Stormlight Three Update #3

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Name
Name Stormlight Three Update #3
Date
Date July 4, 2016
Location
Location /r/Stormlight_Archive
Entries
Entries 21
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#1 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.

#2 Copy

wispirr

Given that these Stormlight books are (understandably) taking longer than you originally planned, have you had to re-outline your plans for the Cosmere overall to keep it from getting too big to finish? If each Stormlight book were to take 3 years going forward, then after Oathbringer it would be 7x3=21 years before the whole series is finished, and then all the Mistborn sci-fi and Dragonsteel books would have to happen, in addition to any other projects you're planning. At least that's the plan as I understand it. I definitely admire your ambition!

Brandon Sanderson

No revision plans right now, but I am watching. Considering my career so far had only been about ten years, and I've made great progress on the Cosmere, my instincts say I will be okay. But it is worth considering.

#3 Copy

socool111

I do have a quick question about Lift.

She is my favorite character (which is in by no means a sleight against your other AMAZING characters, I just love her dialogue and outlook on the world). I know you have intentions of giving her more space in the archive, but will any of it be in book 3.

Brandon Sanderson

She will appear in Book Three, but the real place for her is starting in Book Six. That's why I wanted to do a novella about her now. I might do more.

Lift is the sort of dangerous character that can cause epic fantasy series to spin off on tangents. She's fun, and I know she's relevant later--but if I start giving her big chunks now, it will distract from the important stories of the characters in these books, and might also play Lift's story out too early.

I think you'll enjoy Edgedancer, though.

#4 Copy

psychomanexe

I'm pretty sure moash was named after moshe, right? >.>

sheesania

Wow. I'd be pretty offended if the author I got published, after something like ten huge books, named one minor vengeful, traitorous character after me. Or else I would find it really amusing.

Brandon Sanderson

Moash was actually named before Moshe became my editor, as Alethi has some Hebrew roots, making some of the names similar to Hebrew names. He considers it a fun homage that I left it, after he became my editor. (Even considering what Moash does in WoR.)

grampipon

Alethi has Hebrew roots? Man, I'm Israeli and I didn't notice.

Brandon Sanderson

They're buried, but in there. The Kh that you see in a lot of Alethi (like Kholin) are a gutteral, kind of like Chet. That might help you find some. Do note that there are some other influences too, not the least of which being the Vorin idealism of symmetry. (Bonus fun fact, the Double Eye is inspired by the Sephirot, though that one's a little more obvious.)

#5 Copy

Moosehead

I'm pretty sure it's a case of me just forgetting that I read such a part, but where in the book does Shallan find out about Kaladin's abilities? I know once Adolin confronts Shallan for the first time about her powers, he then asks if she can fly like 'him (Kaladin)', and she just goes yeah, as if she knew for some time now about Kaladin's abilities.

It's such a small thing but it's been grinding away at me. I know Shallan revealed to Kaladin by summoning her shardblade over his shoulder in the chasm, but how did Kaladin reveal himself to Shallan?

Brandon Sanderson

If you re-read that scene, I believe she's confused by the question about her being able to fly, as so far as she knows, Radiants don't fly. (She only knows about herself and Jasnah. She finds out about Kaladin sometime around when most everyone else finds out about him, I believe. I'd have to look back specifically to see if I noted it, but by the end of that battle, everyone will be talking about it and so she will know.

#6 Copy

twixttwists

I couldn't help note that Adolin seems to have a somewhat special bond with his Shardblade. And there have been hints about reawakening the dead spren (mostly characters speculating it wouldn't be possible). But what I wanted to know is if someone like Adolin could convince his Shardblade's dead spren to become a spear or shield, like Kaladin gets to with Syl. Or does a spren need sentience to anticipate its bearer's needs?

Brandon Sanderson

Adolin's Shardblade is a RAFO, as I want this to play out naturally and not squelch discussion. Suffice it to say that a dead Shardblade, under normal circumstances, is locked into a single form.

#8 Copy

twixttwists

What would happen to Syl, say, if Kaladin dies? Can she transfer the bond to someone else?

Brandon Sanderson

So long as Kaladin did not forsake his oaths, Syl would be traumatized (as one might imagine) but be capable of forming another bond.

twixttwists

Good to know she can form another bond. I'm guessing she'll be a little more mindless in the interim, though? 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, without a strong tie to the Physical realm, she would have trouble thinking here if she pulled through to exist here.

