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WoT Interview Search

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Your search for the tag 'research' yielded 35 results

  • 1

    Interview: Oct, 1992

    John Brannick

    What will your next project be?

    Robert Jordan

    Not sure yet, but not a fantasy—he doesn't want to be stereotyped by critics or fans. He has done research for a nonfiction history of the South's role in the American Revolutionary War.

    Footnote

    This is the only time RJ is on record saying that his next project wouldn't be fantasy. By the next year, he started talking about Infinity of Heaven.

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  • 2

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Matt from New York

    I love your Reagan O'Neal historical novels, the Fallon series. Did you have to do a lot of research for those?

    Robert Jordan

    A good bit. But on the other hand history is a hobby of mine, in particular the American Revolution in the South and the Southern move west, which went through Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California.

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  • 3

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    dancer

    I'm impressed by the scene details, especially the towns; what were your best research resources?

    Robert Jordan

    Too many to go into...forty odd years of reading and studying and traveling... really, too many to go into.

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  • 4

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    J. Hurt from Chicago

    First off, I absolutely love the WOT series! What I wanted to know was when you originally started writing this series what type of research, if any, did you do to create the world and storyline you have created?

    Robert Jordan

    I started writing The Eye of the World in about 1985, I guess it was. '85 or '86. It took me four years, and I had been thinking about the things that would lead into the world of the Wheel of Time about ten years before I started writing ANYTHING.

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  • 5

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Meg Young from Florida

    In a previous question you stated that it took you so long to write The Eye of the World because you realized a number of things you hadn't yet researched. What sort of things were these, and how did you survive the more tedious aspects of world-building (i.e., lists of government official names, lists of cities and their major imports and exports, etc.)?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, the tedious bits were quite easy, and it wasn't so much a matter of research I hadn't done as things that needed to be worked out—which I thought could wait until later because they were not going to come into the books until later. But I realized once I began writing that I had to realize how those things worked and fit together NOW, because that would affect how things happened in that first book.

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  • 6

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2005

    Question

    How did your background in physics influence how you structured the world of the Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    Largely it was to make things realistic, as realistic as I can. Background in physics and engineering; I also tried to structure channeling as if it were a science or technology. No eye of newt, hair of dog. There are real limits, there are rules, there are technological structures to channeling which I think are fairly obvious to anyone who looks at it. That was the major influence.

    Plus making sure that I see that everything is real. Well if I bring about a blacksmith, well I don't know anything about blacksmithing, but I was able to get some nineteenth century books on blacksmithing, and once I had written the scenes I sent them to a woman I met that was a blacksmith and farrier, and she said you need to do this and you need to do that, but otherwise it is okay.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    This woman was at the time the only woman blacksmith on the high council of American smithing. She made a lot of the stuff at Billy Graham's in North Carolina, but she wrote wonderful comments back and said, if you want Perrin to ever have children, you must have a leather apron, which was among her other good bits.

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  • 7

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    Mr. Jordan, your work is purely exceptional. Do you do much research once you begin writing? What type of things do you research?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, because I need to research things like the details of exactly how a blacksmith works. For example.

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  • 8

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    carmen22

    How long did it take for you to complete the Mistborn trilogy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wrote the entire trilogy, straight through, starting in the beginning of 2003 and ending in early 2006.

    carmen22

    How much research, if any, went into the making of the Mistborn trilogy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did quite a bit, mostly reading about the era of the industrial revolution, alongside researching alchemy and eunuchs.

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  • 9

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Question

    Are you studying up on military tactics?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Harriet has sent me multiple large volumes of military tactics which she said Robert Jordan had been using and that I should reference, even specific battles, historical battles that he had talked about as references for battles. The answer is yes, I have a lot of reading to do, specifically for the last battle.

