Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the folks at the Broke and the Bookish. Each week has a different theme where participants try to come up with ten things to fit the theme.
This week’s topic is Ten Reasons I Love X. So I’ll just take this chance to gush over how great Brandon Sanderson is. He’s the author of Mistborn, Stormlight Archive and the Reckoners series, among many others.
He’s prolific. And when I say he’s prolific, I mean he’s prolific. He needs a separate wiki page dedicated to his work, despite only operating for eleven years. This is god sent in a genre rife with long waits between books. Looking at you, Martin and Rothfuss. He’s published at least two works per year since 2007. He’s the guy that accidentally wrote a sequel to a book he was working on. In his most prolific year, he published 6 pieces, three novellas and three novels, including the conclusion to the Wheel of Time, which clocks in at 355k words. He claims it’s his work ethic, but we all know it’s the Sanderson robots, aka Sanderbots, he keeps in the dungeon to churn out books.
Writing Excuses is a weekly podcast on writing by Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler and Mary Robinette Kowell. Aspiring writers, give them a listen! They’re great, informative, short episodes on topics related to writing. Last year they did a master class in writing, from plotting all the way to revising. This year they’re doing the Elemental Genres. They also have a cruise once a year where you can do writing groups and have some published writers critique your work. I hope I can join it one day.
Lectures and Workshops
He does a lecture class one semester a year at a university. It is around 14 weeks. He used to record them and put them on YouTube. The 2012, 2013 and 2014 sessions are still around. Hopefully he’ll post them again this year. He also does workshops during cons, which are basically condensed versions of a particular lecture topic. Valuable resources for aspiring writers.
He’s a Totally Awesome Dude
He’s all around an awesome dude. I always enjoy listening to his book signing events. He usually has a talk about some stuff, I liked the one where he talks about literature exclusion at Google (Only the first 30 minutes or so). After that he does Q&A, with gifts for each questioner. Then he reads an excerpt from one of his unpublished work. Last comes the book signings. I’ve never been to one of his signings before. I wish I could, but I’m half a world away. But from what I’ve heard, he lets people customize signings and answers whatever question they have. Usually those with a lot of books and questions will have to let the other people first, but man, getting to sit down and chat with Sanderson until the bookstore has to close. That has got to be a great experience. Also, he signs books randomly in bookshops, especially at airports. So next time you’re in an airport where he has been to, check the bookshop.
He’s a Redditor
Continuing from the previous point, he’s also a redditor! He drops by to chat once in a while. Some of the best interactions include suggesting books to someone who didn’t like his books and including a fan for a cameo in his novel. Once, he also sneaked a fan into a signing which needed a ticket by claiming he’s one of his people. He also holds AMAs (ask me anything) once in a while, and sometimes still answer questions weeks after the AMA has ended.
A little recap. So he writes a lot of books, does a weekly podcast, teaches a weekly class and still has time for redditing. So you can get why fans think there are Sanderbots behind the scenes.
Keeps in Touch with the Fans
Sanderson keeps in touch with his fans. There’s reddit and there’s a blog, but most importantly, there’s a progress bar on the top right corner of his website. Every percentage increase lets us know we’re that much closer to the next release. And then there’s the occasional unexpected appearance of a previously unknown book.
As mentioned earlier, he answers question asked by fans on AMAs or during book signings. This means speculation fuel! While most of the time he answers some questions with RAFO (read and find out), the times that he does answer them, the fandom explodes with new theories and speculations. Trell is Autonomy people!
The Cool Magic Systems
Sanderson creates his magic system by using his humbly named Sanderson’s Laws of Magic. Most of the time, his magic systems follow a set of rules and some of his plots revolve around those rules. It’s not for everyone, but I like both soft and hard magic systems, so I don’t have an issue with it. And usually these well defined magic systems mean cool action scenes. Kelsier’s fight with the Inquisitor in the Final Empire and the last battle in Words of Radiance were some of the most AWESOMEST fight scenes ever.
There’s this little thing called the Cosmere. It’s the dwarf galaxy where most of Brandon Sanderson’s adult fiction is set in. The mythos of the world is that the Creator shattered into sixteen pieces held by sixteen individuals who became gods themselves. Thus far, the Cosmere has been relatively hidden in the background, existing in cameo appearances and Easter eggs. This is why speculation thrives in the fanbase. The Stormlight Archives is a little aware of the Cosmere but only a little. Future books are planned where the Cosmere becomes more prominent and the plot will feature the sixteen individuals. Thus far the only Cosmere aware book is Mistborn Secret History, which is a novella.
Finishing Wheel of Time
Last but not least, I’ll be eternally grateful to Sanderson for finishing the Wheel of Time series. The series was my adolescence. When Robert Jordan died, I was devastated. We had only one more book to go. And then it was announced that Brandon Sanderson would finish the series. And naturally that one book would be split into three (just kidding, it was obvious that the series wasn’t going to finish in one more book). (Just like aSoIaF probably isn’t gonna end in another two). It was the first time I had heard of Sanderson. I went to read his eulogy and felt a connection with him. He too was a huge Wheel of Time fan. I can only imagine what he felt when he was tasked with completing the work of his great hero.
And that’s ten reasons why I love Brandon Sanderson. I hope you read his books one of these days and get sucked into his fandom too.