I wrote it when I was supposed to be working on other things back in I have often stopped my main projects for side ones. It is part of what keeps me fresh. The book is technically gearpunk—which is not steampunk, but more Da Vinci-era technology, extrapolated hundreds of years into the future. But what of the son of the cleaning lady?

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You mentioned that you thought Rithmatist was gonna in the Cosmere. Did you have a Shard in mind? Very early on, I did. But I won't tell you who it was. It it not a Shard we've seen. If I ever do write Rithmatist 2, you might be able to piece it together. Though I'm, in revisions of the outline, really trying to push it away from where it was originally, so it will have a distinctive feel of its own.

So I'm trying to write out some of the cosmere elements. But this is one of those things that, if I write it out too much, it just won't match with the first book. So I have to be okay with some of the sort of cosmere relationships. Near the end of The Rithmatist, you mention that one of Melody's brothers, who isn't a professor, also has a coat.

Do the colors of Rithmatist coats have meaning outside of academia? In The Rithmatist , in the Inception chamber, there's that chalk creature. Does that have anything to do with how they gain Rithmatic powers?

One of the drawings in The Rithmatist contains a spoiler for the chapter that follows. How do you all normally ensure that doesn't happen? Do you read the whole book or is it more of relying on the art request telling you what to avoid?

That's something that falls at the feet of editing and layout, at the publisher. I produce illustrations to spec, but I don't get a lot of input on where they're ultimately placed on the page or in the book. That being said, someone really should have caught that.

The illustrations are all the way Brandon designed them. Some of them contain information that comes up in the text of that chapter. It started as one I just decided I didn't want to canonize Earth into the cosmere, it was too much. With your upcoming series, Apocalypse Guard , would there be any chance for crossover with Rithmatist?

No, but it is crossover with Reckoners. But no Rithmatist occupies a very weird space in my writing, because it was originally in the cosmere and I popped it out. And so it's not in any of the continuities I have devised. In the Rithmatist , the Rithmatists get kidnapped by the guy [Harding] but it never explains how they got out of the room [the bedroom].

They could just go under doors and things like that because they're 2-dimensional so they don't actually have [height]. The Rithmatist started that way, and I pulled it out of the cosmere, because I didn't want Earth in the cosmere. So, that happening tells me pretty surely I'll never do it. Like, it was when I was designing magic, and doing the worldbuilding. When I started asking questions like this is when I kicked it out. I didn't even write any chapters of it before I kicked it out.

But I can't justify working too much on a project that hasn't been sold and which—if published—would end up pulling me into another side trilogy. I have to leave the WoT with the space it needs and deserves. Until it is completed, I have to shelve side projects. For now. There are some things in the works with it, and I'm very excited about the possibilities.

But there's nothing tangible I can give you now. It's coming. Maybe sooner than I've made it sound, but best to be careful as nothing is set yet. I have tried for years to get one made, and would love to do it. I also am fine with not for profit fan creations in most instances. The problem has always been that people who are interested in making a Rithmatist game don't have enough experience in the industry to really make me think they could do a good job with it.

I have had a lot of offers from first-time game makers, for example. However, the sales of the book--while good--are not enough to interest big game makers.

Where we've had trouble even getting something like a Mistborn game made, a series with several multiples more fans than the Rithmatist. I cant even remember. I was just wanting to play magical Starcraft on the ground and chalk made the most sense. They do not believe right now, but the study of actual chalk composition is a relatively new science that they have not paid enough attention to.

Keeping it on Scadrial, the ranks within the Set are obviously inspired by either mathematics, or programming, or logic, or a related field. Can you talk about this motivation either yours or the Set's for this? My motivation ties directly to the same reasons that we see mathematics playing out in behind-the-scenes ways on Roshar. This plays into the themes of the cosmere, the rule-based magic, and the fascination I have of the ties between art and mathematics.

See the Rithmatist, which was originally a cosmere novel. This continues to be the single most-requested sequel among people who email me or contact me on social media.

It is something I want to do, and still intend to, but it has a couple of weird aspects to it—completely unrelated to its popularity—that continue to work as roadblocks. The first problem is that it's an odd relic in my writing career. It went really well—but it also was something I had to set aside when the Wheel of Time came along.

I eventually published it years later, but my life and my writing has moved in a very different direction from the point when I wrote this. These days, I try very hard to make stories like this work as novellas or standalone stories, rather than promising sequels. The other issue is that writing about that era in America—even in an alternate universe—involves touching on some very sensitive topics.

Ones that, despite my best efforts, I feel that I didn't handle as sensitively as I could have. I do want to come back to the world and do a good job of it, but doing an Aztec viewpoint character—as I'd like to do as one of the viewpoints in book two—in an alternate Earth…well, it's a challenge that takes a lot of investment in research time.

So someday I will get to this, but it's going to require some alignment of several factors. Getting tense now. I love endings—they're my favorite parts of books to write. Once, I wrote 16, words in one day to finish up a book.

That was my record until I finished Scribbler a few weeks back. I think I did 23k on that book in one day to finish it off. Was it easier or harder to write for a YA audience or was there anything different about the writing process for this particular book? That's an excellent question! I wouldn't say it's either easier or harder. For me, a story grows in my mind till I just can't ignore it anymore, and I have to write it.

As for what I did differently, there are a couple things. When I work on a teen book, I usually try to focus the viewpoints. That's one of the big distinctions for me between an epic fantasy that has teen characters—like the Mistborn books—and a book that I've specifically written for a teen audience.

I usually focus on a single character—maybe two—so the narrative is a bit more streamlined. The other big difference here is that I really wanted to write something with a sense of fantasy whimsy to it. I say whimsical, and it might be the right term, and yet it's not.

For example, the magic system is one of the most rigorous and specific that I've written. I hope readers will find it as interesting as I do—with the defensive circles and the different types of lines.

I replaced the United States with the United Isles, turning the country into an archipelago. I shrank the planet, and I did really weird things to the history of the world because I thought it would be fun. For example, I let Korea conquer the world, because I'm a fan of Korean history. It's not like I'm sitting down and saying, "What is plausible? I let myself do that in my YA works more than in my adult works to give them a different feel.

Writing this way allows me to exercise different muscles. I believe that children and teens are better able to mode shift. When they pick up a book, they don't necessarily feel that it has to fit in one of the genre boxes. As an author, that allows you to do some interesting things in teen that are harder to do within an adult genre. There will eventually. I was working on that when I was offered finishing The Wheel Of Time and just couldn't get back into it yet. I often worry about falling into the trap of making female characters strong by not making them feminine.

In Mistborn, Vin is strong in part because of how good of a warrior she is, and that's fine. There are plenty of women like that, who can hold their own in a fight.


Rithmatist Series

The Rithmatist takes place on an alternate Earth in which North America is composed entirely of islands. The islands were empty of human life when Europeans arrived, but they encountered dangerous "wild chalklings," two-dimensional creatures made of chalk. King Gregory III discovered the magic of Rithmatics , performed by drawing specific shapes with chalk, and with this magic the colonists learned to defend themselves. Several hundred years later, the continued prosperity of the United Isles of America is bought with the efforts of Rithmatists who fight an ongoing battle to contain the chalklings and other, more mysterious creatures on the island of Nebrask. Though not a Rithmatist himself, he is obsessed with Rithmatics and studies the magic as much as he can.


The One Least Likely

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