a great writer, but just can't take the level of grit he includes in his books. By the time I get done with one, I feel sick. Love his short stories, though.

    Tags

  • 163

    Interview: 2011

    Brian (January 2011)

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Those were awesome—the title lettering was quite well done. But I must say that the Pern one was a little unfair. Or maybe it's just a pet peeve of mine. (Mary Sue accusations.)

    Of course, Pat Rothfuss's way of responding to those might be the best. When asked if Kvothe is a Marty Stu, or whichever male incarnation you want to pick, he replied something along the lines of: "He sure is! I'd LOVE to be that guy. What's wrong with writing or reading books about people that you'd like to be?"

    Tags

  • 164

    Interview: 2011

    gunslingers (January 2011)

    The first book in the Fantasy Book Club has been chosen and it is The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson!

    Thanks to everyone that voted. This is a very long book at just over 1000 pages we will probably be discussing it well into February. Be sure to check your local libraries and used book stores for copies if you are low on funds. I'm looking forward to the discussion and very excited for the potential of this club.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    I'm honored. Thanks to those who voted.

    I've mentioned this before, but since it's known I'm on Reddit, I figured I should leave a note here. Some may wonder if I'll be participating in the discussion.

    It's generally my policy to avoid commenting on threads dedicated only to discussing my work. I feel readers need to be able to criticize and analyze a work without the author jumping in to steal the show. My experience has been that I can really unbalance such conversations, inadvertently directing them away from an honest discussion of the work and toward a Q&A with me.

    In addition, I'm not on Reddit to use it as a self-promotion tool, and want to stay away from looking like I'm doing so. I'm very thankful to those who suggest my work to others. (It's one of the only ways that authors get publicity.) However, I think it's appropriate (and more in the spirit of the site) for me to step back from doing the same.

    These two rules don't hold in all situations, but they are things I'm aware of and careful about. That said, if you want to do a Q&A with me in a separate thread after the book club discussion is done, I'll be happy to do one.

    Tags

  • 165

    Interview: 2011

    daria42 (January 2011)

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Just got my hands on a copy. I'll post when I've finished it.

    tigerraaaaandy

    you snake! i'm jealous. are you doing a blurb or something, or is that just a friendship/professional perk?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I offered to blurb it, but I'll bet it's too late to get one in. (And I'm not sure he'll need one.) But I'll send one in. Mostly, I think Pat's just being nice to me.

    Tags

  • 166

    Interview: 2011

    llbad (January 2011)

    Help me to remember the name of one of my childhood faves?

    Today I was reminiscing over all of the books I read as a child, when one came to mind that I simply could not remember the name of. Here's what I remember about it (sorry I remember so little!):

    - It is an adult fantasy/sci-fi novel

    - It begins as a sci-fi; the protagonist lives in a strange futuristic world, has a hot robot woman friend, and competes in "the games" which are an important theme in the book. In this world, he is physically strong and dominates in "the games", but later in another mirror world he is mentally strong and has magical powers. This is when the book becomes more of a fantasy...

    - I believe he is named "blue" in the magical world. There are also other colors signifying other 'wizards'—for lack of a better word. I really hope I am remembering this correctly, because my google searches for characters named Blue came up empty-handed.

    - The book must not have been very popular. I have searched numerous top 100 sci-fi and fantasy lists for the title (which I would recognize upon seeing).

    If anyone knows the name of his book it would be greatly appreciated! I absolutely love re-reading childhood favorites. =)

    Thanks

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Apprentice Adept series by Piers Anthony. Split Infinity is the first book.

    llbad

    Wow, that was insanely fast. Are you more skilled in the use of Google than I am or have you read the books? =D Thanks so much.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've read them. I'm also very interested in Piers as an individual. He did a lot of interacting with his fans, and he did it in an era when that was much more difficult than it is now. Now that I'm a writer myself, I'm learning how time consuming that can be. He still posts updates—he used to do them as newsletters, now they're on his website—which are very interesting reads and insights to the man himself.

    The early Apprentice Adept books were written during what many consider his strongest era as a writer—the original is nestled right between the first Xanth book and the first Incarnations book. They were modestly popular, but you probably had trouble finding them because his writing career took a nose dive in the 90s. He's not talked about much these days. He blames this change on the whims of publishing; critics say it was due to him milking Xanth until it bled.

    For myself, I found that I liked his books less and less as I grew older. I still can't say if that's due to changing taste on my part or decreasing quality on his. Still, I have a feeling that particular series will hold up better than most. Enjoy!

    Tags

  • 167

    Interview: Aug 21st, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    I remember those little half books of The Eye of the World. I was already a fan by then, but those became collectors' items among the fans.

    Tom Doherty

    We gave away over a million of them. I figured anybody who read that couldn't stop.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow. A million of them? Really. That's a lot.

    Tom Doherty

    It was. It wasn't quite half of the novel. It was a natural break that Harriet agreed on.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was Shadar Logoth, I seem to recall. Wow. A million. That's crazy. I mean, most authors don't have a million books in print, and Robert Jordan had a million of his promo books in print. That's just crazy. You did that right around the third book, wasn't it?

