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General Reddit 2017 ()
#51 Copy


What is the final page count? The first two books were monsters (in the best way). I think part of what sets you apart from some other authors is that you're very transparent with your writing progress. The progress bars on your site, your updates on twitter, et cetera. Anyway, long story short, I am really freaking excited to read what's in store for everyone, and I may just re-read WoK and WoR to get back in the mood.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Words of Radiance was spring 2014, incredibly.

Oathbringer would have been out last year, instead of this year, but the story went long. First draft was 520k words, compared to 300k words for TWoK and 400k words for [WoR]. However, in revisions, I buckled down and did some serious pruning for the good of the book--so Oathbringer is somewhere around 450k words now, going into final proofreads. November 14th drop date in the US.

More and more, I'm certain I can't do these every two years, as I had originally hoped. They are to intricate, and I need to take a break from the world to let things simmer and brew between books. But we'll see.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#53 Copy


How do you choose flashback character for each Stormlight book? Do you rather build present day narrative around someone's flashback sequence or just choose whose flashbacks better fit with already existing main narrative? As an example, when you moved Dalinar's flashbacks from book 5 to book 3, did you re-outlined book 3 narrative to make it a better match, or you already had both Dalinar's narratives for books 3 and 5 present day and merely decided where flashbacks play the best counterpoint to what Dalinar is doing in the main timeline?

Brandon Sanderson

Moving Dalinar's flashbacks was based on the instinct I had from where book three's narrative was going to go. (After finishing the first two.) Though I have outlines for all of the books, a lot of my outlining process involves starting with a big event, then working backward from it. Sometimes, the steps toward a big event are themselves pretty big events.

People imagine, I think, an outline that is like the traditional "Heading A" "Subheading a" format. But it's not that, it's a big list of things I am pointing toward--and the most interesting steps to get there. So the process of building a novel is more about looking at that timeline, figuring out what steps make their own powerful moments, and constructing a narrative around them that makes sense. I will often be doing this with a dozen or more different sub-plots at once.

So when I "move things" from one book to another, it's often a matter of me building a book (say book two) and realizing that the break point for Kaladin's story makes way more sense if it stretches all the way to include the falling into the chasms sequence. From there, I realize I might not move as far along on Dalinar's plot as i might have thought, and I turn book three to focus more on that plot. Etc.

The flashbacks are the most flexible of these, in some ways, as they are compliments to a story--but don't need to come at any specific chronological point in the series itself. So I look for the places where they will simply fit the best and match the tone of the story the best, either by contrast or compliment

Sasquan 2015 ()
#54 Copy


So for big, big books like Stormlight, what is the ratio of time spent on the first draft versus on revisions, and has that changed over the course of your career?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh wow. They take more time in revision. They take more time at every step of the way than the shorter books. So a book like Calamity I can write pretty solidly, I can write 2 to 3 thousand words a day on that rough draft, and I spend two weeks on an outline and whatever that turns into it's only a couple months of writing. A Stormlight book, the plotting is so intricate it often takes me a year before I'm comfortable with the outline I'm working on-- so I will writing other stuff while working on this outline-- 'till I catch what the soul of that book is going to be, but then all of the interludes, and all of the things, and boy, every book we've had big portions we need to knock out and re-write. It just takes a long time. I would say 50% of the time I spend on-- You take the time I spend writing the first draft, cut it in half and that is the time I spend revising on your average book. But it really depends. Like Stormlight I started the outline last year, or a year ago in June, and started my first exploratory scenes--I posted a few of those online--then went back to the outline, and outlined for a year and then I felt good writing it. So I started that in June. I will write this all the way until March and then we will probably be revising it until six weeks before the book comes out, because that is the absolute deadline that Tor needs before they can print and distribute it *camera pans to Peter making a wryly amused expression* So that's about how long it will take to do this book. It's a lot of work. You know I like doing this because I like having multiple things going, right? Like I don't think I can write a Stormlight book every year, in fact I couldn't, that process I just outlined is a two and a half year process. So, it's just not something I could do. But during that two and a half years I can do some shorter books, some novellas, and just experimenting with different types of writing.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#56 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I'm happy to post this update only two months after the previous one--which seems like a much more reasonable interval than the many months between two and three. I do feel bad at how long this book is taking, but I'm coming to grips with the fact that Stormlight books are just too involved to do as quickly as I once imagined. I still intend to get to them at a reasonable pace, but this year of work is showing that big epic fantasies require a lot out of even a somewhat quick author like myself.

