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Your search for the tag 'magic systems' yielded 28 results

  • 1

    Interview: Feb 2nd, 2014

    Henry L. Herz

    What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Practice. Don't worry about anything other than finding time to write—then spend that time on your stories. Publishing shouldn't worry you; nothing should. Just practice.

    Henry L. Herz

    Indeed, I cannot underscore enough the value of belonging to a good critique group. I would also offer up Brandon's Laws (again from Wikipedia):

    "Sanderson's First Law is that "An author's ability to solve conflict satisfactorily with magic is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic." While originally created as a rule for magic systems in fantasy novels, Sanderson has specified that this law need not apply just to fantasy, but is also applicable to science fiction. This Law was originally defined in Sanderson's online essay "Sanderson's First Law". In the essay he qualifies the two extremes of design as being:

    1. Magic/technology has well defined rules that the audience understands. As a result, one can use this to solve conflict more easily as the capabilities are cleanly defined. Sanderson classifies this as "Hard Magic". C.L. Wilson in her essay "Worldbuilding 101 — Making Magic" advocated this method of creation, stating, ". . . create your rules, then follow them."

    2. Magic/technology has unclear or vague rules, or none at all. This allows for a greater sense of wonder to be attained for the reader, but the ability to solve problems without resorting to deus ex machina decreases. Sanderson classifies this as "Soft Magic". Lawrence Watt-Evans specifically advised "The trick is to be a benevolent and consistent deity, not one who pulls miracles out of a hat as needed."

    Sanderson's Second Law is "Limitations > Powers", that a character's weaknesses are more interesting than his or her abilities. It was initially set down in Episode 14 of the podcast Writing Excuses. John Brown, likewise looked to Sanderson's work in his own essay involving magic systems, noting "What are the ramifications and conflicts of using it?" Patricia Wrede likewise noted several issues on this topic ranging from magic suppressing other technologies, to how a magic might affect farming. In explaining the second law, Sanderson references the magic system of Superman, claiming that Superman's powers are not what make him interesting, but his limits, specifically his vulnerability to kryptonite and the code of ethics he received from his parents.

    Sanderson's Third Law is that a writer should "Expand what you already have before you add something new."

    Sanderson's Last Law is that a good magic system should be interconnected with the world around it. Sanderson points out that magic does not take place in a vacuum. It is related to the ecology, religion, economics, warfare, and politics of the world it inhabits. The job of the author is to think farther than the reader about the ramifications of the magic system. If magic can turn mud into diamonds, that has an effect on the value of diamonds. Sanderson states that readers of genre fiction are interested not just in the magic system but how the world and characters will be different because of the magic."

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  • 2

    Interview: Mar 2nd, 2014

    Karen Hoag

    How do you imagine all this magic? Tell us briefly of your rules of magic.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Seven or eight years ago, I was thinking about what I love in fantasy. My love of the fantasy genre is this sense of another world that really couldn't, but for a while, we pretend that it could. With a science background, (I started my academic life as a chemist) I like to imagine worlds where our fundamental laws of physics don't apply but other fundamental laws of physics do. And so, for me, I like "magic" to be a new branch of physics that only exists in these worlds. That sounds a little sterile. It's more sterile than I wanted to sound because I think science has this wonder to it, and as you discover and you learn, there's this beautiful sense of discovery.

    It's where the great discoveries of our age is happening and scientific. I love particularly the era at the turn of the 19th to 20th century. The feel the people had for science back then—I often find myself writing in my books during a similar era, an age you might call an enlightenment. That's really the Renaissance, a little post-Renaissance age of industry where people are discovering that the magic follows rules and laws.

    I have rules for myself about how to write my magic systems and these are really just storytelling rules. I call them Sanderson's Laws. I can't really go into depth in an article here. (I've done essays on them, you can Google them.) But they're really writing advice to myself. I call them Sanderson's Laws, not because I think everyone should follow them, but they are laws I follow myself.

    They have to do with things like properly laying the foreshadowing for my magic so the reader understands what it can do and looking and exploring the different aspects of what a magic can do rather than adding a ton of new powers. Taking one power and setting (to see) if I can really explore it in its depth, things like that.

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  • 3

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2014

    Frannie Jackson

    Sanderson's Three Laws of Magics:
    1) An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.
    2) Limitations > Powers (i.e. "Superman is not his powers. Superman is his weaknesses.")
    3) Expand what you already have before you add something new.

