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State of the Sanderson 2014 ()
#4 Share

Brandon Sanderson

Introduction

Hello, all! I recently turned in Shadows of Self, the new Wax and Wayne Mistborn novel. (And, well, something else too. More on that below.) In addition, tomorrow is December 19th—known with fondness as “Koloss Head-Munching Day.” Also my birthday. (I’ll be 39.)

This seemed like a good chance to take a step back and give you all a long-form update on what I’ve been doing lately, and where I am looking for the future. I like to be accountable to you, my readers, for what I’m doing. You are the ones supporting me in this, my lifelong dream of being a professional writer.

2014 was an excellent year for me. Words of Radiance has been very well received, and enthusiasm for the Stormlight books is very high. As this series is my baby, it feels awesome to see people getting to know characters like Dalinar and Kaladin, whom I’ve known for decades. At the same time, I’ve been jumping back into teen books again after the Alcatraz books. (Which kind of fizzled back in 2010 or so, though we’re planning a relaunch.)

Having two publishers made for a very challenging tour schedule. I’ve been away from home far more than I want to be, mostly because of the need to add more touring (along with things like school visits and appearances at teacher/librarian conferences) for Steelheart and The Rithmatist.

I’m still struggling to find a balance I like. On one hand, I enjoy visiting you all and going cool places. On the other hand, my real love is writing the books—and I don’t want to get so busy that the stories fall by the wayside. Anyway, the following is an account of my 2014 writing experience for those who are curious.

What I spent 2014 doing January–March 2014: Firefight

Though I had hoped to have Firefight (The Reckoners 2) done long before January, the touring last year made that impossible. It snuck over into 2014, which is why you’re getting the book in January 2015 instead of the originally scheduled fall of this year. In March, I also did the Words of Radiance tour, which really cut into my writing time.

April 2014: Legion: Skin Deep

In April, once all the chaos was done, I took the time to finish up Legion: Skin Deep (sequel to Legion from a few years back), which I’d been working on during plane flights the year before. If you haven’t checked these two novellas out, you might want to consider it! They’re very fun, though the second book is not yet out in the UK and associated territories such as Australia and New Zealand. (Note that in those territories, Legion 1 and The Emperor’s Soul were released together in a very handsome paperback.)

We will eventually have regular hardcover copies of Legion 2 available. That will probably come sometime in the first half of next year. Our contract with Subterranean Press, who produced the very attractive limited edition hardcovers of Legion 2, says that we’ll wait until their edition sells out before we release a competing one.

May 2014: The Aztlanian (Rithmatist 2)

Next, I dove into research for a sequel to The Rithmatist. This is going to be a tough book to write, as it takes place in a fantastical version of Central and South America, and deals with things from Aztec (Mexica) mythology. (In The Rithmatist, a lot of the geography is shifted around in bizarre ways.)

Dealing with another group’s culture in this way is rife with opportunities for stuffing my foot in my mouth, and so I wanted to be very careful and respectful. This meant spending time devoted exclusively to doing extensive research. I didn’t actually get any writing on the book done, though I read some very excellent history books.

(As an aside, if anyone out there is an expert in the Aztec/Mexica culture—particularly if you yourself are a Native American—I’d love to have your help on this book.)

At the end of the month, I decided I needed to do way more research than a month afforded, so I put the book off for now. I still intend to write it, but I need more time to do it right.

June 2014: Alcatraz

Having spent a month with no writing, I wanted to jump into something fun and quick to refresh me before moving on to my next book. So, I dug out my outline for the Alcatraz series and at long last did a rough draft of the fifth book. These are fast, fast books to write—as I improvise them—but they are very slow to edit.

I finished the book, and am pleased with it, but I have no firm date yet for when I’ll be publishing it. Tor is rereleasing the series starting next year with new covers and extensive interior art. I believe these launch starting about a year from now. (If you want them before then, your best bet for getting them is the UK omnibus of the first four.)

I’ll want to release the fifth one once the series has been rereleased, so maybe summer 2016. If you’ve never read these, they are very different from my other work. They’re bizarre and sarcastic comedies that are self-referential and offer commentary on fantasy as a genre along the way. Those who love them absolutely love them. Those who don’t tend to find them insulting. That dichotomy alone is part of what endears them to me.

July–December 2014: Mistborn

The last half of the year was dedicated to Shadows of Self, the new Mistborn novel. And I have a confession to make.

I also wrote the sequel.

Now, before you start wagging your finger at me for being a robot, there was a really good reason I did what I did. You see, I was having real trouble getting back into Shadows of Self. I had written the first third of it in 2012 between revisions of A Memory of Light. (I was feeling Wheel of Time overload.) However, it can be very hard for me to get back into a book or series after a long time away from it. (This is another issue with the Rithmatist sequel.)

So, jumping into Shadows of Self was slow going, and I found it much easier to go write the sequel to refresh myself on the world and characters. That done, I was able to move back to Shadows of Self and finish it up.

So a week or two back, I turned in two new Wax and Wayne Mistborn novels. They’re titled Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning, and Tor decided to publish them in quick succession: the first in October 2015, the second in January 2016. So, if you have read the original trilogy but haven’t tried The Alloy of Law yet, you might want to give it a look! From the beginning, I’ve planned Mistborn to be a continuum series, showing off Allomancy in different time periods. I think you’ll find the Wax and Wayne books to be fun, quick reads—and they introduce some very, very big things coming in the Mistborn world.

There will be one more Wax and Wayne (early 1900s-era) Mistborn book. Back after I finished The Alloy of Law, I sat down and plotted out a trilogy with the same characters. The Alloy of Law was more of a happy, improvised accident. The follow-up trilogy is meant to be more intentional. So in the end, we’ll have four total. (The final one is tentatively called The Lost Metal.) From there, I might jump to the second “big” trilogy, which is 1980s tech. Or I might dally a little more in something 1940s-era instead. We’ll see.

Amusingly, doing these two Mistborn books together totaled only about half as much writing as a Stormlight book. Perhaps you can see why it takes even me quite a long time to finish Stormlight novels. (And it’s why you might want to lay off Pat Rothfuss a little. I believe The Wise Man’s Fear was even longer than Words of Radiance.)

Tor did their announcement about these books earlier today. You may now commence wisecracks about me secretly writing extra novels when nobody is looking.

Next Projects

I’ve now begun Calamity, last of the Reckoners series. My goal will be to rough-draft it over the next three months. I have a tour between now and then (for Firefight) and a trip to Taiwan as well, so who knows if I’ll make that deadline. We’ll see.

Once that is done, I will dive into Stormlight 3. I’m still waffling on whether this will be Szeth’s book, Eshonai’s book, or Dalinar’s book. The original outline calls for book 3 to have Szeth’s flashbacks, but I am feeling that another character might match the events better.

I did some exploratory scenes for it this summer, though these may or may not end up in the actual book. I have been tweaking the outline, and am starting to feel very good about it. Writing the book should consume the entire rest of 2015, with a 2016 release. I do plan the Stormlight books to be an every-other-year thing.

Follow along starting next spring as I write the book and post updates on my website. I’ll even try to do some screen capturing with Camtasia as I write, for those who are interested in watching for them.

That wraps up current and finished projects. 2014 was partially about me getting my feet underneath me after finishing The Wheel of Time and going right into Stormlight 2. I’ve caught my breath now, and feel good moving forward.

And, speaking of moving forward, it’s time for a State of the Sanderson tradition—we’re going to play “What about the sequel to this book I love, Brandon!”

Here comes the big list.

