State of the Sanderson 2023

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Name State of the Sanderson 2023
Date Dec. 19, 2023
Entries 10
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Brandon Sanderson


Whew, what a year! As I write this, the first of the December boxes are arriving in the hands of backers—meaning the Year of Sanderson has come to a close. By the time this goes live, I believe all of them will be shipped. Twelve boxes, with four books, delivered (mostly) on time!

This was a big year for us, full of grand ambitions—and full of Herculean efforts to fulfill those ambitions. Largely, we were successful!

As is my yearly tradition, I’m going to go over all the things happening in my world—giving a yearly retrospective, but also talking about how things stand right now. As always, this is going to be a bit exhaustive, but I hope you enjoy the ride.

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Brandon Sanderson

Part One: The Kickstarter

A large part of this year was, as I’ve already mentioned, been dominated by fulfilling on our Kickstarter campaign. Now that it’s done, we’re all taking a deep breath and letting things wind down a little. So what’s next?

Well, if you didn’t see my video concluding the Year of Sanderson, I think it is time to slow down. That’s an idea contrary to the way business normally works—every corporation is always focused on growing bigger and keeping customers spending money. That’s never been the way I see things though.

I still remember sitting down with another author soon after I was given the opportunity to complete the Wheel of Time, and this person (a good writer, and wise in the ways of business) said to me, “Now, make sure you go back to them immediately and pitch another follow-up series in the Wheel of Time world so your future is secure. If I were you, I’d want to have a dozen books under contract, so you can keep writing these for the next twenty years.”

That might have been the smart business decision, but I rejected it immediately—because that wasn’t what the Wheel of Time needed. And when others came to me and asked if I wanted to do a follow-up trilogy, I told them what I’ve always said: Robert Jordan didn’t want it done, so I don’t think I can do it in good conscience. More isn’t always better.

In this case, we’ve had five(!) new releases in one year. I don’t want or intend this to become the norm. I might try something like it again someday, but in the meantime we’re going to slow back down. Next year, we’ll likely only have the one book release: Stormlight 5. In addition, we are not going to try to continue the subscription box. We put all our best ideas into this year’s boxes, and we’re extremely pleased with the quality of what we created. It’s time to be done.

That said, we do have two crowdfunding campaigns coming this year. Nothing quite as ambitious as the Year of Sanderson, but both (I hope) worth your time. First will be the Words of Radiance leatherbound campaign, happening on BackerKit this time instead of Kickstarter. That is in March. We will follow that with Brotherwise and the Stormlight pen and paper RPG later in the year, something that many of you have been asking us for. I’ll give Brotherwise some room to update you later on that, as well as time for my crowdfunding team to talk details about Words of Radiance.

So, we’re not stopping—and I hope you’ll find something to love in what we’re doing. However, we’re not also going to try to replicate the lightning in a bottle that was the Year of Sanderson. I’m happy to walk away from that experience victorious, and let the quality of what we created stand for now.

Johnny O'Neal

Since 2022, Brotherwise Games has been working in close partnership with Dragonsteel to create the Stormlight® RPG. The official tabletop roleplaying game of The Stormlight Archive, this is a truly ambitious project that brings together some of the world’s most talented fantasy illustrators and game designers. We shared an overview of the system at Dragonsteel Con, but we can reveal a few new details today!

The Stormlight RPG will launch with three books. The Stormlight Handbook is our core rulebook for GMs and players, containing all the rules you need to play. The World Guide is a setting book that explores Roshar in detail, from its history and cultures to its unique flora and fauna. It’s also a gorgeous art book packed with new illustrations of the world, from the Shattered Plains to Rall Ellorim and beyond.