    In the years leading up to and during his time concluding The Wheel of Time series, Sanderson developed three Laws of Magics for the fantasy genre. He's been quick to point out on his blog that the laws merely serve as "guidelines" for his own writing, but his insight is revolutionizing the traditional approach to fantasy writing.

    Literature has a history of ignoring rules when it comes to magic—it is magic, after all. But the 21st century is cultivating a new breed of reader who doesn't take magic for granted. Sanderson's laws appeal to their desire to understand how Dorothy's ruby slippers transport her between worlds and why the Phial of Galadriel shines brighter when used by Sam vs. Frodo. From allomancy to surgebinding, the magic systems in Sanderson's novels are both incredibly original and comprehensively detailed.

    Beyond his penchant for establishing unique systems of magic in multiple worlds, Sanderson has a tendency to dream astronomically.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "At some point," Sanderson says, "I was inspired by Michael Moorcock's Multiverse and the way Isaac Asimov eventually connected his Foundation novels and robot novels, to write a 'stealth' series into the background of my novels." Enter the Cosmere.

    Frannie Jackson

    An entire universe distinct from our own, the Cosmere consists of 10 (and counting) planets with autonomous magic systems, geographic characteristics and storylines. All of Sanderson's novels (excluding his YA and The Wheel of Time titles) exist within the Cosmere, but each planet's book(s) can be read independently of the others. In simpler terms, Sanderson has subtly connected everything—so subtly, in fact, that only one character is granted the ability to travel between worlds.

    Hoid, the world jumper and mysterious fan favorite, appears in every Cosmere-set novel. But don't plan on always recognizing him; the intelligent trickster favors disguises. And, to be honest, no one besides Sanderson understands Hoid's significance at this point.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I have said before that choosing a favorite [character] is a tough question," Sanderson says. "Very tough. I'll have to say Hoid, but I can't say why without giving spoilers."

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  • 4

    Interview: Aug 13th, 2014

    Question

    How much time do you usually spend on creating a magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It really depends on the book, the length of the story, and how integral to magic is to that particular story. Some are as fast as a couple of days; some take months and months. It is also difficult to answer this question because I spend a lot of time thinking about a book before writing, and the Magic is often part of that. I will often spend years with an idea growing in the back of my mind before writing—and in those cases, the actual "outlining" may take a month, but that doesn't begin to cover the time spent on the idea.

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  • 5

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2015

    Question

    Rothfuss and Butcher call him the 'magic systems guy'.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sabriel was his inspiration for unique rule based magic systems. Magic and settings are only as good as the characters. If you don't have good characters, youíre writing a video game.

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  • 6

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2015

    the_archduke

    He said in the lecture that he took a programming course in college. He was asked if we will ever see a programming language as a magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We already have. Reread Elantris.

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  • 7

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2015

    WeiryWriter

    Whatís your favorite magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If I could pick anything Iíd probably be an Allomancer, just because there is so much metal around us in our daily lives that I think it would be a lot of fun. That may not be the smart choice but it is the choice I would make.

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  • 8

    Interview: Jan 19th, 2015

    Question

    If you, Brandon Sanderson, as a person were able to be gifted just one set of powers from any of your book series what would you have and why? How would you use them? Save the world? Become a tyrant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would probably pick [slight pause] Channeling from the Wheel of Time. No, Iíd just be Doctor Manhattan. Sorry, heís like all powerful, right? How would I use them? I would hope that I would save the world, and not become a tyrant.

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  • 9

    Interview: Jan 24th, 2015

    Question

    If you had the choice of being an Epic and being evil or not, would you take that choice--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Would I make the choice to become an Epic? Well they /ALL GO EVIL/ so //NO//. No no no no. Iíd be a Mistborn, yes yes yes yes yes. *laughter* Epic? no no no no.

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  • 10

    Interview: Jan 24th, 2015

    Question

    Would you rather be a misting or a Twinborn, and then which power would you choose?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What powers would I have? ...I would probably pick Twinborn because ďHey extra powerĒ right? I would probably have Waxís powers from /Alloy of Law/, those are the ones I find the most interesting. Which is why I started with them there. I think I will be able to do cool things with them. Others are cool as well but-- With all this metal around, jumping on it would be so much fun.

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  • 11

    Interview: Jan 24th, 2015

    Question

    If you were a misting, which power would you have?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Coinshot. Coinshot for sure.