The big list of projects I want to do Elantris sequels

The Emperor’s Soul is now two years old, so it is probably time to get back to Sel and do some more there. We should be releasing a trade paperback of Elantris in the next year or two, with revised (and new) maps and a better Ars Arcanum. (Read: an Ars Arcanum.)

The full sequels will need to be finished before I can do the contemporary (1980s tech) Mistborn novels because of behind-the-scenes Cosmere bits, so I will do my best to find a place to squeeze these in. At the very least, I will write them following the end of Stormlight 5. So, these are distant, but not too distant.

Nightblood (Warbreaker sequel)

This is still on the back burner, but it is coming. Probably after the Elantris sequels. I’ll squeeze it in someplace. I’m very excited about it, but now (while I’m juggling multiple teen series) is not the time.

Dark One

This is a series I’ve talked about for a long, long time about a boy who discovers he’s the “Dark One.” Basically, it’s the classic epic fantasy story told from the eyes of the dude destined to try to destroy the world instead of save it. I’ve made good progress on the setting, which is going to be awesome. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the teen series I do once the Reckoners and the Rithmatist are both done.

As a note for fans, this is a Cosmere story.

Silence Divine (this will be renamed sometime)

I did readings from this on my last tour (you can probably find them on YouTube; it was the Words of Radiance tour). I only have a few pages done, playing with the primary concept. (Diseases grant magical talents for as long as you have the disease—you lose the power when you get over it.) This one has probably been downgraded from full novel to novella, as I feel that something more Emperor’s Soul-esque will do a better job with the themes I want to explore.

Legion 3

Legion 2 is out! Are you tired of me mentioning that yet? I’m sure that someday there will be a third adventure for Stephen and his aspects, but I don’t have an outline or plan yet.

The Lurker (now renamed Adamant)

I’ve finished a novella set in this science fiction world. For those who want more SF from me along the lines of my two novelettes, this should be coming someday. I don’t have time for revisions right now, but I plan to tinker with the story again next year sometime between Stormlight 3 drafts.

White Sand

The graphic novel adaptation of this Cosmere book is coming along very well. The first volume’s script adaptation is finished, and pencils for the first chapter are done. We should have pages to show you before too long. Expect a lot of talk about this on the blog come 2015.

Dragonsteel

Hoid’s backstory series is still going to be one of the last Cosmere sequences I do, so don’t expect this until Stormlight is completely done. (Both sets of five books.)

That’s the list of things people often ask me about. Unsurprisingly, I have other projects in the back of my mind. For example, I have two more Cosmere series that will need to be written before we can get to the third “big” Mistborn trilogy. (The sf one.) But that’s the long, long-term plan.

For now, my goal is to get Calamity and Stormlight 3 finished. As always, I appreciate all of the enthusiasm you show for this crazy thing that I have somehow managed to do with my life. Thank you for sharing my books with others, and for being willing to try the more unusual projects (like Legion) that I do.

I feel humbled to have a great crowd of fans who are willing to put up with my eccentricities as a writer—particularly my desire to not work on just one project, but to have an entire body of varying stories. You guys are awesome. May you have a happy holiday season, and do go munch some heads tomorrow in my name.

Brandon

p.s. If you aren’t on the newsletter mailing list, please consider signing up! In the summer, the newsletter included exclusive looks at some of the Stormlight 3 scenes I was working on. We plan to do more of this sort of thing in the future. As always, if you include your city, we’ll send you notifications when I’m going to be doing signings in the area.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
#5 Share

Renian

When will we see a book that basically revolves around the concept of the Cosmere and the shard-travelers? Basically, a book revolving around people like Hoid who can jump from shard to shard.

Brandon Sanderson

Third Mistborn Trilogy involves a lot of this. I MIGHT do some parallel stories showing more of what Hoid has been up to. He is a primary viewpoint protagonist of Dragonsteel, but that happens before all of the other books.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#6 Share

Aaronator17

I was wondering whether any of the Vessels are blood related?

Aside from the romantic relationship between Honor and Cultivation I'm not sure that we know anything about the relationships that others have with each other within the group of 16, and it would be interesting to know.

Brandon Sanderson

I'm saving most of this for Dragonsteel, I'm afraid. So RAFO.

Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
#7 Share

Tyran Amiros

Why does Bastille say they're speaking Melerandian in book 1 and Nalhallan from book 2 on?

Brandon Sanderson

When I originally wrote Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians, I put that in there partially as a throwaway joke. Melerand is one of the main kingdoms in Dragonsteel, and I thought it would be amusing for them to be speaking that language somehow filtered into this world. By the end of the book I decided that Alcatraz could not be anywhere in the same continuity as Dragonsteel and that I was probably wrong for including that. Though there are other jokes in there relating to my other books—it's much like the scene where Quentin speaks in Spook's dialect. Those were just jokes, inside references to my other books.

Remember that Alcatraz was written as a writing experiment, not as something that I was intending to publish. As the series grew more serious to me, meaning that I developed what I actually wanted to happen—which with me usually happens as I write book two of a series, when I sit down and build an arc for the entire series—I "realified" Alcatraz's world a little bit, if that makes sense, made it its own substantial thing. So at that point it wasn't appropriate for them to be speaking Melerandian anymore.

Brandon's Blog 2010 ()
#8 Share

Brandon Sanderson

I started writing my first novel when I was fifteen years old. I didn’t have a computer; I had an old, electric typewriter. It would remember your file on a disc, but it was really just a printer with an attached bare-bones word processor. (It had a tiny LCD screen at the top that could display three lines at a time. You could scroll through and edit bit by bit, then you hit print and it would type out the document.)

The book was terrible. It was essentially a hybrid of Tad Williams and Dragonlance, though at the time I felt it was totally new and original. It did have a wizard who threw fireballs with smiley faces on the front, though, so that’s kind of cool. At its core were two stories. One vital one was the tale of a wise king who was murdered by assassins, forcing his younger brother to take up the mantle and lead the kingdom while trying to find/protect the king’s son and rightful heir. The other was about a young man named Rick, originally blamed for the murder.

I still have some of these pages. (Not the entire book, unfortunately.) I used to hide them behind a picture on the wall of my room so that nobody would find them. I was so anxious about letting people read my writing, and was—for some reason—paranoid my family would find the pages and read them, then make fun of them.

Over the years, many ideas proliferated and matured in my mind. I began writing books in earnest (I never finished that one I started as a teenager.) I grew as a writer, and discovered how to make my works less derivative. Most of my ideas from my teenage self died out, and rightly so. Others evolved. My maturing sensibilities as both a reader and a writer changed how I saw the world, and some stories stood the test of both time and internal criticism, becoming stronger for the conflict.

Rick became Jerick, hero of the book now known as Dragonsteel. (It was my honor’s thesis in college, and will someday be rewritten and published. For now, the only copy available is through interlibrary loan, though it appears to have vanished.) Jared, the man who lost his brother and had to lead in his stead, protecting his nephew, slowly evolved into a man named Dalinar, one of the primary protagonists of The Way of Kings. Some of you may be curious to know that the character many now call Hoid also appeared in that ancient book of mine.

These two epics—Dragonsteel and The Way of Kings—have shaped a lot of my passions and writing goals over the last two decades. For example, in my last year of college I took an introductory illustration class to try my hand at drawing. My final project was a portfolio piece of sketches of plants and animals from Roshar, as even then I was hoping to someday be able to publish The Way of Kings with copious in-world illustrations of Roshar and its life. (At that time, I was planning to have an illustrated appendix, though I eventually decided to spread the pages through the book.) Fortunately, I was able to hire artists to do the work in this book instead of forcing you to look at what I came up with . . .

