when Brandon says Scadrial's life is at it's poles, does he mean hemispheres?
It's the magnetic poles, which are not close to the geographic poles.
when Brandon says Scadrial's life is at it's poles, does he mean hemispheres?
It's the magnetic poles, which are not close to the geographic poles.
I was re-reading Alloy of Law and wondering...was naming them Wax and Wayne by accident, or is there a higher purpose?
It was an accident, and Brandon almost changed their names when he realized it, but they were too solid in his head by then.
I've been wondering about Cosmere holidays and feast days, specifically for Mistborn. I'm wondering, does Era 2 Scadrial have a Christmas-like or Easter-like holiday, and is it called Maremas?
No, this is something I think about and then don't have as much time ever to work in as I want to. They have quite a few holidays and feast days in Era 2 Mistborn, partially because Era 2 Mistborn was founded by a bunch of people who didn't get a lot of holidays during their life and then suffered through quite a bit in their lives, and then found themselves in a situation where, perhaps, hard manual labor, while important, was not as necessary as it might be in some other situations. So yeah, there are quite a bit; they are good at taking time off. Probably the best of all of the cultures depicted in the book... I don't know. They're gonna have a lot of feast days on Nalthis also.
Yes, but I would have to go to my notes. I'll try to do a better job of getting more of those in the books. 'Cause it's a place that I feel like I don't do enough. I don't talk enough about sports, I don't talk enough about feast days. Everything is about the plots of the stories, and sometimes I wonder if this just presents an inaccurate representation of the society. But of course, when our viewpoint character is someone like Wax, who looks askance at holidays, then I get a little bit more leeway on that.
If you could have a beer with one of your characters, which would it be?
Well, since I don't drink, I would have a root beer. I would like to go hang out with Sazed. That would be my choice. I think Sazed is more wise than I was able to write him being and would have lots of good advice for me.
Is there a character based off of Emily [Sanderson]?
Not really... she asked me not to put her in the books as a cameo sort of thing. Some of my friends are in the books as cameos, and some are in the books as more than cameos, like Skar [from Bridge Four] is based on my friend Skar.
And in that case, he looks like him, he acts like him.
Because Skar is one of the few people I know who is in the military, so I'm like, "I'm gonna use you as a character, because you act like a military person, and I think that's a good thing." He's like, "Yeah, I'm totally on board with that." Most of them are just cameos and things like that.
In most cases, when Brandon puts someone in a book, it's not the whole person. It's a character trait, or a physical trait, or a personality trait, or something like that. Sometimes I'll see characters who say things that I've said.
Syl says "I'm intelligent and articulate"... that came from when you were... three?
That's a quote from when I was three, and my dad taught me to say... no, I was younger than that, I was like eighteen months old, and I could speak really clearly, and he taught me to say "I am intelligent and articulate". Brandon heard that story from my dad and put that in.
The character that I would say owes the most to Emily - even though it's not based on Emily - is Navani, because being able to have a wonderful wife has helped me to write a wonderful wife. They're very different people, but there's definitely some...
I can relate with Navani in a lot of ways, in certain roles that she has.
The prologue to this new book [Stormlight Four] is Navani, and it owes some very specific things to Emily.
Do you ever need a reminder of what your own magic systems can do, or is all laid out pretty perfectly in your mind?
No, I need reminders on the kind of subtle things. Mostly terminology and what decisions I made, because in a book sometimes you'll make decisions on the fly where you're like, "I think this isn't working, I'm gonna change it to this," or things like that. Like, I still forget that I swapped tin for silver. And I still forget exactly what terminology I came up for Szeth using the Lashings, and some stuff like that. And sometimes I need a, "Hey, does this feel like it works for the magic system?" Because the further we get in the Cosmere, the less simple the rules are, and the more complicated and - like real world physics, where you're building things that work like complicated engineering devices, right? Like, building some of the ways that magic is working on Scadrial with the mechanical elements, and the medallions, and stuff like that is getting really complicated, and I had to write it out and I had to go back and reference that. Because yes, I can remember what metal does what and what the rules are here, but the actual how-they-all-interact-and-come-together gets kinda complicated! So yeah, definitely need reminders on my own magic systems.
Are there any clues or easter eggs in Roshar/the cosmere that have not been discovered yet?
Yeah, but they're not ones that you should be able to discover. They'll just be things that you'll able to look back at. We embed some things here and there in the art, like the lastclap that was in foreshadowed in the margins of one of the art pieces in the first book, with someone catching a Shardblade. For instance, a lot of the little circles for characters at the start of the stories represent things that will happen much later in the series, but most of them are intentionally zoomed in of what the shot would be so that you can't tell right now, because these are not things that you're supposed to be able to figure out. Most things that I intended for you to figure out, you did, and some that I didn't intend you to figure out, you also did. So people can feel very proud of that. Yes, there are a bunch of easter eggs, there are a ton of them, but there is no way you can figure out what they are.
Does Hoid have any rules, self-imposed or otherwise, about how much he can interfere with what is going on on whatever planet he is currently on? And why does he take such an active part on Roshar, compared to the other planets he has visited?
