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Ad Astra 2017 ()
#1 Share

Brandon Sanderson

Somebody asked me if there's any Lovecraftian influences in my books, because I do enjoy Lovecraft. And so I thought, "Well this would be a good interlude to read," for that reason.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#6 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

From a certain series of books about a prison, by this one author, we learn that authors love to torture their audience. How many nights did you stay up giggling and cackling to yourself with glee over all of the things that happen in Oathbringer?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

This is why I'm an insomniac, right? You're all gonna be miserable. A little fun thing here, when the book was going along, I thought "Maybe I should cut it after Part 3." I gave it to Karen, who's my continuity editor, and she said "If you cut it here, I will strangle you. The fans will not get a chance to do it, because I will do it."

Stormlight Three Update #8 ()
#13 Share

rsjac

Iirc he wrote all the Szeth and Dalinar flashbacks to see which set would fit better in Oathbringer, then settled on Dalinar

Peter Ahlstrom

This didn't actually happen. He was planning to do that, but the Dalinar chapters were just too good, and while he wrote them the way the book fit together became organized in his mind.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#14 Share

Questioner

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

Brandon Sanderson

You would…

Questioner

Probably end up with nothing?

Brandon Sanderson

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

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#16 Share

Brandon Sanderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then, revisions. My favorite part. Yay.

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

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

Figment chat ()
#18 Share

Michael

Have you decided whether it'll be Dalinar, Szeth, or Eshonai as the focus of Stormlight 3?

Brandon Sanderson

Nope, I’m writing Calamity right now, and when I’m done, and I’m, the first thing I will do is go to Stormlight 3, and I’ll start writing on the flashback sequences for all three and decide which one matches the best.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#19 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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

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

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

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

Questioner

So, you mentioned, at the beginning of Words of Radiance, that you were originally planning on making it shorter than The Way of Kings. How long is Oathbringer going to be?

Brandon Sanderson

Oathbringer is plotted at the same length as Words of Radiance. Isaac has seen my outline, and Peter has seen my outline, and they're like... *beat* "Okay. Um, all right." So, we'll see. Like the other ones, it can't really be cut. That's the big problem with these Stormlight books, because the way I plot them, the ending is so important to justifying the fact that you've spent a lot of this time building with some of these books. A lot of my books, they're zippy, but these, you invest a lot of time knowing there's gonna be payoff, and so, it's like, if I cut the last third and make it into a book, you've got a book with no payoff, and a book with only payoff, and that just doesn't work.

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
#21 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Oathbringer one's, like, 30 pages.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#23 Share

Brandon Sanderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brandon

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#25 Share

Argent

Are the glyphs on The Way of Kings front sheet the Alethi glyphs for the Radiant orders and the Surges? If so, can you tell us the name (i.e. the pronunciation) of the Windrunners glyph? Or, if you don't have this one, maybe another one?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I'll see if we can get all of the pronunciations into the appendix of the third book.

Stormlight Three Update #1 ()
#26 Share

Brandon Sanderson

Hello, Reddit.

As someone else has posted, I have finished the rough draft of Dalinar's flashbacks for Stormlight Three. I consider the experiment of writing his flashbacks for this book, instead of waiting for book five, to be a success. Therefore, I'm proceeding with the Dalinar/Szeth flip.

The reasoning for this is something I can't discuss in detail until the book is released. I'd be happy to revisit this topic once you all have a chance to read the novel. But for now, a few statistics.

I'm working at about 2,000 words a day on average. That's slow for me (a better rate is around 3,000 words) but Stormlight is difficult to write. The complexity of the worldbuilding and the narrative structure require extra attention and detail. At this rate, though, I should be finishing the book sometime between December and February. We'll see--I have a tour for the new Mistborn book, as well as several weeks in the UK, coming up. They'll impact my ability to write.

I'm doing a revision on these Dalinar scenes right now, and I'm very pleased with them. At fifteen chapters and 55k (rough draft) they're significantly longer than the other two sequences--I had a lot more to cover in them. I still anticipate the finished novel being about the length of the other two; Dalinar's flashbacks will simply eat a little into his other narrative. Also, expect the wordcount to shrink as I do revisions.