In the wee hours this morning (3:00 am) I sent Part Three of Oathbringer to my editor. This means I've finished the rough draft (of Part Three) then done a quick revision, putting it at second draft level. (I explain in previous updates that I'm doing more revisions as I go on this one, hopefully to speed the editing process.)

Part Three is tight and fast, a nice counterpoint to Part Two, which was more leisurely and character-focused. The book stands at around 325k words right now. (Words of Radiance was right around 400k at publication.) I have on my website "73%" I believe, though I intend to move that to 75% soon. I started out counting 4k words as 1%, but I'm pretty sure that the final wordcount will be in the 450k range, which is why I have slowed the percentage bar velocity a tad. (Goal is for Part Four to be around 100k words, Part Five to be around 25k, and the interludes to take around 25k. Then I'll trim the book before publication, getting it down to around 450k.)

If you're following the general outline shape from Update Two, I moved the novella from this part to the next part, after deciding I liked the feel of this book having a narrow-wide-narrow-wide focus for the first four parts. We'll see how I feel after finishing the next part.

Next up, I'm going to dive into writing some Szeth flashbacks (which won't reflect on the percentage bar moving up) so I have his past nailed down. Then I'll expand the outline for Part Four, and write it. Goal is still to finish the book by the time I go on tour in late October, but we'll see. This part took me two full months.

Even if I'm a little late, however, having sections of the book already with the editor means we will still be on schedule. Plan is still for a late 2017 release, and it would take a major upset in writing plans to budge us from that.

Thanks, as always, for your patience and your kind words. The book is feeling very strong to me, and I think you'll be pleased with how it turns out.


State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
#58 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

My Year

This year was almost completely dominated by the writing of Oathbringer, Book Three of the Stormlight Archive. The first files I have for the book were Kaladin scenes, written in June 2014. But the book didn't really start in earnest until July 2015, when I wrote the Dalinar flashback sequence. (See State of the Sanderson 2015.) I had those done by October, but November was when I really dove into the novel.

I spent most of 2016 working on it, with only a few interruptions. It was an extremely productive year spent writing on something I'm very passionate about—but it was also a monochrome year, as I poured so much into Stormlight. There were far fewer side projects, and far fewer deviations, than the year before.

I've come to realize I can't do a Stormlight book every year, or even every two years. You can see that this one took around 18 months of dedicated writing time (though that does include some interruptions for edits and work on other things.) My process is such that, when I finish something like Stormlight, I need to move on for a while to refresh myself.

That said, Oathbringer is done as of last week! Here's a quick breakdown of the year.

January: Oathbringer

A lot of this month was revisions. I decided to do something unusual for me, and revise each chunk of the book as I completed it, which let me get my editor working on his notes early in the year—rather than making him wait until this month, when the whole thing finished. That means I'll soon have a second draft of the book completed, though I only completed the first draft a little bit ago.

Also squeezed into January was a trip to Bad Robot, where I had a cool meeting with J.J. Abrams. (In conjunction with a video game my friends at ChAIR Entertainment are making—the Infinity Blade guys. I just gave a few pointers on the story; I'm not officially involved.)

February: Calamity Tour

I toured for Calamity, the last book of the Reckoners. The whole series is out now, so check it out! There is a nice hardcover boxed set of all three available in most bookstores, and it makes a great gift.

While on tour, I read from Stormlight 3, and some kind person recorded the reading for you all. Also, here's another version from FanX in SLC.

March: Trip to Dubai

I was invited to, and attended, the Emirates Festival in Dubai, then traveled south to Abu Dhabi to visit some friends. This was an extended trip, and I often find it difficult to work on a main project (like Stormlight) while traveling. I have too many interruptions. I can write something self-contained, but have more trouble with something very involved.

On this trip, I wrote a novella called Snapshot: a science Fiction detective story where people solve crimes using exact recreations of certain days in the past. It's a little Philip K. Dick, a little Se7en. This one's coming out in February, and will likely be my only release in 2017 other than Oathbringer (which will be in November). More details here.