Hoid has a few rules of thumb, but he does not have the same rules that the Shards have to follow, which is basically one of the big points that makes Hoid do what he does. He has to watch out, because drawing their attention at the wrong time can be very dangerous. But that's not necessarily a rule, it's more of a "be careful." He's defined by the fact that he doesn't have to follow the rules. And he's also defined by the fact that he intervenes when a lot of others think that one should not intervene, as made evident by the chastisement he receives from Frost. So, I would say, no and yes. There are some weird limitations on him related to things in his past that you will find out about eventually, but those are not really about intervening.
Why Roshar more than others? There are a couple of reasons for this. One is: the way he is intervening on Roshar is something that is directly involving the main characters of the book I'm writing. He actually has done a lot on other planets as well, you just haven't seen it because he hasn't been as involved with the main characters. Why is he involved with the main characters? Well, he is trying to get to be a Knight Radiant, and he wants to be involved with the people who are becoming Knights Radiant, because he wants to figure out how that magic works and specifically how you can get off-world with it, which is the real trick on Roshar. So he, in this specific instance, is really involved with those characters because of that reason. A lot of the other places he will go, the magic is already extant, and it's not like Roshar, where the magic has not been around for a while. So he is kind of by necessity more involved in the plot.
Brandon here, with another progress update on your book. Previous update can be read here. You might have heard about my marathon write to push to the finish last week--but if you didn't, you can glance through my facebook page to see the hourly updates. Short version: the book is done! (Kind of.)
So where do we go from here? Well, I generally do five drafts of a book these days. The rough draft, which I finished last week, is only the first of these five--and each one takes roughly a month to do. So I've still got five months of work ahead of me, plus a little time between edits to do something else, before we're finished with this behemoth of a book.
I'll be doing the second draft starting next week. Fortunately, I've already done a 2.0 on several of the early parts--squeezing those in early so my editorial team could start working on them. This should make the 2.0 take less time than a normal revisions, perhaps two weeks instead of four or five. You can follow along, as always, on my website.
A 2.0 draft is me going through and fixing all the things I know are broken (and there are always a lot of those) while doing the initial polish of the language. Once done, I'll need to roll straight in to work on the 3.0 (the draft where I put in my editor/agent/writing group comments.) We've been workshopping this book in writing group since early last year, so I've got a lot of feedback already.
After the 3.0 draft, we'll start sending the book to beta readers and I'll (hopefully) take a short break to write a novella. (Rysn, potentially, involving the history and current lore of Aimia, the Sleepless, and some intriguing things like that.)
4.0 is the draft I'll do incorporating beta reader comments, along with any other editorial comments from the team at Tor. 5.0 will be my final polish, and 10% trim, where I try to make the book read better.
Goal is to turn that in July 1st. After that, it's into the hands of the copyeditors and proofreaders for several months.
The book is looking really good, and I'm pleased with how it turned out. That's relieving because at the end of Oathbringer, I had real concerns about Book Four. By this point in the process of a series, I've often reworked the outlines so many times that the last books are in a messy state--but the outlining work I did whipped this one into shape, and also organized Book Five in a lot of exciting ways.
Everything is looking great for the final book in this sequence 2023. Thanks as always for your patience. I'll drop by for another update in a few months or so to let you know how the novella went (if it got written) and how editing is progressing.
Assuming I don’t add anything else, like a Mistborn cyberpunk between eras three and four
I didn't know how much I needed this in my life until you mentioned it. Even if it was just a small one off. This would be peak awesome.
We'll have to see. I would like to do something here, but it's going to depend on a lot of different factors.
Even just a short story or novella to provide a little window into that era to bridge the gap before Era 4 would make me unbelievably happy
I'm sure we will need something. A novella at the least makes sense.
WOOT WOOT SOULBURNER STUFF! I remember asking you about that in the Skyward Reddit Q&A and you said not to get my hopes up...permission to get them up now...?
Your hopes can go up. There's something really cool happening with Soulburner.
I've been wondering if we were going to leave the cosmere star cluster and see how things are beyond that, guess it's confirmed. Starsight Release Party (Nov. 26, 2019)
"Tried to" is operative here.
As you all can guess from this [Stormlight Four release date], I finally decided that I've made enough progress (and am likely enough to finish the final book in time) that I let Tor pick a date and start the marketing Machine.
As we stand right now, I have 10 chapters plus the climax (which can be quite large) and epilogue to finish before the end of the year, and I'm thinking I'll make it.
Climax? Haven't you said this book doesn't have one big epic climax like previous books but three different climatic scenes for three different characters in three different places? Did you change it?
No, that is the way it is--but the other two climactic sequences are done already. And I saved the one with the most characters, and therefore the one that will take the most time, to write last. You're right, though, in that Arc 2 and Arc 3 already have their climactic scenes finished. One will happen in the middle of Part Four, and one will happen around the Epilogue, with the Arc One climax taking the traditional "Big chunk of the ending" slot.
How long is Arc 3 (Arc 1 is 200+K words and Arc 2 is 80K words)? Which character does it follow?