Well, finally—after two decades of writing—Tor has given me the chance to share The Way of Kings with you. They’ve taken a risk on this book. At every juncture, they agreed to do as I asked, often choosing the more expensive option as it was a better artistic decision. Michael Whelan on the cover. 400K words in length. Almost thirty full page interior illustrations. High-end printing processes in order to make the interior art look crisp and beautiful. A piece of in-world writing on the back cover, rather than a long list of marketing blurbs. Interludes inside the book that added to the length, and printing costs, but which fleshed out the world and the story in ways I’d always dreamed of doing.

This is a massive book. That seems fitting, as it has been two decades in the making for me. Writing this essay, I find myself feeling oddly relieved. Yes, part of me is nervous—more nervous for this book than I have been for any book save The Gathering Storm. But a greater part of me is satisfied.

I finally got it published. Whatever else happens, whatever else comes, I managed to tell this story. The Way of Kings isn’t hidden behind the painting in my room any longer.

Brandon's Blog 2010 ()
#10 Share

Brandon Sanderson

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.)
JordanCon 2016 ()
#11 Share

Questioner

Can you clarify what the structure you are planning on, is going to be for Dragonsteel is? Like for some reason I have it in my head that it's seven?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah it was originally, way back when, seven. I've-- Right now I've cut so much out of that and stuck it in other books, I'm only at three. So we'll see.
Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#12 Share

Questioner

In a lot of your books there are, like, things that make them seem like they might be connected...

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, "in a lot of my books there are things that make them seem like they might be connected." *crowd laughs* What's that?

Questioner

Is there going to be a crossover?

Brandon Sanderson

"Is there gonna be a crossover?" So for those who don't know, my books-- my epic fantasies are all connected. There's a hidden epic happening behind the scenes. There will be someday that I will do crossovers, but I am not doing it right now. The focus right now-- I don't want people to like read the books and be like, "I am so lost." I don't you to feel like you have to read my whole body of work to appreciate what's going on in one of them. So while there will be cameos, and sometimes they will be moderately relevant to the plot, it's only gonna remain mostly cameos for the moment, until I do a series which is upfront going to be, "Here's the big crossover. You have to know all eight magic systems or you're gonna go crazy."

Brandon's Blog 2015 ()
#13 Share

As I was developing the Cosmere, I knew I wanted a few threads to span the entire mega-sequence, which was going to cover thousands of years. For this reason, I built into the outline a couple of “core” series.

One of these is the Stormlight Archive, where we have the Heralds who span ages, and which I eventually decided to break into two distinct arcs. Other series touch on the idea of long-standing characters. Dragonsteel, for example, will be kind of a bookend series. We’ll get novels on Hoid’s origins, then jump all the way to the end and get novels from his viewpoint late in the entire Cosmere sequence.

With Mistborn, I wanted to do something different. For aesthetic reasons, I wanted a fantasy world that changed, that grew updated and modernized. One of my personal mandates as a lover of the epic fantasy genre is to try to take what has been done before and push the stories in directions I think the genre hasn’t looked at often enough.

I pitched Mistorn as a series of trilogies, which many of you probably already know. Each series was to cover a different era in the world (Scadrial), and each was to be about different characters—starting with an epic fantasy trilogy, expanding eventually into a space opera science fiction series. The magic would be the common thread here, rather than specific characters.

There was a greater purpose to this, more than just wanting a fantasy world that modernized. The point was to actually show the passage of time in the universe, and to make you, the reader, feel the weight of that passage.

Some of the Cosmere characters, like Hoid, are functionally immortal—in that, at least, they don’t age and are rather difficult to kill. I felt that when readers approached a grand epic where none of the characters changed, the experience would be lacking something. I could tell you things were changing, but if there were always the same characters, it wouldn’t feel like the universe was aging.

I think you get this problem already in some big epic series. (More on that below.) Here, I wanted the Cosmere to evoke a sense of moving through eras. There will be some continuing threads. (A few characters from Mistborn will be weaved through the entire thing.) However, to make this all work, I decided I needed to do something daring—I needed to reboot the Mistborn world periodically with new characters and new settings.

So how does Shadows of Self fit into this entire framework? Well, The Alloy of Law was (kind of) an accident. It wasn’t planned to be part of the original sequence of Mistborn sub-series, but it’s also an excellent example of why you shouldn’t feel too married to an outline.

...

The Alloy of Law was the result, an experiment in a second-era Mistborn series between the first two planned trilogies. The first book wasn’t truly accidental, then, nor did it come from a short story. (I’ve seen both reported, and have tacitly perpetuated the idea, as it’s easier than explaining the entire process.) I chose early 20th century because it’s a time period I find fascinating, and was intrigued by the idea of the little-city lawman pulled into big-city politics.

Alloy wasn’t an accident, but it was an experiment. I wasn’t certain how readers would respond to not only a soft reboot like this, but also one that changed tone (from epic to focused). Was it too much?

The results have been fantastic, I’m happy to report. The Alloy of Law is consistently the bestselling book in my backlists, barring the original trilogy or Stormlight books. Fan reaction in person was enthusiastic.

So I sat down and plotted a proper trilogy with Wax and Wayne. That trilogy starts with Shadows of Self. It connects to The Alloy of Law directly, but is more intentional in where it is taking the characters, pointed toward a three-book arc.

You can see why this is sometimes hard to explain. What is Shadows of Self? It’s the start of a trilogy within a series that comes after a one-off with the same characters that was in turn a sequel to an original trilogy with different characters.

Sofia signing ()
#15 Share

Questioner

My question is about Yolen. If, or when, you chose to write Hoid's origin story, do you plan to keep the same plots in Yolen? Where the moss is taking over the planet?

Brandon Sanderson

So I need to give you some back history to this one... My epic fantasy books, this is all of them but not Steelheart and not The Rithmatist, so the epic fantasy, are all connected, if you weren't aware. They all have little ties between characters, and there's a character named Hoid who's shown up in all of the books basically; he's the same person. When I was earlier in my career, before I published, I tried writing his origin story and I failed. The book wasn't very good, and I tried it again later, after I was published, and I failed again. It still wasn't very good. And this still happens to me. Sometimes I try things out and they just don't work. So the question am I going to try it; when I go back to it will it be the same story? The core part of it will be the same. There are certain events that Hoid has talked about in the books that are published that I will make sure are still relevant, but the story continues to evolve in my head. So I will have to decide eventually what things I want to do and what I don't. I think it will change from what I originally planned, but the soul should be the same. The core should still be the same. It will be very different from Dragonsteel, though, which was the one I wrote in 1998, because that had Bridge Four in it, and I moved them to The Stormlight Archive. So most of that book is gone, and it ended up in The Stormlight Archive, so who knows what will go-- It'll be very different from that.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#16 Share

Questioner

So the other thing I don't understand is in Hero of Ages when Harmony dies. How they became--

Brandon Sanderson

Harmony didn't die, you mean--

Questioner

The man.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you're talking about the person who was holding the power of Preservation.

Questioner

Yeah, how did those people become that in the first place?

Brandon Sanderson

That is a book I'm going to write eventually called Dragonsteel, that deals with how that came about.

Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
#17 Share

Daedos

When did you develop your idea to have multiple series playing out on different planets? How many separate stories do you plan to tell in said universe, and will your Dragonsteel books be the last?