#9 Copy

ascensionprops

I've been working on a Shardplate costume and had a couple questions. Firstly, when it comes to the armor/blades of the Knights Radiant (pre Recreance), was there a specific pattern layout to the glowing symbols? Like in lines around the armor, or just covering the whole thing? It wasn't described much (yet) in Dalinar's flashback in Way of Kings, though I understand if you're waiting to describe that as a reveal of sorts.

Brandon Sanderson

The patterns are individual, much as the Blades are, so you can't go wrong. They look more like lines around the armor, though, in most cases.

#10 Copy

ascensionprops

My other question is related to the Honorblades (and is most likely a RAFO for sure). Talenel's blade at the end of Way of Kings is described spike-like. We've seen that the magic systems are similar (especially with investiture) across the different cosmere worlds, even though they have different things that make the magic happen (Stormlight vs Breath etc). With this similarity, do the Honorblades imbue similar effects? I mean, the blade is not of Ruin (or is it? lol), but as a spike, does it imbue similar powers to Hemalurgy - without the obvious need to be stabbed with it heh?

Brandon Sanderson

The reference is intentional, as a call-back, but it is not the same mechanic. Remember, Szeth's blade is an Honorblade, and doesn't look like a spike. There is some similarity here, but it's minor.

#11 Copy

Phantine

Actually, another AA question - will the white sand graphic novel have an illustrated AA? IIRC the draft I read didn't have one. Would be neat to see how Khriss categorized things at the beginning of her career.

Brandon Sanderson

This is an excellent suggestion. There isn't plans for one now, but I could see including one in the third volume.

#14 Copy

Ghodicu

The pocket companion states that there are three spren that can bond a person to make them into a bondsmith, the Stormfather being one of them. As far as I recall the books implied that the number was low, and implied heavily that it was around that number in an epigraph, but didn't actually have a straight confirmation. So, should I take that as canon?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you can take that as canon. They came to me for that information.

yahasgaruna

Sweet. I guess it hasn't been canonized which three spren these are? I seem to recall that the prevailing theory on 17th Shard was that Nightwatcher was one of them, and the third was that weird spren with too many faces that Axies the Collector looked at in the tWoK interlude.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. :)

#15 Copy

Stonecrushinglizard

In a blog you recommended Rothfuss and after reading his books I have decide you are truely a god of the written word, oh great God, recommend other good reads, I will happily pay the required sacrifice of one greedily consumed chocolate cake.

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. Well, it depends on what you like.

Guy Gavrial Kay is very, very good. Read his newer work, or his classic stand-alones (like Tigana or the Lions of Al Rassan.) Don't start with his first few novels.

He's a little more literary than myself or Pat, but he sure can turn a beautiful phrase, and is one of those authors that seems to be able to do it all--storytelling, prose, character, humor, drama. N.K. Jemisin is another author who has been doing very beautiful writing lately, with solid plots, who could give Pat a run for his money.

For things that skew a little more adventure, I love Robin Hobb's work, and if you liked Mistborn, I think you'll like her books. Start with Assassin's Apprentice. Same goes for Brian McClellan and Brent Weeks.

I really liked Naomi Novik's Uprooted, which is a Hugo nominee this year. But it's very different from the ones I just listed. A dark fairy tale with historical roots.

#16 Copy

goody153

Are we gonna get more hints or insight about Harmony's involvement (the dudes he sent) or other non-Roshar shards involvement in the next book ?

Brandon Sanderson

There will continue to be hints in the books.

goody153

Ah thanks ! I wasn't expecting for you to reply . Good to know, i always found it interesting how many world hoppers are there in Stormlight so i figured there might be shards like at least watching Roshar events.

Might i ask if there are one or more non-Roshar shards that would be poking around?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to have to RAFO this. Watch and see what you find! :)

#18 Copy

fangorn

So, if a bonded human were to decide for whatever reason that he/she wanted to retire from being a Radiant, is it possible to do that or is the Nahel bond a lifetime gig?

For example, say Kaladin felt he could no longer uphold the requirements of being bonded to Syl, or eventually he just got old or worn out.

Brandon Sanderson

Retiring from the bond is possible under mechanics I haven't talked about yet in the series.

#20 Copy

Stormdancer

How do you manage your time to keep writing productively, during all that time on the road? Do you find yourself thinking about the WIP while signing book after book after book?

