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YouTube Livestream 10 ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

The Bulgarian cover for Rhythm of War is the result of a contest. Despite how great Michael Whelan's covers are, would you ever consider such a contest for an American Stormlight Archive edition? If not Stormlight, maybe any other series?

Brandon Sanderson

It would be very hard for me to not have a Michael Whelan cover (you guys know me and Michael Whelan stuff) for Stormlight Archive.

For anything else, I could imagine that happening. Thing about it is that, in a market as big as the United States, it seems like it would be a tougher sell, both to the marketing market. And to an extent, it's a little bit... not "insulting," but imagine being an artist who's worked their whole life, and then we're like, "Yeah, we're gonna open this to a contest to people, instead." Just doesn't work the same way. So, I would be hard-pressed to imagine that happening in the States. There are so many fantastic illustrators earning their livings doing these covers, that asking people to submit free covers?

It works in Bulgaria because they have a very small print run. They are a small country. They do a thousand copies of a lot of the things. And they engage the fan community, and I think it's wonderful, and I think it's delightful what they did. And I was fully approving it. But it just doesn't feel like the right thing to do here. Where we have a huge budget, right? Like, that's the difference. In Bulgaria, they can't pay very much for a cover. I mean, they don't pay me very much for the books. That's okay. But here, we have an actual art budget. And that's what employs professional artists, a lot of them; that's where they earn a living.

Travis Gafford Interview ()
#4 Copy

Mark Zimmerman

One of the things I'm most excited about with this book [Rhythm of War] has been what you described as being a foundational scene that you got to write that you've been thinking of forever. In the Cosmere and in your writing, has there been anything that you've done on that level? You have huge reveals and awesome scenes all over the place, but has there been one that's been cooking for so long and then you finally got to put it on the page? Or is this the first time you got to do that?

Brandon Sanderson

No, the first one of these was Kaladin taking the Shardblade at the end of Words of Radiance. That was the first really big one that I had been planning for a long time. Even stretches back to some things in Way of Kings Prime that I never got to write, because I never wrote the second book of that series. So that is one of those moments that just have been planned forever.

Most of these are Stormlight or Dragonsteel. Because Mistborn did not have as long of a cooking phase. So while there's cool moments in it, it's not like I spent ten years planning them. I spent, like, two years planning them. And so the ones for... there's one in Words of Radiance, there's one in this book, and there's one at the end of Book Five. (And there's one in Book Ten, also, but there's a bunch of them in Stormlight, the back five.) In the first five, we've got one in this book. (You'll know when you get to it. I think you'll know when you get to it.) And there's one in the next book that I first thought of and tried playing with an outline of... boy, it was, like, '98 or '99, before I even started Prime. After Five, we'll have a lot to talk about about that moment. But you'll find one in this book.

FanX 2021 ()
#5 Copy

Questioner

My friends and I have been endlessly debating whether Wit knew what happened to him at the end of Rhythm, when he said "that went exactly as I planned," if he knew he was gonna get duped? Or if he got hornswoggled?

Brandon Sanderson

He legitimately got hornswoggled. One of the opening chapters of the next book is going to be him realizing that. There's a little teaser for you.

YouTube Livestream 9 ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

You said earlier that Rhythm of War includes a key sequence that you have envisioned for years. How does it feel to have captured the sequence? And are you personally happy with the result?

Brandon Sanderson

Feels great to finally write that sequence. And now that the beta reads are in, I can say the sequence works. Really, really pleased. Really happy that it came together. There were other things that needed to change, but that one worked. There almost have been no edits or revisions to that whole sequence through all the drafts. I've been planning it for so long. It's one of those things that I wrote, and it was as I imagined it, and it came together. And you will be able to read it in Part Five of Rhythm of War.

Rhythm of War Annotations ()
#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twelve

This is the last we'll see of Rock in the book, I'm afraid. I really hope to be able to do the Rock novella sometime in the next few years to trace his course, but one of the things I forced myself to do in this series is keep the focus on the main storylines and characters.

