Stormlight Three Update #6

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Name Stormlight Three Update #6
Date
Date Jan. 20, 2017
Location
Location /r/Stormlight_Archive
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#1

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.

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#2

Talbertross

Do you have the "end state" of the Cosmere in your mind? Do you know where, thirty years or so from now, where the main characters will be once all major Cosmere series are finished? Or do you plan on having them end at all?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I have a plan--but remember, we'll be dealing with a lot of new characters by then. The goal is not to take everyone you're reading about now, and have them appear in the final books. Some will persist, but my end game is more focused on events.

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#4

Khyrindor

You've said that Returned count as Cognitive shadows "stapled" back into their bodies, and that the Heralds are at least similar. Would I be right in assuming that Elantrians could be considered as Cognitive Shadows as well, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Brandon Sanderson

Elantrians are something different. They don't actually "die" to be created.

Recognize that the term cognitive shadow is an in-cosmere theory, which I'm not going to comment on as the creator of the setting. The theory is this:

Investiture seeks sapience. It looks for someone to control it or, in some instances, spontaneously adopts personality.

A mind (cognitive aspect of a person) can become infused with Investiture. This acts a little like minerals with petrified wood, replacing the mind and personality with investiture.

When the actual person dies, this investiture imprint remains behind. A copy of the soul, but not the actual soul.

Others disagree with this, and think the soul itself persists. Still others reject the theory in its entirety.

linkhyrule5

Huh.

... Kandra are almost literally stapled to their bodies with Hemalurgy - would they count as such, to the in-setting scholars?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they wouldn't. They are beings who have had their souls twisted by Hemalurgy--the soul never left, it's just been messed up. Someone else who has a soul stapled to a body with Hemalurgy would count though.

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#5

linkhyrule5

Kind of an off-topic question but - did the Elantrians know that the Aons were geomancy? Or did they know and just went insane too fast to get the details of whatever geographical catastrophe had just disturbed their lines?

Brandon Sanderson

They knew.

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#6

Phantine

Warbreaker question: does the gradual appearance of Returned across Nalthis follow the spread of trade routes from Hallandren?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it doesn't. But good question.

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#7

flying_shadow

How would an albino with red eyes be regarded on Roshar? Do they even exist there?

Brandon Sanderson

They would be deeply mistrusted. (Unfortunately.)

Mathota

Just because Rosharans are racist, or is it a cultural carryover from fear of the Voidbringers?

Peter Ahlstrom

Probably both.

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#8

mathota123

When a kandra loses its spikes temporarily and its memories degrade, is that happening because of the spikes decaying, or is something biological actually happening to where it has stored its memories?

Brandon Sanderson

It's biological. Good question!

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#9

tomerad

When we all finish reading book 10 in maybe 30 years from now, how much hidden secrets will we be able to discover from re reading books 1 and 2?

Brandon Sanderson

There will certainly be a lot of these--but at the same time, the way I plan and execute foreshadowing, I feel that most of them should have been figured out before Book Ten. I don't want to be obtuse just to be obtuse.

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#10

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.

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#11

Oudeis16

Do Idrians Return with a "purpose" they can reasonably complete in a week? From the book and annotations, purposes that we saw tended to be long-term goals. Does Endowment realize this, and only send back Idrians with tasks that can reasonably be accomplished in their shorter lifespans?

Brandon Sanderson

This is somewhat RAFO territory. (Sorry.)

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#12

Jamester86

Kalad and Kalak, Shashara and Shalash...a lot of names on Nalthis and Roshar seem related....pure coincidence?

Brandon Sanderson

There is a lot of crossover between the planets. But not every connection people make is an intentional one.

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#13

faragorn

I recently saw on TV some info about some incredibly violent physical events in our universe, namely a collision between two black holes or a star quake on a Magnetar or Neutron Star. Is a shard holder sufficiently independent of the physical realm to be immune to even such mega-violent events, or would even one of them have a tough time shrugging it off?

Brandon Sanderson

Ruin and Preservation were, together, able to form a planet--so I'd say they could shrug that sort of thing off, depending on circumstances.

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#14

Argent

Is death in the Cosmere a two-stage process? It seems to me like (under normal circumstances) the body dies first, sending the mind fully in the Cognitive Realm; the soul, presumably, remains in the Spiritual for the entire process. I am a little unclear on what happens after that though - what is it that passes into the Beyond, just the mind? Does the soul / spiritual aspect / Spiritweb just kind of... break down in the Spiritual Realm, turn into free investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. It's a two stage process, and most of what you said is correct. The odd thing is, though, that the spiritweb doesn't completely break down (just like your body doesn't immediately break down.) Even after a long time, there's a record of that spirit web in the spiritual realm.

Oversleep

Wait wait wait. If there is a "corpse" of Spiritweb (so to speak) and actual, physical corpse is also there... Could it be still viable for Hemalurgy? Could it be still viable for Hemalurgy if you really know what you're doing and have some useful powers (manipulating Connection comes to mind)?