April: Oathbringer

I got back into the groove of writing, and did a big chunk of Oathbringer Part Two. If you missed the discussions on Reddit, here are my various updates there spanning about a year's time, talking about the book: One, Two, Three, Four, and Five.

May: Edgedancer

I took a short break from Stormlight 3 to write…Stormlight 2.5, an extended story about Lift, with smaller appearances by Szeth and Nale. If you want to get your Stormlight fix before the release in 2017, you can find Edgedancer in Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection. (There will eventually be a solo ebook release, but that's a number of years away, as required by my contract with Tor.) I also wrote essays and annotations for each world and/or story in the collection.

When I decided I wasn't going to kill myself (and my team) trying to get Oathbringer out in 2016, I committed to writing this novella to tide people over. I think you'll enjoy this one, unless you're one of the people that Lift drives crazy. In which case you'll probably still enjoy it, but also want to punch her in the face for being too awesome.

June-August: Oathbringer

I finally got a good long chunk of time dedicated to Oathbringer.

I do love traveling, but it takes a big bite out of my writing time. So please don't get offended when I can't make it out to visit your city or country on tour. I try to do as much as I can, but I'm starting to worry that has been too much. Last year, for example, I was on the road 120 days for tours or conventions. This year was a little better, clocking in at about 90 days.

September: Alcatraz Release & Writing Excuses Cruise

Book Five of my middle grade series, Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, came out this month. (A long-awaited book.) You should read it.

The cruise was a fun time, but very unproductive for me. There is too much going on, and too much to organize, for me to get much writing done. I did finish one chapter of a potential novella on the single day of writing time I got. (The story, called "The Eyes," is a space opera inspired by Fermi's Paradox.)

I might do something with the chapter eventually, but for now I'm sending it in to be this month's Random Hat reward for the $10 patrons of Writing Excuses on Patreon.

As a warning to those planning on attending the cruise in 2017: we'll have a ton of awesome guest instructors, and it will be well worth your time and money. I, however, won't be attending. I'll be on the cruise other years in the future, but (like JordanCon, which I love) I can't promise to go every year. Once every two or three years is more likely. It's just a matter of trying to balance touring/teaching with writing.

By the way, JordanCon, FanX, and Dragon Con had some amazing costumes this year—but I'll save those for another post.

October: Europe Tour

Though I had a few good weeks of writing between the end of the cruise and the start of the Europe trip, I quickly lost steam again as I visited France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal on tour. I had an awesome time, signed a ton of books, and met many people in excellent costumes.

November: Arcanum Unbounded Release

Finally, I released Arcanum Unbounded: the Cosmere Collection. The tour for this was short, and I apologize for that, but…well, there's this writing thing I need to do sometimes…

December: Writing Excuses and Oathbringer

I got about half the episodes for next year's writing excuses season recorded at various locations, and then finally managed to type "THE END" for Oathbringer.

There's still a lot of work left on the book, but I'm confident we'll hit our November 2017 release date.

State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
#59 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Main Projects

The Stormlight Archive

Book Three is done! Edgedancer is out!

I'll be spending about four months of 2017 doing revisions on Oathbringer, then will have a tour in the fall. (Might manage to get to the UK on that one too.) Things are looking good for Stormlight and Roshar, and not just because we are working on a film. I'm excited for you to read the next installment.

I'm officially adding "Oathbringer (Stormlight 3) third draft" to the progress bar, now that I'm almost done with the second draft. (Most of which was completed during writing the first draft, as I explained above.)

Book Four will probably not be released until 2020—I'll start managing those expectations now, rather than trying to promise 2019 like I thought I might be able to do, once upon a time.

As I always promise, I'll see if I can speed that up. But if you take the year it took to outline Book Three and add eighteen months to actually write it, we're already at 2.5 years—not counting other projects I want to do.

Status: Book Three in revisions, out in 2017.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#61 Copy


I was wondering about the pictures in the cover of this [Oathbringer]. Are they specific characters in the book, or just art?

Brandon Sanderson

They are the Heralds. I went to some artists and said, "Do me your rendition of something that would be on the Sistine Chapel in-world for the Heralds," so that's four of the ten. So that is what we ended up with.

