Author Topic: For Brandon - A few more questions  (Read 1434 times)

Armadius

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For Brandon - A few more questions
« on: January 21, 2007, 03:45:36 AM »
Sorry that last thread got so radically off-topic; hopefully this one won't. I have a couple more questions, if you don't mind.

1. Were any aspects of Elantris at all biographical? In my case, at least, my writing is often unintentionally reflective of my own experiences. Is this the case for you as well?

2. You might get this a lot, but why did you become a writer in the first place? Did you ever see yourself doing something else instead?

3. I'm overjoyed to hear that you're probably doing a sequel to Elantris. I was wondering, though, if you plan to discuss anything further about the religions you mention less in the book. I think both Jesker and the Jeskeri Mysteries receive too little attention for how interesting they could be. It would be interesting if we got to learn more about the origins/tenets of both. It's rankled ever since the first time I read the book that something which seems so significant as Jesker is left so undeveloped.
"Beauty is a form of Genius - is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of our world, like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned." - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

EUOL

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Re: For Brandon - A few more questions
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2007, 10:03:01 PM »
No problems about the off-topicness.  This is a forum; I'm surprised it stayed on topic as long as it did.

1.  Hum.  You know, every book is a little autobiographical.  You can't separate yourself from your work, though I try not to include intentional messages in my writing.  (That doesn't mean I'm opposed to my books having meaning; it just means that I don't tent to approach them with the idea "I want to teach something in this book.")

Each of the characters is a little autobiographical, mostly noticeable in retrospect.  Raoden represents my belief in the power of optimism.  I'm an optimist.  I can't help it; it's just the way I am.  And so, a hero like Raoden often grows to represent my beliefs.  His conflict--that of being cast into the most horrific place in the kingdom--is an outgrowth of me trying to devise the most hopeless situation I could, and then make the conflict for my character the attempt to retain hopeful in the face of that.

Sarene represents an amalgamation of several people I knew in my life, most notably Annie Gorringe, a friend of mine in college.  Not that Sarene acts just like her, of course--but that some of the conflicts in Annie's life, mixed with some of her personality quirks, inspired me to develop a character that ended up in my book.

Hrathen is as much a piece of me as Raoden.  I served a mission for the LDS church, and while I did so, I thought often about the 'right' way to share one's beliefs mixed with the 'wrong' way.  It seemed to me that focusing on the beauty of your message, mixed with the needs of the individuals you met, was the way to go. When you start to preach just to be preaching--or to convert not because of your concern for those around you, but because you want to seem more powerful--you risk beating the life out of your own message.

So, in a way, Hrathen represents my fears of what I could have become--a warning to myself, if you will.

I'll answer the other questions in a bit.
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Re: For Brandon - A few more questions
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2007, 10:01:24 PM »
2. You might get this a lot, but why did you become a writer in the first place? Did you ever see yourself doing something else instead?

Good question.  I should definitely have this on one the FAQ.

My story starts back when I was in grade school.  In third and fourth grade, I was a big time reader.   My favorite series was the “Three Investigators” books, a kind of Hardy Boys style mystery series.  I hadn't had much exposure to fantasy, and the young adult genre/middle grade genres hadn't been split off into their own sections back then.

Well, as I grew older, people tried to give me other books to read.  Most of these were realistic fiction--the types of books that bored me out of my skull.  My reading habits dribbled off, and I landed in junior high as an average student  pulling Bs and Cs. 

Then I had a wonderful English teacher--Ms. Reeder, ironically--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.  That was the beginning of the end for me!  I was amazed by the book--I hadn’t realized that there were things like that out there.  The book engaged my imagination to an extent none ever had.  I read through every book in the Library that had “Dragon” in the title, then quickly move on to the bookstore, buying whatever fantasy I could get my hands on.  I still remember when both DRAGONBONE CHAIR (by Tad Williams) and EYE OF THE WORLD (by Robert Jordan) came out in paperback--both books quickly hooked me as a reader, and those two became my favorite authors.  (And, interestingly, my grades at this point shot up to be straight As, and stayed there all through high school.)

My mother thought that being a writer for a living, however, was too difficult a task.  She convinced me that becoming something more legitimate--like a chemist--would be a better path.  (She always maintained that I could write on the side.  She wasn’t discouraging, just realistic.)  So, I went to college as a bio-chemistry major.

I did okay in my chemistry classes--not excellent, but not poorly.  Solid “B” student.  At that point, I served a 2-year mission for the LDS church in Korea.  During that time, I really didn’t miss chemistry.  (In fact, a big piece of me was very excited to be on a completely different continent from chemistry. . .)  However, I DID miss writing.  Spent my day off doing it, working on what eventually became my first writer. 

So, when I got back, I bit the bullet and admitted that I was really a writer at heart.  I determined to become a professional author, and changed my major to English. 
http://www.BrandonSanderson.com

"Technically, I don't even have a brain."--Fellfrosch

Sigyn

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Re: For Brandon - A few more questions
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2007, 10:17:34 PM »
I've been reading way too much British stuff lately.  When you said your mother wanted you to be a chemist, I thought, "Why did she want him to be a pharmicist?"
If I had any clue, would I be here?

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Re: For Brandon - A few more questions
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2007, 09:02:02 PM »
3. I'm overjoyed to hear that you're probably doing a sequel to Elantris. I was wondering, though, if you plan to discuss anything further about the religions you mention less in the book. I think both Jesker and the Jeskeri Mysteries receive too little attention for how interesting they could be. It would be interesting if we got to learn more about the origins/tenets of both. It's rankled ever since the first time I read the book that something which seems so significant as Jesker is left so undeveloped.

Yes, actually.  I want to focus more on Jesker, and the Mysteries, as well as the original religion that spawned both Shu-Dereth and Shu-Korath. 

Jesker is very important, as you have noticed, since it's the religion tied to understanding the Dor.  It's actually much older than the other religions, relating back to things that happened long ago.  Because of this, it retains hints of things such as the origin of the Seons and the like. 
http://www.BrandonSanderson.com

"Technically, I don't even have a brain."--Fellfrosch

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Re: For Brandon - A few more questions
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2007, 09:10:38 PM »
I hear Brandon is going to make me one of the gods in the Elantris sequel.  Don't worry, I make a kind god...sorta...
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