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Skyward Houston signing ()
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Questioner

What made you decide to take the Dark One out of the Cosmere series? You couldn't get the magic to work?

Brandon Sanderson

It work a lot better once I pulled him into our world, and had the people coming to our world to assassinate him. And once I pulled something into our world, I boot it out of the cosmere. That did free up the magic to work in a different way from cosmere magic, which it is doing. It's kind of based on this idea of the narrative, that stories that people tell become real in the other world. Which could have worked in the cosmere with some Cognitive Realm things, but its working much better outside.

General Twitter 2018 ()
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Cady McKinnon

[Dark One], IMHO, has "secret project" written all over it. Anyone care to confirm?

Peter Ahlstrom

It’s not the secret project. Brandon talked about this with Dark One in his State of the Sanderson in December, but not with specifics.

Secret project is a lot less exciting, for me.

General Reddit 2019 ()
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Werthead

Brandon Sanderson and J. Michael Straczynski co-developing an original urban fantasy TV series for the USA Network

Brandon Sanderson

This is Dark One, the story I've talked about for years--and which I think I finally cracked open how to do a few summers ago. I wrote what I think is a pretty solid outline, but it was obvious to me it was paced more like a television show than a novel, so I went hunting some partners.

Basic premise is that a guy from our world finds out that a fantasy world has prophesied he'll become the next Dark One of their world, so they decide to assassinate him before that can happen. It's been fun to work with Joe; he's quite the character. We did pitches for this early in the spring, and got some good reactions and some nibbles from Hollywood. That's about all I can say right now, unfortunately, but hopefully Joe will be writing up a pilot soon and we can see where that takes us.

TWG Posts ()
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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.)

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
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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

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!

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.

Skyward release party ()
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Questioner

Do you have any updates on the Dark One TV series?

Brandon Sanderson

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.

Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Folks,

This essay I just posted:

http://www.brandonsanderson.com/article/55/EUOLogy-My-History-as-a-Writer

Started as a blog post for this thread, talking about the old books I wrote to give context to my previous post. It outgrew the length of a proper forum post, so I put it on the site instead. But this might help you understand some of my history as a writer, not to mention explain the origin of all these old books Ookla that references all the time.

Lightning Eater

I remembered a thread from ages ago in which Brandon posted a list of the books he'd written, I looked it up when I realised it wasn't in the article, and I figured you guys might be interested too, so here it 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. Coming late 2007)

18) Dark One (Unfinished. YA fantasy)

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

Brandon Sanderson

Thanks for posting that. Note that I can never quite remember which was first, Aether or Mistborn Prime. I always feel that Aethershould be first, since it wasn't as bad as the two primes, but thinking back I think that the essay is more accurate and I wrote it between them.

This would be the new list:

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 (First Published)

7) Dragonsteel (My most standard epic, other than the not-very-good Final Empireprime.)

8 ) White Sand (Complete rewrite of the first attempt, turned out much better.)

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 (Shorter fantasy, didn't turn out so well.)

12) Final Empire Prime (Shorter fantasy, didn't turn out so well.)

13) The Way of Kings Prime (Fantasy War epic.)

14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (Came out 2006)

15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Came out 2007)

16) Alcatraz Verus the Evil Librarians (Came out 2007)

17) Mistborn: Hero of Ages(Came out 2008)

18) Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones (Came out 2008)

19) Warbreaker (Comes out June 2009)

20) Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia(November 2009ish)

21) A Memory of Light(November 2009ish. Working on it now. Might be split into two.)

22) The Way of Kings Book One (2010ish. Not started yet.)

23) Alcatraz Four (2010. Not started yet)

Peter Ahlstrom

Will elements of your untitled Aether project be worked into the Dragonsteel series?

The Silence Divine(Working title. Stand alone Epic Fantasy. Unwritten.), Steelheart (YA Science Fiction. Unwritten), I Hate Dragons (Middle Grade fantasy. Maybe an Alcatraz follow up. Unwritten.), Zek Harbringer, Destroyer of Worlds (Middle Grade Sf. Maybe an Alcatraz follow up. Unwritten.)