We can’t yet reveal the name of our third release, but it’s a campaign book featuring adventure content that will take heroes on an epic journey across Roshar. While every aspect of the RPG has been developed in collaboration with Dragonsteel, this adventure concept came directly from Dan and Brandon. It gives characters the chance to bond spren, become Radiants, and play a pivotal role in events leading up to the True Desolation.   We’ve designed this game for every Stormlight fan, whether you’re a longtime RPG aficionado, a first-time player, or just someone who will enjoy reading through new lore and artwork. You can sign up be notified when the crowdfunding campaign goes live in the second half of 2024. This is a dream project for everyone involved, and we can’t wait for you to experience this fantastic game

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Brandon Sanderson

Part Two: My Year (Other Than Kickstarter)

All right, with all of that out of the way, it’s time to talk about what I spent the year doing! So here’s a rundown, using my spreadsheet of work done as a guideline.

I spent January doing revisions on Defiant…then wrote Stormlight 5 for (checks notes) the next eleven months.


When I started the year, I had about 100k words written. I now have 450k written. Across eleven months, that’s a pretty good writing clip. Not insane, but respectable. I stopped a few times for revisions, but I spent the entire eleven months straight working on the book. It’s looking good, but I’m scheduled for six more months straight of revisions (which is the most difficult part of the process for me). So wish me luck!

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Brandon Sanderson

Part Three: Updates on Primary Projects


Book Five (now called just Wind and Truth) is basically done in rough draft form. I’m writing this update on the 2nd of December, and I assume by the time this goes live on my birthday that I’ll be very, very close—if not done already.

I do want to warn you that Horneater (the novella about Rock) will not be part of the Words of Radiance crowdfunding campaign. Why not? Well, I’ve realized that I would like to be able to write that sometime in the next couple of years when I’m missing Roshar, and want to jump back to tell a story there.

I don’t know when this will be though. It will likely be between one of the upcoming Mistborn Era Three novels. So…we’ll see. But I don’t want to offer it to you in the campaign since I don’t know when I’ll be writing it. (Sorry.)

Once I finish Wind and Truth, the Stormlight Archive novels will go on hiatus as I write the next few projects listed.


Era Two is finished as of last year, and my next mainline Cosmere project after Wind and Truth is Era Three, along with the long-awaited Elantris sequels.

I expect to start Ghostbloods (the name of the Era Three series) on January 1st, 2025. Half of next year will be revisions on Stormlight, and the rest I’ll spend catching up on things (like doing a White Sand prose novel update) that I’ve let languish a little too much lately.


Skyward is done! Please, if you haven’t picked up a copy of Defiant, consider doing so. This has been my best received, best selling, and best reviewed non-Cosmere work. I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out.

Janci is taking the reins for a sequel series we’re calling Skyward Legacy. And so I’m going to let her put a section in here talking about it!

Janci Patterson

Janci here! By the time you’re reading this, I should have turned in the first draft of the first book in the Skyward Legacy trilogy. I’m working on the end of the climax now, and I’m thrilled with how it’s turning out. I’m very happy with the book, and am looking forward to revising it over the next few months to get it into publishable shape.

The series begins a few months after the ending of Defiant. The working title of book one is Blightfall (this is not the final title, so don’t be surprised if it changes!), and the book follows Skyward Flight, now a special forces unit, from the perspectives of Sadie and Arturo. The humans of Detritus are no longer prisoners or rebels, but full citizens ready to take their place on the galactic stage. Skyward Flight’s first responsibility is to help the DDF Diplomatic Corps make contact with other humans in the old Superiority human preserves—and what they find there may pose a new threat to their alliances, their galactic reputation, and the future of humanity itself.

My intention for this series is for it to be all the things you love about Skyward while continuing the stories of many familiar characters. I hope you’ll give it read when book one comes out!

Brandon Sanderson

The Four Secret Projects

I thought I’d put this here to interrupt any questions. I do intend all four of the Secret Projects to be standalone stories! You might see these characters again, but for now let’s just allow them to be something currently rare in the fantasy/sf world: books meant to be read on their own, and enjoyed without sequels.

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Brandon Sanderson

Part Four: Updates on Secondary Projects


As I said, I’m getting ready to start into this series again! Expect more updates next year as I finalize my outlines for this and Ghostbloods. Elantris will soon become a Primary Project again.

Songs of the Dead

Back from the, uh, proverbial dead, this book is actually ready! It’s been sent out to publishers, and there are offers on it. So finally, the long-awaited story about an American necromancer living in London is a go.

