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Idaho Falls signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

With the Stormlight Archive, when you created this, do you know everything? Do you know the end of the book at the beginning?

Brandon Sanderson

I do, but... You have to be willing to change as you go, as the characters mature and you mature. For instance, Adolin wasn't gonna be a main character in the original outline. And as I developed the first book, I realized I needed another perspective of somebody who could offer perspective on the things that were happening. That was Adolin's perspective. So I brought him in as a main character. So that wasn't in the original outline.

And for instance, the ending of Book 2, with Kaladin, was actually originally the ending of Book 3. So I ended up switching those around. So things like this happen.

Books 4 and 5, my dividing line, where those two divide, is not really strict right now, and so one of the things I'm doing in outlining is saying, "Let's make sure Book 4 feels like a book, rather than half of a book that Book 5 ends."

Stormlight Three Update #1 ()
#2 Copy

clayton_japes

Is the plan still to take a break after book five to do the modern day Mistborn trilogy or does the schedule of a new Stormlight book every two to three years mean that the second set of proper Mistborn books will fit in between those smaller gaps?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's still the plan. Stormlight 5 is an end of a distinct arc, and Mistborn era three's outlines are getting very close to being done. This schedule makes a great deal of sense to me.

Stormlight Three Update #7 ()
#5 Copy

Peter Ahlstrom

Well, on Friday Brandon was explaining what's in book 4 and 5, and after he got well into it I said, "So we're in book 5 now, right?" and he said, "No..."

_Kelsier_

Since each book is getting longer than the others and having heard what he wants in book 4, do you think he will have to split book 4? I don't want to look past the mark, but it seems like he's on track to have to publish Stones Unhallowed parts 1 and 2.

Peter Ahlstrom

In this case, he could probably move some plot elements from book 4 to book 5. The issues that make Oathbringer unsplittable probably won't apply then.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#8 Copy

simon_thekillerewok

What percent confident are you that Mistborn 2.4 will be named The Lost Metal? In that same vein, what percent confident are you that Stormlight 5 will be named Stones Unhallowed? (I think that's a fantastic title btw and you should definitely keep it.)

Brandon Sanderson

I'm probably around 95% on Lost Metal and 70% on Stones Unhallowed.

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.

State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Updates on Main Projects

Stormlight

As you just read about above, I am on track for starting this book on January first. I'll begin with a reread of the first three books, as I find I need a periodic refresher, even on my own novels. This will also be important for helping me really nail down the outlines for books four and five.

As I've worked on the Stormlight series, I've shifted a lot of things around in the outlines. Famously, I swapped Dalinar's book and Szeth's book (making Book Three have Dalinar's flashbacks instead of Szeth's). But along the same lines, I moved a chunk of Book Three into Book Two, and then moved around smaller arcs for Three, Four, and Five.

The Stormlight series has a very odd structure. Each novel is outlined as a trilogy plus a short story collection (the interludes) and is the length of four regular books. This lets me play with narrative in some interesting ways—but it also makes each volume a beast to write. The other superstructure to the series is the spotlight on the ten orders of Radiants, with each book highlighting one of them while also having a flashback sequences for a character tied to one of those orders. If that weren't complicated enough, the series is organized in two major five-book arcs.

What this means is that I need to do some extra work on books four and five, as they together tie off an arc. There are some small plot lines I've been pushing back from book to book as I nail down what each volume will include—but I can't do that with Book Five, as it will be the capstone of this sequence. So I need the outlines to be tight to make certain I get everything into them that needs to be there.

Anyway, that's a long way to say, essentially, I'll start posting updates to the Stormlight subreddit in January, and you can follow along there or on the progress bar we'll post here on my website on January first. I've commissioned a special piece of artwork to be used in Stormlight Four blog posts, which we should be able to reveal next year. (I'm pretty excited about it.) So you have that to look forward to as well!

Note that while I'm optimistic about this being my fall 2020 release, delays could happen if the book doesn't come out smoothly on the first draft. I'll keep you updated with regular posts. A lot will depend on how long the revisions take.

Status: Book Four is my main project for 2019, for an anticipated 2020/2021 release.