Brandon Sanderson

I started doing this early in my career before I got published, when I felt that writing sequels was not a good use of my time. Just look at the hypothetical; if I'm trying to get published and I write three books in the same, if an editor rejects book one, he or she is not going to want to see book two. But if an editor rejects book one but is optimistic about my writing, I can send them a book from another series and they can look at that.

During my unpublished days I wrote thirteen books, only one of which was a sequel. So I had twelve new worlds, or at least twelve new books—some of them were reexaminations of worlds. But I wanted to be writing big epics. This is what I always wanted to do; something like the Wheel of Time. So I began plotting a large, massive series where all these books were connected, so I could kind of "stealth" have a large series without the editors knowing I was sending them books from the same series. It was mostly just a thing for me, to help me do the writing I wanted to be doing. And then when publication came I continued to do that, and told the story behind the story.

I originally plotted an arc of around 36 books. The total has varied between 32 and 36; 32 would work better for the nature of the universe, but the question is whether I can fit everything into 32 books. I won't say whether Dragonsteel will be the last or not.

Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
#18 Share

Questioner

What is your favorite original Shardholder?

Brandon Sanderson

My favorite original Shardholder?

I don't knoooowwww...

Questioner

Are they all that bad of people?

Brandon Sanderson

No no, they're not bad-- they're not all bad people. Many of them are-- you know the trick is I'm gonna have to really write them, as their personalities. Because right now they're really just concepts, and I haven't written very many of them. And so... I'm very fond of Bavadin, but I can't say.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#20 Share

the.fulgid

It seems to be more apparent that different abilities are granted depending on the design of one's spiritweb. Is the design of a spiritweb, and the abilities it grants, limited to a specific Shardworld or are the designs universal across the cosmere? For example could someone from Roshar go to Scadrial and have Hemalurgy done on them and have it work?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, some of the magics are more regionally-locked than others. Hemalurgy will work on any planet. But, for instance, you'll notice that Elantrians have trouble even going to the next nation over. There's a specific reason for that. Most of the magics transcend location.

the.fulgid

My question, in regards to Dragonsteel, is: Is there a possibility that somebody with the ability of microkinesis can see the spiritweb and alter it according to their will?

Brandon Sanderson

This is, this is totally possible. But you have to remember this is pre-Shattering of Adonalsium. Dragonsteel is the story of the Shattering of Adonalsium... the whole book is before, the whole series... So there are lots of things going on there that are-- like you will-- yeah. But it’s not canon yet.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#21 Share

Questioner

What planet did humans originate on? Or did they originate on Scadrial when Preservation and Ruin got together?

Brandon Sanderson

Humans did not originate on Scadrial, because they were on Yolen, which is a planet before Adonalsium, the story that takes place before Adonalsium was Shattered. They may have been on other planets, but they... the very first ones you would care about are probably on Yolen.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#22 Share

i_am_a_watermelon1

I've heard somewhere that you already have a backstory for Hoid written, but you're waiting to release it as it would reveal too much about the Cosmere universe... is this true?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this is true.

i_am_a_watermelon1

Do you ever plan on bringing different realms together?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes I do.

Boskone 54 ()
#24 Share

Questioner

If you had to guess right now, what year would you think Dragonsteel will come out?

Brandon Sanderson

It will be the book after Stormlight 10 is the way it is planned right now. So, add those up, we’ve got seven more Stormlights, four more Mistborn, two Elantris, and one Warbreaker. After all those, and I generally do one a year, so add all that up. So 7... 11... 12 years and then I will write it, probably, is what it looks like? 11... no 13... 14 years.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#25 Share

Shagomir

This totally doesn't really matter and will probably change in the time it takes you to get to them but are Liar of Partinel and Lightweaver of Rens still planned as a semi-separate sub/prequel-series to Dragonsteel, or would they be included in that 3-5 book estimate?

Brandon Sanderson

They're included in the 3-5 book estimate. Dragonsteel's outline is kind of still in pieces, as I chopped out so much but dumped in a whole bunch more, so I'm not 100% sure on what length it will be.

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
#26 Share

Brandon Sanderson

Potential Cosmere Stories List

Here are things that at one point I've had in the works, and probably someday plan to do, in the 'osmere:

  • Dragonsteel/Liar of Partinel. (Hoid's origin story, to be written sometime after Stormlight is done.)
  • Sixth of the Dusk sequel. (I had a pretty cool idea for this last year. Nothing more than that.)
  • Untitled Silverlight novella. (What it says on the tin.)
  • Threnody novel. (An expedition back to confront the Evil that destroyed the old world.)
  • Aether of Night. (Still in the cosmere, and you can see the odd remnant of an Aether popping up here and there. Bound to be drastically different from the unpublished novel, which I allow the 17th Shard to give out to people who request it on their forums. Basically, the only thing from it that is canon is the magic system.)
  • Silence Divine. (Disease magic novella set on Ashyn.)
Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#28 Share

Aurimus

As you (probably) know/remember, I'm really interested in the early parts of your creation process. The ideas basically. What was the first idea that created Zahel in WoK prime? What came first, Zahel or Nightblood and what were they like originally? Was it through them that you came up with the idea of worldhoppers or did you just want another worldhopper to appear to show that Hoid wasn't the only one?

Brandon Sanderson

The idea was actually writing Kaladin's swordmaster in TWOK Prime. By then, worldhoppers were already quite well established. (I'd written Elantris in 99, along with Dragonsteel to be a prequel to the entire cycle. That was followed by White Sand and Aether of Night in 2000 or so--and Aether has the first on-screen appearance of a Shard.)

Kings Prime was 2002-2003, and I wanted Kaladin's swordmaster Vasher to have an interesting backstory. That was the origin of the idea for a worldhopper who was very interested in Shardblades. From there, wanting to do a sympathetic magic, and (years later) my editor suggesting a world more "colorful" drove me to try out Warbreaker itself.

Here is his first appearance in TWOK Prime. Note, none of the names are changed in this, so you get Kaladin and Adolin's original names, among others.

After a few moments, one of the monks noticed him watching. The man paused, regarding Merin with the eyes of a warrior. "Shouldn't you be practicing with the other lords, traveler?"

Merin shrugged. "I don't really fit in with them, holy one."

"Your clothing says that you should," the monk said, nodding to Merin's fine seasilk outfit.

Merin grimaced.

The monk raised an eyebrow questioningly. He was an older man, perhaps the same age as Merin's father, and had a strong build beneath his monk's clothing. He was almost completely bald, save for a bit of hair on the sides of his head, and even that was beginning to gray.

"It's nothing, holy one," Merin said. "I'm just a little bit tired of hearing about clothing."

"Maybe this will take your mind off of it," the monk said, tossing him a practice sword. "And don't call me ‘holy one.'"

Merin caught the sword, looking down at it blankly. Then he yelped in surprise, dropping his Shardblade and raising the practice sword awkwardly as the monk stepped forward in a dueling stance. Merin wasn't certain how to respond--all of his training in the army had focused on working within his squad, using his shield to protect his companions and his spear to harry the opponent. He'd rarely been forced to fight solitarily.

The monk came in with a few testing swings, and Merin tried his best to mimic the man's stance. He knew enough not to engage the first few blows--they were meant to throw Merin off-balance and leave him open for a strike. He retreated across the cool sand, shuffling backward and trying not to fall for the monk's feints. Even still, the man's first serious strike took Merin completely by surprise. The blow took Merin on the shoulder--it was delivered lightly, but it stung anyway.

"Your instincts are good," the monk said, returning to his stance. "But your swordsmanship is atrocious."