Could you patch the remnants of the Spiritweb and staple it to the body and end up with some zombie-zombie Lifeless? You'd still need to give it a mind but I figure Awakening is just doing that?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

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#15

Phantine

What does Nightblood do if he gets fully drawn and runs out of breath and people to eat?

Does he start vaporizing the ground and start boring a hole to the center of the planet?

Brandon Sanderson

No, he won't. (Good question though.) I'm not sure I want to get into the mechanics of why not, yet. It WAS one of the first things we talked about with Nightblood, though. :)

Phantine

Not to go into mechanics, then, does Nightblood just 'go to sleep' when his job's done?

That would explain how Vasher is confident he'll be able to get Nightblood back, even if the person he tosses Nightblood to ends up fully drawing the blade.

Brandon Sanderson

He doesn't sleep, but if he draws in enough, he'll start to sound drunk or drowsy (depending on your interpretation.)

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#16

yafeshan

I am space nerd with a love of fantasy, so; Why is Scadrial prime example planet to invent space travel. Is its allomancy/ferruchemy/hemalurgy combination more suitable for that kind of technology or do they have other incentives to invent space travel other than regular technology development? Is it related to the intervention of unknown metal/shard/beings we saw?

Brandon Sanderson

There are a bunch of reasons.

The most technologically advanced of the planets (Taldain) is extremely isolationist because of its Shard, while Harmony is very interested in the progress of his people.

Scadrial has an advanced understanding of metallurgy, and for many years was quietly open to visitors from across the cosmere. In the modern era, that has enhanced. It's a much safer place to visit than, say, Sel, Threnody, or First of the Sun.

There are other reasons, too, which we'll get into as the world progresses. Having some prominent cosmere-aware people pulling strings behind the scenes is a big help. If you know other worlds are out there, and are populated, then you're more likely to push toward space travel.

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#17

Oversleep

I have a philosophy question that could actually be answered in cosmere:

Ship of Theseus in cosmere. If I went and replaced every part of the ship, would it still - Cognitively - be the same thing?

What if I replaced everything and made a second ship out of the parts from the first one? What could somebody watching all of that from Shadesmar tell me?

Brandon Sanderson

You're right, part of the design of the cosmere (which has some deep roots in classical philosophy) was an attempt to answer the Ship of Theseus question.

In the cosmere, part of the Cognitive--and even spiritual--aspect of a thing (particularly if it isn't sentient) is delineated by the way that thinking beings define it. Per the old joke about the axe, if you replace your axe head and think of the new axe as "Your Axe," then the cognitive and spiritual aspects of that thing will grow to reflect that.

If you replaced every part of your ship, and gave the sailors time to sail it, thinking of it as the same ship--it would become the same ship.

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#19

tech220

Two quick questions: Will we find out more about the Surges Division, Cohesion or Tension? We know practically nothing about them!

Could and Elsecaller Transport themselves into the Spiritual Realm? Has anyone tried?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO! (Sorry. I'm not likely to answer questions about the book when we've got it coming so quickly.)

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#20

DSC01

I'm probably too late to this party to get a question in, but just in case... The Resonances for Edgedancers and Bloodmaker/Slider pairings--are they basically the same thing? It's maybe mostly linguistic for Edgedancers and more like Invested method acting for the Wayne types, but if I'm reading things correctly, it seems that they're very closely related.

After all, Progression and Bloodmaking are quite similar. Abrasion and speed bubbles have a more tenuous link, but they do call bendalloy boys "Sliders," after all (no disrespect to bendalloy girls, but I couldn't pass up the alliteration).

Brandon Sanderson

The connections are more because the magics are all inter-related, and based on fundamental rules, and less because I was trying for any specific connection.

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#21

havoc_mayhem

On a related note, does Endowment personally know the purpose of each Returned, or does he/she just know that they have a purpose without knowing the specifics of what the purpose is?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, I'm afraid.

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#22

inthearena

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.

Don't you think this invite survivor bias? If the only ones who beta you books are people who love your books (granted there are a lot of them ;-) doesn't that result in a particularly district set of people who are reading for specific things?

Just curious.

Brandon Sanderson

Betas are supposed to be a test audience, not a critical audience. Meaning, I just want to judge how my fanbase will respond to the book.

For alphas (my editorial team) I look for the strong criticism. For Betas, I want people who are partial to the work, as they represent the average fan. I do try to fill them with some people who are more casual fans, as opposed to only the hardcore.

SouthernNorthEast

For alphas (my editorial team) I look for the strong criticism. For Betas, I want people who are partial to the work, as they represent the average fan. I do try to fill them with some people who are more casual fans, as opposed to only the hardcore.

Do you get a lot of information that you use from these Beta readers? Or - do you take a lot of that and actual use it in edits and revisions down the road?

Brandon Sanderson

We do get a lot of information, but it's more...how to describe it. It's more general AND more specific.