Epic fantasy tends to involve ballooning casts, and this tends to derail books as the author lets their focus move away from the primary storyline toward side characters. I put some rigid requirements on myself when I started Stormlight that require me to move side stories out of the main narrative. It's odd to be talking about trying to keep books this length "lean" but I believe one of the strengths of the series is that it has (so far) kept its eye on the proverbial goal. This is more important than ever, with book five being the end of the first sequence.

That said, what we're witnessing here is kind of the end of Bridge Four as a cohesive entity, at least as it existed in the series up until now. I was sad, for all the fun of this chapter, to be moving into this sequence of the stories. There was a temptation, of course, to just let Bridge Four continue to be Bridge Four--but it wouldn't feel right. Lives change and evolve. My tight-knit friend group from college can never be the same again, not now that we all have families and jobs. Bridge Four couldn't remain the same either.

One of my problems with some forms of media like extended network television shows is the format's inability to let the status of the characters evolve, change, and grow. For a series like this, we need progression, and we need to let Bridge Four become something else. If we're sad about the changes, the early books will always be there to experience again.

As for the Kaladn/Adolin/Shallan interactions, I actively look for moments like these to put into the novels. It's important to let the characters live, and one of the reasons I enjoy epic fantasy is that it (with the space afforded me) allows for more time like this.

YouTube Livestream 12 ()
#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I will feel bad if the [Dawnshard] ebook isn't out by the time that Stormlight Four is. You don't have to have read that before this one; it's not hugely integrated, because it's about Rysn. But there are some things that happen, that you'll get to Book Four and be like, "Wait a minute, wait a minute. They're mentioning a trip to Aimia. What happened there?" That the novella would help you with. And then, when you get to the Rysn interlude in this book (which is a little different from previous Rysn interludes), I wrote it in such a way as to not spoil the novella, in case people hadn't read it yet. And so it's a very different sort of interlude. But you would appreciate having read the novella when you get to it, I suspect.

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
#9 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Updates on Main Projects

Stormlight

It's time to take a little breather. I've begun working on the outline for book four, which is kind of a mess right now because of things I've been moving around between books as I write. My goal this year for Stormlight will be to have rock-solid outlines for books four and five done by December 2018.

My current projection is that I'll spend half of my time writing Stormlight, and half of it doing other things. (I spoke last year about just how big an undertaking a Stormlight book is–and why I can't write them back to back.) I realize that many of you would prefer to have only Stormlight, but that would drive me insane–and drive the series into the ground.

I think this is a realistic schedule. So, I'm giving myself 2018 to work on Skyward (hopefully a trilogy) and other projects. Then on January 1st, 2019, I go back to Stormlight refreshed and excited to be back in Roshar, and I write on book four until it's done. (With a 2020 or 2021 release, depending on how the writing goes.) I do hope to find time for a novella, like Edgedancer, that we can put out between books. This one is tentatively called Wandersail.

For those who don't know, The Stormlight Archive is a ten-book series composed of two five-book arcs.

Status: Writing outline for book four.

Rhythm of War Annotations ()
#10 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Six

So, this little sequence with Kaladin, the lurgs, and tricking Leshwi was one I was VERY close to cutting from the book. Thing is, this battle between them has been going on pretty long at this point, and my gut says I've done a little too much of "Kaladin chases and fights someone through the air" in these chapters.

I looked long and hard, therefore, at trimming this sequence for pacing reasons. In the end, I left it, and I don't know 100% if it was the right choice or not. I like how it gives a different kind of interaction for Kaladin on the battlefield here, and how it hearkens back to the flashback from book one with Tien.

I opted, instead, to trim more extensively through the whole combat--taking out words and sentences, rather than this entire scene. But it was a tough call. And even in the very last revision, I went back and forth on it. If I'd been forced to trim something here to make a film come in at the right time, this part would have gone--but one of the luxuries of writing epic fantasy in novel form is that I can be a little more self-indulgent. (So long as I don't let myself go too far.)

