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Arched Doorway Interview ()
#2 Copy

Rebecca Lovatt

The electricity-based one, is that relating at all to the novella you just put out [Perfect State]?

Brandon Sanderson

No. The electricity one is Dark One. The original idea for the setting for that book is how Nikola Tesla wanted to provide wireless energy to the world, and the experiments he did. I want to have a planet where that is just the natural state of the world. The ground there has an electric current you can harvest; you can set down a lantern on the ground and it will glow, drawing a current up through it into the air or down from the air into the ground. I haven't decided which way it's going to go yet.

Along with that I want to have interesting ecological features. Big toad monsters shoot out a taser tongue, they use spittle that somehow conducts electricity back and forth. Stuff like this. I want to have electricity be my fun theme. The problem with that again is that is very science-based. When I make a big change to the world, like that you can draw an electric current from the ground, then I have to try and figure out the science of how that works.

Rebecca Lovatt

Yeah, especially because you have bodies of water. That seems like it would be fun. You'd suddenly become 10 times more scared of rain.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, if it rains, lightning is going to happen constantly. So how do we deal with this? I'm tempted to make it not rain, -but then making it not rain is yet another big change, so where do we go there? So that one's got lots of extrapolation to do, but I have some friends who are much better at these physics questions then I am. So I'm going to them, and they are pointing me in the right direction.

Words of Radiance Portland signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

Twenty-first - any future children's books?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, really enjoys it. Nothing until after Steelheart/Rithmatist/Alcatraz, but wants to write about a world where wireless energy happens naturally and everything is electrified. That'll be the next kids' book, but it'll take a bit to get the science right. Also discusses plot from POV of the "Dark One" who is fated to be killed by the Chosen Hero - this might be the plot for the electrified planet but maybe not, as it's definitely Cosmere.

Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
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Brandon Sanderson

The next thing I'll probably write is: I've been developing the world for awhile now, where... are you familiar with Tesla, Nikola Tesla? He wanted this whole wireless electricity thing to work, he was trying to make it work. It was kind of like electrifying the air and having the current run into the ground.

I want to build a world where that happens naturally, where your ground is positive and your air is negative and electrons will move through it and you can like-- animals adapted to use this and you can use fantasy-T technology, like you set a lamp on the ground and it'll just glow because a current is running through it; and stuff like that.

State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Tertiary Projects

Dark One

Ah, the eternal Dark One update. If you've been reading State of the Sanderson posts for a while now, you might be looking forward to this one (still) making no progress.

My anti-Harry Potter story told from the viewpoint of a boy who discovers he is prophesied to be the Dark One…has made no progress this year. I've had a ton of trouble writing this one. I did set aside three different versions of the first chapter of this, each of which have a very different tone from one another, to be Patreon Random Hat Rewards for January, February, and March. If you want to read "The Eyes" and these three chapters, you could sign up for those months only.

Be warned, though, the Patreon is primarily intended for people who want to support Writing Excuses. The rewards are mostly afterthoughts as a thank you, rather than true incentives to coax you into spending money. The tidbits you'll get probably aren't going to be worth the $10 you give for them. (For example, each of the ones I've mentioned are a few thousand words at most.)

The real reward is supposed to be Writing Excuses going ad-free, so don't sign up just to get the fiction.

Status: Nope.

Skyward release party ()
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Do you have any updates on the Dark One TV series?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's got an interesting history. Dark One is one I've been working on for a long time, and I actually wrote out a big pitch for it when I pitched Apocalypse Guard to Random House, and I said, "Here's one of the other ideas I'm gonna write someday." They're like, "Woo. We'll keep this in our binder." And that binder made its way to their TV department, who read the pitch and was like, "We have to have this!" and came to me and said "Can we buy this?" I'm like, "Well, I haven't written the books yet." They're like, "We don't care. We want this pitch." And the pitch, the idea is that a young man in our world, a knight shows up to assassinate him, and he finds out that there's kind of a Narnia-esque fantasy world that his father visited when he was a kid and screwed up, and they are super mad. And they have prophecies that this kid is gonna be the next Dark One, and so they're gonna assassinate him before the whole epic-fantasy-thing can happen, and the Dark One tries to conquer the world. They're just gonna take him out first. And so it's kind of this twisting the story on its head idea. And it's a really fun pitch.

So they bought it from me. I expanded it to a 30-page outline, sent it to them. I can't tell you who they got, but they've got somebody very big attached to it, which I'm very excited about, someone who I was excited about that my assistant Peter just about fell over dead when he heard the person attached. And we should be flying out to do pitches to studios and places early part of next year. We wanted to be doing it now, but I have a book launch, and they want me there with them.