"That's kind of why I'm here," Merin said, trying another stance. This time he managed to dodge the first blow, though the backhand caught him on the thigh. He grunted in pain.

"Your Blade is unbonded," the monk said. "And you resist moving to the sides, as if you expect there to be someone standing beside you. You were a spearman?"

"Yes," Merin said.

The monk stepped back, lowering his blade and resting the tip in the sand. "You must have done something incredibly brave to earn yourself a Blade, little spearman."

"Either that, or I was just lucky," Merin replied.

The monk smiled, then nodded toward the center of the courtyard. "Your friend is looking for you."

Merin turned to see Aredor waving for him. Merin nodded thankfully to the monk and returned the practice sword, then picked up his Shardblade and jogged across the sands toward Aredor. Standing with Dalenar's son was a group of elderly, important-looking monks.

"Merin," Aredor began, "these are the monastery masters. Each of them is an expert at several dueling forms, and they'll be able to train you in the one that fits you best. Masters Bendahkha and Lhanan are currently accepting new students. You can train with either one of them, though you'll need to pay the standard hundred-ishmark tribute to the monastery out of your monthly stipend."

Merin regarded the two monks Aredor had indicated. Both looked very distinguished, almost uncomfortably so. They regarded Merin with the lofty expressions of men who had spent their entire lives practicing their art, and who had risen to the highest of their talents. They stood like kings in their monasteries--not condescending, but daunting nonetheless.

Merin glanced to the side, a sudden impression taking him. "Holy ones, I am honored by your offer, but I feel a little overwhelmed. Could you tell me, is the monk I just sparred with accepting students at the moment?"

The masters frowned. "You mean Vasher?" one of them asked. "Why do you wish to train with him?"

"I. . .I'm not certain," Merin confessed.

ebilutionist

Is the payment to a devotary while training under an ardent still canonical? And given that Vasher had a reputation for being a bad duelist in Warbreaker, exactly how good is he with a blade? Is it just a case of Nalthian swordmasters being better or did Vasher learn from his experiences?

Brandon Sanderson

It's been a while.

And Vasher isn't as bad as the text implies.

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
#31 Share

Brandon Sanderson

Introduction

We are approaching Koloss Head-Munching Day—the day of the year that happens, by utter coincidence, to coincide with my birthday. (December 19th.) I’m turning forty this year, which isn’t as dramatic for me as it might be for some others. From the way I act, people have been joking for the last twenty years that I was “born forty.” I guess I’m finally just catching up.

It’s been almost twenty years since I finished my first book. I can remember joking with my friends in college (whom you might know as Lieutenant Conrad from Mistborn and Drehy from Bridge Four) that by forty, we were all going to be rich and famous.

The thing is, I always intended to make that dream happen. Not necessarily for the “rich” part or the “famous” part, neither of which interested me a great deal. I just knew that without a solid, stable writing career, I’d never be able to make the Cosmere happen.

Perhaps that’s where this whole “born forty” thing came from in the first place. I basically spent my twenties writing, slavishly trying to figure out how to craft stories. Friends would tell me to relax, but I couldn’t, not when these dreams of mine were so big. It should be mentioned that despite what our society would like to believe, hard work doesn’t always equate with success. For me, luck played a huge part in my being able to sit here and type this out for you.

Still, here I am, and I honestly can’t imagine things having gone better. People often seem bemused by my productivity; when I get together with fellow authors, they sometimes jokingly refer to me as “the adult” in our group. I get this—for a lot of them, writing is more of an instinctual process. Sitting and talking about the business side of things, or their goals for writing, flies in the face of the almost accidental way they’ve approached their careers. And it works for them; they create great books I’m always excited to read.

However, sometimes there’s also this sense—from fans, from the community, from us authors in general—that whispers that being productive isn’t a good thing. It’s like society feels artists should naturally try to hide from deadlines, structure, or being aware of what we do and why we do it. As if, because art is supposed to be painful, we shouldn’t enjoy doing our work—and should need to be forced into it.

If there’s one thing that has surprised me over the last ten years, it’s this strangeness that surrounds my enjoyment of my job, and the way my own psychology interfaces with storytelling. People thank me for being productive, when I don’t consider myself particularly fast as a writer—I’m just consistent. Fans worry that I will burn out, or that secretly I’m some kind of cabal of writers working together. I enjoy the jokes, but there’s really no secret. I just get excited by all of this. I have a chance to create something incredible, something that will touch people’s lives. In some cases, that touch is light—I just give a person a few moments to relax amid the tempest of life. In other cases, stories touch people on a deep and meaningful level. I’ll happily take either scenario.

Almost thirty years ago now, I encountered something remarkable in the books I read. Something meaningful that I couldn’t describe, a new perspective, new emotions. I knew then that I had to learn to do what those writers were doing. Now that I have the chance to reach people the same way, I’m not going to squander it.

I guess this is all a prelude to a warning. I’m working on a lot of projects. Many of these tie together in this epic master plan of mine, the thirty-six-(or more)-book cycle that will be the Cosmere. Even those books that aren’t part of the Cosmere are here to challenge me in some way, to push me and my stories, to explore concepts that have fascinated me for years.

These last ten years have been incredible. I thank you, and I thank God, for this crazy opportunity I’ve been given. I don’t intend to slow down.

I’m not embarrassed to be “the adult.” Even if I’ve only just hit the right age for it officially.

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.

Big List of Things I’m Working On

Now, let’s get to it. Each year around this time, I take stock of my many projects. You can read last year’s post here, to compare and see how things have been progressing. (And to see how well I did in my plans for 2015.)

Thank you in advance for continuing to give me the freedom I feel I need to jump between different worlds. While I know it’s frustrating sometimes that I’m not working on your world, the greater plans I have for all this require me to approach things in a certain way. Both for my health as a writer, and to bring about some large-scale awesomeness.

I’m going to go down the list of projects I’m working on, starting with what I consider my “main” projects. These are getting the focus of my time right now. From there, I’ll move on to things that I’m still toying with doing sometime soon.

Then it gets a little more speculative.

Enjoy!

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

The Reckoners

The last book of the trilogy is complete, revised, and turned in. It’s coming out in February, and is—indeed—the ending.

I have not closed the door on doing more in the world, but it will not be for a while. If I do return, it will be like a Mistborn return, where the focus of the books shifts in some way and I create a new series. I like leaving endings as endings, even if the world and some of the characters do progress.

I’m extremely pleased with the last book. I look forward to having you all read it, and I am grateful to you all for supporting this series. There were voices that told me something outside the Cosmere would never sell as well as something inside—but this series is neck-and-neck in popularity with Stormlight and Mistborn. It’s a relief, and very gratifying, to see that people are willing to follow me on different kinds of journeys.

Status: Completed!

Mistborn

And speaking of Mistborn, how is Scadrial doing? My current plan is still to have the Mistborn books stretch throughout my career, establishing stories in different eras of time with different sets of characters.

The original pitch was for three trilogies. The Wax and Wayne books expanded this to four series. (You can imagine Wax and Wayne as series 1.5, if you want.) This means there will still be a contemporary trilogy, and a science fiction trilogy, in the future.

I have one more book to do in the Wax and Wayne series, and I’m planning to write it sometime between Stormlight books three and four. Until then, Wax and Wayne three—The Bands of Mourning—comes out in January!

Status: Era 1.5 book three done; book four coming soonish

Secondary Book Projects Elantris

I do still intend Elantris sequels. (And the enthusiasm for the leatherbound edition proves that people are still interested in the world.) Right now, I have them scheduled to be slotted in once Wax and Wayne is done. We’ll take a break from Scadrial at that point, go back to Sel and do some Elantris books, then hop back to the 1980s era Mistborn series.