Orem signing ()
#63 Copy


What was your hardest scene to write?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll have to pick it by book, right. Like actual, actual hardest. Have you finished Oathbringer? Hardest scene in Oathbringer to get right was actually the scene where Kaladin met with the guy in the lighthouse, that involves the foreshadowing of where he needs to go and stuff like that. No, actually that's not it. The first chapter. The Dalinar scene where he is in the vision and he jumps off and he goes and inspects the rubble and things, I did four versions of that chapter that were completely different, that weren't in the vision. That one was actually really hard. Finding out where to start this book so that it felt like it had it's own soul, but it wasn't, you know--

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
#64 Copy


So, you always talk about how you're an outliner. So, what do your outlines look like, and how long are they ranging from your YA books to something like Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

So, the one for the new book, Skyward, is about five pages long, and it's mostly-- first it's "Here's the worldbuilding paragraph," there's a bunch of headings and paragraphs. Characters, about a paragraph or two about each one. And then five parts, I tend to do a lot of five act things. So, prologue, part one, part two, part three, climax. Just a bunch of bullet points.


And how long would one be for, like, Oathbringer?

Brandon Sanderson

Oathbringer one's, like, 30 pages.

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
#66 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

My Year

2015 was a bit slower than last year was, as I spent a lot of time editing.

January–May: Calamity

The bulk of my writing time this year was spent on Calamity, which I'd been putting off last year in order to write the two new Mistborn novels. Looking back at my records, I finished the last chapters in early May.

This was interrupted, on occasion, for revisions of various books—and for the Firefight tour, along with a trip to Sharjah in the UAE. Busy times. So busy, in fact, that it's taken me all the rest of the year to give full feedback to the writers who took my class. I managed to grade their papers in May, somehow, but promised them each a personalized look at their final story submissions, which I'm only now finishing up.

June–August: Stormlight Three

I did squeeze in some writing time for Stormlight in here, though not a whole ton of it got done. I had to stop for revisions, touring, and travel through most of September and October.

September–October: Revisions and a Secret Project

Traveling so much made it difficult to do Stormlight 3 writing, which requires a lot of time investment. So between revisions, I managed to finish a project I've been working on for about a decade now. (Yes, a decade.) You'll see this soon. It's a novella.

November–December: Stormlight Three Again

I plan to keep on this one until I finish it, as I'll talk about below. However, if you want to read a little about my writing time in November, you can read this other blog post.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
#67 Copy

Darkness (paraphrased)

Did the person Sigzil tried to kill actually die, and then afterward become not dead?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

We'll RAFO that, mostly because I intend to dig into Sigzil's past more.

Darkness (paraphrased)

Ok so you're probably going to RAFO who it was?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yeah… mmhmm… but we do get a Sigzil viewpoint in this next book so…

Darkness (paraphrased)

Good! I like Sigzil.

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
#68 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Main Book Projects

The Stormlight Archive

Stormlight is going very well. I'm working on Book Three, which I'm calling Oathbringer. (That is likely at this point to be the final title.) This is my main project, and I won't be writing any new prose on other stories until it is done. You can follow the progress bars!

Release dates for this book are still in flux. Even if I finish it early next year, it could be a year or more until you see the book. The amount of editing, continuity, and art that these books require creates a need for a long lead time. I've told people that Fall 2016 is the earliest they'd see it, but my team has been warning me that's not realistic. We'll see, but for now you should assume on a 2017 release.

What does this mean for my once optimistic "one Stormlight book every eighteen months" goal? The more I work on these books, the more uncertain I am about that. The outline for Oathbringer, for example, took about a year for me to nail down. Considering how many moving pieces there are in these books, it's tough to judge how long they will take to write. And while there are books I can force through if some things aren't right, I can't afford to do that on this series.

I'll continue to write Stormlight books at as quick a pace as is reasonable. I consider this my main project for the next decade or two, and am dedicated to it. But each book, as I've said before, is plotted as four books in one. So even if I release them once every three years, you're getting four "books" in three years.

We'll see. I'll try to pick up the pace. In the meantime, I'll try to get some short stories in the world out for you. (More on this later.)

Status: Book Three in Progress

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#70 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Who here was in the beta for [Oathbringer]? ...They had a lot of affect on part four in particular

Part four, so I had this weird thing... So I had this thing in Oathbringer where the plot archetype was Kaladin feeling like he needed to get to Dalinar, followed by him failing to do so. Which was a really important thing for Kaladin, but the original time where he discovered he needed to get to Dalinar was when he met the Ire and it was in the city--Celebrant. And in the beta that's where it was.