The arcs are now completely interwoven, as I've been layering them in the full document as I finish them. So it's really hard to say how long each arc is at this point. (Sorry.) I also haven't revealed which characters are in which arcs, as I think the groupings would give away too much.
Don't be sorry :) You dropped some info about the length of Arc 1 and Arc 2, and I thought Arc 3 is also known, but you forgot to mention it in the last update.
So there will be three separate arcs with no interwentions, BUT...main characters, Shallan, Dalinar, Kaladin will all be together again in book 5 for "grand final", right?
Let's not talk too much about book five yet, as book four isn't even out. But I do anticipate book five having a plot structure more similar to books two and three, rather than books one and four. (IE, most main characters together for big chunks of the plot, rather than separate.)
That's subject to change as I tweak the outline following the finish of four. It will be a major finale for the series, though.
I vaguely recall reading a WoB somewhere saying you were toying with the idea of doing cyberpunk Mistborn between Era 3 and 4. Have you shelved that completely?
It's still there in the back of my mind, but I'd need to see how Era Three plays out before I say more. Beyond that, I have to make certain I'm setting goals I can realistically finish before I'm too old. I'm trying to contain the scope of the cosmere to be certain I don't start too many things that slow down the release of the main line books.
The Mistborn cyberpunk era and the 1940s era would certainly be fun to see glimpses into in novella form, even if they'll never be the main "Eras".
That's a distinct possibility.
Do you anticipate ever writing a climax as big as the Last Battle again? I'm sure keeping that chapter straight was a huge endeavor
:) I'm pleased with how people responded to its length, I must say.
In case you're interested in more than the innuendo, I don't know that I imagine ever doing a chapter of that scope again. If I do, though, it would come either at the end of Stormlight 10 or the final Mistborn book at the end of the full sequence.
Are there plans for Arcanum [Unbounded] Vol. 2 somewhere down the line?
Yes, but I need to write MANY more novellas before we can collect them again.
Are you still planning on a Wandersail and/or aRock novella?
Yes, but we'll see. It's going to depend on how the revisions go on Book Four. There's a good chance I'll need a little sanity (ie, writing something new) in the middle of that process, but I'd have to be far enough ahead to spare a few weeks to work on it.
Weren’t you working on a sequel to Sixth of the Dusk?
I have a pretty good chapter and an outline, but it gives away a lot about space age cosmere, so I don't know when I'll finish and release it.
And take them out directly in the Arcanum or separately first??
I'd probably do them separately, as I did with the others, then get a collection together once there are enough of them.
From what I understand, Sanderson has basically decades of books planned, and the next Mistborn era should be coming out after this first Stormlight series is done, which will be 5 books in total.
I forgot the source on this, and honestly this is more from multiple interviews of his, so take it with a grain of salt, but my understanding is that he writes each series in chunks, so his writing timeline would look something like this:
So Mistborn won't be coming out until the 5th Stormlight book is done, and so on down the line. If you expand the schedule, we can expect almost yearly Sanderson books until 2040! Guy is a machine.
You've got this mostly right, though we've just gone ahead and renamed the 1980s one "Era Three" because of confusion, and Wax and Wayne Era Two. (People didn't really take to my Era 1.5 philosophy on that one, so we are just going with the easiest method of discussing it instead.) Era Three will be a little more Tom Clancy spy thriller than cyberpunk. And Era Four is the same as the final cosmere books. (But you forgot Dragonsteel, which will happen right before it--Hoid's origin story.)
I hope you don’t mind me asking, how do you think you’ll approach balancing out knowledge self-contained to the Mistborn series with the audience’s need to know about the larger Cosmere? Do people who only read Mistborn have to brush up on Roshar stuff beforehand?
For the final Mistborn trilogy, they will have to. That will be the cosmere equivalent of Endgame or something--the series that won't really work for you unless you've followed most everything up to that point. Dragonsteel, Era Three, etc should still work as stand-alones.
That will be the cosmere equivalent of Endgame or something
This sentence alone gives me shivers. I can't wait for all of it. And I hope that everything comes together as you plan and hope.
I'm always hesitant to make Avengers comparisons, as the cosmere endgame is less about individuals coming together (though there will be some of that) and more about the clash between philosophies and cultures. But who knows? That is several decades away. Right now, I just need to keep working on Stormlight Four.
How thick do you think you’ll go for the Era 4 books? Stormlight level word count or keeping with Mistborn’s general length?
I would anticipate Era Four going Stormlight length. (Though Era Three should be regular Mistborn length, I think.)
So for years GRRM has had a yearly Song of Ice and Fire calendar.
I’d like to think the Cosmere is big enough / popular enough to get similar treatment?
I think there is some great artwork and I love seeing the collections in the leather-bound editions and things.
This is on our radar. Actually, because of the way the year on Roshar works, we could theoretically come up with an 18-month calendar that has our dates, Roshar dates, and list all the highstorms and Everstorms. That might be more niche than just doing a normal calendar, though.