    Tom Doherty

    Yeah. The first book sold 40,000 trade paperbacks. We launched it as a trade paperback, because not many people were doing major promotions on trade paperbacks in those days. We ended up selling 40,000 of the trade.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Which is really good.

    Tom Doherty

    Which was very good, yeah. I had the hardest time with the sales force when, on the third book, I wanted to make the major promotion in hardcover. They said, "Well, you've got such a winner. Why would you want to change?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    See, as a reader, when I picked up The Eye of the World, I picked it up in mass market paperback. My bookstore first got it in mass market. I was just a new reader, and all the books that I had read up to that point had been series in progress that people handed to me, like David Eddings. Fantastic stuff, particularly for a teen boy. And Tad Williams, and Terry Brooks. I found the Dragonriders on my own and loved those, but it was already done. I was on the lookout for something to discover then. I didn't want to always just be handed something that everyone else loves. "Where's my series?"

    When I saw The Eye of the World, I was on the lookout for big, thick books, because you got more bang for your buck. As a kid who didn't have a lot of pocket change, that was an important thing. So I bought The Eye of the World, and I read it, and I said, "There's something really special here. I think this is going to be mine."

    Then my bookstore got the second one in trade paperback, and I said, "A‑ha! I've spotted it!" Because as a kid, that told me that this book was popular enough that my little bookstore was willing to order in the trade paperback. Then, when the third one came out in hardcover, I thought "He's made it, and I called it." I was like the Wheel of Time hipster, right? "From the get‑go, this is my series and I found it, and all you other people didn't see it in the beginning." Even still, I'll go on signings and ask, "Who picked it up in 1990?" and we'll get a cheer for those of us who waited 23 years for the series to end.

    Tom Doherty

    That's great.

    Tags

  • 168

    Interview: Aug 21st, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    So after Ender's Game, the second Tor book that I can remember reading was The Eye of the World and the other Wheel of Time books. There were all these rumors out there about how many books it was planned to be and what it was originally pitched as. Tom, I think we need to hear it from your mouth: the first-hand witness of that pitch when James Rigney came in. Was it this office right here?

    Tom Doherty

    Well, actually we'd already done three books with him. The Fallon Blood, The Fallon Pride, and The Fallon Legacy. He did them under a different pen name.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. Reagan O'Neal.

    Tom Doherty

    They had started out to be one book. He was going to do a big historical novel of the American Revolution, but it ended up being three fat books.

    When he came in and said he wanted to do a big epic fantasy novel, we said, "Well, a big epic fantasy?" He said, "Well, maybe it'll be a trilogy." So I suggested a six book contract, and when he said no I said "Okay, you know if you finish it in three, we'll just do a different trilogy." He said, "Well, all right, if you insist."

    Brandon Sanderson

    Didn't you tell me that, when he gave the pitch on the first book, it really ended where the third book now ends, with the sword that's not a sword being taken from the stone that's not a stone?

    Tom Doherty

    Well, he didn't actually, no. He didn't give me a very detailed outline, but I didn't really need one because he'd done such a great job with the Fallon trilogy and Harriet [McDougal, Robert Jordan's widow and editor] was sold on it. Harriet had edited the Fallon trilogy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. She tells the story that she called you after reading the few chapters of The Eye of the World that she'd read and said, "You need to look into this thing, because either I've fallen into the wife trap after all these years, or this is the best thing I've ever read." [Note: Harriet McDougal told the same story during her conversation with Tom Doherty.]

    Tom Doherty

    I don't remember her saying that, but she did call me and say, "Hey, this is special." And I read it, and it was special. We did some things with those books that were pretty major for a small, independent company.

    Tags

  • 169

    Interview: Sep 24th, 2013

    Shawn Speakman

    What book would you recommend your readers tackle AFTER they have read Steelheart? Young adult or otherwise!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Usually if people are not familiar with my work, I point them toward one of two things, either the original Mistborn trilogy or Warbreaker. Mistborn is a little more action-oriented. Warbreaker is a little more character- and humor-oriented.

    Tags

  • 170

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2013

    WorldCon Flash AMA (Verbatim)

    tumello (August 2013)

    What are you currently reading and how is it affecting what you write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I just finished a friend's book, which is as of yet unpublished. It's different enough that I am not worried about influence worming its way into Words of Radiance—but reading Promise of Blood (which is what I read just before) did make me want to go write more Alloy of Law era Mistborn stories.

    Tags

  • 171

    Interview: 2013

    SaeLow (November 2013)

    Are YA authors considered "inferior"?

    I am very interested to know what the sub thinks about YA fantasy fiction. I have often wondered why (other than the obvious financial benefits) a talented author would choose to write in a style that is more easily digestible if they are capable of writing at a higher level. I imagine this may be a sensitive topic and don't mean to offend, but I always assumed that an author would write at as high a level as they possibly could. Upon reading some YA fiction (and quickly deciding that I hate it), it seems to me that the level of writing is very low. How can these authors be proud of these works? In my opinion, at least, selling a million copies of a book is not synonymous with good quality writing. Am I alone?