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  • 10

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    Joshua_Patrao

    About research: What, if any, research for your novels have you done, and how did you do it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The calling of a fiction writer, particularly a fantasy writer, is to know a little bit about a lot of things—just enough to be dangerous, so to speak. I tend to read survey books that talk about history—things that give overviews, such as the history of warfare, or the history of the sword, or navigation. That kind of thing. I would say I do a fair amount of research, but mostly it's an attempt to dump as much into my brain as possible for spawning stories and writing about things intelligently. For Mistborn, I researched canals, eunuchs, and London during the mid 1800's.

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  • 11

    Interview: Jul 11th, 2010

    Golffuul

    I was interested in knowing what it is that you research for your books and how you go about doing it. Thanks.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do a lot of broad-based reading in historical works. Things like the History of Warfare and the like. From there, I decide what I need to know for a specific book. For Mistborn, I read a lot on Canal Culture, Alchemy, Eunics, and early 1800's London. Mostly survey works.

    GOLFFUUL

    I was interested in your insights as to what kind of subject matter you research for your books?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I kind of answered this above, but I will say that MOST of it is along the lines of "How did this piece of technology work" or "how did this battle play out." Historical things.

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  • 12

    Interview: Nov 16th, 2011

    Open The Fridge

    Let’s start with an Alloy of Law question, since that’s why we’re both here. You’ve obviously put a lot of thought into the evolution of the world of Scadrial, specifically in how you’ve integrated the world’s technological advances. Was there anything in particular that drew you to the old west setting, and did you do anything to research it, like going to a shooting range or a ranch?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question. I actually wrote the prologue LAST. I wrote it to be the prologue to another book about Wax and Wayne if I did one. I always knew what happened, but I didn’t want to start the book with the old west, because most of it didn’t happen in the old west, it happened in the city. What is now chapter one used to be the prologue. And after writing the whole book I realized that we didn’t see into Wax’s heart, we didn’t know what he was always referencing with Lessie… we actually needed to see it. And so I actually took that chapter and moved it to the front. I worry a bit that it will old-west-ify it a bit too much, because I did see this as a city book. All of the Mistborn books have taken place in cities.

    Open The Fridge

    And will that hold true for the second trilogy, as well?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. It might not hold for the final one in the same way. But as for the research I did... I actually got my gun nut friend. Gun nuts are very particular. He’s a big Wheel of Time fan, and a very big gun nut. I got him to read the book and give me all the “this is how a gun nut says you’re doing it wrong” notes. That’s how I usually do something that specific. I like to write the book, and then go find an expert. For instance, in The Way of Kings, Kaladin’s surgery and first aid things. I wrote the book, I did do some reading on it, but then I sent it to an author that my editor knows. He’s a medical doctor, and I had him read those things and tell me what I was doing wrong. I prefer to do it that way and then fix it, because I can do enough, but there’s a certain understanding curve. I can pick up 75% of what I need to sound authentic with a little bit of research, and that last 25% requires a Ph.D. (laughs) And so rather than getting a Ph.D., I just give it to someone who has a PhD, and they can crosscheck it for me.

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  • 13

    Interview: Nov 19th, 2011

    Question

    Has Brandon (and Team Jordan I think) done any research on the battles/armies etc.?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, a lot. Brandon didn't want to give me specific examples to avoid spoilers for those who can guess. They contacted one very well known author who helped them with this research. Anyone can guess? I'll give one easy clue: Boromir.

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  • 14

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2011

    LordJuss

    The evening began with the amusing sight of Brandon Sanderson piling various items of furniture on top of one another to create a home-made lectern for his laptop. Following a brief aside on the difference between a lectern and a podium (and how this plays into the editorial process), Brandon read from a novella he’s recently written. [Legion] Apparently, he started it on the flight back to the US the last time he came to the UK. He couldn’t work on the Wheel of Time since he was awaiting the outcome of some research on the notes. He went on to explain that Robert Jordan left a pile of notes roughly half Brandon’s height that his two researchers dip into when Brandon needs an answer to one of his questions. This is normally quick, but it can take several months to come up with a fully researched answer. The reading lasted about eight minutes and seemed to be from the beginning of the novella. I won’t spoil the concept, but it’s clever and deeply silly.