Next step is digging into Part One. I anticipate this book moving well in the coming months; my outline is solid, my enthusiasm high, and I will finally get to write some scenes I've been planning for over a decade now.

Thank you for putting up with the delayed pace of Stormlight releases. I know you all think I'm freakishly fast, but the truth is that even if I can get this book in on time, it will be two and half years between Stormlight releases. I've accepted that this is just how my process has to work. The difference between me and other writers (ones I wish readers would disparage less) doesn't seem to be one of actual speed. It's just that the thing that relaxes me for the next book happens to be writing side projects that, hopefully, you all enjoy reading.

Edit: As a bonus, here's the first line from the first flashback: "Rockbuds crunched like skulls beneath Dalinar’s boots as he charged across the burning field."

Sofia signing ()
#27 Share

Questioner

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

Brandon Sanderson

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

Questioner

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

Brandon Sanderson

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

Questioner

And then we get to visit them too. 

Brandon Sanderson

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

Questioner

So now we know, when you think about--

Brandon Sanderson

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

Stormlight Three Update #8 ()
#30 Share

Brandon Sanderson

This might be our final Oathbringer update--as today, I finished the fifth and final draft of the book, and am ready to send it off to Tor. From here, the book is in /u/peterahlstrom's hands as he handles the copyedits, the gamma read, and the proofreads. It's possible I'll make a few small tweaks to the text, but the book is mainly his burden now.

I'm extremely pleased with the final draft, which I managed to cut to 450k words. That meant trimming about 64k off of it--roughly 12.5%. These are mostly line edits, with only a few small scenes being cut out. I improved pacing, and even added a few small sections to smooth out certain plot lines.

Fans tend to hate the idea of cutting--but trust me, this version reads far better. I did make sure to keep anything substantive I cut so you can see it later as deleted scenes.

We're still planning a November 14th release in the US. (I think UK releases on Thursdays instead of Tuesdays, so it would be a few days later over there.) Simultaneous audio and--if we can swing it--simultaneous Spanish.

For now, I'm at Supanova in Sydney and Perth--which unfortunately means I won't be monitoring these comments (or my direct messages.) Be forewarned, you might not get a reply to questions posted here. (I will try to do a proper AMA about the book once it's out.)

My next project will be The Apocalypse Guard, a book with loose connections to the Reckoners. I'm chomping at the bit to do some actual writing again, as I've been working on revisions of Oathbringer nonstop for almost exactly six months now. I think the last time I wrote anything non-Stormlight was Snapshot, fourteen months ago. Whew!

By the files in my folders, the first chapter I wrote for Stormlight Thee was started on June 24, 2014. The last scene I added was written today, in my hotel in Sydney. The bulk of the writing happened June 2015-December 2016, with revisions lasting until just now.

It clocks in at 122 chapters, with 14 interludes, plus a prologue, epilogue, and ketek.

Looking forward to you all being able to read it, come November. Thanks, as always, for your support--and your patience.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
#34 Share

Blightsong

Without saying too much, what do you think you have improved on in this novel in comparison to the previous two Stormlight books so far?

Brandon Sanderson

Hard to say until I have it done. Mostly, at this point, I just want to make sure it's as good as the other two. Though, I do think this book can finally start to really dig into some of the big questions and issues confronting life on Roshar, which is new.

Firefight Houston signing ()
#35 Share

Questioner

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

Brandon Sanderson

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

Holiday signing ()
#37 Share

Questioner

Why isn’t the next book about Szeth?  He’s my favorite character and he only had /four/ chapters in the first book.

Brandon Sanderson

I know. Szeth-- The next book's not about Szeth because I didn't feel his backstory matched what was going on with this book well enough. I felt it matched Dalinar's.

Questioner 2

Is Szeth in the third book?

Brandon Sanderson

Szeth will appear in the third book yes.

Questioners

Yes!

Questioner 1

More than the other ones I hope?