General Reddit 2019 ()
#11 Copy

Extesian

Can you confirm whether Navani will be the prologue viewpoint? Or you want to keep that quiet/ haven't decided yet?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, she is the prologue viewpoint.

AridholGM

Wouldn't it be dope to have the book 5 viewpoint from Gavilar himself, and it finally revealing what exactly he was up to.. :)

Brandon Sanderson

That is what I have planned.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
#12 Copy

Ezio della Torre

Was Teft's death part of your plan from the book's inception or series's inception, or did you decide his fate while writing Rhythm of War?

Brandon Sanderson

Teft's fate was decided pretty early on, but these sorts of things I do leave wiggle room on. When you read Teft's first appearance—it's in Mythwalker, my ninth book that never got finished—his appearance in that book was built around this kind of character arc that eventually happened. This was baked into the original idea for Stormlight once I brought over Bridge Four and once I stuck Teft inBridge Four, from Mythwalker. But I do remain pretty flexible on these things. That is one that turned out working really well, and happening the way I'd intended for it to happen from the beginning.

But... I mean, if you've read Way of Kings Prime, you'll know that there was a point in the outlining process, and even in writing that book, where Dalinar killed Elhokar, rather than him being killed by Moash. So, you can see that these things do change, these things bounce around, but yes, the Moash betrayal and the him killing Teft was an original <incarnation> of Way of Kings. So the original 2010 version of Way of Kings, it was part of that outline.

There are things that have changed though, over the years. A big one's, of course, a lot of Adolin's arc is not in that. I go back to that one because Adolin was involved, but he was a much smaller character than he ended up being. And Adolin changing has caused all kinds of ripples through everything in large measure. For instance, all of the stuff with Maya was not in the original outline. This is stuff that I developed over time because I was not planning Adolin to have as big a role in the series as he ended up having. That's a good example of things I've changed over time. A lot of the Cosmere-aware stuff, I didn't know how much I would push on that, and it turns out I've pushed further than in the outlines I originally thought I would. Because when I was starting this, I still didn't know if people would jump onboard with this as much as they have.

[...]

Reading Way of Kings Prime is a great way to see how things have changed since. The big changes you will see there between 2002 and 2010... I guess I wrote the book in 2009, so... in those seven years, you can see a lot of the transformations that the book and the world and the series went through. It's kind of nice. Those of you who've read it recently can probably remember more about what's changed than I do. I come back to the big ones, like that book had Unmade spiked with crystalline spikes, in the basement of the version of Urithiru before I changed it to what it is now, and that is just no longer in the books, right. Unmade getting spiked and being freed by spikes to the wall is not a thing. I'm sticking them in gemstones now, right, instead of spiking them to walls. I felt like the whole Hemalurgy thing we've covered well enough. But that was in the 2002 version.

*Adam goes on a diatribe about how he'd like to see fanart of this*

It was ten spikes too.

YouTube Livestream 21 ()
#16 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

There are certain things that I do in Stormlight Four that I will not give as spoilers, but they're gonna make the writing of Stormlight Five particularly difficult.

Poor Karen. That's all gonna be stuff for Karen and me. It's gonna be headaches for us. Not as much for you [Isaac].

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
#17 Copy

Lass Adventurous Arith

How did you decide to turn Taravangian into Odium?

Brandon Sanderson

How did I decide to do that? There are a couple reasons I decided to do that. This was one of the things didn't have to go this way. It is actually a good one I can talk about because I had multiple options here. Even until I was turning in this outline to my team and saying "Alright, it's time to sink or swim, do we like this or not?", I was going back and forth on it. Really until I had written the scenes and given them to my alpha readers and said, "alright, are you guys ready for me to pull the trigger on this?" because there are costs. The major cost is that Odium is a better ancient unknowable evil. Odium was filling the role in the books of Sauron. Ancient thing, very dangerous, very strange, very powerful and whatnot.