And so what it felt like is, everybody on the ship is like, "Oh we need to get to the perpendicularity in the Horneater Peaks." And then, I just took them down south instead. So I'm like, "Oh I need to get them there." And all the readers were like, "This feels like a digression, it feels boring. Why are we not going-- why are we going the wrong direction?"

It was just one of these promises thing where I had promised--set the expectation. So moving the Ire to the lighthouse meant that Kaladin was a contrast to the other people. And you were like, "Oh yes, Kaladin" When a character in the fantasy novel has a strange vision of the future, that means something! So we will be okay with following Kaladin down south.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#71 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I'm a little late to this, because of travel/booksigning woes, but I did want to jump in and offer a few things here. As Lyn said above, the AMA isn't often going to be able to dig into details about what was in the original draft--that's the sort of thing we like to keep a little closer to the chest. I'm okay with revealing things like that in the abstract, but having a wholesale "let's reveal plot points in early drafts of books without context" reveal seems like it might be dangerous.

So here, off the top of my head, are some of the things that I changed in the book related to Beta Reader comments. These topics are "open" for discussion--meaning you can ask Betas for more specifics on them, if you feel like it. These were all things I changed specifically because of Beta interaction.

Adolin's viewpoints were added to Part One. As was a quick run-down on Renarin's powers, and what he was learning to do with them.

The romantic angle between Shallan/Adolin/Kaladin was tweaked as I more and more referenced the idea that two different personalities of Shallan's were in love with two different people. IE--moving it further away from a love triangle, and instead showing more clearly that that Shallan was splitting further into multiple people, with different life goals.

This wasn't coming across in the early drafts, though I sometimes coulen't quite tell which responses were knee jerk "Twilight ruined love triangles! Don't do them!" comments and which were "I'm not convinced these four people--counting Shallan as two--are actually working in relationships." (I'll note that I, personally, am very pleased with how this part turned out in the books--but the betas certainly helped me get there. I'd guess that this is one of the more contentious matters of fan discussion about the book. The point of bringing it up here isn't to discredit anyone's feelings about the actual arc, just point out how the betas helped me find the balance I wanted.)

I got a LOT of help from people for writing Shallan's getting drunk scenes.

Slightly beefed up Yelig-nar's part in the plot, as what he did wasn't coming into play enough--and originally (I can't remember if this was a beta thing or an alpha thing) he wasn't as involved in the Amaram/Kaladin fight.

I revised part four heavily, moving the scene where Kaladin runs into our "so very beautiful" friend from Elantris (and the subsequent dip into the Spiritual Realm) from happening in the market to happening in the Lighthouse. Originally, the Lighthouse was run by Cryptics. (Which was a lot of fun.) However, I needed stronger establishment of Kaladin's motivations earlier in Part Four, which was going kind of off-the-rails a little.

Lots more conversation between characters who weren't talking enough in Part Four. (Most specifically Azure.)

There are hundreds more, but those are a few that might be of interest--and I need to be up in three hours to get on a train to go do more signings. Jet lag sure is fun!

Firefight Houston signing ()
#72 Copy


Can we expect a book regarding the backstory of Tonk Fah and Denth and all the characters of Warbreaker?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, yes, you can expect the sequel to Warbreaker, which will happen, but it's a ways off, to delve a little bit more into at least Denth's backstory. But I can't promise when I'll write that, or an Elantris sequel, sorry guys. The next book I'll write, after Calamity, will be... the next Stormlight book.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#77 Copy


Do you have-- Or have you determined an equivalency between how much Breath it takes to make a certain gem's worth of Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

I have recently assigned Peter to this task, and he is feeling overwhelmed by it. It was actually during the writing of Oathbringer where I finally said, "Yeah we need to standardize this, so start working on it." So it was like, "Oh great". Which means he has to read through all the books for references and start figuring it all out. And we're going to need like an equivalent of a jewel or something like this, right? *gestures to a sphere that a fan made* And we've been putting it off because it sounds like an awful lot of work. 

So the answer is no, we don't have it yet. It's something I've known for years we're going to need. And on this book, I just started saying, "All right.  I'm going to have them do all the stuff they need to do. And then you're going to tell me how many spheres they need to start with." Right? Like, I write the book, and then we retrofit how many spheres they needed to have how much Stormlight, so that we could be consistent with that.