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Well, this (including the discussion of my writing) was not what I was expecting to find when I opened this thread.

    I must admit, one of the things I find most frustrating about discussions of literature in our culture is the need we all seem to have to polarize and demean. When it comes to artistic taste, it seems we can't simply enjoy something—we have to declare that what we enjoy is superior to the alternatives. That the piece we dislike is unchallenging and immature.

    Enjoyment of art is about personal taste. This is as true for novels as it is for a painting on the wall. And yet, we seem unable to accept this, and assume that those who like the writing we do not must somehow be inferior.

    I find this disappointing in the face of the constant attempts by the sf/f community to rebuff the literary elite who would dismiss, demean, and ignore our genres. We shout until we're blue in the face about the virtues of fantasy. (There several posts the front page right now, arguing about the power of a sense of wonder.) And yet, we're just as quick to do it to ourselves, deciding the thing that does not suit our particular taste must be worthless, written poorly, and created by those of inferior skill who are looking to cash in on a fad.

    There is a difference between poor writing and writing that does not suit our personal tastes. I don't mean to say that we shouldn't criticize authors or try to hash out for ourselves what makes great writing great. I just wish that we, collectively as a genre, would spend less time talking about why the writers we don't like are crap.

    OP, by the way, most of this isn't directed at you—but instead represents my frustration at how often topics like this become so argumentative. To you, I'd ask: Is a Pixar film less valuable because of its sometimes more straightforward themes and lack of brutal depictions? Perhaps ask what the creators of such films can accomplish through their medium that another story cannot and you will find why writing pieces for younger readers is sometimes so fulfilling for writers.

    Tags

  • 172

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    Shadowrise_ (October 2013)

    Not sure if this question has already been posted. Which author would you say has influenced your writing the most? From deciding to be an author to making you write like you do. You are my favorite author right now and therefore what made you decide to start and to have the style of writing that I so love.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's really hard to judge the MOST influential. Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly was the book that got me into fantasy, and the Dragonriders of Pern books kept me there. My favorite classic is Les Miserables. Tad Williams, Robert Jordan, and Melanie Rawn were very influential on me during my early years as a writer.

    My style came as a mix of many of the things I was reading, as a reaction against some elements—and toward others. Brent Weeks, I've noticed, has a very similar style to my own, particularly in his Lightbringer books. I believe we're both products of the same era and books.

    Phantine

    Did you read any Steven Brust? He's got a recurring character who cameos in every book, and a repeated number with great mystical significance (17, not 16). And, of course, lots of snarky conversations.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't read as much Brust as I should, but what I have read has been excellent.

    Tags

  • 173

    Interview: Nov 12th, 2013

    Sara

    What are some books, or who are some authors, that you enjoy reading?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Terry Pratchett is brilliant, and I buy everything that he writes. If you haven't read him, you really need to do yourself a favor and pick him up. I also have to mention Guy Gavriel Kay. He's one of the great writers of the genre, and he's amazing. His writing is beautiful, interesting, fun, and exciting, but also lyrical.

    Tags

  • 174

    Interview: Nov 12th, 2013

    Sara

    Bonus question, I ask all of my interviewees: who are your fictional crushes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow. Probably I would have to go back to being a high schooler, which is the last time I would feel that the word "crush" applied to what I felt, and I would say Sioned from Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince. I was totally into that woman. She was awesome.

    Tags

  • 175

    Interview: Sep 29th, 2013

    Lauren Zurchin

    Any good reads you recommend for the book fans?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have recently read Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan. I guess it's been a few months now. I really like that. The other most recent book I read is an unpublished novel that I'm hoping will be published because I thought it was fantastic, by a friend of mine. It's called A Thousand Faces—I don't know if she'll end up changing that title. But, Promise of Blood, very good, highly recommended. And if you're looking for something great, and you haven't tried Terry Pratchett, he's one of my go-to recommendations. I love Pratchett's work. Don't start with the first one. Start with Guards! Guards!, or The Truth.

    Tags

  • 176

    Interview: 2011

    TheFinn (January 2011)

    r/Fantasy Recommend me a book to borrow from work.

    So for those of you that don't know my employer Barnes&Noble has a policy where employees can borrow any hardcover book in the store for 2 weeks. I just recently borrowed Farlander and have since finished it*. And I find myself in need of something new to read. We have the Internet at work so I will be able to periodically check reddit throughout my shift this evening.

    So here are the requirements:

    - Obviously I would prefer fantasy but I will also accept Sci-fi or really any kind of fiction if I were to put my interests into order it would be as follows Fantasy>scifi>historical>everything else.
    - It has to be currently available in hard cover.
    - It has to be in stock within my store. Now on this last bit I don't expect you guys to go searching through bn.com punching in the zip for my store (01527) to see if it is available I can totally do that while being bored in music/dvd dept.

    If you have any questions about my taste feel free to ask. Otherwise I look forward to your input.