It's going really well. It's been a wonderful experience. I'm very hopeful with that, I think it will be a very interesting story if it happens.

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Movie/Television Updates

Other Properties

Legion and Dark One are currently in negotiations. The rest of the Cosmere is covered by the DMG deal, as we want one company working on that at a time. We have a small deal for Defending Elysium that has it under option with a screenwriter, and the first draft screenplay is good. That leaves AlcatrazThe Rithmatist, and a couple of shorts (DreamerPerfect StateFirstborn) with no options right now.

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Updates on Minor Projects

Dark One

My eternal "like Harry Potter from Voldemort's viewpoint" fantasy sequence is still hanging out, buzzing at the sides of my brain. I wrote a really spectacular outline for it this summer, one I love quite a bit, and it got both television graphic novel interest—but these are deals still very much in the works, so I can't talk about them yet.

I'm pleased with what I have though, and feel this series has moved for the first time in a long while. Note that I did end up pulling it out of the cosmere, as it ended up working better as a dark secondary world fantasy than it did as a Cosmere YA series. It went both older, and more twisted, in the current outline. Hopefully, by next year's State of the Sanderson we'll have something more solid to announce.

Status: Exciting developments in the works!

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
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I came across something about your planned "Dark One" series, and was wondering if you could tell us anything about the planned world or magic system for that book? Me and my friends are electric/electronic engineers, and we've wasted far too much time debating how people could theoretically channel electricity from a planet (I've even dragged some professors into the discussion), so I'm very interested to see what you've came up with!

Brandon Sanderson

The honest truth is that I haven't gotten past the, "Okay, here's the concept" stage. For Roshar, that was the storm--and then it took research and work (which I haven't done yet) to get the science to work. I haven't had the time to do that for Dark One yet.

I'd love to hear what you have to say on the topic, maybe use you and your friends as consultants. I'd say DM me, but that will get lost in the replies to this thread. So maybe DM me in a month? Or, better yet, drop me an email through my website with your suggestions?

DragonCon 2016 ()
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I wanted to ask-- So you--I think more than almost any other fantasy author--you create universes and then you leave them behind. Entire uni-- I almost feel like you could sit down-- you could have like pages of a physics lecture in each of your universes and you would have equations for how it works. Do you have-- Have you always had these ideas for these various universes with gods and magic systems and things like that, or are you always creating them, sort of as you go? 

Brandon Sanderson

It's yes and no. A lot of the ones you're seeing in the cosmere are things I created at the beginning to be kind of what the cosmere was. But I left some holes intentionally cause I knew I would come up with cool things that I wanted to add, and so I built in that wiggle room, and I'm always coming up with new ones. And there are way more that I want to do than I can write, like the one I keep wanting to find a chance for is--

Do you guys know how Nikola Tesla tried to create wireless energy? I think I've talked about this one. Like, he tried to create wireless energy, and I'm like "What if there were a world where that happened naturally?" Where you had a natural current going, and you could like set your lantern on the ground and it would create a current from the sky to the ground and your light bulb would just turn on. You don't need electricity. And how would-- What if we have giant toads that could shoot out their tongues that would create a current,  and they're like taser tongues? *makes zapping noises* Stuff like this. And so, I started jumping in to looking at electricity and things like this, and current and whatnot, and that's just all back there and I'm like "Aww, someday I need to be able to write this." But there are so many things that I want to write that I just don't have the time for, so it's a yes and no.


So do you have, like, "what if" questions and then you build a universe from there?

Brandon Sanderson

Usually they're "what if" questions, but Sanderson's Zeroth Law--I've got these laws on magic you can look up,  they're named humbly after myself--so Sanderson's Zeroth Law is "Always err on the side of what's awesome". And usually it's less even a "what if?" and it's a "That's so cool, taser toads!" Like if you really want to know the truth of where The Stormlight Archive started, there's all this cool stuff, like part of it was like "What if there was a storm like the storm on Jupiter". And then I eventually changed it to a storm that goes around the planet, something like that, but the real truth was "Magical power armor. YEAH! Magical power armor is cool! Plate mail power armor! Why would you need plate mail power armor?" Y'know, and it starts with the really cool idea. Mistborn started by me drifting in a fog bank at eighty miles per hour in my car and loving how it looked as it drove past and saying "Is there a world where I can imitate this feel, where you look out and it streams by." It's those early visuals or concepts that make me say "Oh yeah, I wanna do that!". That is where my books really come from, and then I layer on top of them the "what ifs?" and trying to build a realistic ecology based around these ideas.

Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
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Is Obrodai going to be the setting of Dark One?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Excellent question. That is also a RAFO. Sorry, sorry! This is partially because Dark One pops in and out of the cosmere a lot, depending on which version I'm doing. It's been the hardest book. For those who don't know anything about, this is a book I talk about in my blog once in a while... It's like the Harry Potter story, except you get told "By the way, you're the Dark One who's gonna destroy the world, so we're gonna assassinate you while you're a teenager, so that never happens." It's a really cool story that I have never been able to get to work.



Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, and Obrodai is one of the Shardworlds, but I keep popping Dark One in and out of the cosmere. Sometimes it feels too self-referential to the fantasy genre to actually be in the cosmere. Because I don't want the cosmere to be self-referential, right? Whenever something gets even a little too silly, I'm like, "Nah, this can't be in the cosmere anymore." So, we'll see what happens.

TWG Posts ()
#15 Copy

Peter Ahlstrom

Dark One. What is it?

Brandon Sanderson

YA novel I'm working on. I have a few sample chapters, if you want them. I may have to change the title, though, since a very dissimilar book just came out with a close title.

I'd rather not talk about the book too much, since I won't be able to get to it for a while, and I'd like to keep the ideas off the internet for a bit.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, anyone here can have the sample chapters if they want. In fact, anyone can have sample chapters of any of my books. I send those out pretty freely. I'm just not sure I want to go posting the ideas for this one about yet.

Also, if anyone wants any of my old books--anything pre-WAY OF KINGS--you need but ask. Most of them won't ever get published in their current form. So, if you're ever board, you can read an old, unpublished Brandon novel.

The complete Brandon Library is:

1) White Sand Prime (My first Fantasy Novel)

2) Star's End (Short, alien-relations sf novel.)

3) Lord Mastrell (Sequel to White Sand Prime)

4) Knight Life (Fantasy comedy.)

5) The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora (Far future sf involving immortal warriors)

6) Elantris (You have to buy this one!)

7) Dragonsteel (My most standard epic fantasy)

8) White Sand (Complete rewrite of the first attempt)

9) Mythwalker (Unfinished at about 600 pages. Another more standard epic fantasy.)

10) Aether of Night (Stand-Alone fantasy. A little like Elantris.)

11) Mistborn Prime (Eventually stole this world.)

12) Final Empire Prime (Cannibalized for book 14 as well.)

13) The Way of Kings (Fantasy War epic. Coming in 2008 or 2009)

14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (Coming June 2006)

15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Early 2007)

16) Alcatraz Initiated (YA Fantasy. Being shopped to publishers)

17) Mistborn: Hero of Ages (Unfinished. Â Coming late 2007)

18) Dark One (Unfinished. YA fantasy)

19) Untitled Aether Project (Two sample chapters only.)

General Reddit 2017 ()
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For those who haven't seen this before, Brandon recently updated his website to show that he's started working on a new "Mystery Project".

Anyways, Brandon mentioned in his interview with Crendor that, over the summer, he finally managed to craft a really solid outline for "The Dark One", and I'm almost certain this is his mystery project.

"The Dark One" is a Cosmere YA story that has stymied Brandon for years on end, so it'd be no surprise that he'd want to write it as soon as possible now that he's "finally cracked it" and has a storyline he's confident with. I can just see him cackling at the idea of springing this on us out of the blue after all these years. We're on to you, Brandon!

Brandon Sanderson

It was almost Dark One...but I have other plans for that right now.

This is a different book that has been brewing for many years that I finally decided to work on. I probably won't talk about this until State of the Sanderson, though, because it will take some explaining.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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Do you have a rough idea of when we will be hearing more about "Dark One"?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, I decided to do Apocalypse Guard as my next YA project, so we won't see Dark One AT LEAST until that trilogy is done, Alcatraz 6 is done, and Rithmatist has another book in it. (Sorry.)

Figment chat ()
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What can we expect from Dark One, specifically what kind of magic system?

Brandon Sanderson

the magic systems in Dark One, focus on, right now, on a person who can steal people’s souls and use them to make magic objects, mixed with an electricity type world, where the ground is electrified, and animals, plants and animals, have an, a symbiosis with electricity, like you’ll see a tree that has a Jacob’s ladder going up it, or you’ll see ah, a beast that uses spittle like a taser, that should be the next book that I work on for Random House after the Steelheart trilogy, so we will see.

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
#20 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Projects in Development

Dark One

A perennial favorite on the State of the Sanderson is this YA series about a boy who discovers he's the Dark One, a figure from prophecy fated to destroy the world. My outlines are looking okay for this one, but it doesn't feel like the right time to do it. I pitched it to my editors at Random House along with the new YA series above, and we all agreed the other project was a better follow-up to the Reckoners.

Dark One is bound to get done someday. That day isn't now.

d No Projected Start Date