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Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#2 Copy

Question (paraphrased)

What is Brandon going to take his break from this to do?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Fortunately, I have planned it out and what I'm going to do is the Apocalypse Guard. I have to do something new. So I'll probably do Apocalypse Guard and then a sequel to something, either the Rithmatist or to Wax and Wayne will be would I do after. Those are both going to happen pretty soon. Apocalypse Guard is my follow-up to Steelheart, so thank you for the opportunity to pitch this.

So my one sentence pitch on this is, you're having a disaster, you call the justice leage and they're all gone taking care of something more important but you get the intern, who has no powers but she does her best anyway. In the Steelheart universe, people have discovered alternate versions of Earth and what they find is that most of these alternate versions of Earth are undergoing some sort of disaster. Something has happened in the timeline of the multiverse that is causing different varieties of disasters to occur that are planet-ending. So the Apocalypse Guard is formed of a bunch of engineers, scientists, and people with extraordinary powers whose job it is to save the planets. They take like eight months in planning, it's not like they just show up, it's like we put all of our effort into saving planets. Well, a disaster befalls the Apocalypse Guard, something or someone attacks them, and the coffee girl intern gets teleported to one of these worlds they were planning to save with no resources and three weeks until the world is destroyed. And everybody else is too busy dealing with the attack on them. It's her story on a planet that is doomed, trying to figure out either how to get off or maybe how to put the plan into motion that they had come up with. So there you are, coffee girl saves the world.

Oathbringer release party ()
#6 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you plan to write any more books in the Steelheart universe?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

...There's a big story here. So, the book that I started writing right after finishing Oathbringer in June was called The Apocalypse Guard. This is in the same universe as the Reckoners. And I wrote the whole book, and there were some things wrong with it, as happens sometimes with books. And so I thought, "Eh, I'll send it to my editor, and see what my editor at Random House thinks." She read it, she got back, she's like, "I like some things about it, but it's got these problems." I'm like, "Oh, those are the same problems I thought it had; that's not a good sign." So I got on and I brainstormed, and said "What do you think we should do?" She's like, "Well, maybe this or this." I spent, like, two weeks working on a really in-depth revision document. And I revised about 20% of the book following this document and it was worse. It didn't fix the problem. And so I'm like, "I need more time on this book. This book is not working. I'm sure I can fix it eventually." Like I told you, I stopped writing The Stormlight Archive in 2002. So, I pulled that book and set it aside. And I actually, I sent it to Dan Wells, actually, 'cause he's one of the best writers I know. And I'm like, "Dan! Something's broken. Can you tell me what's broken?" I'm waiting to see what Dan has to say on that, but for now, that's where Secret Project [Skyward] came from, 'cause I'm like, "Well, I don't feel good releasing Apocalypse Guard next year, I have to fix it first, it's just not good enough." So, I pulled out an outline for something else... and I said, "Well, I'm gonna write this right now, 'cause I feel like I can write this, and it's gonna work." So, I started writing this.

The answer is, yes, there will be more books, and there will even be, if I get around to it, a book about Mizzy as a protagonist, if I can find-- Like, I have to get The Apocalypse Guard working first.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I will also be doing another YA series to follow up The Reckoners, for those who like those. This one-- So here's the pitch. I'm actually pitching one of my books! It's great. *laughter*

It's the story of what happens if you call the Justice League for help and they're all gone solving a bigger problem and you get the intern. *laughter* It's actually about a girl named Emma and she is the coffee girl for the Apocalypse Guard who are-- Like in the Reckoners universe there's people with super powers. The Apocalypse Guard is kind of bigger than that. In the Reckoners books they've discovered the multiverse, the different dimensions-- A very comic book thing. I'd already done something like the Cosmere, so I decided to go with the multiple dimensions theory in this one. Some of them are stable, they're real worlds and things. A lot of them are just shadows. But the stable ones, they find, are all undergoing some big disaster. Or most of them are. It's all kind-- Something is happening that's put all these worlds in crisis. And so they formed the Apocalypse Guard. There's people with superpowers but there's also lots of engineers and scientists. It's not like they sweep in and save the day in a couple minutes, they spend like eight months building this big plan to save these planets. And so they've got a plan, they're going to save a planet, and then something attacks them. Completely unexpectedly. Disaster happens. Emma the coffee girl gets transported to one of these worlds that's about to be destroyed. And she has no powers, they're all off fighting whatever attacked this thing, and she either has to get off this world or put in action their plan, that they've been working on for many months, by herself and one guy that is tech support. *laughter* Yeah, those are our two main characters. One is tech support, over the headphones, trying to talk her through putting the plan together. And she is the coffee girl. And they have to deal with this.