Brandon Sanderson

It's hard, and I'm not that productive, honestly. That's why I generally work on some new project, like a novella, instead of the main project. It's tiring enough on the road to write; writing something that is intense and requires a lot of working with other pieces in the story is even harder.

I can't think about the WIP while signing--otherwise I'll miss questions people ask. The last thing I want is for someone to wait four hours to meet me, then feel like they got brushed off. If I'm going to do the signings, I need to be mentally there for the signings.

I do get a lot of thinking done in the mornings before flying out to my next location for the day.

#21 Copy

OffhandOnion

Mr Sanderson, I think it speaks volumes for your character and dedication to the final product that you began this update with "I'm back for another update on how your book is going."

GunnerMcGrath

Funny, my response to that was "Brandon Sanderson is not my bitch." I'm glad he knows how invested we are in his novels but I've seen too many entitled idiots (most often Martin and Rothfuss fans) who really think the authors owe them something, and get irate if they don't get what they want in a timely manner.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't agree with your downvotes, Gunner. This is a legitimate position to take. (And for those not aware, that is a quote from Gaiman.) And I don't agree with the harassment some authors get. Everyone has different writing methods and speeds. And despite being known as "quick," I haven't been much better than Rothfuss at getting to book three of my big series.

That said, I do believe that a series is an implicit contract with the reader. When I put "book one" on a cover, particularly as prominently as with the Way of Kings, I do feel it is a promise. That's different from something like Warbreaker, where I say I'm planning a sequel, but didn't publicize the book as a series.

I use "your" in this context because I believe that storytelling is a participatory art--that it doesn't live without an audience to imagine it. Beyond that, I believe in the patronage theory of art. I am able to do what I do, as an artist, because of the support of the greater community.

That said, I am sympathetic to the Gaiman approach you quote, and think it would be good for fans to read that essay and consider it.

GunnerMcGrath

Thanks Brandon. I fully agree with and appreciate the feeling of duty to the audience when you say that this is book one. But you don't promise how long it will take to get to book two, and you don't take surveys from readers to find out what should happen. In my mind, it's not our book, it's yours, and we are here ready to enjoy it when it's finished.

Maybe my perspective is different because I'm a writer (of songs, not books) and it has taken me years of far less success than yours to come to terms with the fact that my art is mine to make or not make as I see fit. It's great to have fans who are so deeply invested in what we do but they are not the ones who have to do the creating and be satisfied with the results (which includes not only the work but also that permanent change in one's life and career after each new release).

I follow your career very closely, and I know quite a bit about your history and how you got here. These are very much your stories. You create them because they are part of you and to not create them would not do justice to who you are. You would write them if nobody read them, which is more than I can say for my own writing. So as much as I appreciate the connection you cultivate with your readers when you call them our books, I personally just don't see it that way.

Fortunately you are the most prolific author of our generation so we never really have to wait long, and yes, you are much better than Rothfuss when it comes to book three. But he's not my bitch either. So anyway, thanks for defending me a bit, I don't care about the down votes but I didn't mean to say anything too controversial to begin with!

Hope i can finally take you out for pizza next time you're in Chicago. Had a chance to do it for Michael J. Sullivan so he can tell you whether I'm mental or not. :)

Brandon Sanderson

I'll take you up on that pizza. I see you enough on-line that I'm pretty sure you're not mental. (No more so than the rest of us.)

I get what you're saying, and I agree with it. No, I'm not going to take polls on what to do with the books--this was actually a real danger when working on the Wheel of Time books. As I came out of fandom, I found it a real temptation (that I had to squish quickly) to put in tons of in-jokes and references.

There was a time, before I published, where I tried to write more of what I thought the market wanted, instead of what I felt I really wanted to write. It was a disaster, and the Stormlight Archive was my method of escaping that--my reaction to it, by writing only for me, in the way I most wanted to write.

So yes, you are correct. At the same time, I do consider the fandom at large my "boss" so to speak. The contract we have is that I will create art for them--not that I will let them control it, but that I WILL write it. I also have the philosophical belief that when a piece of art is released into the wild, so to speak, the author has to relinquish some ownership of it, for its own good. (And for the good of the community.)

Event details
Name
Name Stormlight Three Update #3
Date
Date July 4, 2016
Location
Location /r/Stormlight_Archive
Entries
Entries 21
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