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State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Updates on Secondary Projects

The Original

I'm moving this novella (which I don't think I've mentioned before in a State of the Sanderson) into the Secondary Projects section. A while ago I had an idea for a story about a world where, if you committed a crime and went on the run for it, the government could create a clone of you (with your memories and personality) to hunt you down. After all, who better to hunt a criminal than a copy of that criminal? The copy would have strict controls in place so they could be killed by the government with the press of a button, but would be given the promise that they could take their Original's place if they succeeded in hunting them down and killing them.

Earlier this year, the idea developed into a full-fledged outline, which I wrote out during time when I needed a break from other things. It worked out well, and so you might see progress on this in future years. Right now, I like the idea of doing it as an audio original, perhaps with a coauthor who is more experienced in audio or voice acting. So watch for updates here.

Status: Outlined.

General Reddit 2020 ()
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DataLoreHD

The Original (audio book) release date, and an unexpected new story!!!

The Original. Author(s): Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal. Released: Sep 14, 2020

Stephen Leeds: Death & Faxes. Author(s): Brandon Sanderson. Released: Sep 01, 2021

Brandon Sanderson

They are official. We're trying some new things.

The Original, which I wrote with Mary Robinette, was a true collaboration. I pitched an idea and an outline, Mary Robinette did the first draft, I did a pass myself, then she did the final touches. It turned out great.

With Legion, I' wanted to try something different. I've got a partner in Hollywood, and since I've had so much trouble getting a Stephen Leeds television show made, I figured we'd try it as an audiobook series. Basically, we got a writer's room, brainstormed some ideas, and are treating this like a pilot to a "television show" but only audiobook.

This means I'll be overseeing the project like a show runner, but won't be writing the individual "episodes." We're only doing this first one as a try-out to see what fans think of this process.

SageOfTheWise

Does that mean the Legion audio is a reboot or sorts or is it still a continuation from the books?

Brandon Sanderson

More a continuation, not really a reboot, but not happening after the third novella. More like, "From the case files of" sort of thing.

dIvorrap

What about the two "Dark One" titles: Dark One: Prophetic Histories and Dark One: Forgotten?

Brandon Sanderson

These are just in the concept stage, but we're getting closer to making them. Dark One is being made into a television show, but I don't have a lot of power over how/when that will happen--so we are doing the graphic novel. Separately from that, we're going to do a couple of audio dramas. One will take my outline and make it into a novel. The other is this wacky idea I had for a "Serial" style podcast, with a journalist tracking a killer, which ties into all of this. Forgotten is that.

State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

My Year

January-March: Skyward and Legion Revisions

I kicked off the year quickly doing a second draft of Skyward. Pulling The Apocalypse Guard from the publisher, then promising them Skyward to publish in the fall of 2018, meant that I had to scramble. It wouldn't do to pull a book I judged to be of inferior quality, only to replace it with a book that I didn't have time to revise up to my standards. So you'll see a number of months dedicated to Skyward. (Which, if you somehow missed it, did come out—and is still sitting quite happily on the New York Times bestseller list many weeks later, so thank you all very much!)

Another thing I'd been putting off for months was the necessary revisions of the third Legion story. Tor was quite patient with me on this one, considering the Legion collection was scheduled for publication in the fall as well. But during these three months, I did multiple revisions of both books, eventually getting Legion into a polished state. (There was one more draft of Skyward still to do.) Legion Three, Lies of the Beholder, can be found in the Legion collection that was published earlier this year.

Finally, somewhere in here, I squeezed in an outline and world guide for Death Without Pizza. (Yes, that's a name change—no it's not the final name, but just a placeholder.) More on that later.

April: Children of the Nameless

Sometime around March of last year, Wizards of the Coast sent me an exploratory email. It being the 25th anniversary of their card game, they were wondering if I'd be interested in doing a story with them. As most of you know, I'm quite the fan of Magic: The Gathering. It's my primary hobby, and I have way too many cards. (Which still aren't enough, of course.) I was enthusiastic, and you can read more about the process I used to approach the story in this blog post.