The world is actually a cool one I came up with a few years ago that's surrounded in an envelope of water, all around it. Based on the idea of the Firmament. So there's land, air, and then water. And the water can't come crashing down, but it's where some old philosophers thought the Flood was. In ancient days, before the Flood, you would have looked up and seen air, the clouds, and then an envelope of water. The Firmament. And I've always thought that idea was really cool, so that's going to happen on the world. They've got to stop the flood that's going to destroy the planet. Or get off of it, or something.

Brandon's Blog 2016 ()
#9 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

A lot of people have been asking if this is the end of the Reckoners. It is. The trilogy is finished, and came together wonderfully. However, as you all know, I'm unlikely to leave an ending without some hints of where the characters would go in the future.

I don't currently have plans to do a direct sequel series, but the next project I'm planning is in the same universe. This is a new trilogy in the works with Delacorte (the publisher of the Reckoners), and it's the unnamed project I talked about in my State of the Sanderson post in December. It's scheduled tentatively for a 2018 release, and it's called The Apocalypse Guard.

Here's the pitch:

Over a decade ago, people started manifesting strange, incredible powers. One side effect of this was an awareness of alternate dimensions—some of these powers could reach into other realities, other versions of Earth. Though infinite dimensions are present, most of these are unstable, existing only as vague possibilities.

A few of these worlds, however, are stable. These real, alternate versions of Earth are sometimes very, very different from the one we know. And a bizarrely large number of them, it turns out, are doomed. And so the Apocalypse Guard was founded: an organization of thousands of scientists, engineers, and extraordinary individuals who save planets.

They comb the dimensions searching for stable worlds to contact. When they find one that is facing some kind of cataclysm, the Guard either finds a way to save the planet, or evacuates it. The process can take years, but so far the Guard has saved some dozen planets—though it has lost half as many to utter destruction.

Emma is the Guard's coffee girl. On summer internship at mission control, she gets to witness—from a safe distance—their activities. During the events surrounding the rescue of a planet, however, a shadowy group attacks the Guard and throws it into chaos. Emma finds herself cast through dimensions to be stranded on a doomed planet the Guard had been planning to save. Cut off from mission control, woefully inexperienced, Emma has to try to meet up with the Guard or find another way off the planet before cataclysm befalls it.

In the tradition of the Reckoners, The Apocalypse Guard is a fast-paced, action-oriented story with roots in comic book traditions. This one is a little more science fiction and fantasy than it is superhero, and it will dig deeper into the mythology begun in the Reckoners. It is not a sequel to the Reckoners, in that it has new characters and a new story, but it might help answer some questions left by the end of Calamity.

It's going to be a little while before I write this. Stormlight 3 takes precedence currently, and after that I'm thinking I should probably write the sequel to The Rithmatist. However, I've been mulling over this new series a lot, and even went so far as to commission some concept art.

I've only done this before with the Stormlight books, having Ben McSweeney (who ended up becoming the illustrator for Shallan's sketchbook pages) do concept roughs for the characters, so I could have them as kind of a quick reference for how the characters look.

This was really handy, and so I had it done for The Apocalypse Guard as well. We put the characters together in an action shot, though keep in mind that this was mostly for my internal reference (and kind of as a proof of concept). This isn't the cover art, and isn't intended to be a finished "movie poster" for the books. More a cool piece of concept art trying to nail down character looks and outfits.

Anyway, enjoy!

Art by Kelley Harris – Check out her website and Deviant Art Page!

Shadows of Self release party ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

The YA book you were talking about earlier, is that Dark One? That your doing for--

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not doing Dark One. I pitched it to them and they decided one of my other pitches they liked better. The Apocalypse Guard... So the Apocalypse Guard is-- So people have started to explore the multiverse and found that there are dimensions in which the planet is doomed to some catastrophe. It's going to extinction event. And the Apocalypse Guard is a group of scientists, soldiers, and experts who save the planet that they have discovered that is doomed. So it's about saving planets.

zas678

That sounds very non-cosmere.