These titles are news to me. You described two potential YA or middle-grade books to me and Karen when you came out to Book Expo, plus Dark One, but now I can't remember the plots except they were cool (and that one of them involved superheroes). Are they among this list? Also, is that really Harbringer or is it supposed to be Harbinger?

Brandon Sanderson

Bah! That's what I get for typing so quickly. Yes, Harbinger. It should be "Zeek" too. Short for Ezekiel.

Steelheart would be the superhero one, though that's a working title, since I'm not sure if it's trademarked or not. Haven't had much time for thinking about any of these books lately.

Peter Ahlstrom

Brandon, here you said Alcatraz 4 is called Alcatraz vs. The Dark Talent; is that still the working title? Also, you mentioned Dragonsteel: The Lightweaver of Rens, but now you say The Liar of Partinel is a standalone. Change of plans? (I know you can't get back to Dragonsteel for a while.)

Brandon Sanderson

The Alcatraz titles are in flux because I need to know if Scholastic wants the fifth one or not. (They only bought four.) Dark Talent will be one of them for certain.

The Liar of Partinel was part of a two-part story told hundreds of years before the Dragonsteel epic. However, since I've dropped plans to go with Liar anytime soon—A Memory of Light has priority, followed by Way of Kings—I don't know what I'll end up doing with the second book, or if I'll ever even write it. I was planning on not calling either of these "Dragonsteel" in print, actually, and just letting people connect the two series on their own. It wouldn't be hard to do, but I didn't want the first actual book in the main storyline to be launched by Tor as "Book Three" since there would be such a large gap of time.

Another Long and Rambling Post On Future Books ()
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Brandon Sanderson

So, here’s my official future status, as I sometimes post.

BOOKS YOU WILL SEE SOON

  • Towers of Midnight (November 2.)
  • Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens (December 2010.)—A note on Alcatraz. This is the fourth and final of the Alcatraz books in my contract. I do plan there to be more in this series, but I don’t have time for them right now. And so, for now, this is going to stand as the ending of the series. I’ll do Alcatraz Five eventually, I promise.
  • Scribbler (Early 2012)—A note on Scribbler. This is a shorter steampunk book I wrote in 2007, just before I got the call about The Wheel of Time. It’s quite good, and Tor has decided to purchase it. It involves chalk-based magic and a boy who is the son of the cleaning lady at a school for people who learn the chalk magic. I haven’t had time to give it a revision, but will likely use some of the time in my free months between now and January to do a draft of it. If I turn it in January or February, you won’t see it until a year after that, due to scheduling.

BOOKS YOU WILL SEE SOMEWHAT SOON

  • A Memory of Light (March 2012.)
  • Stormlight Archive Book Two (Late 2012 or early 2013.)
  • Stormlight Archive Book Three (One year after Book Two.)

ANTICIPATED SEQUELS

  • Alcatraz Five (Indefinite hiatus.)
  • Elantris Two (Planned to be written after Stormlight Three.)
  • Second Mistborn trilogy (It’s coming someday, I promise.)
  • Nightblood: Book two of Warbreaker (Coming someday.)—Some notes here. Elantris has three books in the series, but they are loose sequels of each other. This means that side characters in one become main characters in the next. So while you’ll see Raoden and Sarene in the second book, they won’t be main characters. (Kiin’s children will be.) Warbreaker is two books. Mistborn is a trilogy of trilogies, with the second trilogy in an urban (20th-century-level technology) setting. For Stormlight, I’m planning a pattern of two every three years, with a different epic—a standalone, or one of the sequels mentioned above—in between. Thus the Elantris sequel is next in line after Stormlight Three, which would be followed by Stormlight Four and Five.

MAYBE COMING SOMEDAY BUT ONLY PARTIALLY WRITTEN

  • Dark One (YA dark fantasy.)
  • Steelheart (Superhero apocalypse.)
  • The King’s Necromancer
  • The Silence Divine (Shardworld novel, standalone.)
  • White Sand (Shardworld trilogy.)
  • The Liar of Partinel (Shardworld novel, one of two.)
  • Dragonsteel (Major Shardworld epic. Won’t be written until Stormlight is done.)

POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR MY TIME OFF

  • Mistborn short story (Looking likely.)
  • Unnamed urban fantasy (This is what I’m working on right now. Watch Twitter/Facebook for updates on this story. It involves a necromancer pizza deliveryman as a protagonist.)
  • Scribbler revisions (Will almost certainly be done.)
  • Finishing one of the unfinished novels mentioned above (Not likely, but you never know.)

Who knows when/if anything written during my side-project time will get published. Sometimes, these stories are too unformed (as I like to be very free and loose when I write them) to make it. On other occasions, there isn’t time to do revisions on them. (I write initial books very quickly, but spend many months in revision.) For instance, Alcatraz books were my deviations for 2005 and 2006, and the first of those came out very quickly. Scribbler was the one for 2007, and it won’t be published for a year or so yet. I didn’t have time for much in the way of deviations in 2008 or 2009, just the unfinished projects I mentioned above.

We shall see. As always, thank you for reading and supporting me in this compulsive writing addiction of mine.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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Torrieltar

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 Dark One, and I'm almost certain this is his mystery project.

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.

YouTube Livestream 9 ()
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Questioner

Can you talk a little bit about Dark One? Anything else that's going on here?

Brandon Sanderson

We are working on the audio version. We're doing it as an audio original, the actual prose version. I don't know when that will happen. Probably with that one, I'm gonna do it with Dan Wells, is most likely what's gonna happen. He and I together.

Television show, there's been no movement that I really know about. Joe Straczynski did email me a little while ago, talking about when he thought he was gonna have the pilot script ready, and things like that. There's still some progress there. Actually, he did send us the pilot, didn't he? He sent us the first draft of the pilot. That I did read, so I do know he sent it. But, basically, it's TV. Things are working along; it's coming along slowly. Who knows. If they start filming, I'll go out and and enjoy. Joe Michael Straczynski is a blast; he is quite the character, and I have loved chatting with him and going out to dinner with him. He knows his stuff. The show will be his thing. I will be involved, but gotta let the showrunner make the show that they want to do.

DragonCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

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.

Questioner

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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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mathota123

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.)

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Questioner

In White Sand 2, you changed the artist. 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that was-- we didn't want to do that, I actually hate doing that, but it was with-- keeping-- meeting deadlines and things we were having trouble with the old artist, and so we just needed to make the switch so that we could get the books out. And that's the thing I like the least about the comics industry, artists changing, it's really-- yeah. But it is something that had to happen, so we made the call. We do intend that the sec- now this artist will do the book three, so we shouldn't change again, but, yeah.

With the Dark One comic, which we're working on right now, one of the things I've said up front is we need an artist to make sure that we don't ever change, because I really don't like doing that, I like the same visual style. 

Questioner

Yeah, it's like an actor doing this huge thing--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, and then you get a new actor, it's like-- who?

Arched Doorway Interview ()
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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.

State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Updates on Secondary Projects

Dark One

My outline for this drew a lot of buzz around both Hollywood and New York. The story, if you aren't familiar with it, is about a young man in our world who discovers that a fantasy world has declared him to be the Dark One, and starts sending hit squads into our world to assassinate him. Pitched as "Harry Potter from Voldemort's viewpoint," the story follows this young man as he is forced to confront the possibility that he might do what the prophecies say.

We have a graphic novel in the works, and I've been doing pitches in Hollywood for a potential television show. So movement is certainly happening here.

Status: Going well. Might have art to show soon from the graphic novel.

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.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
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HiuGregg

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?

Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
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Questioner

Is Obrodai going to be the setting of Dark One?

Brandon Sanderson

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.

Questioner

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

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.

Figment chat ()
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Jason

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.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Flack17

Is there any new information on Dark One? As a lover of your books, graphic novels, and podcasts, I'm very excited for this!

