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State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
#3 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

My Year

This year was almost completely dominated by the writing of Oathbringer, Book Three of the Stormlight Archive. The first files I have for the book were Kaladin scenes, written in June 2014. But the book didn't really start in earnest until July 2015, when I wrote the Dalinar flashback sequence. (See State of the Sanderson 2015.) I had those done by October, but November was when I really dove into the novel.

I spent most of 2016 working on it, with only a few interruptions. It was an extremely productive year spent writing on something I'm very passionate about—but it was also a monochrome year, as I poured so much into Stormlight. There were far fewer side projects, and far fewer deviations, than the year before.

I've come to realize I can't do a Stormlight book every year, or even every two years. You can see that this one took around 18 months of dedicated writing time (though that does include some interruptions for edits and work on other things.) My process is such that, when I finish something like Stormlight, I need to move on for a while to refresh myself.

That said, Oathbringer is done as of last week! Here's a quick breakdown of the year.

January: Oathbringer

A lot of this month was revisions. I decided to do something unusual for me, and revise each chunk of the book as I completed it, which let me get my editor working on his notes early in the year—rather than making him wait until this month, when the whole thing finished. That means I'll soon have a second draft of the book completed, though I only completed the first draft a little bit ago.

Also squeezed into January was a trip to Bad Robot, where I had a cool meeting with J.J. Abrams. (In conjunction with a video game my friends at ChAIR Entertainment are making—the Infinity Blade guys. I just gave a few pointers on the story; I'm not officially involved.)

February: Calamity Tour

I toured for Calamity, the last book of the Reckoners. The whole series is out now, so check it out! There is a nice hardcover boxed set of all three available in most bookstores, and it makes a great gift.

While on tour, I read from Stormlight 3, and some kind person recorded the reading for you all. Also, here's another version from FanX in SLC.

March: Trip to Dubai

I was invited to, and attended, the Emirates Festival in Dubai, then traveled south to Abu Dhabi to visit some friends. This was an extended trip, and I often find it difficult to work on a main project (like Stormlight) while traveling. I have too many interruptions. I can write something self-contained, but have more trouble with something very involved.

On this trip, I wrote a novella called Snapshot: a science Fiction detective story where people solve crimes using exact recreations of certain days in the past. It's a little Philip K. Dick, a little Se7en. This one's coming out in February, and will likely be my only release in 2017 other than Oathbringer (which will be in November). More details here.

April: Oathbringer

I got back into the groove of writing, and did a big chunk of Oathbringer Part Two. If you missed the discussions on Reddit, here are my various updates there spanning about a year's time, talking about the book: One, Two, Three, Four, and Five.

May: Edgedancer

I took a short break from Stormlight 3 to write…Stormlight 2.5, an extended story about Lift, with smaller appearances by Szeth and Nale. If you want to get your Stormlight fix before the release in 2017, you can find Edgedancer in Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection. (There will eventually be a solo ebook release, but that's a number of years away, as required by my contract with Tor.) I also wrote essays and annotations for each world and/or story in the collection.

When I decided I wasn't going to kill myself (and my team) trying to get Oathbringer out in 2016, I committed to writing this novella to tide people over. I think you'll enjoy this one, unless you're one of the people that Lift drives crazy. In which case you'll probably still enjoy it, but also want to punch her in the face for being too awesome.

June-August: Oathbringer

I finally got a good long chunk of time dedicated to Oathbringer.

I do love traveling, but it takes a big bite out of my writing time. So please don't get offended when I can't make it out to visit your city or country on tour. I try to do as much as I can, but I'm starting to worry that has been too much. Last year, for example, I was on the road 120 days for tours or conventions. This year was a little better, clocking in at about 90 days.

September: Alcatraz Release & Writing Excuses Cruise

Book Five of my middle grade series, Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, came out this month. (A long-awaited book.) You should read it.

The cruise was a fun time, but very unproductive for me. There is too much going on, and too much to organize, for me to get much writing done. I did finish one chapter of a potential novella on the single day of writing time I got. (The story, called "The Eyes," is a space opera inspired by Fermi's Paradox.)

I might do something with the chapter eventually, but for now I'm sending it in to be this month's Random Hat reward for the $10 patrons of Writing Excuses on Patreon.