The thing is, my books aren't really about that. I will write books dealing with some of that sort of stuff, but that's not the sort of thing that is as exciting. It's not really as much a theme of my stories, the ancient unknowable evil. The whole purpose of Mistborn—one of them, it's not the purpose—is that even the Lord Ruler you've got to know. Even Ruin became a character that you understood. It is a cost, I will admit. It wasn't as strong for me as it might have been somewhere else. I do know that some people would prefer that, and I can understand why. Sauron makes a pretty great bad guy. Ancient, powerful, unknowable, evil forces—but I feel like I get that in the shard itself. One of the things that I plan to play up more as the Cosmere goes forward is that these powers have some sort of primal sense to them. That's always in my mind been the bigger danger than than Rayse is that.

That is, the negatives were not that big of negatives. And what are the positives? In Oathbringer, Dalinar did not fall to Odium. That is a huge blow to Odium, Rayse-Odium. The fact that at the end of book three he was defeated in a major way, and in book 4 he gets defeated again, this time by Kaladin. We have proven that two of our primary viewpoint protagonists of the Stormlight Archive are able to resist and defeat him. My opinion was that by that point in the Stormlight Archive, Odium would no longer, Odium-Rayse would no longer be a threat. You run into this in lots of long running epic fantasy series. I've talked a lot about how when I was designing Stormlight Archive, the things I had read in other long running fantasy series were a big part of why I designed it the way I did. For instance, in the Wheel of Time it was very difficult—even in the ones I was writing—to maintain a sense of threat for the Forsaken when they had just been defeated right and left every book. They do get their licks in now and then, but it's real hard to keep considering Ba'alzamon from the first one to be a threat when boy, Rand just defeats him and defeats him again and defeats him again and then defeats him again. This is a problem for a lot of media. How threatening is Magneto really when he never wins?

At this point in the series, what I wanted to do was hit you with a left hook from somebody that I considered more frightening, more dangerous, more capable, and who had been growing as an antagonist for a while. And while some of his ploys had not turned out, he is still very threatening. My hope was that this reveal to a portion of the audience—I knew that some would prefer Odium, but to I hoped a larger portion—would be like, "Oh, this just got real."

I've mentioned before that my favorite antagonist is Magneto, I've brought him up before. I like characters who have clashes, antagonists who have clashes of ideology, not just clashes of forces. A reason I'm not excited to write about somebody like Sauron is that, while there are clashes of ideology behind the scenes, on screen for the movies and books it's basically: Sauron wants to rule the world and we don't want him to. That works really well in Lord of the Rings because you have, as I've talked about, part of the brilliance of the Lord of the Rings is both having Sauron, Saruman, and Gollum to represent three different kinds of evil and three different antagonists that work in tandem really well together. It's part of the brilliance of the Lord of the Rings. But I like having a villain like Taravangian. Taravangian, who has a world view that is a certain world view and that is terrifying because of how that world view is. Elevating him to Odium so that you mixed that with the kind of ancient spren of hatred that is still a very big, dominant part of what he's now become—I just thought made for a more compelling and interesting villain for the fact that we have many more books left in the Stormlight Archive and in the Cosmere, and I had done what I wanted to with Rayse-Odium.

There's my answer. It is totally viable to have, viable is the wrong term, totally understandable that some would have preferred me to go a different direction, but my instinct says—and I haven't done any polls or things on this—that the majority of fans are going to like this direction better, and I certainly think the story will turn out better. That's what led me to make that decision, but these were all things I was heavily considering. Adam was there watching those emails go around with me and the team when I was asking if I should pull the trigger on this or not. There are a couple of things that I've made decisions on that have been some of the most difficult or most far-reaching in that regard, but that I think I made the right decision on.