This slots an Elantris sequel into the spot between Stormlight books 4 & 5. It is coming, just more slowly than I’d once hoped.

Status: Delayed, but coming before too long

The Rithmatist

Book two of The Rithmatist (called The Aztlanian) is another thing on my schedule that I need to get to soon. If you didn’t read last year’s update on the book, I tried writing this—and found I didn’t have a strong enough grasp on the historical period and culture to do it justice. So I stopped and did a bunch of research, but by the time I finished, I needed to be back to work on my main projects.

Therefore, I’ve slotted this in after Stormlight 3 as well. Hopefully it won’t get pushed back again. Usually I try to do about equal in pages to a Stormlight book between Stormlight books. That gives me room for three smaller books. Right now plans are for these three books to be The Lost Metal (Wax and Wayne 4), The Atzlanian, and a new project. (See below.)

Status: Delayed, but maybe coming soon

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians

Here’s another one we’ve been able to clear off my list. With Tor republishing the first four books of this series throughout the spring next year (starting in February), I am at last able to get the fifth book (and the final one Alcatraz will write) out to you fans.

The new art for these editions has me very excited. For once I think we have covers that indicate to readers the tone of the books. Book Five should be out in the summer, though I believe Tor is scheduling it for August instead of June. It is written, and I’m doing final edits on it right now. (In the evenings after I feel I’ve hit my wordcount goal for Stormlight.)

If you haven’t read these books, give them a browse once they come out again in the spring. They’re very fun, but very different from my other books. They’re insane, fourth-wall-breaking comedies, so they’re certainly not for everyone. They have been an excellent way for me to blow off steam and refresh myself between longer, more ponderous books.

Status: Book Five Completed!

White Sand

For those who don’t know, this is a book I wrote around the same time as Elantris—but which I didn’t ever sell. Once I was published, I considered releasing it, but felt it needed a solid revision before I could do so.

Well, that revision was delayed time and time again, until the point where I decided I probably would need to just rewrite the book from scratch if I ever did release it. An interesting opportunity came along a few years later, however, and that changed my perspective. You see, the comic book company Dynamite Entertainment had come asking if I had anything, perhaps an unpublished novel, that would make a good graphic novel.

This seemed the perfect opportunity to make use of White Sand. I didn’t have time to do revisions, but another writer could take my words and adapt them (really, what the book needed was a trim anyway) into a graphic edition. We said yes, and started into the process.

I’ve said before, Dynamite has been excellent to work with. Rik Hoskin, the person hired to do the adaptation, is a fantastic writer—and he really managed to preserve the core of my story, using my own dialogue and descriptions, while cutting out all the chaff. The artist Julius Gopez, the colorist Ross Campbell, the letterer Marshall Dillon, and the editor Rich Young have all done a fabulous great job.

The novel is big (no surprise), so it’s going to be released as three graphic novels. The first of these is almost ready, and we’re expecting a release sometime next year.

Tertiary Book Projects

Now we move on to some of the projects that are itching at me, and I do intend to do someday—but which are delayed indefinitely until I figure out the right time to do them.

Warbreaker

While some characters from Nalthis have made appearances in other books, I still don’t have a specific timeframe for when I’ll go back and write the second Warbreaker book. (Titled Nightblood for the time being.)

I know a lot of people really want this book, and I intend to do it, but I have to find time for the Elantris sequels first. So you’re unlikely to see it until Elantris is finished. (Sorry.)

Status: On Hiatus

Legion

I owe people another (and final) Legion novella, and I plan to do this as well. Novellas aren’t as big a commitment as novels, obviously—that’s part of why I do them. But I don’t know when I’ll squeeze this in, with all the things I’m doing right now. It could happen literally at any time—but I don’t expect it in 2017, to be honest.

Status: On Short Hiatus

Cosmere Short Fiction Collection

For a while I’ve been thinking that I need to collect all the various pieces of Cosmere short fiction and put them into a single collection, for those who don’t like hunting around for them.

This might be the year to do that. If Stormlight doesn’t make it into 2016, we might be able to get a collection (with a Stormlight novella) out by the end of the year instead. Something to tide you over, at least, until book three comes out.

If we do this, my goal will be to have it include every piece of short fiction from every source up until now and bind it together in a handsome hardcover that will look nice on the shelf next to your other books.

This will give you multiple options for the short fiction, if you want to collect it. We will continue to do our little two-novella collections (like the Perfect State and Shadows for Silence double that we just released.) So if you’d prefer to collect those in the smaller size, I anticipate everything eventually being released in that format too. However, if you’d like one thick tome, every ten years or so you should see a bigger collection.

More on this as it develops. Right now I’m toying with the title Arcanum Unbound, and would love to include a star chart of all the cosmere worlds in it.

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

Adamant

Some of you have heard readings from, or seen excerpts of, this epic science fiction series that I’ve been working on. I finished one novella in the world, and am pleased with it, but I have no immediate plans for writing the rest. Perhaps I’ll feel different once Stormlight is done and I’m satisfied with it. (It’s always possible I’ll need a break between projects where I can do something very different.) We shall see. I have no plans to release this in 2016.

Status: On Hiatus

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.

Status: No Projected Start Date

Death by Pizza

I had a nice breakthrough on this book recently, making the main character far more interesting. (For those who don’t know, this is about a necromancer who owns a pizza joint.) However, this remains a very out-of-left-field project for me, and something I did mostly for fun. (I have a nearly complete draft of the entire book.)

I don’t anticipate doing this anytime soon, though I did briefly consider it as an alternative to the new YA series listed above. It’s still just too strange for me to want to do right now. Perhaps eventually.

Status: On Hiatus

Dragonsteel/Liar of Partinel

This is Hoid’s origin story, a prequel to the entire Cosmere. The time is not right. It’s going to happen eventually, but I feel that I shouldn’t dig into this until Stormlight is completely done. (All ten books.) So don’t hold your breath on this one.

Status: Loooong way off

Silence Divine

This story (which is the one about a world where catching a disease grants you magical talents) is another perennial State of the Sanderson participant.

I did some work on a short story in this world a while back, and liked it, but didn’t have time to finish. (This is the thing I did readings from during the Words of Radiance tour, I believe.) It’s set in the cosmere, and I have plans to someday write this—but I’m not sure when I’ll do it. Could be a long way off still.

Status: On Hiatus

Soulburner

This is an outline I developed last year during a lull—a kind of space-opera-fantasy-hybrid like Dune or Star Wars. The setting is awesome, one of my favorites. Very distinctive.

I don’t have a story for it yet though. I’m just putting it on here so that you know that wacky things are still bouncing around in my head, looking for a way out. It’s not something I’m going to release anytime soon, but if I ever do, you can point here and say, “Hey, I saw this first!”

Status: No Projected Start Date

Aether of Night

Another of the books I wrote around the time of Elantris, and another one that’s not half bad—but still in need of a solid revision.

I’ll likely do something with it someday. In the meantime, if you want to read it, you can send us an email to ask for a copy. (Consider it a thank you for getting this far in this huge post.) I’d ask that you’d consider signing up for my mailing list when you do email me, as that’s how I get the word out on when I’m doing signings and when I have cool new things to release. But that’s not required in order to get the book.