    The evening then moved to a Q&A. Questions and answers are paraphrased from my notes and memory, so they won’t be absolutely word-for-word, but they shouldn’t be much different from the original conversation. I’ve included all the questions, not just the Wheel-related ones.

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  • 15

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    mnehring

    How did you come up with what metal would give what powers in Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The metals just worked out right. [later] I see I misunderstood. The assignment of metals to powers was done mostly randomly. I started by trying to mix and match colors and hues, but that ended up not working. I also originally wanted the physical to be more common, and then move toward less common with mental and others. Hence, iron is physical, Gold is mental, [sic] Atium is temporal. The mentals don’t quite fit this, though.

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  • 16

    Interview: Nov 23rd, 2011

    Tortellini

    Someone asked if it were hard to write Jasnah, an atheist character, for a devout Christian.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon said he read a lot of atheist message boards for inspiration. Also, it sounded like he'd had the character in his head for a while, but hadn't found the right book to put it in—e.g. he said it would make no sense to put an atheist in a world where gods walk around (i.e. Warbreaker).

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  • 17

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Question

    Mr. Jordan, you're writing a lot about wars, about the psychology of man in war. Is this a consequence of your experience in Vietnam?

    Robert Jordan

    No, my knowledge of strategy and tactics, knowledge of the causes and possible course of the war is more related to history. It is true that I was a soldier and I had to fight to the battlefield, and then (I was young and stupid) I was expecting much from a military career, but now I have realized that in order to study the human perception of the war in the future and maybe even the changes in military affairs in general, we must first look at how war has been perceived in the past.

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  • 18

    Interview: Jun 3rd, 2011

    Helen O'Hara

    Who are your favorite writers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My favorite living writer right now is probably Terry Pratchett. There is no one who can balance humor and plot and character like he does, particularly in his books about Vimes. I really like Guy Gavriel Kay a lot, and I try to read a lot of new writers to see what's going on in the field, so recently I read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin, and that was a great book. I read a lot of history books and non-fiction as well. If you opened up my eReader you'd find three or four Terry Pratchetts, all the Wheel of Time, all the current Hugo nominees and a bunch of books right now on psychology. When I do research I cast my net very widely and then snatch what feels right out of that. Occasionally I'll read a specific book for a specific book, but usually I'm trying to increase my general understanding.

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  • 19

    Interview: Feb 1st, 2013

    Question

    What kind of research did you have to do to make the battle tactics so believable?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Memory of Light tactics were the things I was most worried about getting right. RJ was more a military historian than me and he was a soldier, so we went looking for help. Harriet knows a man named Bernard Cornwell who writes a lot of military fiction, so he helped us, and Alan Romanczuk is a war historian, who was able to help us a lot. He built the battle plan for the entire war, as far as troop movements and the tactical portion of the Last Battle. Connecting them and making it meld into the story with the characters was my job. We went rounds about "this is tactically sound" or "no it's not", so Alan was a big help making it believable. I did research, but my feeling is that I can get to 70–80% of knowledge on a subject pretty quickly through a month or two of research, but getting that last 20% is something that takes 10 years of work. My goal is to get to 70–80, and then give it to someone who knows their stuff and have them help me from there.

    Chris W

    The names of the people Brandon referenced here were probably butchered. I was just trying to keep up with him so I could record the main parts of his response instead of focusing on the names of his references. [Fixed—Terez]

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  • 20

    Interview: Feb 15th, 2013

    Rebecca Lovatt

    Also of interest to WoT fans and aspiring writers, both: one fan asked, given the lack of majorly epic-scale battles in Brandon's other work, how he approached the near endless warfare that makes up the bulk of A Memory of Light.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The answer: research, research, research, and lots of help from experts. Brandon asserts (and I can believe) that he can get himself to about 80% expert on just about any topic in the course of writing prep, but his lack of personal experience with warfare (reminding us of Mr. Jordan's service in Vietnam) put him at a disadvantage in accurately conveying what needed to be conveyed in the last battle. Military buffs and armchair historians came to the rescue (including Team Jordan member Alan Romanczuk), outlining a series of strategies and tactics based on real-world battles that Brandon used as a guide. However, Tarmon Gai'don being on a somewhat different scale than we're used to in our Age, both metrically and dramatically, there was a lot of back-and-forth between Brandon and the battle guys about amping up the drama without sacrificing realism—inserting twists and character moments to make us cheer or weep.

