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Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

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

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."

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

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

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

You doing OK? 

Brandon Sanderson

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. 

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

So there's a certain very long chapter in A Memory of Light. There's also a certain very long chapter in Oathbringer. I'm assuming you used similar techniques; both are very effective. Did you come up with that when writing Memory of Light or were you inspired by someone else for doing that?

Brandon Sanderson

Nope, that was something I had wanted to do.

So the question is, there's a very long chapter in A Memory of Light that was done very deliberately. I've used this before and in other books. Oathbringer does one, not nearly to the extent, but there's a certain point in A Memory of Light—and this was me, this was just kind of my love of trying to make the form of a novel match what I'm trying to get across with the novel.

In A Memory of Light, there was a point where the characters could not set down their swords and take a break, and I wanted to make sure that part was not divided up, to encourage as many readers as possible to have to push through it, even if it was kind of late at night *crowd laughs*, to get to the chapter break, so that they would feel some of the same feeling that the characters were feeling. And that's just my writerly way to get that across. In Oathbringer, it was more like, "This is where the breaks fit most naturally." I wasn't trying to do the same thing, but it's a similar sort of thing, where I want the momentum to not have a break until a certain point in the story. I don't anticipate ever doing-- The one in A Memory of Light was like 90,000 words, which, if you're unaware, an average novel is 80,000 words. So there is a novel-length chapter in A Memory of Light. And so, yeah-- *playfully* eh.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#4 Copy

TheOneWithWen

Seeing that "Oathbringer" is looking like the definitive title, I got a small question. I know we all think of the sword when we hear "Oathbringer", but given that TWoK and WoR where titles of books within the books, I would like to know if Oathbringer may be a book too.

I find it unlikely, but I would really like it. I loved how I could be reading the same book that the characters (I know, not really, but you get the idea)

Brandon Sanderson

This will all make sense eventually.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#5 Copy

Doomquill

Frustrated with the editing/beta readers for not noticing Brandon leaving out a character.

The character I'm talking about is Rlain. An entire part of the book was spent with every single member of Bridge Four talking about how Rlain wasn't really a part of things, and even more so Rlain himself in his POV chapter. And then nothing! We get a conclusion to the whole buildup of Bridge Four, but Rlain is nowhere mentioned in the last half of the book. Nevermind that we've all spent an entire book (and the three years since WoR) wondering if Rlain will become a squire, and nevermind that we get an answer to whether a Parshman can become Radiant in the first place. We just get nothing! No resolution.

Peter Ahlstrom

Everyone noticed this. I noticed it even before the beta read started. Brandon was well aware, and this was all intentional. I'll bet you can think of some reasons for it.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

At the end, Wit, with the little girl and the doll and bring the doll to life, it reminded me of Warbreaker.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, he was using Breath for that. He was using Breath he had gotten from somewhere, I'll say, but it was actually the other world's magic system. Vivenna was using them, too, in Oathbringer. When you see her fighting with her cloak. That's an actual fighting style people would do; her cloak's doing some extra stuff.

Stormlight Three Update #8 ()
#9 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.

Oathbringer Leeds signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

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

Brandon Sanderson

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

Questioner

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

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.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
#12 Copy

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 #6 ()
#13 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Hey, all! Back again to talk about the progress of your book. I promised you updates through the year, and I'll do my best to pop in here now and then and let you know how things are going.

Oathbringer, if you somehow missed the update last month, is done. But it's not DONE done. I turned in the rough draft, but immediately jumped into the third draft. (Because I did the second draft at the same time as the first--basically, after finishing each section of the book, I jumped back and revised it before sending to my editor. The goal being to get him a second draft to begin editing so he could work at the same time I did.)

I've finished Part One and Part Two of the third draft as of today. This included adding in two interludes, which I hadn't finished in the rough draft. Later today, Part Two should be going to the beta readers.

(To answer the inevitable question, the beta readers are chosen by Peter--my assistant and editorial director--from among those who have been very active on the fan websites, or who know us personally.)

I'll jump into the Part Three revision soon, then will do Parts Four and Five together. That will get us through the 3.0 draft.

4.0 and 5.0 drafts will be done together, hopefully in March/April. 4.0 will input beta reader comments and writing group comments, and 5.0 will be the polish where I try to trim words and perfect the language.