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  • 12

    Interview: Jan 24th, 2015

    Question

    As a physicist I appreciate you being so consistent with your magic systems.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is something I try very hard to do, though I do recognize that we do bend a lot of rules. When we were doing the time-based one in this [The Alloy of Law], I'm like, "Oh, boy, redshifts. Oh, no, conservation of energy." We had to do some bending to make it so that the radiation from the light passing out of the time bubble wasn't deadly.

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  • 13

    Interview: Jan 24th, 2015

    Question

    Whatís the hardest power youíve created to find a balance for?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hardest power to find a balance for? Iíd say first is Wheel of Time, but I didnít create that... Hardest to balanceÖ Theyíve all been fairly easy so far. My guess is that it will end up being Stormlight just because I am doing so many books in that world, and I'm not resetting characters as much as I am in Mistborn, that I'm going to have to be careful about power creep... That's an excellent question.

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  • 14

    Interview: Feb 20th, 2015

    Question

    How do you consistently create compelling magic systems?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How do I consistently create compelling magic systems? Well you will maybe want to read Sandersonís Three Laws of Magic, which are basically each essay on this. The short answer is I look for something awesome and what that means is I look for something no one else is doing, or a ramification of a magic system that no one else is using and I extrapolate from it. As a reader of fantasy, who loved fantasy, and still does, for many years I got very tired of seeing the same two or three magic systems in every book that I read. It was really frustrating to me as a writer because I felt fantasy should be the most imaginative genre, it should be the most distinctive and different. And so it was bothersome to me that there werenít enough people doing interesting things with magic and so I just started doing it myself.

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  • 15

    Interview: Feb 20th, 2015

    Question

    Iím a physical chemist and Iím reading your book [TWoK] right now and at some point you have someone studying flamespren and what they saw, thatís one of the fundaments [sic] of quantum mechanics--So you got that from quantum mechanics?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did get that from quantum mechanics.

    Question

    How did you come across that and decide to incorporate that into your epic fantasy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well the Way of Kings magic systems are based on the fundamental forces. That was the original idea and the extrapolation from them. Iím fascinated by quantum mechanics and I have worked them into the way that-- Remember in my worlds, my books, the magics are a new branch of physics, in these worlds. And so they interact with our normal physics, itís not like they are ignoring them, so they obey the laws of thermodynamics, even when they appear to be breaking them, and they interact with quantum and all the stuff. Itís just very natural that they are going to, to me if that makes sense? It would be weird if they didnít interact with them.

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  • 16

    Interview: Feb 20th, 2015

    Question

    Where did you come up with the idea for Allomancy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Itís a combination of several things. One is I started with wanting a group of powers that would complement a gang of thieves. So I designed the powers to work within the roles of a thieving crew. The burning metals came from reading about biology and metabolism and it felt very natural to me because thatís how we get our energy as human beings. The whole connection of the metals and the visualization stuff came from mixing the periodic table of the elements with alchemy. All of those things kind of spun together to make it.

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  • 17

    Interview: Feb 20th, 2015

    Question

    I really like your idea with the whole Mistborn series, taking it further in history and we are both PhD physicists.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh sweet.

    Question

    I always think about that and I was wondering if you were worried about going that sci-fi fantasy route? Like for instance--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Iím not worried about it, Iím just excitedÖ In my mind all of my books are sci-fi as well as fantasy because Iím making weird new branches of physics and trying to adhere to as many of the laws as I can.

    Question

    Yeah thatís one of things I love about how well thought out the magic systems are.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Like I-- You are actually not the first physicists to come through another one came through earlier tonight and talking about the quantum mechanics that are in The Way of Kings.

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  • 18

    Interview: Feb 20th, 2015

    Question

    I noticed in a lot of your cosmere books, like for example Elantris or Mistborn, they have something to do with some sort of subject matter or school or something. For example the Steelpush and Ironpulling in Mistborn is based on physics.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Question

    If you push too hard itís based on...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vector physics, yes.

    Question

    And then like Warbreaker is just like math, adding Breaths together. Did you intend that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not necessarily. I read a lot and I like science and I like philosophy and I like and things like this. And those spark most of my ideas. So yes in a term but Iím not like ďLetís do this subjectĒ. I would say Warbreaker, the big part of Warbreaker is the idea of sympathetic magic. Which is the idea that like affects like, which is a very common type of magic throughout all cultures on the planet, on our planet. When people believe in magic they believe in sympathetic magic. A voodoo doll is sympathetic magic. And thatís where the idea came from.

    Question

    So in Elantris, which is different and then--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah thatís basically fantasy programming, is where that one came from.

    Question

    And then there is the Stormlight Archive, which basically violates all the laws of physics by just saying everything comes from spren.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well no they still have arguments on that, are spren attracted to these things or do they cause them.