In a recent WoB, you have stated you considered Adolin to be young, hotheaded, and impulsive. However, the narrative of Oathbringer seems to draw a very different portrayal of Adolin: he comes across as very level-headed. Hence, has Adolin's character changed since the early books? Should readers interpret Adolin as level-headed or impulsive?
It's not really my place to argue questions like this--I need to write the text, and leave it for readers to interpret. However, I see Adolin (though growing and changing) still as being hotheaded. He refuses the throne, he repeatedly takes on foes much bigger and more dangerous than himself, he leads the charge in the assault on the palace, he decides to bring everyone to his tailor without consulting them on the idea.
Adolin is a guy who follows his gut. At the same time, he's a trained duelist--and has been prepared for battlefield command since his childhood. When you're in the middle of a war (or an event like the collapse of Kholinar) you need to be able to take command and make decisions. He'd be a terrible soldier and commander if he couldn't do this.
The fact that, despite his training, he does things like attack Sadeas and try to take on a Thunderclast by himself is the proof of his character.
One thing you might have noticed in the secondary projects section is that I have a number of collaborations in the works. This is partially because I wanted the chance to work with some of my friends on books, which is a fun and different way to write. But it’s also because I’ve begun to realize that I need to keep more of my focus on the Cosmere.
That isn’t to say I’m not going to write anything that isn’t Cosmere moving forward. (Skyward proves that.) At the same time, these State of the Sanderson posts come out on my birthday each year—and as I age, I’m growing more aware that I won’t be able to write all the books I want to. I’m still relatively young, and relatively fast as a writer.
Let me explain. Back in my 30s, I generally didn’t worry that I wouldn’t be able to finish things I started—that wasn’t even something that occurred to me. I just wrote whatever I wanted at the time I wanted to write it. Now I’m in my 40s, and I’ve realized that the Cosmere is also a big project. Back in the summer of 2007—before I even had kids and before the Wheel of Time came my way—I first sat down and asked myself, “How big is the Cosmere?” I came up with an outline of between 32 and 36 books. That seemed like an easy task. At two books a year, that would barely be fifteen years out of my (hopefully) very long career.
But I was somewhat naive then about a number of things. I didn’t realize just how much effort Stormlight books would take to write. I didn’t realize how much time touring would eat out of my schedule as I grew more popular. I didn’t realize how many other things might take my attention, like doing films.
A few years after that 2007 outline, I realized that I needed to start writing some of my side projects as novellas, rather than novel series with promised sequels. (Things like The Emperor’s Soul and Sixth of the Dusk grew out of that realization.) Lately, I’ve begun asking myself on some of my ideas, “Could I do this as a collaboration? As an audio original or graphic novel?” These are other ways to tell my stories, but to do so in a manner that takes less of my direct time. You’re all going to have to tell me if you like the products of this effort. I can’t stop doing side projects; as I’ve said many times, this is how I prevent myself from burning out. But maybe I can make the deviations I take to do those side projects a little less time-consuming.
For what it’s worth, here is what I have as the current Cosmere sequence, not counting potential YA books or the occasional novella. Finished books are in bold. This isn’t an exact chronology of when I’ll write them either.
That’s thirty-five novels. The original outline I made in 2007 had a maximum of thirty-six, but was a little different. For example, I had Dragonsteel in my mind as seven books back then—but as I progressed through the Cosmere I quickly realized that I was offloading a lot of that story to Stormlight. (Bridge Four, remember, started on Yolen—the Dragonsteel world. So did Dalinar, actually.)
I’ve shrunk Dragonsteel to a trilogy as I focused on what I wanted it to be: a compelling story about Hoid and his origins. (Along with the shattering of Adonalsium.) That snapped Dragonsteel into place in the Cosmere quite nicely. This is why I’m still at around the same number of mainline novels even after adding the Wax and Wayne books.
The original outline didn’t name the Threnody novel as such; that slot was filled by a standalone where I planned to do some of the things I’ll now accomplish. In the original outline I had White Sand, but that became a graphic novel series. This, plus my uncertainty at the start if there would be other standalone novels, indicates why I had a 32–36-book series in mind at the start, but now have 35 “mainline” Cosmere books. (Another point I’ve wavered on is where Aether fits into this.)
That makes eleven books in the Cosmere finished in the last 15 years, less than a third of the full Cosmere sequence. This means, at this speed, I’ve got at least another thirty years of writing to do—putting me optimistically at age seventy-four when I finish. (Assuming I don’t add anything else, like a Mistborn cyberpunk between eras three and four—or a standalone or two, which I’d really like to be doing more.)
So, perhaps you can see why I feel a need to start focusing a little more attention on the Cosmere. I don’t want the years to slip away from me, and right now seems the time I need to be thinking about this—not when I hit sixty and realize I’ve been ignoring one series or another.
I write this out not to scare you. (Hopefully.) One of the reasons I divided it all up into separate sequences, even within the same series, is so that we’ll have endings and be able to “complete” series, rather than leaving you hanging forever, feeling like these things are going on too long. At the same time, the Cosmere is my life’s work—and from the get-go, I wanted it to be epic in every sense of the word.