Projected Novel Release Schedule

There’s a good chance I won’t hold to this, but just so you know, here’s how I view my upcoming novel release schedule (not including any novellas or short stories that may or may not appear during moments when I need to do something new):

January 2016: Wax and Wayne 3 February 2016: Reckoners 3 (final book) June 2016: Alcatraz 5 Sometime 2017: Stormlight 3 Sometime 2017: Rithmatist 2 Spring 2018: New YA project 1 Fall 2018: Wax and Wayne 4 (final book) Sometime 2019: Stormlight 4 Sometime 2019: New YA project 2 Sometime 2020: Elantris 2 Sometime 2020 New YA project 3 (final book) Sometime 2021: Stormlight 5 (ending of first arc) Sometime 2022: Elantris 3 (final book)

Conclusion

Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you that the list was big.

It’s been quite the year. Lots of travel, lots of meeting people and signing books. My tenth year doing this. I’ve spent the last decade kind of looking at myself as one of the new kids in the fantasy market, but I suppose it’s time to admit that I’ve become—albeit not a member of the old guard—one of the genre’s more established names.

As always, you make this possible. Here’s looking to another excellent year. Merry Christmas, and a Happy Koloss Head-Munching Day, to you all.

Brandon Sanderson December 2015

A Memory of Light Raleigh Signing ()
#32 Share

Questioner (paraphrased)

I’ve been fortunate enough to read White Sand and Aether of Night and I enjoyed them very much. Will they ever be published? I also managed to read Dragonsteel and I enjoyed that too.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

White Sand will definitely eventually be published. Aether of Night, not so sure on, because Aether is two halves of two books that didn't fit together. The two pieces didn't mesh. White Sand is part of the sequence and will be done. Dragonsteel is part of the sequence and will be done, but it will be very different now that the Shattered Plains have been used in Way of Kings.

Firefight release party ()
#34 Share

Questioner

I have a copy of your Dragonsteel master thesis, I haven't read it though.  And I was wondering, how you've grown as an author, do you like people to read that or would you rather they wait until you do the better version?

Brandon Sanderson

I-- I'm-- That one I don't really like people reading that much because it has an inferior version of Bridge Four that I don't want people to meet. Does that make sense? Like the Bridge Four team--

Questioner

...And when you re-write it it will be better?

Brandon Sanderson

Well Bridge Four won't even be in that book anymore I moved them to Roshar. So you go back and you find the version of Rock that is not quite the right version and you'll find-- Teft is basically the same dude but a lot of the other ones have changed and morphed and they basically won't feel right anymore, if that makes any sense. Feel free to read it, don't feel bad reading it but that's the part that I'm not--

Questioner

Is that the only part you are worried about? And the rest you are like "It's not my best writing" but--

Brandon Sanderson

The rest is not my best writing but whatever. But the Bridge Four stuff, I'm like I did it so much better that it's not even going back and seeing it in rough sketches, it's like if da Vinci had painted a Mona Lisa that was ugly and a different person? You don't want it cemented in their mind that that is what the piece of art is. The rest of it I don't mind so much, I mean the main character his conflict will change dramatically because I pulled that out and gave it to another character in the books. So basically the only thing remaining that is still going to be canon is Hoid and his story, the story what's going with him there is still stuff he would have done...

TWG Posts ()
#35 Share

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it's looking like my next series--after Warbreaker, which is looking like it will be a two-book cycle--will be set in the Dragonsteel world. I'm revamping the setting significantly, mashing it together with Aether of Night, which always had a cool magic system but a weaker plot.

I have some sample chapters done, actually. Dragonsteel is now the series name, and the first book will be titled "The Liar of Partinel." (Probably.) The book you all read (now tentatively titled "The Eternal War") will be the third or fourth book in the series, and we will wait that long to introduce Jerick, Ryalla, and Bat'Chor. "Liar" will take place some five hundred years before "The Eternal War."

Brandon Sanderson

The following is a complete Brandon Sanderson Bibliography, published and unpublished.  Prime indicates an early attempt at a book which was later redone.  (Note that when I redo a book like this, it isn't a 'rewrite.'  Generally, it's me taking some elements from the setting and writing a whole new book in that setting, using old ideas and mixing them with fresh ones.)  Published books are in bold.

1) White Sand Prime (My first book, took two + years to write.  1998)

2) Star's End (Science fiction.  1998)

3) Lord Mastrell (Sequel to White Sand Prime.  1999)

4) Knight Life (Fantasy comedy.  1999)

5) The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora (Science fiction.  1999)

6) Elantris (2000.  Published by Tor: 2005)

7) Dragonsteel (2000)

8 ) White Sand (2001)

9) Mythwalker (Never finished. 2001)

10) Mistborn Prime (Stole the magic system and title for a later book.  2002)

11) Final Empire Prime (Stole a character, some setting elements, and title for a later book.  2002)

12) The Aether of Night (2002)

13) The Way of Kings (350,000 words.  Took a long time.  2003)

14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (2004, Published by Tor 2006)

15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (2005.  Contracted to Tor for 2006)

16) Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians (2005.  Contracted to Scholastic for 2006)

17) Mistborn: The Hero of Ages (2006.  Contracted to Tor for 2007)

18) Warbreaker (2006.  Tentatively to be released by Tor for 2007)

19) Alcatraz vs. The Scrivener's Bones (2006.  Contracted by Scholastic for 2008)

20) Dragonsteel: The Liar of Partinel (Unfinished.  2007?)

21) Alcatraz vs. The Knights of Crystallia (Planned.  2007  Contracted by Scholastic for 2009)

22) Nightblood (Planned.  2008)

23) Dragonsteel: The Lightweaver of Rens (Planned. 2008)

24) Alcatraz vs. The Dark Talent (Planned.  2008.  Contracted for Scholastic for 2010)

I'm not sure if I got all of those dates right, but the order is correct.  I'm finished with all the books up to Dragonsteel, though Mistborn 3, Warbreaker, and Alcatraz 2 are all only in the third draft stage.

Brandon Sanderson

You DON'T have to have read the other Dragonsteel to understand this. The other Dragonsteel will never be published. Some of the plots and characters in it, however, will eventually become book three of this series. Not because I'm doing a 'Dragonlance' type thing, but because when I sat down to work on this project, I realized that I'd rather start back in time a few hundred years. In other words, I'm writing the prequels first, if that's possible.

Brandon Sanderson

In worldbuilding this, I realized that I missed a big opportunity in Dragonsteel Prime by not dealing with fainlife all that much. It was a powerful world element that got mostly ignored. By writing a book here, where I can slam a city in to the middle of the fain assault--before people learned really how to keep the alien landscape back--I think I'll be able to focus more on the setting.

One thing that always bothered me about Dragonsteel Prime is that it felt rather generic for me. I like more distinctive settings, with more distinctive magics. Yet, Dragonsteel Prime had a fairly standard fantasy world (though one set in the bronze age) with magic that didn't really get used all that much in the first book. The idea here is to add the Aether magic in, which is a 'day-to-day' magic, and to enhance the originality of the setting by using fainlife more. Microkenisis, Realmatic Theory, Cognitive Ripples and Tzai Blows, and all of that will STILL be part of this world. I've simply folded the Aethers in as well, and hopefully I can make it all feel cohesive.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#38 Share

Questioner

You like dragons very much, right?

Brandon Sanderson

I do like dragons very much.

Questioner

Well then you don't have dragons in any of your books.

Brandon Sanderson

One of my books has dragons. It's the one I wrote but didn't get published and will eventually re-publish, called Dragonsteel. So one of the very first I wrote had dragons, but I don't want to do dragons in every book. So I'm waiting for the book that it is right for.