    *I don't know how I feel about this book The world and characters are all very interesting. However the ending left quite a bit to be desired.

    EDIT: thanks for all the suggestions i was fortunate enough to have a copy of The Way of Kings in my store that I was able to borrow

    Lord_Leto

    The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    You are a scholar and a gentleman. (Or, perhaps, woman.) However, I did hear from the publisher that B&N is on no-replenish/return on the book now that the holidays are over. B&N tends to cycle hardcovers more than some other bookstores—they order a large stock up front, then keep them on hand for three or four months. There's really only a 1/10 chance that they've got a KINGS in stock.

    TheFinn, I've got some ARCs of it, though, and might be able to have one sent to your store for you.

    As for books you can borrow...it depends on your preferences. If you like lyrical, literary style books, The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia A. McKillip might still be in stock in hardcover.

    If you like gritty heroic, The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie releases in about a week. You may want to hold out for that.

    I think that a publisher just did a new Last Unicorn re-release in hardcover, which is a great book. Also, the Gunslinger graphic novels have a new collection coming out, which might be in hardcover. I've heard good things about them, but haven't read them.

    Your best bet, though? Wise Man's Fear, Pat Rothfuss, coming in a month or so.

    Tags

  • 177

    Interview: 2011

    basilobs (February 2011)

    Could someone write me...

    a fucking depressing sci-fi-esque story?

    EDIT: NOT a three sentence story. I've been bored and wanting to read something like this. Go ahead and write a decent length story. Not a novel or anything. Something that would take a few minutes... Er, please?

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Some classics, in case you haven't read them:

    Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut

    The Ones who walk away from Omelas by UKLG

    Tags

  • 178

    Interview: 2011

    schmii (February 2011)

    I'm thirsting for fantasy...

    But I want something fresh and exciting. I am tired of reading the same homage to Tolkien in every book I look in. I'm tired of seeing the typical party of the brave warrior type, the silly rogue type, the smart magic user and so on. I'm tired of black cloaked villains that all have the same goal. I want to be plunged into a world of magic that I have never seen before.

    I also don't want Urban or modern fantasy right now. I still do want something old about the story. I want there to be some dragons or maybe a nymph or two. I would love some Greek or Celtic or any type of mythological influence. But I still want it to be fresh. I want a book or series that decided to do something new with old formula. Can anyone suggest anything that might fit my needs?

    growingshadow

    Well, The Wheel of Time has strong connections to Norse Mythology.

    Brandon Sanderson. Anything by him, really. I'd recommend Warbreaker for what you're looking for. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is also incredible. Both of these authors have amazing magic systems, and Sanderson's are different with every book.

    Now, if you're looking for something completely anti-Tolkien read The Black Company by Glen Cook. Essentially there are no heroes, it's told from a human perspective. The characters feel real, no higher moral obligation (for the most part) to help others. Really strong Indian mythological influence in these books.

    schmii

    All my friends have been telling me to read Wheel of Time. I have the first novel from one of them but the writing is a bit too flowery for me. My friends tell me to stick with it so I will try.

    I really do have to check out this Sanderson fellow, you're the second to suggest him. I have Rothfuss's book already and I'm simply waiting for the release of the second book to start the first. I'm terribly impatient when it comes for waiting for book so I only read series when at least two in the series are out.

    I've never read anything with Indian mythological influence so The Black Company might be really refreshing for me. I'll have to add that to my to-read list as well.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Reply from that Sanderson guy here. Drop me a PM with your email, if you want, and I'll send you a PDF of the first Mistborn book.

    However, looking at what you said above, I'm thinking you might want to try Jim Butcher's Codex Alera books. (Furies of the Calderon is the first.) It's fast-paced epic fantasy with a Roman feel. Also, look up Tigana by Guy Kay. It's my go-to suggestion for people who are looking for fantasy with a little more depth to it.

    --Brandon Sanderson

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  • 179

    Interview: 2011

    Question (March 2011)

    As requested, a photo of all the books I ordered from a suggestion thread...

    dermballs

    Sometimes it's lonely feeling like the only person who has absolutely no interest in fantasy and sci fi here. Enjoy your books.

    Question

    You're not alone! Holla for literary fiction.

    dermballs

    Sorry wasn't dissing. Just lamenting. Seriously enjoy them. Read what you love. It's a cool collection it just makes me sad when I see that many books in one place and then realise I probably wouldn't want to read any of them.

    Question

    Its cool, I knew you weren't, and didn't mean for my statement to invoke sarcasm. I'm trying to get through The Way of Kings currently. Not sure why I'm reading my second biggest book so early, but ah well. Its decent.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Second longest? I demand to know which author wrote one longer. It's that Williams guy, isn't it. I need to have him eliminated.

    (Joking. Otherland is awesome.)

    —Brandon S.

    Question

    Oh my. You need to tell me the correct pronunciation of Szeth, sir. And aye, the last book in the Otherland has around 150 extra pages.

    P.S. Read up all the "lore" I could find on Adonalsium this morning. Psyched.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Closest to "Zeth" but really a split between "Seth" and "Zeth." Basically, how it is written with a very soft s at the front.