But we haven't done across magic systems calculations, yet.

Sofia signing ()
#78 Copy


So, is she [Rysn] going to get a novella maybe?

Brandon Sanderson

Rysn is probably not going to get a novella but Rysn is a character who's going to have a nice novelette in each story, in the interludes. Maybe not quite to novelette length on each of them but she, in each of the first five books you will get a scene from Rysn.


I think she's a very interesting character because in a way she epitomizes what you just said about being exposed to different cultures and--

Brandon Sanderson

Right, that's kind of her thing, is she goes and visits the different cultures of Roshar.


And then we get to visit them too. 

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. She's got a potted plant, she's got some grass actually, there's some grass that doesn't respond to the storm. So she's one of my favorites, I intend her to be in each of the interludes and have her own kind of little story running through the books.


So now we know, when you think about--

Brandon Sanderson

Absolutely, there is a Rysn point of view in Oathbringer.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#80 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

All right, folks! Time for the fifth update. This should be the last one that I post before some redditor inevitably beats me to the "It's Done!" post by watching my twitter feed very closely.

I do hope to post another update or two during the next year, discussing how the editing and publication process is proceeding.

Part Four is done as of half an hour ago. The part is around 80k words long, and brings the book total so far to 420k words. Final book is still projected at 450k, though I do plan to try to trim it back in revision. (Tor's book binding company can't do a book longer than Words of Radiance, so if I go longer, we have to shrink the font or change binders. I won't cut important parts of the book just to meet this length requirement, but I also generally need to trim significantly in revisions to tighten language.)

Part Four turned out very well, and I'm very pleased with the book so far. I consider it as strong, or stronger than, book two. I also don't see any major structural or characterization problems that will slow editing. (So far, my editor's comments on Parts One and Two have been minor, save for the slow-down in Part Two that I was aware of--and probably don't mind existing, since Parts Three and Four are much faster, and the characterization in Part Two is strong.)

If you're following the Visual Outline from the second update, there structure of the book has undergone some revisions as I've worked through it. It now looks something more like this

Unlisted is that I nudged one flashback into Part Five. Shown is that Secondary Main character #2 had their viewpoint stretched through all five parts, but has a slightly smaller number of viewpoints in all of them. I juggled tertiary characters, making Parts Two and Four the expansive ones (with many viewpoints) and Parts One and Three the narrow ones (with a focus only on the main characters.) Yes, this is complicated, and you don't need to pay any attention to it. I posted this for those who like to dig into these things.

I'm going to power forward into Part Five starting tonight, then do a second draft of Parts Four and Five together. (I'm not sure why I'm treating those like proper nous.) After I turn that in, I will still need to write the prologue, some of the interludes, and the epigraphs. (Those little bits of text at the starts of chapters.)

And then, revisions. My favorite part. Yay.

As with previous threads, I'll try to post answers to questions where I can--but I have to balance that with the actual writing, so some questions will go unanswered or get a quick RAFO. I apologize in advance for that. Despite jokes to the contrary, I really am just one person, and I can't do ALL THE THINGS, as much as I would like to.

Also, thank you to the community for your kind words. I know that people joke about my writing speed, but this book has taken over a year of dedicated writing--and that's not counting the year before of outlining and writing out some of Kaladin's chapters. It's been two full years of work, and then some, to finish this book. With another six months of revision ahead. Together with other projects, that will make three and a half years between books two and three. So I do beg your patience with this series. The books take a lot out of me, and while I'm very proud of the result--and consider this series to be my opus--the novels aren't going to be terribly fast in their release schedule.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#84 Copy

Jofwu (paraphrased)

1. In your "Oathbringer's Timeline" blog post you said that Oathbringer ends on the 100th day of the year. What event does that refer to? The battle, the wedding, the epilogue?

2. Looking at my own Oathbringer Timeline, it seems like Venli spent only a few days in Marat. Is that true?

3. What day did Shallan and Jasnah leave for the Shattered Plains?

Karen Ahlstrom (paraphrased)

First, note that the timeline is a flexible thing that can be changed to make other events work if needed.