On one hand, what we get from the betas is a general feel for the book, and how it will be received. We also get specific little continuity goofs that we've missed.

Editorial tends to be able to talk about story structure, characterization, that sort of thing on the macro scale. Betas tend to give more of a view of the book emotionally--is this book matching expectations, are parts of it boring, that sort of thing.

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#23

Telen

How would a Desolation look like on another Shardworld? Would it look different or just more or less similar?

Brandon Sanderson

The term "Desolation" isn't really a cosmere-wide term. It's a Rosharan word for a specific type of event that happens there--and so I have no context for what it would mean no other worlds.

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#24

StickerBrush

Maybe not the best place to ask, but one of your remarks reminded me:

will input beta reader comments and writing group comments

So, do you have one master document where you input their comments? How do you organize and consolidate all of their input? I'm a part of a writer's group and I now have like 5-6 copies of each chapter I've submitted and I have no idea how to get started in organizing it.

My best idea so far is to have one master doc (which is a clone of the original) and mark it up with each user's feedback.

Thanks for any advice.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't actually have people mark up the text any more, but I used to do it as you say. These days, I instead put up a google sheet with a tab for each chapter, and then I have beta readers put feedback on the appropriate tab. Peter then collates these comments and inserts them into a draft of the book for me to read in context and made decisions about.

StickerBrush

Time to find me a Peter.

Thanks for the advice!

Peter Ahlstrom

It's possible to use Word's Merge Documents feature even on 5–6 copies of a chapter (just do two at a time). But this can create a lot of artifacts. I did that during the Towers of Midnight editing and it's a real pain dealing with all of the repeat punctuation that appears, like ,”,”,”,”,”

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#25

montywoodpeg

Would you or [Peter] consider joining the reddit Cosmere Discord for a kind of AMA or even just a visit to chat? I can certainly understand if you wanted to maintain control over dialogue than what live text (or audio) chat could provide, but I can't help thinking it would make for a great form of interaction with an audience of dedicated fans. There's non-cosmere sections available to just discuss books in general, for what it's worth.

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not opposed to this sort of thing.

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#26

link6112

How does one become a beta reader?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not easy. It involves being very involved in fandom, usually, and proving yourself trustworthy and having people who are already betas vouch for you.

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#27

Argent

I've been listening to this year's Writing Excuses, and in one of the more recent episodes you had a romance author (whose name I can't recall right now), and the topic of how popular the romance genre is, and how good some of its authors are came up. I don't think I've ever read a romance novel, but I wondered whether you can recommend one that might appeal to your readers? I am curious to see what makes those books so popular, but I don't want to just pick something from the bookstore's shelf...

Brandon Sanderson

I might start with something in-between, like Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince. It's shelved in fantasy, but has some strong romance roots. (The author has even written a romance novel or two.)

Mary's own Shades of Milk and Honey is a romance novel that is shelved in fantasy as well.

As for straight up romance, let me think about it. Most of what I enjoy is hybrid.

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#28

The_Immortal_Shogun

Is there some reason why the characters in the cover don't seem to reflect the Hawaiian esque description you seem to have in your head. For Kaladin for example

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Basically, I was too intimidated by being able to work with Michael Whelan to be picky.

It goes a little further than that. The original cover was closer in skin tone and features to what I'd imagined. (Remember, I view the Alethi as kind of Asian Hawaiian hybrids.) However, the pose and overall look of the figure wasn't great.

I chose not to say anything, because I love Mr. Whelan's work, and was simply thrilled to be working with him. Plus, I liked the cover quite a bit, even if something was slightly off with the figure. Well, Mr. Whelan obviously saw what I had, and over the next few months we got a string of revisions from him.

By the time he'd settled on the current one (which was the best of the ones he'd sent) I didn't want to bother him with redesigning Kaladin yet again.

We're still trying to get this right. In working with Dan Dos Santos to do the clothing portraits in the second book, I kept having trouble describing to him what to use. I think he got much closer to the look of the Alethi, but I don't feel we're there yet.

Third cover is shaping up nicely, and we're being careful to nudge Mr. Whelan toward a more Alethi look.

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#29

Argent

When you say that the Returned are cognitive shadows, are they shadows of the people they were pre-death? In other words, is Lightsong Llarimar's cognitive shadow stapled to his body with a Divine Breath?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they are. (The evidence in the books is Lightsong obtaining some of the memories his pre-death soul had.)

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#30

Argent

We've seen cognitive shadows in the Cognitive Realm (e.g. Kelsier), and in the Physical (Returned, Shades, Heralds (kind of, sort of)). Is it alright to refer to shadows both with and without a body as "cognitive shadows"?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. The shadow is the spirit, though, so there is some distinction.

Event details
Name
Name Stormlight Three Update #6
Date
Date Jan. 20, 2017
Location
Location /r/Stormlight_Archive
Entries
Entries 30
Upload sources