The other one was bringing Kelsier back. Kelsier, so I seeded all the stuff in the original books to bring Kelsier back, but then I backed off on it, and for a while I'm like eh, I don't think I'm going to bring Kelsier back. During that whole thing, oh this is a fun spoiler thing that I don't think I've talked about before: during that time in the outlining—some of you may again have much preferred this—TenSoon was actually going to be Thaidakar, wearing Kelsier's bones. There was a time where I was going to play with a kandra believing they were Kelsier, in this case TenSoon. I was going to go this direction where it's like, I'm the survivor, I'm picking up the survivor's heritage and I'm doing all of this sort of stuff—I did warn you all about spoilers—and there was a time in there where I decided no, I'm going to leave Kelsier dead—that I'm going to go this direction. Why did I back off on that one? A couple reasons, number one I feel like I really did a solid job with Lessie in the second of the Wax and Wayne books, which was a similar conflict. I felt like I got that out of my system. I did it well, I think that story has some really heart-wrenching things, but as I wrote that story I felt that it was a one-book story.

One of the things I've come to be aware of as I've written, this stretches back to the days of Elantris where my original ending had too many twists. It's been changed, like I had some weird twist where Hrathen had secretly come to Elantris at some point and had a heritage that made him Aleth—not Alethi—made him Aonic and things like that and it was dumb and it didn't work. It was twisting for twists sake. And part of me worries, and part of me actually doesn't just worry, I think that if I had done that whole thing with TenSoon it would have been less cool than what I just actually wanted to have happen, which was to give a full finished character arc to Kelsier. At that point I went back to what my original plan had been and I picked up those threads, and that's when I wrote Secret History, after I had finally made that decision. And it comes with costs too. Everything comes with costs. Having main character die in such a spectacular way and then not being quite dead yet has certain costs in your narrative. The more you do that less that death is meaningful in the stories, the more it feels like a gotcha and things like that. Yet at the same time on the other side, I don't think the Lord of the Rings is weaker for having brought back Gandalf. I think the Lord of the Rings is stronger, and why is that? Gandalf comes back changed as a different person and makes the story more interesting for having returned. My original plan with Kelsier was just more interesting in the long run. Forcing Kelsier to do these things and fi—he did not complete his character arc, and that's part of why it was so heart-wrenching to lose him, which I understand. Bringing him back in that regard lets me finish his story, and I just think that's going to be more satisfying. I gain more than I lose.

Plus there's the fact that someone comes back from the dead in the first chapter of the very first Cosmere book. Second chances at life is a major theme of the Cosmere. Both Warbreaker and Elantris that's kind of—Warbreaker it's the primary theme: second chance at life. You're doing a different thing with your life than you thought you would do, and let's take a second stab at it. I think that being able to play with that with Kelsier is a stronger narrative thing to do. This was also influenced by my, as I've talked about before, sort of shrinking the timescale a little bit of the Cosmere so that more of the characters from the different books can interact. It just makes better storytelling. I would say that those are the two things that in outline I could have gone different directions when I actually got to the story. When it was time to write Secret History I had to make the call. He had been dead, he had been alive, he had been dead, he had been alive, at least in my head, and I made that call. The same thing actually happened with Taravangian. It had been am I going to pull the trigger, was he going to become Odium or not? I actually vacillated on that and eventually have made the decision I made. 

Adam

Are you ever going to reveal what the alternate was going to be, kind of like what you just did?