Questioner 3

Does the sword corrupt him?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll have to see. *laughter* Where you're really going to get a lot of Szeth is Book 5. But you will see.

Stormlight Three Update #8 ()
#38 Share

hisagishi

Just wondering what color the book is and what are the glyphs on it for the hardcover version? (book one and two are blue and red and have the glyphs for justice and something else IIRC)

Brandon Sanderson

This is the Bondsmith book, so the color (yellow) and glyph should match that. (Theoretically.)

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
#39 Share

Brandon Sanderson

I've been plugging away on the book, slowly but surely. Part Two went longer than I wanted. (Big surprise.) I finished it last week, though, and the full book current wordcount is at 247k. (400k is the goal. Note that of that 247, some 20k or so is for Parts Three and Four, as I wrote the flashback sequences for Dalinar all straight through.)

I wanted to be further by the arrival of July, but was slowed down by two things. First, touring in February and March. Writing while on tour is killer, and I tend to be very slow during high-travel times. After that, I spent most of May writing Edgedancer, the Stormlight novella that is going in the Cosmere Collection this fall. (I consider it an apology for not having Stormlight Three out this year.)

Everything is still looking good for an Oathbringer release next year. I don't have any major touring until I go to Europe in October/November, and there are no other projects like Edgedancer on my plate. So at my current rate of 10k a week, without any interruptions planned, I should be finishing up right around the middle of October.

Part Two turned out well, though it's a slower, more lore-and-character focused section. (It includes some viewpoint chapters I think you'll find unexpected and interesting, though it has less action than other sections of Stormlight.)

If you look at the visual outline from the second update, I've finished everything for Part Two. My next task is to do a quick revision of Edgedancer to be turned in this week, and then do a revision of Part Two. I'm doing an unusual thing (for me) in revising each part after I finish it, then sending it to my team for continuity and editing. We discovered that a big slow-down in getting Word of Radiance ready was me waiting for the team to get back with increasingly-complex and detailed continuity notations.

This means when I finish the first draft of this book, it will actually be the second draft, which will speed up revisions a ton. (I should be able to move right into them, and do the third draft right away.)

The biggest challenge for the book will be making sure I don't go TOO long, as (like other Stormlight books) it's important to me that the book be read as a single volume, instead of as separate books published in a split-up way. (I can't prevent this in some markets, though.)

As always, thanks for reading.

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
#40 Share

Brandon Sanderson

My Year

January–June: Oathbringer Revisions

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

June–Mid September: The Apocalypse Guard

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

September–October: Legion 3

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

October–November: Skyward

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

November–December: Oathbringer Tour

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

December so far: Skyward

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

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#41 Share

liftfan

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

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

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

Brandon Sanderson

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

Oathbringer Leeds signing ()
#42 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What's the character on [the UK Oathbringer cover]?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is Jasnah. I think. I am almost 100% sure.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I wasn't sure. There's a bunch, there's a few different characters that could all fit, so I wasn't certain.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I sent the same description of the scene near the end with the wall to both artists and that's basically what they came up with.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
#43 Share

Darkness (paraphrased)

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

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

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

Darkness (paraphrased)

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

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

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

Darkness (paraphrased)

Good! I like Sigzil.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#44 Share

Relevant-Quoter

Can you tell us who the main interlude character is for this book? Like Szeth for TWoK and Eshonai for WoR.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

havoc_mayhem

We know that the recurring interlude character is typically one who plays an important role in events, but is currently not interacting directly with the other characters. My guess is that it's Jasnah this time, as she slowly makes her way back to civilization, or explores Shadesmar.

Brandon Sanderson

You are correct in that it's someone important, but generally unconnected. It's also, generally, going to be someone who hasn't had a large number of viewpoints so far. It does give a spoiler if I say who it is for this book, though.

Argent

Because it's someone we believe to be dead / somewhere else / something along those lines? Kind of like giving away the protagonist of Secret History is a spoiler in and of itself?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not as big a spoiler as that; it will just set you wondering about something else that IS a spoiler. This will make sense when the book is out. (Feel free to ask my rationale when it's out.)

havoc_mayhem

Is it Tezim, the god-priest of the Tukari? I'd love to see an interlude focused on him. There have been many hints that there is something really unusual happening there.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. :)

General Reddit 2017 ()
#45 Share

fortunefavorsthecold

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

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Words of Radiance was spring 2014, incredibly.