We're still in the early stages of the art, as Isaac was busy last fall with the Mistborn Leatherbound and doing maps for Tad William's new series. So we'll need to work hard getting artwork done. Plan is to have a new set of colored endpages for the hardcover of the US edition, as we've done in the past, though I can't announce what those are yet.

Book is looking great so far. Part One needed a heavy revision at the intro, but nothing more than that. Part Two (the slowest of the parts) remains a bit of a questionable area. The only way to speed it up is to cut some fun, but ultimately flabby, chapters. I think they are chapters people will love, as they have some unusual viewpoint characters, but the have a bit of an interlude feel to them. If Tor puts its foot down on length limits for the book, I'll have to cut these out.

Part Three has some larger revisions I've been planning with Peter these last few weeks, so the 3.0 draft on that might take a little longer than the other two did.

Anyway, it's exciting to see the book coming along! November release date is looking very good, and I doubt we'll miss it. Also, my Spanish publisher contacted us with the hopes of trying to do a translation and get their edition out at the same time as the US/UK editions, which would be a first for any of my books in translation. So a big thumbs up for them.

Thank you again for your patience. Hope to see some of you in Boston next month, where I'm guest of honor at a convention. Otherwise, I should be mostly nose-to-the-grindstone, as my travel schedule is very light until I head off to Germany (and maybe Poland and Bulgaria) in March.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#14 Copy

Questioner (Paraphrased)

So have you decided who is going to be the focus character for Stormlight 3?

Brandon Sanderson

I have not. What I've decided is that I need to actually write out, rather than just having the outlines, write out the three backstories that are left of the first five, and then compare them to the story as I'm writing it, and see which one works. Because any one of them could work, but as I'm writing the book... yeah. It's one of those things that I know I need the flexibility on, as I write, to make it work.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
#16 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.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#17 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.

Paris signing ()
#18 Copy

Narkac

At the end of TWoK, in the last Dalinar's vision, he stands "in a place of smoke. He turned about, wary. The sky was dark and he stood on a field of dull, bone-white rock, jagged and rough, extending in all directions. Off into eternity". Is this place Damnation/Braize ?

Brandon Sanderson

That will be explained in Oathbringer. So RAFO.

DragonCon 2016 ()
#19 Copy

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 #7 ()
#20 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Back with another update. It's been a few months, and I have worked through the third draft of Oathbringer. Original draft didn't have a few of the interludes, so I added those in this revision, as well as incorporating feedback from my team and the team at Tor Books. Earlier today, I wrote the epigraphs and the Wit monologue, then polished off the ketek.

The current length is 514,000 words--so around 100k longer than Words of Radiance. Whew! That's big enough that we're not sure if we can bind it in paperback. (We can manage it in hardcover without too much trouble, though we might have to do some old term paper tricks such as expanding the margins.) The book won't be split in the hardcover US release, or in the ebook, but there's a possibility the US paperback might be split into two volumes released at the same time. (As has been common in the UK for all the books in the series.)

We'll see what happens. Next revision, 4.0, is to incorporate Beta Reader comments and to make some tweaks I've been thinking about. This should be the fastest of the drafts, as I don't need to make any big structural changes or write many new scenes.

5.0 (the final draft) will be a polish and trim. Publication date is still scheduled for this November. The US cover came in just recently, so expect a reveal on that soon. Michael did a fantastic job.

As a warning: I'm not going to be able to monitor this thread very well, as I'm off to Europe. (I'll be in Poland, Germany, and Bulgaria--details on the events section of my website.) So be warned in advance that I probably can't post many replies to your questions here.

I'm still making my way through my recent AMA on /r/fantasy, though, so you can pop over to that and read what I've had to say recently.

As always, thanks for your patience. Beta read responses to the book are strong, so I think you'll be pleased with the result come this fall.

Stormlight Three Update #8 ()
#21 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.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#27 Copy

NightWillReign

So you said that you’ve moved Szeth and Kaladin’s fight from book 3 to Words of Radiance. Did you make any changes like this on your outline for Oathbringer?

Brandon Sanderson

There was a lot of general restructuring of Oathbringer after book two was written, but there's no one "big" sequence that was moved into the book.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#32 Copy

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. :)

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
#34 Copy

Questioner

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

Brandon Sanderson

...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

You had 70, right?

