Friday, January 23, 2015

Signing Recap: Brandon Sanderson in Beaverton and San Francisco

Today I FINALLY have my recap of the Brandon Sanderson event at Powells Cedar Hills for you, plus some notes from Tom Smith about the event in San Francisco, which is awesome (Everyone please say thank you Tom).
I'd apologize, but I'm sort of the emperor of this little page, and royalty does NOT apologize.

"I do what I do because it's awesome."
I should say before I start, that I enjoy listening to Brandon speak, and over the last almost ten years, I have seen him at, I think, every Portland event he has done, barring one, and each event he is more interesting. This time he gave a great short talk about how we view the arts. What stuck with me was an analogy he made about the arts, if someone goes out and plays a game of basketball on Saturday afternoon, we don't ask them when they're going to join the NBA, so why do we ask people when they say their writing a book when it's going to be published.
He then turned to add a new Sanderson's Law (if you haven't read 'Sanderson's Laws of Writing' you can find it here:  ) the Zeroth Law:
"Always err on the side that's awesome."
He then read a short selection of a currently unpublished novella about a most unusual King of the World, which was lightweight but fun, and was clearly another opportunity for Sanderson to play with voice and setting, which is one of the things I really enjoy about his novellas.
When it came to the Q and A section, he answered some great questions, including one about how much of the final Wheel of Time books were Robert Jordan and how much were Brandon. As it turns out, RJ had left about 100 pages of prose, which was mostly used for the prologues to the three books, and the epilogue. There was about another 100 pages of notes covering the story lines for certain characters, he revealed that while there was a great deal about Egwene, but only one sentence about Perrin.
When asked about which world he'd want to find himself in, he said that he really loves the Internet, so he'd likely pick Legion, though he'd love to have allomancy.
Moving onto the world of The Stormlight Archives, he says that yes, that is definitely Nightblood in a certain scene.During the signing, I asked him if the insanity of the Heralds was linked to their failure to uphold the Oathpact, or was connected to the Stormfather's gradual diminishing, but he RAFO'd me while implying that it was something else altogether, and that a careful reading of the book might give some hints as to what is causing their insanity.
  Another question I happened to overhear related to Rithmatist 2, which Brandon has said is delayed because book two will take place in that world's version of South America, and the research is taking him longer than he originally thought.
To wrap up, there was some news about film rights, which have sold recently for Steelheart, and he reiterated that both Mistborn and Emperors Soul have sold.
And that's the wrap-up for the Beaverton Event!

Tom sent me the following from the San Francisco event:

       I had an opportunity to go see Brandon Sanderson speak tonight.  As always, he was highly entertaining and engaging.  I say "as always" because I have seen him in the bay area here 3 times in the last 18 months.  That isn't boasting, it's astonishment at how much he tours.  I don't know how he gets any writing done honestly, he must have enough frequent flyer miles to go to Mars by now.
Sanderson's creative world-building, innovative magic systems and prolific book publishing have endeared him to many fans, but on top of all that, what keeps me going back to signings (without books in hand even) is how personable he is.  The man is genuine and knows how to speak to an audience.  In a world that is rapidly going to digital from brick and mortar, he still packs the house.
My only surprise from the bay area signing is that even though he was here about a year ago with over a hundred people, they crammed him into a tiny corner of the children's section and put out less than 20 chairs.  Huh?  I won't say where it was, but it sounds like Shmarnes and Schmoble....  ;)
He began with a 10 minute mini-speech on the art of creation and then rolled into Q and A.  Q and A is always entertaining with Sanderson because he usually has some sort of collector card which he gives to people who ask questions.  Usually whizzing it at them a la ninja shuriken style with hilarious, but less than ninja-like results.  It's ok, he's not paid for his ninja skills. He's paid to entertain - and he delivers.  My favorite question was concerning advice  for future writers.  His response was that you should approach writing just like anything else you want to do well - practice and practice some more.  He even compared his first few books where he was still drastically improving his craft to his more polished works now.
       A 15 minute reading follows the Q and A, usually from something new that he's working on.              Another perk for going to see him in person.  This time it was from an up and coming novella.  From there it's onto the signing.
       Brandon is a gracious host and will sign almost everything of his.  He will personalize up to 3 books and sign all the rest of his books (or anthologies in which he has a story) and even take pictures with you. He especially dotes on his cosplayers which he seems to have many of for someone who is primarily a novelist.
        My involvement with the writing community as both a beta and first reader is typically to objectively read and review, then criticize.  With that in mind, I would love to be able to find some fault with Sanderson or his work, but so far I have nothing - I love his work.  He's a way solid writer and I have yet to even find a grammatical error in his books and that's usually my forte.  I think of him as on par with Terry Brooks - but for this generation.  If you haven't read anything from the MIstborn, Stormlight Archive or Reckoners' series yet, you are seriously missing out.

Tom Smith
1st Reader
Grimdark Magazine

(Special thanks to my friend Kim for letting me steal her photo.)

1 comment:

  1. On event day, I had a complimentary attendant from Hollywood venues, who was helpful in getting my husband and myself champagne, and she also made sure that we were eating.