Brandon Sanderson

Dark One is proceeding nicely behind the scenes, and we're about ready to go take it around the town for pitches. I'd be doing that this week, actually, if I didn't have a book release coming up that I have to prepare for.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
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zuriel45

What worlds within the cosmere are you excited to write about that you haven't yet touched on (or touched significantly enough on)?

Brandon Sanderson

I do want to do a Threnody novel. The world of Dark One, if I manage to get it into the cosmere, is cool. Silence Divine. There are a lot of them.

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.

Words of Radiance Portland signing ()
#30 Copy

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.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#31 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I've had to hide this news for a long time. It was almost one year ago that the Dark One outline finally snapped together for me at long last. We had interest almost immediately from Fremantle, and I've done multiple flights to LA to chat with them about it. I think this one might finally be the real deal when it comes to a Sanderson adaptation--which is amusing, considering we don't have any books for Dark One yet. But if this goes forward, I'll be sure to write some.

Aurimus_

I'm a big fan of this multimedia approach, but I'm wondering what inspired it. Was it your idea or Fremantle's? Is this an experiment for other properties in the future at all? A lot of us on the 17th Shard discord have discussed the sheer size of Stormlight, for example, and worry about DMG either going the Hobbit route (hours upon hours of content for a single book, which'll really rack up even by the time we reach OB), or missing out on a ton of content. If Dark One pans out well, would you use this multimedia approach for Stormlight? (I'm a big fan of the idea of a Black Mirror style show for the interludes, but straight up separating them from the rest of the books would take a lot away, especially with characters such as Szeth and Venli)

Brandon Sanderson

With Dark One, I've pounded myself against the idea for years. Finally, I sat down with it and said, "What if I were going to design this for a television show or graphic novel first?" Using Stranger Things and the recent Westworld reboot as guides, I dug into a parallel narrative--half in our world, half in another world. A kind of dark "portal fantasy" story.

It came out as an eight episode outline that I really liked, with a solid outline for two prequel novels about the previous generation. (Characters still important in the episode outline.) With this in hand, I took it to Hollywood and said, "If you guys are interested in doing the episodes, I'm interested in writing these books--and we can intertwine them in a (hopefully) very cool way."

Fremantle was on board immediately. (They'd been intrigued by Dark One from a one-page outline they'd seen, back before I did this new treatment.)

Warning: I can't say how much of my original outline will end up in the show; I've never written for a television show before, and the showrunner will know better than I will what will or won't work. But (theoretically) the graphic novels will follow the outline pretty closely.

If this works, will I apply it to the Cosmere? That's the goal. I do like the idea of getting some experience with TV/Film through non-cosmere projects, particularly as we see how things shake out these next few years in regards to TV/film distribution.

cusoman

Brandon, I'm curious how you see the same scenario playing out with Cosmere material considering the material already exists and the opportunity for the same intertwining wouldn't be quite the same. Unless of course you go back and interweave new stories with the already completed books?

Very excited to see what comes of this venture! I've loved the concept from the moment you first mentioned it and I can't think of a better way to see it come alive than how you're doing it here.

Brandon Sanderson

I can't really say at this point. There are just too many variables. There are a lot of ways these things could be approached, however.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#32 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Royal Locks

A group of people whose hair changes color based on their emotions is another one of those little story seeds that had been bouncing around in my head for years before I wrote this book. I even did a few test chapters in other settings with characters who had this physical attribute. (Dark One, which I don't know if I'll ever finish, toyed with it. As did a book set in the Aether world.)

Eventually, this attribute slid into Warbreaker. I'm glad I found a good home for it; I love how it adds a little bit of flavor to Siri and Vivenna, making them distinctive in a way that doesn't have much of anything to do with the plot. I always talk about making things connected, and that's very important. But you have to be careful not to make everything too neat. That leads to its own problems, as I mentioned in an earlier annotation.

The Royal Locks do work into the worldbuilding, as you'll find out eventually in the book. However, mostly they're around to give a distinctive feel to the world and the royal line, to show you that there is something unique about the royals. It hopefully enhances your understanding of why Hallandren would work so hard to bring them back into their own line of kings.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#33 Copy

Eagle206

Congrats [Brandon]

Very happy for him that [Dark One] is getting off the ground but also worries me a bit.