Now, I did want to say one thing about this project. I built the outline and the world, but as things have gotten so busy with the Cosmere—and because revisions were taking a long time—I made the tough decision to hand this project completely to Peter Orullian, the coauthor.

I did two passes on the finished novel, but I’ve realized I won’t have the time to support the rest of the series in that way. The Cytoverse is really the only non-Cosmere thing I can devote time to right now, and while I think this novel turned out great, I have decided that I’m not going to be involved in any sequels. (Other than the worldbuilding being mine.) Now, some of you might try to read between the lines on this, so let me say, there’s nothing to find other than what I just wrote here. Peter and I get along great. I think you’ll love the book. It’s just that I can only do so much, and some five years ago I started to realize I had to limit the number of series (particularly non-Cosmere ones) that I can work on.

Peter fought valiantly for this book though, as did my agent—who really believes in it. So it finally came to fruition. I expect Peter himself to make an appearance on my livestreams in the future to talk about the book and the process, and I’ll keep you all updated. But do expect to see this one released in the near future.

White Sand

The time is nearly here. In July I expect to take the graphic novel, my original book, and a lot of notes I’ve been making, and create the definitive novel version of White Sand! Khriss is a major player in the Cosmere, and so having her book be readable in a prose version is an important task I want to get to.

Maybe we’ll have this one for Dragonsteel 2025.

Dark One

Dan is still working away on our novel here! I’ll let him give you an update.

Dan Wells

Hi! Dan here. Dark One is a wonderful project, and one we both believe in strongly. Unfortunately, as listeners of our podcast are aware, I was diagnosed with depression in 2021, and 2023 is the year it came to a head and messed everything up. So the book’s been delayed while I get my brain in order, but that’s mostly done now and I’m working hard on a new revision of Dark One.

In the past we’ve talked about this as the first of a trilogy, but the more we look at it, the more Brandon and I have decided that it wants to be a single book. Certainly more stories could be told about this world and these characters, but this first story, now that we see it take shape, is flowing very naturally into a clean and simple novel of about 150k words (give or take).

At the same time though, we are also expanding the story’s scope a little to include Christina and Sophie, the characters from the audio prequel Dark One: Forgotten. They were intended to be one-off characters exclusive to the prequel, but not only did we fall in love with them, they can help solve a lot of logistical puzzles we hadn’t quite cracked in the original outline. All in all, the Dark One story will be a little shorter but a lot more deep and rich. We think you’re going to love it.

Brandon Sanderson

Again, if you missed Dark One: Forgotten, the audio original Dan wrote last year, it’s awesome.

Super Awesome Danger

You might remember that when I did the reveal for the Year of Sanderson I had five manuscripts, not four. The fifth one (let’s call it Secret Project Zero, so that in discussing it people don’t think there’s one they’ve missed) was a middle-grade graphic novel about two brothers, based loosely on my children. One designs a video game named Super Awesome Danger, and the other gets trapped in it.

It’s a whole lot of fun. We’ve moved forward on working on some test images for the graphic novel, and I thought I’d share those with you! We’ll be producing this completely in house at Dragonsteel, using Ben McSweeney (who did the Shallan’s Sketchbook illustrations, among others) and Hayley Lazo (artist for the Alcatraz books) to create the art, using my script.

Back in 2019, my son Oliver drew a picture of a creature he named Robog—half robot and half frog—and he gave it to me. I hung it up on my mirror and looked at it every day for many months. Super Awesome Danger started as the story of Robog and developed into a tale of two brothers who design a video game together, and then one gets trapped in it.

Ben McSweeney is doing initial layout on the graphic novel, and Hayley's doing pencils and inks, and while we're still at the beginning of the process, so far it's turning out fantastic. Here's an initial layout by Ben along with some of Hayley's concept art. We're excited to show more of this as the month's progress.

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Brandon Sanderson

Part Five: Updates on Minor Projects


No movement. (Remember that part about me only being able to do so much?) Someday.


Finished. Nothing to report, though Steven Bohls is still interested in doing some more Reckoners, so maybe someday.