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

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

DragonCon 2016 ()
#47 Share

Jennifer Liang

Okay, so I think the question everybody wants to ask you all the time is, what are you working on right now?

Brandon Sanderson

What am I working on right now. Well--

Crowd

*assorted cheers of Stormlight and other title*

Jennifer Liang

This isn't a vote. *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I think they say that because they all know-- they watch the progress bars on the website. Which I actually put there early in my career, before I was-- As Dan, my friend Dan, Dan Wells-- he says "You used to be Brandon Sanderson. Now you're BRANDON SANDERSON." So before I was BRANDON SANDERSON I put those bars on the website because I was a Wheel of Time fan. And it helps so much to know how far along a book is, if you're waiting for it. I know not all authors work that way, so don't go harass other authors who do that. Some-- I have some friends who, y'know, if they-- The more they talk about the book to people, the harder it is for them to write. And so they get very closemouthed and quiet. And I am not that way, I am a very open person, so posting that up there gives me some kind of accountability in some ways. Like, alright the fans get to know what's going on--

So I'm working on the third Stormlight book. *cheers and applause* That is currently 330 thousand words long. *cheers* Which, for comparison, the original Way of Kings was around 300 thousand and Words of Radiance was around 400. And so-- And it's only three-quarters the way done... *laughter* So I've prepared the publisher that they have to go through this again. Maybe I'll be able to get the future books in the series a little shorter. But this one is going to be a big one. Which I know you guys are so sad about. *laughter* I anticipate it being published about one year after I hit 100% on the first draft. So if you watch that progress bar, right when that ticks to 100, you're looking at about a one year period. I've been doing really well, momentum's being really good lately. And so I'm expecting that to be October, but just watch as that goes. It will slowly tick up. It's not ticking up right now because I'm actually doing revisions for Part 3 of the book. Which I'm doing the revisions as I write the book this time to get my editior-- Who's bipolar-- I give him the cha- parts when he's manic, so he revises them, and that let's us get through the periods where he's not manic. And he's manic right now, so I'm going to send him a part and be like "Okay Moshe, time to work on this." You just have to learn how to work the business this way when you've got an editor like Moshe. Book's going really well. This will have, most likely, Dalinar's flashback sequence in it, and I will be reading one of those at my reading tomorrow. *cheers*

Which I like to read from those, because they take place before the first book so it's not a huge spoiler for people who haven't finished, like, Words of Radiance, or anything like that yet. Because it takes place before the series, but they're also very self-contained sequences. They read very well.

Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
#49 Share

Brandon Sanderson

Hello, reddit. I figured I'd pop back in and give you a new update on your book. (I can't believe it's been six months since the last one.)

I'll give a slight spoiler warning to everything below this paragraph. I'm obviously not going to say anything story-wise that would spoil the book. However, I'll be talking a little about the structure of it and what's going on with the draft. I can see some people, very sensitive to spoilers, being concerned about learning anything at all about the book. For you who fit this description, let me just say that I'm approaching the halfway point, but I'm not there yet. The book is going very well, and I'm pleased with it.

Now, on to a deeper discussion of the novel. The first thing I did for Stormlight 3 was work on the flashback sequences for Dalinar and Szeth, as I hadn't yet decided which one would match this book. Through this process, I decided on Dalinar--a decision contrary to my original outline from the start of the series. This didn't concern me; the decision was made based on how the series had developed, and it's always good to expect some things to change during the actual writing. (For example, much of Kaladin's plot from book two was originally slated for book three.) Being too slavish to an outline isn't ever a good thing.

This decision made, I sat down and wrote Dalinar's flashbacks in their entirety. By the end of them, I was completely convinced these were the best paring for this book. That meant, as this was "his" book, I wanted Dalinar viewpoints to show up in all five parts of Oathbringer. You see, Stormlight Books have a kind of strange format. I plot them in this bizarre fashion that likely makes sense only to me. But I'll try to explain.