I hope you are enjoying the journey, because I don’t intend to stop anytime soon.
Thank you all for another fantastic year.
A publisher Isaac has worked with doing picture books asked if maybe we could do an adaptation of “the girl who looked up” story that Shallan and Wit tell in Oathbringer. We thought this was a pretty cool idea, and so Isaac is working on the adaptation. If we do this right, it could come out around the same time as Book Four.Brotherwise Call to Adventure Board Game
This summer, Brotherwise Games will release Call to Adventure: The Stormlight Archive. Originally planned as an expansion for the board game Call to Adventure, it has grown into a full standalone game with 120 cards and everything you need to play. Call to Adventure is a hero-crafting game that combines strategy and storytelling. It’s similar to some “tableau-building” games where you’re creating a kingdom or civilization, but in this game you’re building a character. Each player begins with cards that define your hero’s origin, motivation, and destiny. Over the course of the game, you overcome challenges and gain traits. It’s a game with points and a clear winner, but the highlight of every game is telling your hero’s story at the end.
The guys at Brotherwise are huge fans, and they’ve worked closely with us to make sure the Stormlight Archive game is true to the books. It emphasizes cooperative play as players become Radiants and face Odium, but it’s possible to choose a villainous path and work against the team. The cards are all inspired by familiar scenes and themes, and in Call to Adventure you’re piecing together those moments to tell new stories. Here’s a sneak peek at illustrations for some of the cards: Choose A Side (Ganna Pazyniuk), Herald of Justice (Petar Penev), Face the Unmade(Artem Demura), Leader (Ari Ibarra), Elsecaller (Randy Vargas), and One More Try (Artem Demura). Expect more news on the game closer to its release date in summer 2020!Crafty Games Dice Kickstarter
If you’re reading this when it comes out, know that you’ve only got a few hours left to get in on the Mistborn dice Kickstarter (and help them try to meet their final stretch goal). This should be the last Kickstarter we do for anything until we reach the Stormlight one in the summer.
Crafty has been doing great work on the RPG front, and have been an excellent partner. If you’re at all interested in dice, have a look at their Kickstarter. I’m really looking forward to getting mine!
Note: read last year’s State of the Sanderson for more talk on what it takes to make a film or television show out of a novel. However, the biggest news here is that I’ve decided to try taking a more active role in getting some of these made. To that end, I’ve most specifically been working closer with Dan Mintz, the producer who is trying to get some Cosmere things made. See below.Snapshot
New screenplay has been written, and is being shopped to directors right now, so far as I know. Still under option by MGM, and looking good—but no real updates.Stormlight Archive
I’ve offered Dan Mintz to do treatments for this myself, and he’s been very amenable. He and I have been working more closely together lately to see if we can make this happen.Steelheart
Option lapsed at Fox just last month. This wasn’t surprising, as after the Fox/Disney merger, there wasn’t much of a chance that Disney would greenlight a non-Marvel superhero project. Instead of immediately going out to shop this again though, I’m taking a few months to consider how I want to approach film and television.Legion
Still under option to Cineflix Media. No updates lately.Skyward
Deal is in the works, but can’t talk about it yet.Alcatraz
Likewise, deal is in the works, but can’t talk about it yet.Dark One
Working on this with JMS, which has been super cool.Mistborn
Considering maybe writing the screenplay on this myself. After speaking with Dan Mintz, we decided he would focus on spearheading Stormlight, and I would focus on spearheading Mistborn. So we’ll see what I decide to do.
Part Five: Updates on Minor Projects
For many of these little projects, you may want to glance back at previous State of the Sanderson documents to see what they even are, as this is pretty long already and I don’t want to keep making the same pitch every year. So really, take note if a specific idea interested you, but don’t worry if you’re confused and you don’t get many details here on these.
The Reckoners, Legion
Both are completed. Though I’ve had enough people asking after them that we’re toying with doing some audio-original novellas set in these worlds. For example, one of my big goals for Legion was to get it made into a television series. While that could still happen, as it’s under option by a production company, I’ve been thinking that maybe I could do something like that on my own—as an audio series. We could create a sequence of episodes written by a writer’s room with me as the “showrunner.” I could see doing something like this with the Reckoners to continue that story, for those who want to know what happens next.
If we can get these off the ground, I’ll let you know. Also, if you like The Original, please let me know—as that will influence me in doing similar projects with Legion and the Reckoners.
STATUS: Completed, but cool things could still happen.
No change from last year. This space opera series of novellas is in limbo until I find the right time to work on them. It will happen eventually.
STATUS: No movement.
Something’s happening here, but it’s hush-hush for now.
The Apocalypse Guard
Well, this book got weirder—as expected with Dan and me working together on something. It’s moved to the back burner, as even Dan’s revision wasn’t enough to get it where we want it to be. So this one is entering limbo for now.
STATUS: No motion for months now, might be dead.