I've been through the waiting game with George R. R. Martin, J.K. Rowling and Robert Jordan. I started reading wot when I was like 13 and finished when I was 34 or so. I'm worried that some of the stuff that sounds awesome will never see the light of day or be 40 years in the future. The second half of the storm light or Warbreaker 2 for example

I also wish that this was in the cosmere cause it could be a great tie-in.

I'm also worried that it fails and kills any chance of his other works being adapted.

Either way hoping that my fears are unfounded and it's awesome. Sounds cool

Brandon Sanderson

I think that we want this to not be cosmere--because that should both give me a chance to dabble in Hollywood, but also not risk the continuity of the cosmere until I have more of a reputation there.

Also, I don't think you need to worry. So far, this hasn't divided my attention too much from other projects. I've spent maybe a day ever few weeks or so on Dark One--and I don't anticipate letting it consume me too much.

Prague Signing ()
#34 Copy

Questioner

What's the Dark One right now... like the film?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah Dark One is looking great. So we have the television show that they announced so I can talk about it. I didn't leak this--with Joe Michael Straczynski, right. Yeah, they already leaked that. And Joe will write the pilot of that some time this fall or this winter. But we have the graphic novel, it's going full steam ahead and then we'll be doing some audiobook versions so they'll be like the graphic novel or an audiobook and you can just kind of choose. There won't be like a traditional novel for it probably, it will be audio or.

Questioner

Will the story be the same?

Brandon Sanderson

It will be from the same outline but there might be small deviations based on how the graphic novel but we're trying to keep it close together. The television show? No idea. Alright, because we have a really great show runner involved and they know television, they might do. But the audiobook and the graphic novel, the audiobook should be prose narrative so not just the quotes, so... and this should be graphic novel, both from the same outline we'll see how it goes.

Prague Signing ()
#35 Copy

Paleo

The Dark One graphic novel is coming out I think next year sometime? Did you also... Were you also involved there or was it more...

Isaac Stewart

So, Dark One, we are less involved with the actual...

Brandon Sanderson

We're giving them a lot more freedom because it's not Cosmere which means that their interpretation of Dark One we can let a lot more things slide because there's not a continuity happening to get in that way.

Isaac Stewart

So... Dark One is looking fantastic. They are so far doing a really amazing job. I think people are really going to like it.

Paleo

Yeah, the cover already looks fantastic.

Brandon Sanderson

What we're trying to do is to do a graphic novel where we give people a little more freedom and so my outline is pretty solid but for art direction things go with more what you feel. They send us their impressions and we give them responses but were not being nearly as, with the Cosmere we have to try do the detailing.

Isaac Stewart

And if they were to send us something we didn't like we would let them know but so far they just, the art is, I love the art in it.

Paleo

And like I said the cover already looks pretty amazing.

Brandon Sanderson

The art is amazing. The interior art like, and it's really fun because I can see exactly how my outline is turning into their scenes and things in a really fun way. I'm really hopeful. I don't know whats going to happen with the television show. That's honestly more up to Joe [Joseph Michael Straczynski] then it is to me. I mean I should be there for the writing room meetings and things like that but really we're letting Joe go and...

Paleo

How far has it progressed since it was announced that Joe would run the show?

Brandon Sanderson

How's the progress? He's finishing up a pilot for something else and then he's working on this. I don't know how far... if he's gotten to our pilot yet or not. I haven't received it yet so it's not done. Yeah, that's what I heard back in September he was finishing up another pilot so sometime soon he should be working on a pilot for this.

Stuttgart signing ()
#36 Copy

Paleo (paraphrased)

How is Dark One coming along?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It's coming along very well. It's like Harry Potter from the perspective of Voldemort, where the good guys want to get the bad guy. It's like Narnia was trying to assassinate those who come over to their world to destroy it.

The outline is really great, we pitched it across Hollywood. We had a really great response, but no contracts are done. We're planning to release it as an audiobook original. We haven't closed the contract on that yet, but we have an offer.