Brandon Sanderson

It's non-cosmere. But you have, if you've been reading non-cosmere books-- there's another non-cosmere book which explores the concept of a multiverse and alternate dimensions. It might be in the same continuity.

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

When might we expect a sequel to Warbreaker?

Brandon Sanderson

When might you expect a sequel to Warbreaker. Okay, let me go down the list. I have finished three books, alright? The finished books are: Bands of Mourning, which is the sequel to the one you-- many of you bought today; I have finished Calamity, the last book of The Reckoners; and I've finished, a while ago, the fifth book of the Alcatraz series, for the middle-grade series.  Which I finished a while ago, but we had to wait for the contracts to run out before I could release it, it's a big complicated thing.  So those are in the queue, and they are coming.

Now I am writing, right now, Stormlight 3. Yes working on that.  It's actually-- Anytime I mention Stormlight people are contractually obligated to shout in my crowds. So I'm finishing that and my goal is to have it done by May or June. If it is done by May or June the publisher has said they will publish it Christmastime, so November/December next year. If I miss May or June then it gets pushed back to the Spring sometime. So just watch the progress bars on my website and you'll see-- you'll be able to gauge.  It's slowed down a lot because of revisions and touring but they should pick back up as soon as I get home.

After that I'm going to write a book called The Apocalypse Guard, which is my follow-up to Steelheart. Not the same world but the same style, fast-paced, frantic action sort of things. In the US those are published as teen books, here they're published as adult books, I don't even know what they are but I want to have a follow-up for my teen publisher. Something that's similar. So we're going to do that, then I'm going to do Rithmatist 2, and then I will do finally the fourth Wax and Wayne book which will wrap up Era 2 of Mistborn. Then I will do Stormlight 4.

If the book, such as Warbreaker sequel, is not in that list it means it is coming post-Stormlight 4. So we've got a little ways to wait, but I will get around to doing them, I promise.

Legion Release Party ()
#13 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In Calamity, Calamity's part of a mysterious group or civilization, really weird motives, we don't find out much about them. Was that <pointed, in any way,> part of the plot from the start?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It was.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you have a plan to explain that civilization?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I will someday  explain that. At the very least, if I just have to sit down and write an essay on it, to give the closure. Yes, I will. And I do apologize for that. Apocalypse Guard was going to delve into this, but then the book got cancelled. By me.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#14 Copy

Use_the_Falchion

I've been checking Dan Well's twitter pretty often, but there seems to be no update on Apocalypse Guard. Do you have any updates?

Brandon Sanderson

We got together before the cruise and did a big brainstorming session where we figured out once and for all how to fix the book--which is very exciting. However, it will take huge revisions (again) and this time, it's my turn to do that. So the ball is back in my court after he did a great job fixing characters. (The next fix involves plot and worldbuilding, which are my duties.)

Skyward release party ()
#15 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You pulled Apocalypse Guard, will it ever come back?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I sat down with Apocalypse Guard and looked it over and since I couldn't decide what was wrong with it, I actually gave it to Dan Wells, who's a friend of mine, and I said, "Dan, can you figure out what's wrong with this?" We broke in together, we've been in writing groups together for a long time, and he read through it and he's like, "Yeah, I've got some ideas." So I actually, you know, wanted to work with him, so he actually jumped in to try and do a draft of it himself, and he fixed a lot of the problems, but he didn't fix the biggest problem, which is that the worldbuilding doesn't work.

Which is a really weird thing for a Brandon Sanderson book, but it's part of the reason we can't release it. I can't release a book with bad worldbuilding. I just can't. So while he fixed the characters, I still need to fix the worldbuilding. If I can, we will release it. If I can't, I'm sure even if I don't ever release it, I'll find a way to put it on my website or something like that. So you would be able to read it, and if we do release it, I'll make sure to release it in the failed version too for those who are interested so you can compare. So I think it's really illustrative to see how a professional fails.

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
#16 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Projects in Development

These are projects you might have heard of, but for which no solid evidence of them ever being released is out there. On occasion I might do readings from them, and I might tinker with them—but I don't have much specific to tell you about release dates.

New YA Series

I am developing a new YA series to be released after the Reckoners with the same publisher. I can't say much about it right now, though we will probably do some announcements regarding it during the Calamity tour. If all goes well, the first book of this trilogy will be the third shorter novel I write between Stormlight 3 and 4.