    ISw3arItWasntM3

    Out of curiosity, how many pages would tWoK come out to in mass mark paper back form?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's hard to say, since publishers play with these things all the time. Notice Wise Man's Fear, which is shorter than The Way of Kings by a bit, but ended up 100 pages longer in hardcover as DAW decided to go with a larger font. I won't be surprised if Otherland ends up longer in the end, though. Tad likes his long books.

    umbra00

    William's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series heralded the true beginning of my fantasy reading career. I was in Eighth grade, and I remember watching my bother read it, wondering with amazement at how he had the resolve to finish not just one large book, but four. I endeavored to be like him, so I started the first book shortly after he had finished it. I remember the first 200 pages were gruelingly slow, taking me nearly a month alone. Before this the largest books I've read were Harry Potter, so the transition from the fast-paced young adult lit. to adult lit. was devastating on my young mind. Only after I had gotten those 200 pages read, I started to get the feel of the story and where it was taking me. I began to feel comfortable with the length, and the next month I pushed out the last 3000 some pages. After finally finishing it I was devastated to leave the characters I was just beginning to know behind, but thus was my love for lengthy fantasy stories born.

    I have not yet had to opportunity to read The Way of Kings, but if it in any way resembles what you achieved in Mistborn or Warbreaker, I feel I will enjoy it immensely. Keep doing what you do, love the work you've put out so far.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have very fond memories of M, S, and T myself. I can actually place where I first saw the Dragonbone Chair on the shelf—funny, how I can do that with so many books that became important to me—at a bookstore. The paperback had that striking Whelan cover, with the open window on the front looking into colored end pages.

    Unlike you young whippersnappers today, I had to wait out that trilogy. (Still have the third in hardcover.) Wonderful storytelling. It was one of the great building blocks in Epic Fantasy's earlier years. Before Martin, before Jordan, we had Williams. (And we still do, of course. I've enjoyed his newer writing too, but this trilogy is what I regard most fondly.)

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  • 180

    Interview: 2011

    koramar (March 2011)

    Need a book recommendation

    Ok, so I have hit a wall in regards to finding a new series to read, I've read quite a few and am looking for some recommendations.

    Series I've read:

    Wheel of Time

    ASOIF

    Name of the Wind + Wise Man's Fear

    The Belgariad

    Night Angel Trilogy + Black Prism

    LoTR

    Codex Alera

    Farseer Trilogy

    Warded Man+Desert Spear

    The Shannara Series

    Sword of Truth Series

    The Earthsea Cycle

    Mistborn + The Way of Kings

    The Kingdom of Thorn and Bone

    Looking for recommendations along the lines of these series, Thanks.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Hmmm... Looks like you prefer epic fantasy, multi-volumes. Everything on there is 'high magic' except for ASOIF.

    If you want me to pin down specific suggestions, I'll need to know what you like/don't. In general terms. Do you prefer the 'high magic' sorts of books, or did you find GRRM fresh and want something more like it? Did you prefer the more light-hearted, old-school fantasy like Eddings and Shannara? Did you prefer WoT's slow and careful pacing or Codex Alera's breakneck speeds?

    Single-character dramas like Rothfuss and Farseer, or ensemble casts like Way of Kings? Quest narratives or political intrigue? Humor or romance?

    Anyway, not knowing any of that, the closest I can come are the following:

    Old School: Melanie Rawn, Sunrunner books.
    Barbara Hambly, Darwarth series.

    More like Wot:
    Recluse books, Lee Modesitt

    More like GRRM: Joe Abercrombie (as has been mentioned.)

    New school: Steven Erickson's Malazan books. (Warning, he throws you right in, and it can take a little time to get your feet underneath you.)

    Something different: Daniel Abraham (nice political intrigue fantasy series of four books.)

    koramar

    That is a tricky question.

    Yes I prefer high magic as opposed to books like ASOIF.

    No real preference between single character or ensemble casts as long as it is well written.

    As far as style of fantasy I enjoyed Eddings and Brooks but I wouldn't put them on a top 5 of things Ive read, I prefer the books I read to have a society that I can come to understand, and in the cases of many of these series that is a magic based society. So on a scale of 1-10, 1 being "YOU SHALL NOT PASS" magic and 10 being Sanderson style magic where it is very logical within its own rules, I would put myself at a 9.

    The pacing doesn't really matter that much to me, the only series I can think of that bothered me with its pacing was Codex Alera, I had to put down the book several times for me to digest what had just happened because I knew I would be hit with something else 10 pages later.

    More Writing Excuses please, they are fun to listen to even if I don't write. Its nice to see what goes on behind the scene.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, some stronger suggestions then.

    1) Malazan. Lots of good magic floating around, and a challenging series with epic scope. HOWEVER the warning I gave you before holds. The first book throws you into the middle of a battle where people are dying, then flashes back to those same characters and gets you to the battle.