Brandon Sanderson

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.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#36 Copy

Ray745

So once upon a time Brandon was going to write Szeth as the flashback character for book three, but then Brandon changed his mind, decided to write Dalinar's flashback chapters to see how that would go, and then after writing them made book 3 Dalinar's book instead. Here is a quote from the first Stormlight Book 3 Update post Brandon made in this subreddit

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.

Now that the book has been out for 6 months or so, I'd love to hear Brandon discuss the reasoning behind this. Personally, I have a very tough time imagining how this book would have played out if Szeth had been the flashback character. Clearly we wouldn't have had to Dalinar/Odium confrontation if we didn't have Dalinar's flashbacks, as those were integral to the overall storyline. I'd love to hear what the plot of this book was originally supposed to be when Szeth was going to have the flashbacks. Does anyone know the answers to this, or am I going to have to hope Brandon sees this post and decides to answer more than a RAFO? :)

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm. This is going to be difficult to answer without straying into spoilers for books four and five. It's also hard to say how the books would have played out if I'd swapped these back.

The Dalinar/Odium confrontation would still have happened, as that was something I'd been planning for a while. But how would things have played out? Hard to say, as an outline is only a rough guide--even for someone like me. It's when you get to the nitty gritty of the story that things come together.

Having finished the book, it's hard for me to imagine going another direction--as I made the decisions I did because I felt they were the ones that were right for the story. And a lot has changed over the years as I've worked on the details. (Kaladin's arc from book two, for example, was originally plotted for book three--parallel to Szeth and his flashbacks, which share some similarities.)

Dalinar's flashbacks would work very well for book five for reasons I can't explain yet--but it became clear to me that I needed them for this book, despite the outline looking at the Szeth/Kaladin dynamic. (Which was upended anyway when I moved Kaladin's second character arc to book two.)

So...that's a whole lot of not saying much, I'm afraid. I can answer a lot more once book five is out.

sv15249

Does it mean that we shouldn't expect any explanations or clues about what happened with Dalinar at the end of Oathbringer before book 5?

Ask just to know if we'll know more in book 4 or we'll have to wait a bit longer.To avoid false expectations:)

Brandon Sanderson

There will be explanations and clues, but I would anticipate more Dalinar in book 5 than in book 4.

Firefight Phoenix signing ()
#38 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Will Book 3 [of The Stormlight Archive] be Szeth's book?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He used to think so. Now it might be Dalinar's. He is going to do the flashbacks for both (and Eshonai) and then decide.

Questioner [Alternate wording from stormfather's report] (paraphrased)

[The Stormlight Archive] 3 pov character? Some say Szeth others say it's up in the air?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said he's not going to canonize it or anything, he's also looking at Dalinar and Eshonai and going to see who's backstory fits the flow of the book best

Stormlight Three Update #1 ()
#39 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."

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#40 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 #2 ()
#41 Copy

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.

Holiday signing ()
#43 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 #8 ()
#44 Copy

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.)

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#46 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

So, any questions?

Questioner

Well, I was kind of wondering, you've got this whole culture of, exactly that: people asking you questions about your stories outside of the stories.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Questioner

I was wondering, is that something you developed or decided on? Or--

Brandon Sanderson

That I inherited from Robert Jordan. It had started happening a little bit, but it was really a thing that Robert Jordan fostered in his fans, that I got very used to doing. And so, I just kept doing it. I do warn my fans: I change my mind. And so, um, the things I say--they call them the Word of Brandon--Word of Brandon is level below what's in the text in hierarchy, because I will change my mind, and I will get things wrong when I don't have my notes and stuff. And so-- But yeah, but you can find collections of things I've said. And most of them are still true. Once in a while I'm writing a book, I'm like, "No, this just doesn't work out." But you know that--that just happens with everything.

Like I'm writing Oathbringer, right? And I've mentioned things in Dalinar's past before that are from my outline of Dalinar's past. I sit down, I write the flashback sequences, I'm like, "Oh no. Continuity error," right? And so we just have to go with fixing it in this book and then say, "First book's got a continuity error, guys." Because once you actually sit down and write out somebody's life across thirty years, you can't get them sometimes into places where you had noted stuff. So, it's--I wish I could be like 100% accurate on all things. It just doesn't work out. Even the books like Mistborn, that I wrote all three in a row, and then we edited them, and then sent them out--still had continuity errors, so. Ehh.

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
#47 Copy

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.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#49 Copy

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.