I split each book into five parts, which group together to form three chunks plotted like individual volumes of a trilogy--with a large, over-arching plot that ties into the five-book arc of the initial sequence, which in turn is half of the complete ten book arc. Each volume, then, has a complete trilogy's worth of arcs and climaxes for the primary characters (Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar) while also having a self-contained flashback sequence, at least one secondary novelette about a character that hasn't had viewpoints so far, and a related short story collection. The "main character" for the book gets, beyond their flashback sequence, a role in each part of the story.

So this means a slightly larger plot for Dalinar, and a slight scaling back for Kaladin and Shallan. (Don't worry; both will be in the book around as much as Kaladin was in Words of Radiance.) Now, the plotting for Oathbringer--as I mentioned--is broken into five chunks, which combine into three chunks. (I call them books here for lack of a better word, as the novel--like each other in the series--is a trilogy bound in one volume. Don't be confused. This doesn't mean I'm splitting the book for publication, only that it is plotted in a way with divisions between the story arcs.)

"Book One" of Oathbringer is all of Part one, plus the interludes. "Book Two" is parts two and three, plus two sets of interludes. "Book Three" is parts four and five, plus interludes. Of these, part two is going to be the biggest oddball, as I'm putting another novelette (separated into six chapters) in here as I feel I need a glimpse at another character. So it's going to have the least focus on primary viewpoints.

I've finished all of the flashbacks, all of the viewpoints for part one, the novelette for part two, and part of the other novelette (the one that will take the place of Szeth from book one or Eshonai from book two.) This, so far, puts me at about 180k words written--with 130k of that being part one in its entirety, and the rest being scenes listed above.

If that sounds confusing, I apologize. These books are somewhat involved to write, and more complex stories demand some outlining that gets a little crazy. However, I did whip up a visualization of the viewpoint structure, which I've posted below.

Stormlight Three Visual Outline

This doesn't give an exact view of scale, as--for instance--part one will likely be the longest of the five. Part Two looks the most full, but it's likely to have only three or four chapters from each of the primary characters (well, one chapter from one of them) so it should actually be shorter than part one. Part Five isn't cut off; I know it will be short, as it was in the other two books.

Next up is to do a revision of part one. (I don't often do revisions in the middle of a book, but with books this long, it's helpful for me to keep the plot under control and maintain continuity through the parts.) From there, I'll write Dalinar for part two, interweave with the appropriate flashbacks and the already-finished novelette, then look at the detailed plotting of the other three viewpoints in the part. I hope to bring this part in at around 70k words, bringing the total book to 200k and getting us to roughly the halfway point.

If this makes your head spin, then don't worry, you can ignore it. It is important to me that these books, though epic in scope, retain a tight view of the primary characters through all volumes. You will see a lot of Dalinar, Kaladin, and Shallan. You will see a moderate amount of Szeth, Eshonai, Jasnah, Adolin, and Navani. There will be a few surprises regarding other characters who have slightly larger places in the plot, but in general, anyone not on one of the above lists isn't allowed more than a viewpoint here or there. (Until the second five books, where our primary characters will shuffle. So you Renarin fans will have to be patient.)

I'm determined to maintain momentum in this story without letting it veer too far away from the primary plot. I feel that a careful outline and a consistent structure are the methods by which I will achieve this.

Thanks for your patience.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How does it feel being one of the primary fantasy authors with jealousy of your peers, even those who have written longer than you, because of your efficiency and your worldbuilding? 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It feels really weird. It feels really weird. It feels really great. We just got the sales numbers in for the third book, and they're pretty crazy. 

Argent [PENDING REVIEW]

You doing OK? 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm doing okay. We tripled the second book. *crowd woos* That was already #1 on the New York Times. Now that was #1 in, like, a January or a Febuary or something like that. We don't know if we'll even beat Lee Child or not tomorrow, but it's looking pretty good. It's pretty crazy.