    He doesn't really explain who they are or what's going on in the battle itself. The second book takes place (as I remember) on a different continent than the first, and features mostly different characters. That sort of thing can make the series difficult to get into. But the writing is rich and vibrant, and the scope fascinating.

    2) Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner books. I mention them because it's less likely that you'd have read them, as they're about 20 years old now. They are wonderful epic fantasy novels that should still be available as they were quite popular in their day. They're a bit more on the romantic side—meaning relationships become more important than battles, for the most part. However, the series has real depth and and a magic system that is purely awesome.

    I'll see if I can dredge up something else from the back of my mind. I do think the Abraham books might appeal to you, but remember, they are somewhat sparse when it comes to action.

    d_ahura

    I'm wondering if you have an opinion/critique on the 'The Deed of Paksenarrion' series that I'm shamelessly pimping every time it seems like it would fit the reader?

    /Dan

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm quite fond of it. I usually forget to mention it in conversations like these as my mind has it as military fantasy, along the lines of David Gemmell, and I sometimes forget that at its heart it's also a really great epic coming of age story.

    Tags

  • 181

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    NutiketAiel

    When asked one of the things that he liked about Robert Jordan's writing:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I really liked how he used mythology."

    Tags

  • 182

    Interview: Mar 21st, 2014

    a young girl

    How were you inspired by Dragonsbane?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was inspired by just how imaginative it was. I had never read a fantasy book before and I loved the idea of another world that was so similar and yet so different from our own.

    Question (later)

    When you read that one book, was that where your inspiration started, or were you always—

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was always telling stories, but I didn't find fantasy, and myself in fantasy, until I read that book.

    Tags

  • 183

    Interview: Mar 21st, 2014

    bookstore employee

    So, Anne McCaffrey ... what about Terry Brooks?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Terry Brooks also, but Terry Brooks was a little bit later—only six months later, but I discovered him after I was already neck-deep in the genre. I've since had dinner with him and stuff and he is delightful. [...] Landover is my favorite of his.

    Tags

  • 184

    Interview: Mar 21st, 2014

    Question

    You talked about how when you're reading it's an active process and you're almost like the narrator of the story, you're inventing details that aren't necessarily in the book. How much of that process do you think gets lost in the audiobook process?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think you lose a little bit, but you gain a little bit in return, their interpretation, and things like that. It does happen, you lose a little bit, but you get something else in return.

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  • 185

    Interview: Mar 21st, 2014

    Question

    Have you listened to your books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have. I do really like Michael Kramer and Kate Reading, so I listen just to see what their interpretation is. I love that Herdazians are Australian.

    Question

    Are they on for the rest of the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Well, they said that they will as long as they're free.

    Tags

  • 186

    Interview: Feb 2nd, 2014

    Henry L. Herz

    What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow! What a fantastic question! The problem is I think that everyone in my position is going to say dragon. Many of us got started in fantasy by reading books about dragons, so there's a special place for cool dragons in a fantasy writer's heart. For example, Anne McCaffrey's books are part of what pulled me into fantasy in the first place, so I'd have to take the cliched route and say dragons, but I would specifically pick her dragons.

    Henry L. Herz

    Dragon is a go-to answer, but we've certainly had others. No question, dragons are an oldie, but a goodie. McCaffrey's dragons were far more user-friendly than Tolkien's Smaug and Glaurung.

    Tags

  • 187

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2014

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I was a boy who just didn't like books," Sanderson says at this month's JordanCon, an annual convention in Atlanta celebrating the works of fantasy author Robert Jordan. "I had tried reading Tolkien, but if you’re not a good reader, Tolkien is really hard—he's fantastic, but he's dense."

    Frannie Jackson

    For a fantasy writer known for penning doorstopper-length novels, this admission sounds almost blasphemous. Yet Sanderson, who has authored nearly 20 novels and hit #1 on The New York Times bestseller list last month with his latest, Words of Radiance, spent his youth avoiding books (especially ones with "shiny award stickers").

    It wasn't until an eighth grade teacher handed him a copy of a Barbara Hambly novel that he fell in love with fantasy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "After discovering [Dragonsbane], I said, 'I have to learn how to do this. There's something about this that is me,'" Sanderson says.

    Frannie Jackson

    Beginning with books that simply had "Dragon" in the title, including Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight and Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince, he began to voraciously read.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "When I think of those days—those first early books that I read—there's an emotion I feel which is solely reserved for those early books discovering the fantasy genre," he says. "It's part elation, part an awakening sense of wonder, part a coming to an understanding of something in the world that I love, but not really knowing what it is or why."

    Tags

  • 188

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2014

    Frannie Jackson

    Dedication to his craft, intricate world building—none of this would matter if there wasn't a relatable, human element to Sanderson's characters. Three-dimensional personalities permeate his novels, from Vin, a street urchin yearning for friendship yet terrified of ever needing to rely on others, to Dalinar, an aging Highprince who seeks to replace the fury of his youth with peace and scholarship.

    Moshe Feder

    "Brandon's characterization has gotten stronger with each book," Feder says. "A number of times, he's surprised me. For such a young person, he's shown genuine wisdom in understanding people, and I'm really impressed by that."