Untitled Threnody Novel, Sixth of the Dusk sequel, another story with Shai, and The Silence Divine persist as “maybe” stories that someday I might write. They are joined by a Secret Standalone Cosmere Book, that wacky YA Cosmere Book with Magic Kites, Untitled First of the Sun YA novel (not involving Sixth), and a few others as Cosmere novels that might someday make it to the front burner. (Once Skyward is done, I think it would be good to do a YA book in the Cosmere, so I’ve begun working on possible ideas.) Aether of Night also is still hanging around, maybe needing a novel. So we’ll see. I’ll talk a little more about the Cosmere in a future section, after we get to the film stuff.
If I write a novella to go with the Stormlight Kickstarter, it has about an equal chance of being Wandersail (a Rysn novella), Horneater (a Rock novella), or a sequel to Sixth of the Dusk (which is tricky because it reveals maybe a little too much about Space Age Cosmere politics).
Part Four: Updates on Secondary Projects Dark One
We’re moving ahead with the graphic novel on this, and giving you some glimpses of that is one of the big things I’m happy to announce for this State of the Sanderson. We’ve included some gorgeous pages below. The graphic novel is turning out to be something really special. We don’t have an exact release date for this yet, but it shouldn’t be too much longer before we can announce one.
In addition, many of you may have heard the news that J. Michael Straczynski (creator of Babylon Five, among many other cool projects) is attached to this project to make a television show. The same outline I came up with for the graphic novel drew serious Hollywood attention, which is how this happened. That said, JMS has other projects he’s working on as well, and Dark One needs to wait for the right time for him to work on it.
STATUS: Real motion here. Exciting developments in the process!
Songs of the Dead (Was Death by Pizza)
This perpetual entry in the State of the Sanderson is creeping ever closer to being a reality. My co-author, Peter Orullian, has suggested the title Songs of the Dead—which is a really great title, considering it’s about a heavy metal singer necromancer.
We’ve got a second draft done, but it needs a third one. Unfortunately, the hangup is me, as Stormlight has taken basically all my time this year. Peter sent me his latest draft in June or so, and I’m only halfway through my revision of it at this point. So I’m sorry it’s taking so long; I’m excited for you all to read the book, but as it’s my first true book collaboration, there are some growing pains as we figure out how to make the process work right for us.
Hopefully I can finish my next revision early next year, send it back to Peter for one final draft, then begin showing it to editors.
STATUS: Waiting on my next revision.
This novella that I wrote with the fantastic Mary Robinette Kowal is finished and being recorded as an audio original. It should come out very soon, and I’m quite proud of it.
I’m a little annoyed as the Will Smith movie that came out earlier this year has a similar premise. But that movie bombed and apparently wasn’t very good. So maybe people will appreciate a similar idea done right? We’ll see. I had hoped to get this out before Mr. Smith’s movie came out, but Mary Robinette was busy winning all of the awards for her excellent Lady Astronaut series, and I was busy getting rained on in Roshar.
STATUS: Out soon.
This one is mostly done, just needing a few little tweaks. Again, I haven’t had a ton of time last year, but this one is looking really good. It’s basically all complete, only needing one last pass. We should be doing the interior artwork and editorial work next year.
STATUS: Basically done.
Elantris, Warbreaker, The Rithmatist
No updates from last year, I’m afraid. There was no intention to make progress on these this year. Once Alcatraz is wrapped up, I’ll turn my attention back to The Rithmatist as the last looming series that needs a wrapup that hasn’t gotten one. Elantris and Warbreaker sequels aren’t to be expected until Stormlight Five and Wax and Wayne Four are done.
I know a lot of you keep waiting on Rithmatist news, and I feel bad having to give you the same news every year. (Yes, that paragraph above is the same one I put in the State of the Sanderson last year.) But the truth is, I really can’t work on this until at the very least Alcatraz is finished.
A glimmer of light for you Rithmatist fans is this: my son just read the book, and he’s joined the crowd calling for me to do a sequel. So you have an in-house representative.
STATUS: Keep Waiting. (Sorry again, again.)
Graphic novel three is out now! So if you haven’t picked it up, please check it out!
We’ve learned a lot doing our first graphic novel series. Again, there were some growing pains. (We aren’t thrilled, for example, by how often we ended up needing to change artists.) The good news is that we really enjoy doing these, and so we are planning to do another graphic novel series set on Taldain, visiting darkside and dealing with Khriss and her adventures there. So if you are one of those people who read the prose version years ago, and have been waiting for some resolution, Isaac and I are outlining a sequel series right now.
STATUS: Trilogy complete, likely to do a collection of all three in coming years. Sequel series being outlined.
Part Three: Updates on Major Projects The Stormlight Archive
Book Four has a release date next year on November 17th. I allowed Tor to set this because I’m confident that we’ll meet it—so we should be in good shape for that release, barring some catastrophic responses that I haven’t anticipated during alpha/beta reads. The tentative title for the book is still Rhythm of War, but because of the way Stormlight books work (where each book title is an in-world book title as well), I can’t 100% say that will be the title in this case until the book is finished.