    Question

    Yeah thatís kind of weirdÖ

    Brandon Sanderson

    Stormlight Archive was based on the fundamental forces, if you want go read on physics google fundamental forces.

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  • 19

    Interview: Feb 20th, 2015

    Kurkistan

    Okay, so I'm contractually obligated to ask about time bubbles one more time.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Kurkistan

    So what's up with frame of reference for time bubbles; in that obviously if you make a bubble and it's still it's not really still, like time moves differently but-

    Brandon Sanderson

    We deal with that a little bit in Era 2 Book 2 [Shadows of Self], where we talk about the fact that you know- obviously the bubble is moving with the planet. So they're not-- the frame of reference is not absolute.

    Kurkistan

    Yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And so we talk about sorta' the idea of mass and momentum and time bubbles and things like that.

    Kurkistan

    Okay

    Brandon Sanderson

    For instance you can make a time bubble on a train.

    Kurkistan

    Oh and it stays on the train?!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but when you start catching stuff off of the train, it's gonna' jar each time, and it's probably going to ruin your time bubble, right?

    Kurkistan

    So does it get it's "anchor" from-- it's asking all the things that are within it what they think "still" is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. That's a good way of looking at it. Frame of reference for the cognitive things around. Make sense?

    Kurkistan

    Okay; the things around or the things within it, specifically?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The things that it's cutting into, specifically, but yeah.

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  • 20

    Interview: Oct 9th, 2015

    Question

    Metalminds: if you store weight, how does that work, do you decrease your mass?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Storing weight actually plays with your mass, because if you look at how we do the physics of itÖ This one is really screwy. Because we are changing mass and playing with itÖ [Wax example] There is conservation of momentum and stuff like that, but how can you store your massÖ Well, in the magic system it works, but itís one of the weirdest things we do. We kind of play loose and free with the physics sometimes. Like the example that I often cite is Wayne doing a speed bubble, I choose to make light from inside not get a redshift. We kind of look at what is good storytelling first, and then work the physics around it.

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  • 21

    Interview: Oct 9th, 2015

    Question

    Sazed is saying that his density also increases when he increases his weight, but Wax says it doesnít; which is it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sazed is making a mistake. His muscular structure changes to accomodate the weight, thatís what he was talking about. Strength and muscle tone and things like that. I might have gotten it wrong in that scene, I donít really remember, but thatís what we decided to do in the end. The weight thing is really tricky.

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  • 22

    Interview: Feb 17th, 2016

    Question

    How many magic systems are in The Stormlight Archive, and how many of them [have been seen?]

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would see the only major one you havenít seen is Voidbinding, it depends on how you count them. I count fabrials as one, Surgebinding as one, and Voidbinding as one. And then the Old Magic is kind of its own weird thing.

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  • 23

    Interview: Feb 17th, 2016

    Question

    With Nightblood coming in [to Words of Radiance] does that produce a magic system from a different book or does that stay separate?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It will stay separate.

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  • 24

    Interview: Feb 25th, 2016

    Question

    When Wax changes his weight, is that weight or mass?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He is...he is changing...so he is actually changing his mass, in a weird...It's kind of halfway in between, is really what it is. But it follows the laws of conservation of momentum, so it's not just weight. It's timidly half-stepping in between.

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  • 25

    Interview: Feb 25th, 2016

    Question

    How do you decide that a magic system you're working on is done?

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I feel like the stories I'm telling are working, I go with it. That doesn't mean I have every little thing worked out - I'm a planner, so I have a lot of them, if I don't have something worked out I like to sort of let people know in the book - here's a hole that the characters have noticed, if that makes sense. But at some point you just have to write. So it's a more by instinct thing.

    Question

    I've created a couple magic systems and done worldbuilding, but whenever I think it's done, I come up with another facet that I think would be interesting.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I say, if you want to tell stories, write the story and write down all the facets in a separate file. Then in a revision, go foreshadow that these things could exist, but don't deal with them until you get to a future book. If you look at Mistborn, there's hints about how Feruchemy works, but we don't really deal with it in Mistborn since there's so much already piled onto you.

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  • 26

    Interview: Oct 14th, 2015

    zandi

    Are the scholars influencing the behavior of the spren with their beliefs?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Belief and expectations influence all the magic systems...

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  • 27

    Interview: Feb 20th, 2016

    Question

    How did you come up with the powers of allomancy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I made a crew and thought, what powers would make them better?

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