The Original

I keep letting this one slip through the cracks. Will try to get you all an ebook.

Unnamed Dan and Isaac Cosmere Novels

Both have made progress this year! But we’re doing this slowly and right. So nothing really to report yet, though Isaac has some words farther below.

Various Cosmere books I Might Write Someday

The Night Brigade, Dragonsteel, the Silence Divine, the Grand Apparatus, Mythos, the Aether World book series…wow, this list keeps growing. My my.

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Brandon Sanderson

Part Six: The Mistborn Film, Hollywood, and Video Games

The Mistborn film has been in development but has run into some hiccups and is on pause for now, but I hope to have more news to share in 2024. But really, there’s not much else to report. Snapshot (the novella) is still being tinkered with at Universal. It might be the only thing under option right now, because I basically put everything else on hold, despite interest, as I decide on a strategy.

Tress would make a pretty great animated feature though, don’t you think?

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Brandon Sanderson

Part Seven: News from My Company

Isaac Stewart

Many of you have asked how the Nicki Savage novel has been coming along, so here’s an update. The first draft is finished, clocking in at 118k words, about the same length as Shadows of Self. It needs a lot of revision before I show it to Brandon—he and I have discussed the story, but he hasn’t seen the manuscript yet—so getting it ready for him to read is my next step. As we build out Dragonsteel’s Creative Development department, I foresee more time to work on the revision.

Dan Wells

So what does the future hold? So many wonderful secrets. Dark One is tentatively planned for 2025. A very cool [REDACTED] is planned for 2024. And of course my first Cosmere series is deep in pre-production; I’ve built an extensive outline, and I’m working with Brandon and Isaac on some amazing worldbuilding, and I love it all. This is a story I’ve wanted to write for literally years, and having the opportunity to co-write it with Brandon is a dream come true.

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Brandon Sanderson

Part Eight: Projected Schedule

This one is going to be a little hard to gauge this year, as while a few things are set, a lot of others are in flux. For example, I’ll be writing Ghostbloods straight through, maybe with Elantris sequels in between, and don’t want to release any of them until they are all done.

Let’s assume they’re all 200k words, and I can do roughly 300k a year. That means I’d be writing them all of 2025, 2026, and 2027. That would put the first one probably coming out 2028, five years from now.

In the meantime, we’ll be working on some other cool things, as listed below.

December 2024: Wind and Truth

Spring 2025: Skyward Legacy One(?)

December 2025: White Sand Novel/Dark One(?)

Spring 2026: Skyward Legacy Two(?)

December 2026: Skyward Legacy Three(?)

December 2026: Horneater(?)

December 2027: TBD

December 2028: Ghostbloods 1

Summer 2029: Elantris 2

December 2029: Ghostbloods 2

Summer 2030: Elantris 3

December 2030: Ghostbloods 3

Note that Dan and Isaac’s Cosmere novels will be in here somewhere, as will Super Awesome Danger and likely a collection of all my non-Cosmere short fiction.

Also note that in the past, I’ve been bad at projecting things this far ahead. (You can go look at this section in previous State of the Sanderson posts to see.) So this is all subject to change!

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Brandon Sanderson

Part Ten: Conclusion

This document is always a lot of work to create, and I feel like I’ve done a marathon when we get it all together! I realize that for an author, I have quite the large business these days. Nobody else I know has more than a few assistants.

I’ve always had big dreams and big ambitions. However, it’s important to me that you know that…well, I’m still me. If that makes sense. I still spend most of my time writing the books themselves, despite all of this, because that’s the part I love the most.

This started as a guy in his basement telling stories, and I genuinely think I’d be happy if it had stayed that way. I like this a little better, but it can be overwhelming at times! My promise to you, however, is that I always try to keep a good work/life balance. (As good as someone in my position can.)

Thank you for all your enthusiasm and support this year in particular. It’s been incredible to see.

For now, I just hope to continue entertaining you—and surprising you—for many years to come.


Event details
Name State of the Sanderson 2023
Date Dec. 19, 2023
Entries 10
Upload sources