Not a writer at all
What's it like handing over keys to parts of the Cosmere to Dan and others? How do you see this collaboration working in the future once stories begin overlapping more?
It's very interesting. It's been, in some ways, a little bit easier than some of the other things. One of the things I realized in doing some of my collaborations that I did in the past was that handing over a story that I had been working on was actually kind of hard. Like, I didn't get to write the story. And once someone else wrote it, then it was written, and there was a part of me that was kind of a little bit sad. (Though some of those stories turned out fantastically, like The Original, which I wrote with Mary Robinette. She wrote it in a way I couldn't have.)
But with the Cosmere stories, we decided we're not doing that. What's happening with both Isaac and Dan (who are working on Cosmere stories) is, we sat down and we brainstormed stories in the Cosmere using some of my worldbuilding and things, but stories they wanted to tell that match who they are and their voices. So these are not books that I was planning to write, that I had outlined. These are books we're, like, "You know what? It'll work better if someone else doesn't just try to do a Brandon story that Brandon was planning to write, and instead we let them take the worldbuilding, the basis, and extrapolate from it." So Dan and Isaac and I have a brainstorming session every week, and we are working on just, right now, the worldbuilding and the plotting for Dan's story. And we've been spending a lot of time on it. It'll probably be another six months or a year before he even starts writing it, because we want to get it absolutely right. And it's a story that's doing the themes and what-not that Dan is really interested in. We're just (Isaac and I) making sure to help out and make sure it fits in the Cosmere. So I think it's gonna be a different kind of collaboration that I think is gonna work really well.
And I'm excited by it. There's nothing for this one that I'm like, "Oh, I wish I could write that." It is absolutely a Dan story built for Dan. It's gonna be a lot of fun. I won't say anything about it. I want Dan to come on and be able to talk about what's exciting, why he's made the decisions he has. But I'll say this: one of the nice things, we're in a spot where we can do something I never got to do when I was younger. Which is: have an art team do concept art. So Dan can say "I need this," and then the concept art team goes and comes back with twenty different versions of a worldbuilding thing done by three different artists, that he can be like "Oh, this is the one; extrapolate on this." It's actually a lot of fun. Having a concept art team is something that most writers never get to have, and I am really excited to be able to have it.