I knew that by doing so, and by writing the story as long as it ended up, it would make getting to some of my other projects later in the year more difficult. (Namely, the fourth Wax and Wayne book, which I'll talk about shortly.) But this was kind of something I had to do, so I ask your forgiveness in taking this detour to Innistrad. I'm exceptionally pleased with the story and the response it has gotten, so if you haven't read it, I present it to you here! Reading it requires no prior knowledge of the card came or the lore surrounding it.

May: Skyward Final Draft

How long it takes to write a story depends on a lot of factors, but in general, three months gets me around 100k words. Shorter stories, with fewer viewpoints, tend to be faster—while longer stories with more intricate plotlines (like Stormlight) tend to take longer. But that's just for the rough draft. Generally, doing all the other drafts takes an equivalent amount of time to the first draft. (So, if the first draft takes three months, the second through fourth drafts will together take another three months.) You can see this at play in Skyward, which took about three months to write in the end of 2017, then took three additional months of revision to polish up.

I did sneak in a little time to do an outline for a piece called The Original in here as well, which took about a week. I'll update you on that in the secondary projects section.

June–August: Starsight First Draft

And, speaking of three month first drafts, here we get me buckling down and doing the sequel to Skyward. It's finished in its first draft form, and dominated my summer. In here, I also did detailed outlines for the third and fourth books of the series. (And this is where I determined for certain that the series would need to be four books instead of three.)

September–October: Odds and Ends

In these months I had some travel to record episodes of Writing Excuses, I did a quick second draft of Starsight to send to my publisher, and I did some revisions to Children of the Nameless. I also did more work on The Original, Death Without Pizza, and Alcatraz Six (AKA Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians, or Alcatraz vs. His Own Dumb Self). Finally, I slipped in some brainstorming with Dan Wells on how to fix The Apocalypse Guard.

Basically, I knew that November would be mostly lost to touring, and I was scrambling to get some work done on small projects to clear my plate for 2019, which will be dedicated to working on Stormlight Four.

November: Skyward Tour

I spent most of November on tour for Skyward, and quickly finishing up final revisions on Children of the Nameless. I got to see a lot of you while touring for the book, and had a blast—but these tours get more and more difficult as the lines get longer and longer. The tour for Stormlight Four in 2020 might require me to do some things I've been dreading, such as limit the lines to a certain number of tickets. It makes me sad to contemplate, but I'll keep you all in the loop about what we decide to do.

December: Death Without Pizza

I needed a break from all the other things I've been doing, so in classic Brandon style, I worked on something fresh and new to give myself a breather. This was where I was going to do Wax and Wayne Four, but doing Children of the Nameless meant that instead of three months extra space at the end of the year, I only had one month. (As CotN had taken one month to write, and one month to revise.) I had the choice of pushing back the start of Stormlight Four, or doing something else for this month and trying to sneak in W&W 4 sometime next year. I chose the latter. It's important to me that I let myself do side projects to refresh myself—but I also think it's important to keep to my Stormlight schedule. It would be too easy to keep putting off the big books until they stretch to years in the making. I told myself I was going to divide my time in half between Stormlight and other projects.

The truth is, I'm getting really anxious about getting back to Stormlight. That's a very good sign, as once I finish a Stormlight book, I'm usually feeling quite burned out on the setting, and need a number of months to recover.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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simon_thekillerewok

A few weeks ago, you mentioned you were writing The Original with a friend, but in the SotS it looks like you haven't found anybody yet? Are those different people or is the SotS outdated?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't have contracts or permission to mention anyone's name. It's early enough along that I feel it's best to stay quiet for now.

YouTube Livestream 18 ()
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Questioner

Is there going to be a physical release planned for The Original at some point in the future? Or is it going to be audio-only?

Brandon Sanderson

I would anticipate that we would, eventually, do this. It was written for audio. I know we've just kind of briefly said "yeah, probably." But it's not like we've made any plans. It's not like we have a release in mind.

Mary Robinette Kowal

The conversations that we've had are basically, like, "Yeah, that would be awesome if someone wanted it." And also, I'm like, "And there needs to be some rewriting." There are scenes where we're relying on the narrator, and it won't play on the page.

Brandon Sanderson

So the answer is "Yes, probably." But we can't say when. And we have no specific plans yet.