1. The 100th day of the year marking the end of Oathbringer refers to the last event in the final chapter.

2. Venli spent just 5 days in Marat before they left for Thaylen City. 

3. Shallan and Jasnah left for the Shattered Plains on "Day 6927". (referring to the day number used in my calendar as explained in the "Roshar's Date System" blog post)

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#85 Copy


I've seen you said you sent the same scene description to both the US and the UK publisher for Oathbringer's cover. Why choose precisely Jasnah?

Brandon Sanderson

It's partially based on the scene I think that will look best being illustrated. Also, since book two had Kaladin, I thought it would be a nice change to make sure someone else was on book three.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#86 Copy


I have a couple of questions regarding Dalinar. We know that he visited the Nightwatcher and it doesn't look like anybody else knows about it.

  1. Have we seen anything in the first two books, which shows the boon he got from the Nightwatcher?

  2. As we see from the preview chapter of Oathbringer, Dalinar was extremely brash and maybe a bit cruel in his youth. Does his change of character has something to do with the Nightwatcher?

Brandon Sanderson

These are both questions that, presumably, the Dalinar flashbacks in book three will answer. So RAFO. :)

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
#87 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Hey, all! Back again to talk about the progress of your book. I promised you updates through the year, and I'll do my best to pop in here now and then and let you know how things are going.

Oathbringer, if you somehow missed the update last month, is done. But it's not DONE done. I turned in the rough draft, but immediately jumped into the third draft. (Because I did the second draft at the same time as the first--basically, after finishing each section of the book, I jumped back and revised it before sending to my editor. The goal being to get him a second draft to begin editing so he could work at the same time I did.)

I've finished Part One and Part Two of the third draft as of today. This included adding in two interludes, which I hadn't finished in the rough draft. Later today, Part Two should be going to the beta readers.

(To answer the inevitable question, the beta readers are chosen by Peter--my assistant and editorial director--from among those who have been very active on the fan websites, or who know us personally.)

I'll jump into the Part Three revision soon, then will do Parts Four and Five together. That will get us through the 3.0 draft.

4.0 and 5.0 drafts will be done together, hopefully in March/April. 4.0 will input beta reader comments and writing group comments, and 5.0 will be the polish where I try to trim words and perfect the language.

We're still in the early stages of the art, as Isaac was busy last fall with the Mistborn Leatherbound and doing maps for Tad William's new series. So we'll need to work hard getting artwork done. Plan is to have a new set of colored endpages for the hardcover of the US edition, as we've done in the past, though I can't announce what those are yet.

Book is looking great so far. Part One needed a heavy revision at the intro, but nothing more than that. Part Two (the slowest of the parts) remains a bit of a questionable area. The only way to speed it up is to cut some fun, but ultimately flabby, chapters. I think they are chapters people will love, as they have some unusual viewpoint characters, but the have a bit of an interlude feel to them. If Tor puts its foot down on length limits for the book, I'll have to cut these out.

Part Three has some larger revisions I've been planning with Peter these last few weeks, so the 3.0 draft on that might take a little longer than the other two did.

Anyway, it's exciting to see the book coming along! November release date is looking very good, and I doubt we'll miss it. Also, my Spanish publisher contacted us with the hopes of trying to do a translation and get their edition out at the same time as the US/UK editions, which would be a first for any of my books in translation. So a big thumbs up for them.

Thank you again for your patience. Hope to see some of you in Boston next month, where I'm guest of honor at a convention. Otherwise, I should be mostly nose-to-the-grindstone, as my travel schedule is very light until I head off to Germany (and maybe Poland and Bulgaria) in March.

Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
#88 Copy


So that bit at the end [of Words of Radiance] with Szeth. Getting that black sword...

Brandon Sanderson

That's setting up for book 3, which is going to be crazy.


There's another book with a black sword...

Brandon Sanderson

It's the same sword, yes. In fact I wrote the original version of the Way of Kings involving the character who has that sword. He's in the first draft from 2002, then I wrote Warbreaker about him, then I wrote this.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#89 Copy


What would happen if you went to the Nightwatcher asked for your boon to have a boon and no curse?

Brandon Sanderson

You would…


Probably end up with nothing?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the mood the Nightwatcher is in.  When you read Book 3 of Stormlight you’ll get to see a little bit of what the Nightwatcher is, and that will inform what you think about these things, okay?