As a warning to those planning on attending the cruise in 2017: we'll have a ton of awesome guest instructors, and it will be well worth your time and money. I, however, won't be attending. I'll be on the cruise other years in the future, but (like JordanCon, which I love) I can't promise to go every year. Once every two or three years is more likely. It's just a matter of trying to balance touring/teaching with writing.

By the way, JordanCon, FanX, and Dragon Con had some amazing costumes this year—but I'll save those for another post.

October: Europe Tour

Though I had a few good weeks of writing between the end of the cruise and the start of the Europe trip, I quickly lost steam again as I visited France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal on tour. I had an awesome time, signed a ton of books, and met many people in excellent costumes.

November: Arcanum Unbounded Release

Finally, I released Arcanum Unbounded: the Cosmere Collection. The tour for this was short, and I apologize for that, but…well, there's this writing thing I need to do sometimes…

December: Writing Excuses and Oathbringer

I got about half the episodes for next year's writing excuses season recorded at various locations, and then finally managed to type "THE END" for Oathbringer.

There's still a lot of work left on the book, but I'm confident we'll hit our November 2017 release date.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#7 Copy

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."

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

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.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#9 Copy

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. 

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#16 Copy

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 #8 ()
#18 Copy

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.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#19 Copy

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.

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
#22 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How much did the alpha, beta, and gamma readers in your opinion influence the end product [of Oathbringer] here today?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

...I find them invaluable. Let me define them for you first.

Alpha readers are a very select group. My editor, my agent, my wife, and, like, my assistant-- like Peter. These are alpha readers, people who are reading it in a very raw form.

Beta readers are more like a test audience. The difference between alpha reader and beta reader is that the alpha is somebody who's an industry professional, for me, who can say-- can look at the structure and say "here's some advice on structure" and things like this. A beta reader is just a person who likes books, whose job is just to say "I like this, I don't like this, this is why." Right?

Gamma readers are proofreaders. So, usually, Peter handles all the gamma readers. I don't even see what they say, because that's all to fix proofreading.

I am a very big believer in test audience. I know some writers don't use them at all, but I find it really, really helpful to see how people are responding to the text and the fiction, and then looking and saying, "What is it that is making them feel this way? Do I want that? Do I not want that?" It is just a huge piece of the toolbox for me, a huge tool in the toolbox. (That metaphor doesn't work, because a larger tool in your toolbox is not necessarily more useful, but go with me on it.) I would say, they had all kinds of effects. And we might have Peter do some blog posts on things that I changed because of the beta readers while I'm online. And once you've read the book, you can ask me, we'll try to post about some of this stuff. Usually, they're not making suggestions, they're just giving their feelings, and I'm looking for the places where I've misfired. Where I'm like, "I thought this scene would be super dramatic," but everyone is confused. That's the sort of scene you want to find, and then ask yourself, "How can I make it work instead."

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You had 70, right?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, I had 70 beta readers on this. They wrote around 600,000 or 700,000 words. So, more than was in the book, about the book. Yeah. It's crazy.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#23 Copy

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 ()
#24 Copy

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 ()
#25 Copy

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 ()
#26 Copy

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 ()
#28 Copy

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 ()
#29 Copy

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."

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
#30 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

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

Sofia signing ()
#31 Copy

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 ()
#33 Copy

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.

State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
#35 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Main Projects

The Stormlight Archive

Book Three is done! Edgedancer is out!

I'll be spending about four months of 2017 doing revisions on Oathbringer, then will have a tour in the fall. (Might manage to get to the UK on that one too.) Things are looking good for Stormlight and Roshar, and not just because we are working on a film. I'm excited for you to read the next installment.

I'm officially adding "Oathbringer (Stormlight 3) third draft" to the progress bar, now that I'm almost done with the second draft. (Most of which was completed during writing the first draft, as I explained above.)

Book Four will probably not be released until 2020—I'll start managing those expectations now, rather than trying to promise 2019 like I thought I might be able to do, once upon a time.

As I always promise, I'll see if I can speed that up. But if you take the year it took to outline Book Three and add eighteen months to actually write it, we're already at 2.5 years—not counting other projects I want to do.

Status: Book Three in revisions, out in 2017.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
#38 Copy

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 ()
#39 Copy

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 ()
#41 Copy

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 #3 ()
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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.

Stormlight Three Update #8 ()
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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.)

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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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 ()
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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 ()
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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 ()
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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 ()
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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 ()
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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.