When Book Four is done, we’ll have only one more book in the first Stormlight sequence. As I’ve been saying for years, Book Five is one of the major end points of the series. I anticipate writing that in 2022, for a 2023 release. Yes, I know, many of you wish those gaps were shorter. It’s turned out that a three-year gap is best for my writing psychology, so we’re going to stick with that for now. And, since they’re each as long as four regular books, it’s like getting a Stormlight book faster than one per year—except you have to save them up to read in batches.
STATUS: All systems go!
I had hoped to squeeze in Wax and Wayne Four this year, but falling behind a month (plus the aggressive tour schedule) made that impossible. I sometimes forget just how much touring takes out of me—which is partly why there wasn’t a Starsight tour. (And partly why I put that question in the survey about how to make book tours a little less exhausting.)
I consider Wax and Wayne’s final book to be imperative to finish before I start Stormlight Five. Starting in July, once Stormlight Four is fully revised and turned in, I’ll have two main projects demanding my attention. Wax and Wayne four is one of those, Skyward is the other. (I might need to get to Skyward Three before it, FYI, depending on how much Stormlight burns me out on epic fantasy. But both Skyward Three and Wax and Wayne Four should be finished by the end of the year next year.)
After that, it will be time for me to be looking to Era Three of Mistborn—which will be written in the years between Stormlight Five and Stormlight Six.
STATUS: Wayne is threatening to beat me up if I don’t get to this soon. 2021 or maybe 2022 release for the final book.
Book Two is out, if you somehow missed that fact. I’d like to say thank you to everyone for indulging me so much on my side projects. Starsight was a huge success, even without me touring for it. These books are really fun to write, and good for my writing as they allow me to relax between big Cosmere projects. The fact that all of you are willing to embrace and read them is quite gratifying. One of my biggest fears becoming an author was that I’d get locked into doing only one thing, then get burned out on it.
As you can see from the last 15 years of my publishing career, I am interested in a lot of different things. The fact that you’ve been willing to read about Spin, Jerkface, and Doomslug as readily as you do about Kaladin, Dalinar, and Shallan is wonderful to see. Thank you so much for making this new series a success.
STATUS: Should write Book Three sometime late next year. 2021 release is likely.
Part Two: My Year January–March: Starsight Revisions
My goal had been to launch straight into Stormlight Four in January, but I didn’t quite make it. We thought we had the book wrapped up by February, but some of the beta reader comments set me thinking about several problems with Starsight—and I made the tough call to do another round of revisions on the book to make it as good as it could be. This put me about a month behind; I’d built in a buffer, but had really wanted to start on Stormlight Four in February. (I even had a trip to Hawaii planned to kick it off—as nothing is better than writing on the beach. Alas, though I got a tad of Stormlight done on that trip, I spent most of it on Starsight.)
But the revisions worked, and the book finally clicked into place. Judging from the reader responses, it feels like that extra month really paid some dividends, so I’m glad I did it.
April: Stormlight 4
The real work on Stormlight 4 started in April, where I launched into Part One. Writing went pretty good from the get-go, as I’m always kind of working on Stormlight outlines—even when I’m writing other books. So I can often hit the ground running. Stormlight books literally have two decades of planning behind them.
May: Europe Trip One (Germany)
This trip was a lot of fun—and Art Director Isaac went with me, as he speaks German. The fans were enthusiastic, and the tour was a huge success. But it did also slow me down a ton. Not much written this month.
June: Stormlight 4
I got back into it, eventually managing to catch up all the lost time from Germany. (Though I was still about a month behind because of the Starsight revision.) I might have caught all the way up, except…
July: Europe Trip Two (Spain/France/Belgium)
Another big trip through Europe, though about half of this one was vacation rather than work. My father was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France and Belgium when he was in his twenties. Now that he’s retired, we wanted to take him back to show us around. Spain was a work trip for me (one of my favorite SF/F conventions is in Spain, and I love going there).
August–September: Stormlight 4
I jumped back into it, and despite a little detour at Dragon Con in September (the hotel room they gave me was amazing—check out my view above!). I managed to catch all the way back up on lost time, and then on October 9th caught up (finally) from the lost month in March, putting me 100% on track to finish the book by January 1st. But then on October 11th, I flew back out on tour…
October: Israel, Europe Trip Three (France, the Czech Republic)
I’ve always wanted to go to Israel, and locked in about two years ago to be a guest at a convention in Tel Aviv. The trip was great, really special—and was followed by the utterly cool chance to go visit the Wheel of Time television show set in Prague. So while I had a great time, it was a little hard to admit it put me behind again by a month.
November, December: Stormlight 4
I’ve finally caught up again as of last week, and am making the final push to finish the novel. It’s been touch-and-go all year, but I’m confident now that the book will be finished by January, which is why I let Tor announce a release date. (See below.)
All in all, it was a great year—despite being a bit frantic and putting me on way too many airplanes. (The odd part is that after all of this touring, I have a ton of frequent flyer miles—but I’m often too tired of travel to use them, so my family/assistants end up using them for trips.) At the same time, I really do love working on Stormlight books. One of the reasons I take such a long break between them is to make certain that when I come back to Roshar, I’m refreshed and eager to get back to it. And speaking of that…
Part One: Leatherbounds and Survey Time!