Brandon Sanderson

Maybe eventually I will, but for now I will not. It's easier to reveal in Mistborn because it's basically all in the past. It isn't to say that I won't do something else like that, with a kandra. I might, but Lessie's story covered that real well. Who knows what I'll do, but I've backed off on, for those who have read Way of Kings Prime, Taln's original story was the story of am I an angel or am I not? Am I a herald or am I not? Am I this divine being or am I a normal person? And that actually plays real well in Way of Kings Prime. It is just not a thing I could make work in the actual published version of Way of Kings. It's one of the things that's cool about Way of Kings Prime, is being able to see some of these ideas that I can't express in the actual series. Part of the reason I can't is also, number one I wanted to bring the voidbringers in and all of these things, and you just can't... The more fantastical your book is, the less the reader will be able to suspend disbelief about your character who claims that they're not some mythological legend from lore actually not being that mythological—they walk onstage and are like, "I think that I'm this mythological legend from lore but my powers are gone." Ninety-nine readers out of a hundred are going to be like, "yep, I believe you", even though all the rest of the people in the books are going to be like, "No of course you're not." The reader—because it's just cooler that way. It's very hard to fulfill on good promises by not having that turn out that way. Beyond that, the story I wanted to tell involved Taln and so big surprise, Taln is a herald!

YouTube Livestream 11 ()
#18 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I will finish Stormlight Four this week, is the goal. At the very latest, over the weekend. The last draft, sending it on to production.

And then from there, I think my next job is to spend one week doing a revision on Songs of the Dead, is what we put in the schedule next. This is the new name of Death By Pizza. Heavy metal music influenced necromancer urban fantasy that I'm coauthoring with Peter Orullian who is a heavy metal singer. I'm gonna do a draft on that.

And then it is writing the [Stormlight] novella for about the next month. So we'll start posting updates on that as I do that. And I think I know what the title's going to be. So we might announce that in the upcoming days. You'll be very excited by the title, I suspect.

Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
#19 Copy

learhpa

> I could easily have had an entire book with a major thread about toppling her [Ialai's] little empire on the Shattered Plains, but that would have been too backward looking.

I dunno. I think that could be fun. I'm somewhat imagining a John-Wick-alike character whose job is to take Ialai down and it turning into a surreal action/adventure/spy story.

Brandon Sanderson

I absolutely think this could have worked in a different narrative. But in this book, with so much of the focus moving to the greater war and the invasion, I feel that spending a lot of pages on recovering the Shattered Plains (and dealing with a group in the Sons of Honor that have been repeatedly defeated already) would just feel anticlimactic.

A different style of narrative could have pivoted to political intrigue instead of war epic after the first book or so, and then this sort of plot would have been exciting and dynamic. It's all about scope and the subgenre of your narrative.

Barcelona Virtual Signing ()
#20 Copy

Koajan

I have a question about the man at the end of Rhythm of War that Kaladin finds, that used to recollect lost objects from the Shattered Plains, such as Rock's razor or even Tien's horse. Will we get to know more about him, or is it just a random man?

Brandon Sanderson

So, what is happening there is all RAFO material. I'm not gonna answer any specifics about Tien's horse or even about Tien. There are lots of ways you can theorize that this happened, and I'm not gonna canonize which of them it is. One of those includes Hoid and his shenanigans, that's a possibility. One of which is kind of some Fortune being bent around what's going on. Other possibilities are that there's a divine manifestation. I'm not gonna say which of those it is, but there are lots of plausible answers there.

YouTube Livestream 16 ()
#21 Copy

Questioner

How much artistic license did Michael [Whelan] have when designing the cover [of Rhythm of War] and what your process is when working with him to get the cover vision that you're going for?

Brandon Sanderson

Our preference is to give artists a lot of leeway for personal interpretation. I, personally, believe any piece of fan-art or official art is that artist's vision of what they saw in their head when they were reading the book. And that's going to differ greatly from what someone else would see, and I like seeing those interpretations. I like seeing those visions. So we try to give quite a bit of leeway and flexibility to the artist.

For instance, Michael (being the consummate professional he is) sent, like, ten sketches of possibilities. And we had ones we liked the most, and fortunately they were the same ones that he liked the most. But mostly, we say, "These are all great. Which one do you enjoy? Which one are you most excited to paint?" And we move that direction most of the time. Isaac will usually have continuity comments, and we want to make sure that things are in continuity, but we give a lot of freedom to the artists. We don't really want to chain them down. We want art to inspire art.