Questioner

Hmm.

Brandon Sanderson

Good question.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#39 Share

_0_-o--__-0O_--oO0__

You’ve been known to say that the fantasy genre is the best genre because you can do anything another genre can do and you can have dragons. And yet, we haven’t had a dragon from you yet. Well we see a Sanderson Dragon anytime before Dragonsteel? I’m assuming Dragonsteel has dragons?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I smile inwardly as I say that, because I know that--indeed--I don't use a lot of dragons. I do like reading about them, but I haven't found myself eager to put them into my works. I think it's because I've read so many excellent dragon books, I figure, that area of fantasy is being covered by others--and I should try different things.

That said, Dragonsteel has dragons, and so you will eventually see them there. I don't know that I'll do them before.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#40 Share

havoc_mayhem

You've once said that there were three sentient species on Yolen: Human, Dragon and [Sho Del]. We've seen a lot of 'people' on the different planets that were either descended from or intentionally based on humans. Frost is known to be a dragon.

Are any of the non-human species we've seen descended from or based on either Dragons or [Sho Del]?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO! :)

havoc_mayhem

What colour is Frost's blood? What color is a [Sho Del]'s blood?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, more because I'm not ready to canonize Dragonsteel facts yet, as opposed because it will be a huge revelation.

Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
#42 Share

Questioner

When are we going to get Hoid’s book?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid has 6 books, they are the 3 books of Dragonsteel, which are prequels and the last Mistborn trilogy of the nine book arc will have him as a main character. I won't say they're "his" books, but he is one of the primary protagonists.

Questioner

You think about five books into [The Stormlight Archive], or after this series?

Brandon Sanderson

After this series, the middle Mistborn books will happen in-between.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#44 Share

Blightsong

Are sandlings from white sand an early concept for crustaceans on Roshar, with greatshells being a parallel to deep sandlings?

Brandon Sanderson

No, um, the idea for white sand came first, and it was more that I was exploring divergent ecology, but I've been doing that in Dragonsteel and in White Sand and in here with Roshar. I would say that the fact that white sand hadn't been published meant that I could do something's that were similar without worrying about repeating myself, but it's not like I used them specifically as models.

Blightsong

*jokingly* So are we going to get to see little dragons running around in Dragonsteel?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, well, in Dragonsteel the dragons are sapient, so when I write Dragonsteel I will put dragons in there, but the dragons are intelligent and uh, can take human form, but there are actual little dragons.

Blightsong

Wait, they can take human form?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes, yup.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#45 Share

CatGrylls

Have you written/will you write something equivalent to the Silmarillion for the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not impossible, but I'm not planning on it currently. There WILL be a prequel series, dealing with the events leading to the shattering of Adonalsium, but will focus mostly on Hoid and not really be equivalent.

baytepp92

Is that planned to be completed/released after the main overall Cosmere story is completed? Or will it lead up to the finale of the main Cosmere stories?

Peter Ahlstrom

It will lead up to the finale.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#46 Share

Questioner

This cosmere that you have is gigantic, enormous, and wonderful, by the way. But, it's one of those things... how long has that been kicking around in your head before you started putting it down on paper?

Brandon Sanderson

For those who aren't aware, and might just be here having read the Reckoners, all of my epic fantasy books are connected. But they're all connected through little cameos. And I did this before Marvel movies, let's just point that out! They're copying me, I'm sure. I'm sticking to that. But there's little cameos for the various things because there's a story behind the story. I started doing this because I knew, in my career, I was going to have to... just the way I am, I need to jump between worlds to keep myself really interested. But I also like big epics. So it's me trying to have my cake and eat it, too, right? Lots of little things, but a hidden big epic. Right now it's all cameos, you don't have to worry about it, it's never really relevant to the story. Each story is self-contained. And then, if you want more, you can dig into it, and... it goes pretty deep. The guy who bought the Emperor's Soul movie rights was like, "Oh, I hear that this is connected," so he went and started reading. And, like, a few months later, he called us and said, "Uhhh, I just read the whole Cosmere. Uhhh, my brain is breaking." So, you can jump down a rabbit hole with the Cosmere if you want.

So, how long has this been kicking around? I can trace it back to a couple of events in my youth, as a budding writer. First one was, I've talked about this idea that you're the director of the book when you read it. When I was a kid, what I would always do is, I would want to have some sort of... it's hard to explain. I wanted some control over the story, even though it was a book I was reading, I wanted to participate, and so I would always insert a character behind the scenes. Like, in the Anne McCaffrey books, when there's somebody who's a nobody, I'm like, "Actually, this is some secret agent type character," and things like this. And I would always insert these characters into the books. But I would even be like, "Oh, this is the character from this other book, that I'm now reading." I would have my own headcanon, is what you call it, that would be parallel to the book canon, with this story behind the story happening. I also remember really being blown away when Isaac Asimov tied the Robot books and the Foundation books together, and thinking that was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen. Where I'd loved these two book series, and the conclusion to them is interwoven, and at the end of the Foundation books you kind of get a conclusion for the Robot sequence as well. That kind of blew my brain, and I'm like, "I need to do this."

So that's the origin, and that's kind of really the origin of Hoid. He's in the first book that I started writing, in very proto-form. He's kind of the same character who had been hanging out in Anne McCaffrey's books and other people's books as I'd read them. And that was it for a while, until I became a better writer, and then started actually building an epic. So, it's been around for a while. I would say the actual origin of the Cosmere was when I wrote Elantris, and then jumped back and wrote the book called Dragonsteel, which was this next book that I wrote after that, which was the origin of the Cosmere, kind of the prequel to all of it. And then I went and wrote White Sand. And those three together were my beginning. Only Elantris, of them, got published so far, although White Sand does have the graphic novel.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
#47 Share

Questioner

When you were saying you took all the best parts out of Dragonsteel - so you took characters, and you took Bridge Four, - but you said we'll probably see Dragonsteel at some point, what... If you said you've already taken what you think are the best parts of it...

Brandon Sanderson

I will probably be moving stuff that was in the second and third book to a [new] first book and writing that one instead.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
#48 Share

sandersonfan

I've read that you were thinking of 32-36 books total for the Cosmere, but it seems like the series are going to go beyond that if numbers you've given before are published (e.g. Mistborn being a trilogy of trilogies so 9, Stormlight Archive 10, Warbreaker 2, Dragonsteel 6 or 7, and still White Sand and others to come) so has the estimate of 32 been thrown out the window?

Brandon Sanderson

Eh...I don't know. My original breakdown:

Mistborn 9 Wabreaker 2 Elantris 3 White Sand 3 Stormlight 10 Silence Divine 1 Dragonsteel 7 (A two book and a five book.)

That's the 32, with allowances for a few side stories to get us to 36. There are planets not included in that, however, that I may write stories about. So maybe. But the core cycle is this (in order)

Dragonsteel Mistborn first trilogy Stormlight - Mistborn second trilogy (around the same time.) Mistborn third trilogy.

Everything else is important in their own stories, but as we're talking about the connections between the worlds are considered, this is the prime cosmere cycle.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#49 Share

Questioner

The Division Surge: does it actually split atoms or does it split the bonds of molecules?

Brandon Sanderson

It splits the bonds of molecules, it does not split atoms.

Questioner

That would be completely overpowered.

Brandon Sanderson

I have done an atom splitting magic originally in Dragonsteel. And wooow it was overpowered. So really, this is fiddling... You'll see what it does when I use it, but we'll not be splitting atoms. We're not creating nuclear reactio... or fission, so.