    Frannie Jackson

    Through talking with Sanderson, it's evident that his wisdom extends from a unique interpretation of the relationship between authors, their books and readers.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "For me, the beauty of a book is that it is the entertainment medium where we don't give you everything," Sanderson says. "When I write a book, I give you 75% and then you take that script, you are the director in your mind and you add to what I've done. You change the characters, or you imagine what they look like. Your version of my books is completely different in some ways than another person's version, and that's what I love about fiction... I don't believe a book lives until it's been read."

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  • 189

    Interview: Jan 17th, 2015

    Question

    What are you reading right now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Martian by Andy Weir (fantastic), Naomi Novik’s new book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Raising Steam, Peter Orullian’s second book

    Tags

  • 190

    Interview: Jan 17th, 2015

    Question

    So I thought through a lot of your recommendations, and a lot of other recommendations from other people on reddit, but where do you find books that you read?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Reads the first few pages to his wife, who’s a avid reader. Guy Gavriel Kay, Brian McClellan, Elerix [?] David Gemmell.

    Tags

  • 191

    Interview: Apr 24th, 2016

    Question

    What is your favorite book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My favorite is Dragons’ Bane by Barbara Hambly. It may not be the best, but it’s my favorite since it made me want to be a fantasy writer.

    Tags

  • 192

    Interview: Apr 24th, 2016

    Question

    Have you read the Deathgate Cycle?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have read it. Rose of the Prophet is my favorite of theirs, but I did enjoy the Deathgate Cycle. It’s definitely among the Weis & Hickman classics.

    Tags

  • 193

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2015

    Question

    Favourite version of superman? (Brandon was wearing a superman t-shirt at the signing)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Kingdom Come, overall Lois and Clark as well

    Tags

  • 194

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2015

    WeiryWriter

    So I know your kids are probably too young to have read your books but are they familiar with your characters and if so do they have favorites?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They’re not familiar with my characters, 7, 5, and 2. The seven-year-old is getting old enough that I could read him books, but I don’t want to read him my books first. I want him to read stuff like Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen or something. We’ll let him read my books if he wants to. I remember I was reading an interview with Tad Williams once and he said “People ask, you’re a famous author, how do you stay humble” and he said “Well the other day we all went out as a family because I finished a book. And my son said ‘What’s the celebration?’ and I said ‘Well I finished my book’ and my son said ‘That’s a good job, finishing reading a book.’”

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  • 195

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2015

    WeiryWriter

    Question about preferred reading formats for Brandon’s books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He doesn’t care, whatever people like whether it’s borrowing from cousin bobby or audible or ebook.

    Tags

  • 196

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2015

    WeiryWriter

    Did you like to write as a child?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Actually no, I did not like to write as a child. I’m one of the few people who are a writer who was not a kid writer, I didn’t like books when I was young. It was a teacher who taught me to like books when I was in eighth grade, Ms. Reader, that’s her real name. She just emailed me a few weeks back, I’m still in touch with her. Ms. Reader, she’s now a professor taught me to love fantasy books, she gave me the book Dragonsbane by Barbara Hamley and I became a reader.

    Tags

  • 197

    Interview: Jan 24th, 2015

    Question

    So is there one book from college that you were forced to read that when you look back now was the best reading you’ve done?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One book that I was forced to read. That was the best reading-- Probably /Paradise Lost/. I now think that book is awesome but when I read it when I was younger I was like “Ahhh what is this aehhhh epic poetry noooooo”.

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  • 198

    Interview: Feb 20th, 2015

    Question

    Do you have any good book recommendations?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sure, what kind of book do you like?

    Question

    I like your books, I like the Rothfuss books--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay.

    Question

    Jim Butcher’s, big fan of that…

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, have you read Brent Weeks?

    Question

    I have not.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brent Weeks is pretty good, Lightbringer is the one you want to get. I think they are better than his first series. I would also recommend-- Let’s see… Brian McClellan, who was my student, who is writing books and they are very good.

    Question

    What are those called?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Promise of Blood, is the first one. It’s just called Promise of Blood.

    Question

    I think I saw that on Amazon, I was looking at that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s flintlock fantasy which means gunpowder, early gunpowder fantasy stuff and it’s awesome. Those are both great. I read Naomi Novik’s-- ???: [...]

    Brandon Sanderson

    He’s already read Rothfuss. Naomi Novik’s books are very good as well.

    Question

    Have you read the one that comes out in July?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’ve read it! I did, it’s so good!

    Question

    YES!

    Argent

    Oh you are the worst.

    Question

    It’s /so good/.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s really, really good. It’s--

    Question

    What was the name of that one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s called Uprooted, it’s like a dark fairy tale, but less fairy tale and more epic fantasy.

    Question

    [...] I don’t like grown up books so the fact I--

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s /totally/ YA. She’s-- Or it’s New Adult. It’s /totally/ New Adult. Even though they’re not publishing it that, that book totally reads like New Adult.