And so, because of that, people look different in some of our official interpretations. And I think that's okay, because that's how artwork goes. We're not trying to match a really exacting style guide on the characters, usually. And that lets us have the cover art for the UK cover look very different from the covert art form the US cover, and even have different interpretations on the characters in different ways. We'll catch the big things. We'll say "put a glove on her" if there's a scandalous hand exposed. We'll say "this is what the patch looks like that should be on Kaladin's shoulder." Stuff like that, we will do, but we try to give a lot of freedom.

I really like this cover. This is my favorite of his covers since the first one.

Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
#22 Copy

Beejsbj

So the whole book [Rhythm of war] is a Sanderlanche?

Brandon Sanderson

No, don't get me wrong. Imagine previous Stormlight books starting with a build-up, then ending with a mini-climax at the end of Part One. (For example, in book three, we are building toward the reveal of the Unmade at Urithiru, and the confrontation, which happens at the end of Part One.)

In this book, Part One starts with the climax--a kind of indication of what the missing months were building toward. What follows is more introspective and quiet through the second half, as we react to events and get our bearings.

You'll probably get some books in the cosmere that, like A Memory of Light, where the Sanderlanche takes up an unusually large chunk of the story--but it isn't time for that quite yet. We still have slow, building parts of the story that need to be in place for both contrast and grounding of characters. Like a symphony works better with softer and louder sections.

UpperFlatworm

I really enjoy this action-packed intro (though just a little sad that Dalinar doesn't have viewpoints)

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar does have viewpoints in the book, but they are reserved for later on, for reasons I can explain better once the novel is out.

aldayeah

It reminds me of those Bond/Lucasfilms blockbusters (well, and everything that came after) that would open with an in medias res action setpiece.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I'm a big fan of the cold open. (As one might be able to note from the Wax and Wayne books.) It's not the right tool for every story, but it felt appropriate here.

YouTube Livestream 17 ()
#23 Copy

Questioner

Where does Dawnshard fit, time-frame wise?

Brandon Sanderson

Three months after Oathbringer, which puts it in Rosharan terms seven months-ish before Rhythm of War. (Ten-month years.)

Isaac Stewart

But we should probably mention that you don't have to read this one to read Rhythm of War.

Brandon Sanderson

You do not. I have written Rhythm of War in such a way that, if you haven't read this, you will not really be confused. There will be a few things where you're like, "Oh, that's probably what that's referencing." And if you read this after, it's not going to ruin either story.

I did something very specific with the Rysn interlude in Rhythm of War that allows us to preserve most of what happened in Dawnshard, so far, so that you will not have it spoiled when you get to that interlude. I've done something very different for that interlude, let's just say. And I did that because I hadn't written Dawnshard yet, when I wrote the Rysn interlude. In fact, it's the last thing I wrote for the book, was that interlude. And let's just say that interlude is from a different viewpoint. We'll just say that.

And references to what happened are in the story, but they're mostly kind of vague, because even most of the people in the main storyline don't know the specifics of what happened in the novella. It's kind of like what happened in Edgedancer, where what happened to Lift is not really generally understood and known by everyone else, because she was off on her own.

It is done. First draft is finished. It is The Lopen and Rysn.

YouTube Livestream 10 ()
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Shad

Will there be a greatsword (montante style) in Stormlight Four, or does the longsword still get all the love?

Brandon Sanderson

I am probably changing that. The scene I rewrote today, there was a greatsword added to. So you can look forward to it. I'm gonna try it out; it's possible that I'll trim it out. But I'm going with it for now. I thought you made some very good arguments along those lines.

And for those wondering, most of Shad's arguments are along the lines of "Wouldn't this be awesome?" And he sees things the same way I do in a lot of ways of "Let's do what's cool, and then make it work."