I always need to have something new to be working on, if only in the back of my mind, to help prevent burnout. I'm excited about this series right now, and actively working on the outline. But I won't be digging into writing it until next summer or fall, depending on when Stormlight Three is done. So I don't expect a release for a while yet.

Status: Outlining

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#17 Copy

Questioner

So for Calamity, like about these others that you mentioned, are we ever going to figure that out? Or is just going to be...

Brandon Sanderon

Oh yeah, so the next series I’m doing deals with the greater-- kind of interdimensional travel and who are these people.

Questioner

Okay good, because I was like “You can’t leave me like this” at the very end.  I really liked how it was put together and stuff. My own theories were that David was actually, like his powers were actually figuring out Epics’ weaknesses...

Brandon Sanderson

I considered that, I really did. At the end of the day, when I brainstormed the trilogy I said you know what would be most fun for me in this series is to do a trilogy that is basically an origin story, for a character and then when I come back to The Reckoners, if I do, because the next one’s a parallel dimension, right?

Questioner

From where Firefight is, or from like other?

Brandon Sanderson

That -- we will get into why certain ones are stable and certain ones aren’t and why you can pull from and we’ll do something there with a new character. And if I come back, then Mizzy will be the main character in the sequel series.

Questioner

Awesome if you ask me, because I was always looking forward to more Mizzy.

Brandon Sanderson

Does that make sense? That’s where the plan for these is, we’ll see how the new series goes, they’re announcing it next week. And the entirety of the magic system is based on interdimensional stuff.

Questioner

Right, especially with Megan and her--

Brandon Sanderson

Yep.

Questioner

--multiple hundred personalities coming together and stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

So it’s kind of like Megan has opened up this idea of a quantum multiverse, and now I’m going to do a quantum multiverse, which is not something I can deal with in the cosmere so it’s exciting for me to be able to do it.

Questioner

Yeah ‘cause the first one we see about the others I was like (okay cosmere fandom, but wait) this is not cosmere, don't worry about that.

Brandon Sanderson

Not cosmere.  Going straight-up quantum multiverse, in kind of a classical sense. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on string theory and things. It’s so hard, string theory breaks my brain.  Quantum mechanics break my brain.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#18 Copy

unknown

I'm wondering: do you have any other ideas for interesting magic systems you might use in the future?

Brandon Sanderson

I've always got a few bouncing around in my head. Lately, I've found myself more interested in curious and unusual settings than I have magics. (Latest is a world that is surrounded by an envelope of water, much as the ancients imagined water surrounding the earth before the flood happened. So, like, five or six hundred feet up into the air you have an ocean. Beyond that, space and the sun.)

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

Is Calamity the last book in the series?

Brandon Sanderson

I have a plan to do a book about Mizzy. But before I do that, I am writing a book called The Apocalypse Guard, which takes place in the alternate dimension that Megan sees into in these books. So, you should enjoy those. They'll be kinda the same style, but different characters from the alternate dimension. They're a blast, I just finished the first book.

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
#20 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

My Year

January–June: Oathbringer Revisions

I spent most of this year doing revisions for Oathbringer. I did several exhaustive drafts during the January–June months, and did the final handoff to Peter (for copyediting and proofreading) right at the end of June.

June–Mid September: The Apocalypse Guard

Then, for the first time in what felt like forever (it was really only about sixteen months), I got a chance to work on something that wasn't Oathbringer or Edgedancer. I launched right into The Apocalypse Guard, the follow-up to The Reckoners…and it didn't work. I spent July, August, and part of September writing that. (I finished the last chapter sometime in early September, and turned in the second draft a few weeks later.)

September–October: Legion 3

I was already feeling a little discouraged by that book not quite coming together, though at that point I assumed I'd be able to fix it in revisions. (Well, I still think I can do that–I just think it will take more time.) Mid-September, I launched into Legion Three: Lies of the Beholder. That took around a month to finish, bringing us to mid-October. By then, I knew something was seriously wrong with The Apocalypse Guard, as my revision attempts were fruitless. So, I called Random House and pulled the book–then launched into Skyward.

October–November: Skyward

I have been writing on that book ever since, and you can read the blog post yesterday about that.

November–December: Oathbringer Tour

The tour was wonderful–somehow both exhausting and energizing at the same time. Here are some of the fan costumes that showed up this year. Thank you all for coming out to see me!