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  • 21

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Question

    The last book had a lot of military action in it. Did you have to do a lot of research for that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes we did. And I relied a lot on some experts that we know to give me a lot of help on that.

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  • 22

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Question

    Did you have any Air Force consultation with the to'raken scenes at all?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That was in mind. We had a lot of military experts help us out with these books. I relied on them a lot.

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  • 23

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    PuckPenguin ()

    As an abuse survivor I just wanted to thank you for creating a character like Vin. The emotion you brought about through her story, was so authentic. How do you create your characters and how much research do you do?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most of my character research comes from talking to people, reading interviews, and taking notes. For Vin, it was particularly important to me that I get it right, so I did go speak in person with some special individuals that helped me out. In most cases, however, I look on-line.

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  • 24

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    NutiketAiel

    When a fan complimented him on the accuracy regarding horses in the Wheel of Time:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Mostly that's Robert Jordan, he was much better at that than I am. I've taken some crash courses."

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  • 25

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    NutiketAiel

    One fan asked Brandon to rank Mat’s combat ability compared to other characters in the series.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon described Mat as "good" and "above the curve." However, compared to Lan, Mat was "completely out-classed." Brandon confirmed that Lan is at the top in terms of combat ability, but added that, at his height, Tam was "pretty darn good" and could have taken Mat. However, Brandon cautioned that all this was not factoring Mat’s luck. Mat's combat abilities vary a great deal, depending on whether he was "ticked off," what the stakes of the battle were and whether he was in "awesome Mat mode."

    Regarding the battles in the end of the series, Brandon said that some of the researchers working with them studied historical battles and fed him movements for authenticity.

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  • 26

    Interview: Aug 23rd, 2014

    Maria Simons (paraphrased)

    Jordan tried to protect Maria from spoilers in the work he had her do for him. She eventually persuaded him she could handle them. Almost the first thing he then gave her was Verin's full backstory. This was somewhere around the time Path of Daggers came out.

    The oddest research request was Jordan asking how babies feel when they are born. This was eventually used in the bonding scene in Winter's Heart.

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  • 27

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2014

    Question

    My background is twenty years of military, and as I've been reading your The Way of Kings, I've found that your insight into what it like to be a member of the service, all the mental trials including post-traumatic stress disorder is all very well thought-out and I'm curious how you came across that knowledge.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lots of interviews and lots of reading on forums. People who post their hearts and souls on-- if you find the right forums, where people are among like-minded individuals, you can watch like a fly-on-the-wall and see what people are saying and how they are feeling. Because I strive for authenticity, that's what I-- whenever someone is feeling I want it to be authentic, and the more far removed from my own experience the better it is, if that makes sense to me, to get it into my books. So I try very hard for that.

    Question

    In fact I'm going to be suggesting to the Veterans' Administration to use the series for treatment for PTSD. There are literally some things in there I've never seen anyone actually understand or get before. Some of my military friends have just been in absolute tears after reading your book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is an honor to hear.

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  • 28

    Interview: Mar 20th, 2014

    Outis

    Do you have an advisor for the science?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I usually run things by my editor who's very big into science, but mostly we go find an expert and have him read. The thing about it is, I have to hand wave a lot of things. Like the laws of thermodynamics, I can't, you know.. There are quantum physics in here. I'm trying to handwave as little as possible but we are breaking fundamental laws of physics, but even in terms of things like the laws of conservation. Energy is being conserved, but there's a supernatural source.