    Tags

  • 199

    Interview: Feb 25th, 2016

    Question

    I just wanted to say thank you. I'm in the last two months of my Emergency Medicine residency, so it was eight years of medical training, and you're the only fiction author I've read.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow. I feel impressed.

    Question

    I don't have time for fiction really.

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I was in grad school I didn't get much reading done either. I wasn't in your style of grad school, I was in easy grad school, but I still understand.

    Question

    Yeah, every time you release something, I make time for it. I'm very appreciative of being able to participate in your world.

    Tags

  • 200

    Interview: Feb 25th, 2016

    Question

    Are you friends with James Dashner?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Dashner and I go way, way back. I read Maze Runner before it was published, which was pretty cool, and then I gave him this cool quote about how good it is and he didn't even put it on the book when it was published. I was like, "Aw, come on, James!" But yeah, I met him in a middle school, when we were both brand-new writers. He was going in to talk to students, and I went in right after him.

    Tags

  • 201

    Interview: Feb 25th, 2016

    Question

    What era were you reading comics and what...

    Brandon Sanderson

    The first comic I got into was the original Eastman and Larry[?] TMNT, which I really really liked, and after that I read what people gave me, so like Sandman - I mean, I'm the kid of the 90's, right? The Gaiman stuff, and Watchmen of course, but that's my era, Kingdom Come. the good graphic novels that have a complete story were always my favorite, anytime I would get into something else, I would get into it and then they'd change writers or something like this and I'd get annoyed. Nowadays my favorite comic is actually a webcomic.

    Tags

  • 202

    Interview: Feb 20th, 2016

    Question

    Books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He recommends Name of the Wind.

    Tags

  • 203

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 2016

    Question

    When you’re not writing or doing everything else, what series or authors do you enjoy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Who do I read? I’ve read… last book I’ve read was Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller, because everyone I know - I’m like, why have I never read this before? And everyone’s basing every movie off it now, so I finally read Dark Knight Returns. Before that, I read the first book of the Expanse, because it’s another one that I’ve just never gotten to. I like that, those were both good. Dark Knight Returns was good, I was expecting something like Alan Moore level, and it was more… it was good, but it wasn’t as mind-blowing, and I think that’s partially because everybody has based every movie in existence on Batman since, you know, Tim Burton, on Dark Knight Returns, and so it doesn’t feel as fresh as perhaps it would’ve if I’ve been reading in ‘86 or whenever it was released. Um, my go-to is Terry Pratchett, or Guy Gavriel Kay, but if you didn’t read Uprooted by Naomi Novik last year, it was extremely good. If you like stuff a little more literary, NK Jemison’s The Fifth Season is really good, but that’s kind of… that’s kind of almost for English Majors, that’s got viewpoints in second person future tense, and they work, and they’re really good. Nora is a very good writer, if you guys haven’t tried A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which is a little bit more accessible, than Fifth Season, she’s just a really spectacular writer. Um, what else did I read last year that I liked… I mean, yeah, that’s a couple. Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage, if you like my stuff, you’ll like Brian’s stuff most likely, he’s an ex-student of mine that I can’t take much credit for because he was, he was very good when he took the class. But, he’s writing flintlock fantasy that is just really good. Someone: Listen to Writing Excuses…

    Question

    Yeah, Writing Excuses! We recommend a book on every episode of Writing Excuses, um, so.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Have you read Pat’s books?

    Question

    Have I read Rothfuss? Yeah, I’ve read Rothfuss’ books. I’ve got… I get them early! Uhm, so, um… I’ve got the Wise Man’s Fear and The Slow Regard of Silent Things, and both came with a number in the corner like “if this ends up on eBay, we know who we gave it to” sort of thing, it was watermarked, “this is Brandon’s copy, don’t sell it”.

    Tags

  • 204

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 2016

    Question

    Is there going to be a map of recommended reading order or is it…

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, yeah, that’s a great question, is there gonna be a recommended reading order. So I’ve started building a guide similar to the one that they put in the back of Terry Pratchett’s books in the US. I don’t find that guide incredibly helpful, so I’d want to create one that is helpful, that is basically like what we put on the front page where we list all the books saying “if this intimidates you, turn the next page”, and then I’ll have kind of a discussion of what the varied series are, what the entry points are and what… just kind of like a “what is the style of this book”. Like if I can say, you know, if you’re really interested, if you’re, uhm, you know, Warbreaker, if you want a standalone, a little bit more of romance, a little bit more kind of… humour and things like that - Warbreaker. If you’re like “I would love something super-action-oriented that has lots of explosions”, then Steelheart, right? And if you’re like “I like swimming in the deep end, I want to jump in feet first and see how deep it goes”, then we send you to Stormlight, right? And I want to have these introductions at the end and kind of give a sort of fundamentals. “A lot of these are connected, you don’t need to read everything”, stuff like that. And we’re gonna try and get that starting in books… in the near future.

    Tags

  • 205

    Interview: Dec 6th, 2016

    Question

    Are there any books of yours you would like to experience as a first time reader?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would love to read Way of Kings for the first time.

    Tags