December so far: Skyward

Unfortunately, and I know you guys know to watch for them, there are no hidden or secret novellas or books for this year. I have been running around feeling behind all year, first on Oathbringer, and then trying to find a replacement for The Apocalypse Guard.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#21 Copy

trevorade

Are you going to write all three books [of The Apocalypse Guard] at once or space them out a year or so each?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to try doing them straight, with a random novella separating them to give myself a break. I feel that Mistborn turned out very well from having had entire series perspective--and want to see if I can replicate that writing experience.

yahasgaruna

Man, does that mean no more Rithmatist in the near future? :(

Brandon Sanderson

We'll see. Rithmatist is a Tor project, and I need to do some Random House books for them. I'll get back to Tor books next year.

yahasgaruna

Yeah - I figured it was about having something for both publishers, since Tor has had the fair share of your writing time recently.

Well, I'll read anything you write, so it matters little. I guess we can wait a few more years for the Rithmatist and the conclusion of Wax and Wayne. :)

Brandon Sanderson

Current Plan (though these things get shaken up) is as follows:

Do the Apocalypse Guard Trilogy this year, moving into next year, with a novella between each book to take a break. That could take me up to roughly a year.

Do W&W 4, Rithmatist 2, and the final Legion story over the next year. That will wrap up W&W and Legion, maybe Rithmatist, depending if I want two or three books.

With my slate clean, I dive into Stormlight 4, write something bizarre and unplanned in-between, then go right into Stormlight 5 rounding out the first Stormlight sequence.

But, as I said, these plans tend to shift a lot as I work on different books.

Oversleep42

Any word on what these novellas will be? Are they cosmere? Reckonersverse or greater universe of Apocalypse Guard? Something else entirely?

Brandon Sanderson

The way my process works, I'll probably need to see what I'm excited most about when I write them--something that gives me a break from what I'm writing. I've got outlines for a couple of novellas I want to do, but I can't say which I'd end up doing.

trevorade

Cool. Does your "The Apocalypse Guard 1st draft" progress indicator refer to the entire trilogy or just the first book?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm being ambitious, and trying to use the progress bar for the entire trilogy right now--since I plan to write it straight through.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#22 Copy

WeiryWriter

My big question right now, mostly because of wiki reasons, is whether the Team Sanderson has a system for naming Core Possibilities in the Reckonerverse. The reason I ask is because we on the Coppermind would just refer to different versions of Earth as "Earth (series name)" but that kind of broke down in Calamity where two Earths are relevant, and I'm guessing Apocalypse Guard will also have that issue. Can you help us out?

Brandon Sanderson

I will once I write Apocalypse Guard, which will have these notations. I don't want to canonize it right now, though, because I'm still working on the right terms.

State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
#24 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Main Projects

The Apocalypse Guard

This is my next YA book series, in the same universe as the Reckoners. The simple pitch is: Emma is the intern/coffee girl for the Apocalypse Guard, a group of scientists, engineers, and superhumans specialized in saving planets from extinction-level events.

When the Apocalypse Guard headquarters gets attacked by a shadowy and unexpected force, Emma gets stuck on a doomed planet they were planning to save. She has to either find a way off, or find a way to put the Apocalypse Guard's plans into motion—and do so with no training, no powers, and no support.

This will be my next writing project, between Oathbringer revisions and Wax and Wayne 4. Like the Reckoners, it's right on the borderline between YA and Adult—and might be published in my adult line of novels in some countries.

I intend the series to follow in the footsteps of the Reckoners—having the feel of a science fiction/superhero action film. Sometimes as a reader (and as a writer), I want something a little less "steak dinner" and a little more "hamburger and fries," if that makes any sense.

Stormlight is my steak dinner, and while I originally thought of Wax and Wayne as hamburger and fries, by books two and three they became steak dinners too. (Just a 6oz fillet instead of a 12oz T-bone.)

Okay, that metaphor is getting a little out of control. I might need to go out for steak for my dinner. Let's just say that the Reckoners managed to hit that sweet spot of fun action, interesting worldbuilding, and quick plots I was looking for—so I'm eager to do something similar. The Apocalypse Guard is the next step; look for the progress bar to start on it sometime early in 2017.

Status: Outlining almost finished; will be my next project.