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  • 29

    Interview: Jan 17th, 2015

    Question

    For the past year I’ve been the administrator for the Stormlight Archive Wiki and any feedback you or Peter could give me is most welcome, no feedback would be fine,-

    Brandon Sanderson

    I go there when I’m looking for, like that, like, I know I wrote something about this, what did I put in the book. Then I’ll go to your wiki and look at it.

    Question

    That’s cool.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I got that habit with the Wheel of Time, because I could find it in the notes, but it always takes longer to go to the notes than to Google and Google doesn’t index my wiki, so I go to yours. I think it’s well done. More stuff about the SA wiki and maybe they’ll link it on Brandon’s website.

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  • 30

    Interview: Jan 24th, 2015

    Question

    What is the most interesting or awesome thing you found in your South American research for /The Aztlanian/?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What is the most awesome thing I’ve come up with in my research for /The Aztlanian/. So the question, for those of you who read /The Rithmatist/, I’m working on a sequel doing a lot of research on South American and Central American cultures. The Aztecs all the way down to the Incas

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  • 31

    Interview: Feb 20th, 2015

    Question

    How much research do you have to do in sciences and technology and history to create a world that is more relatable if not as believable as they are?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What it takes is a lot of general knowledge, meaning you read a lot of history books, a lot of science books, and this general knowledge that you then incorporate. It’s not like I go and say “I need to know more about this thing”. I’ll do that for characters and some aspects of the worlds sometimes but mostly this is coming from spending 10 years learning all this stuff. Does that make sense?

    Question

    It makes total sense, and my 10 years of community college will help me write.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes it will.

    Question

    My 120 credit-hours.

    Brandon Sanderson

    120 credit-hours, that’s what makes a good writer… That really turns-- You can pick out “Oh that’s my linguistics class” and I’d be like “Oh that’s my chemistry class. Oh that’s the class I snuck into, the psychology class”.

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  • 32

    Interview: Oct 9th, 2015

    Question

    Are you working on a sequel to Rithmatist?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I started working on it, realized I didn’t know the Aztec culture well enough, so I went and read four books on Aztec culture, but by then deadlines were due on something else so I had to jump. I rebuild my outline using my new knowledge but I gotta find time to write it. It’s going to have a killer plot, I’m really excited for it.

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  • 33

    Interview: Feb 17th, 2016

    Question

    [paraphrased] I have Aspergers, and when I read Bands of Mourning, for the first time I could really identify with a character [Steris]. What kind of research did you do when writing her?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have several people in my life who have Aspergers, specifically, and they were a huge resource, as you might imagine. One of the things I like to do in my fiction is to try and get people who are heroic who have different types of psychology than what you normally see in heroes. The more I’ve lived in life, the more I realize that we all are really distinctive in our own way and our psychology all works differently. And yet we see a lot of heroes who have the same brain chemistry, it seems, and that’s always felt really weird to me. So one of my mandates has been to do that [vary characters’ psychology.]
    So what kind of research did I do? When I was in college, one of my favorite things to do was sneak into classes I wasn’t signed up for. And the psychology classes were my favorite. And this friend—this is coincidental—who wanted to be a chef actually got a psychology major. His parents were like “You should do something useful with your life,” so he got a psychology major. He ended up going to med school; he didn’t become a chef. He went to med school and he likes that too. [Note: Brandon talked about this friend during the first part of the signing.] I would sneak into his classes, and they were so useful as a writer. Just to look at the different [neuro]types and to start to see personality not as… We like to look at a lot of things as normal or abnormal, and that’s not the way it is. Everyone’s personality is on a spectrum, and what is normal and what is abnormal is completely a matter of perspective. Where you stand on this line. It’s trying to make a value judgment that shouldn’t really exist. So it’s coming to see personality as these swaths of interesting color is what the psychology classes taught me.
    I did do some specific research for Steris, and then I looked and I interviewed people as well.
    I’m glad that you picked up on it without me ever having to say who she was and things like that. That’s when I really feel like I’ve nailed something, when you can look at in and say, “Yeah, this is who this person is,” instead of someone pointing from the outside and saying who this person is or what they are.

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