This year, we’re releasing the Warbreaker leatherbound! This book is particularly gorgeous; we’ve added a few features such as illustrated drop caps and interstitial art. We put these volumes together in-house, rather than farming them out to someone else, and we pour a lot of attention into making them great. Next year is a big year for us, as we’ve reached the tenth anniversary of The Way of Kings, and will be releasing a leatherbound of that book.
Now, some of you might be wondering, “Brandon, isn’t The Way of Kings double the size of the previous books you’ve done as leatherbounds?” Yes. Yes, it is. That’s meant a lot of extra work on the part of my team, who have already been working on it for a good eight months. We want this book to be something extra special—and because of that, we’ve wanted to do preorder incentives (like goodies and swag) to go with it.
The logistics of doing this worried us a lot, however, as we’re still a relatively small team. Beyond that, we expect The Way of Kings leatherbound demand to strain our logistics and shipping departments. When talking about this with Howard Tayler, my cartoonist friend, he suggested we use Kickstarter to alleviate these problems. I was hesitant at first, as I know Kickstarter is mostly intended for people who need extra up-front money in order to create a product. We’ve been able to fund the leatherbounds ourselves so far, and we’re certain we can create these without needing extra time.
However, Howard really sold me on Kickstarter by pointing out how great the site’s management tools are for creators. If I want to offer different packages for the book, with a variety of preorder items personalized to customer preferences, the only way I’d be able to manage this is to take advantage of Kickstarter’s infrastructure and tools. As we’ve looked into the process, my team and I have come to agree that this is the only way we’d be able to do what we want to with The Way of Kings leatherbound.
So, while I know some of you might be skeptical about this like I was, I ask you to give us a chance to show why it will be a good thing. Our goal will not be to move to Kickstarter for all leatherbounds, only Stormlight leatherbounds every three years—because the added size, complexity, and logistics of such a large book require us to have some extra help. We plan to launch The Way of Kings as a Kickstarter in the summer of 2020, probably June or July. The book will likely come in two volumes, and will have to be around double the cost of our previous leatherbounds. (So, $200 to $250 instead of $100.) I thought it only fair to warn you all up front. Plus, if we hear concerns from the community that we haven’t considered, announcing it this early will help us deal with those before the actual campaign.
To that end, I have a little mini FAQ dealing with issues I think you might have.
Q: You are doing the Kickstarter in the summer. When will the books be sent out?
The goal will be to start sending these out as soon as possible, hopefully months before the holidays arrive. We are going to put our order in as soon as we can for the books themselves, and get the incentives constructed ASAP. Ideally, we’ll send you a single box with book and rewards all together in one cool bundle.
There will be some digital rewards offered as well. These will be sent out the moment the campaign closes, and will hopefully tide you over until the physical products arrive.Q: Will this leatherbound be available on your store later, like the others?
Yes, it will. If you miss the campaign, you’ll still be able to buy the book.
Some things might not be available in the later printing, however, depending on what incentives we offer for the Kickstarter. For example, we will possibly offer a slipcase as part of the Kickstarter incentives—but (depending on the size of future print runs) we might not be able to offer that with the later editions we sell in the store. In short, the book will totally be there for you to buy later—but any stretch goal achievements and swag associated with the Kickstarter would have to come from that campaign. (With one exception mentioned below.)Q: I like supporting my local independent bookseller. Will any stores be getting this book like they have other leatherbounds you’ve done?
I haven’t cleared this with any of the stores yet, so I don’t want to speak for them. However, we love our bookstores, and have tried from the get-go to involve them in our leatherbound distribution. Our goal will be to set aside a certain number of books as requested by the booksellers we work with frequently. (And if you’re a bookseller who has had me in your store for a signing in the past, and you would like to be selling these leatherbounds too, make sure to contact us.)
My goal will be to add all bookseller orders into the final count from the Kickstarter, and order an equivalent number of physical reward objects for them to include with their books. So these bookstore editions should include all unlocked stretch goal rewards in the boxes we send for them to sell. They might not be personalized to your preferences (e.g. you might receive a random order of Knights Radiant, based on the box you get), but we hope this will work so that readers who prefer to buy from the booksellers do not feel left out.
The short version is this: if you miss the Kickstarter, there’s a good chance that a limited number of boxes with full rewards included will be available at retailers, for the same price people paid in the Kickstarter. Those stores should be similar to the ones that have been carrying our leatherbounds so far.Q: Leatherbounds are expensive. Will I be able to participate if I’m not interested in such a high ticket item?
My plan is to write a Stormlight (or at least Cosmere) novella next spring to offer as part of the Kickstarter campaign. We’re anticipating some lower tiers that involve getting digital-only rewards and a digital copy of the novella—all for a very reasonable price. We will likely also offer just the novella in print form, along with all campaign rewards, as another slightly higher (but still well below $200) tier that you can buy into as well. (And, of course, a tier that has everything—including the leatherbound and a print copy of the novella.)Q: So…a novella you say. Anything else you can tell us about the rewards?
We haven’t settled on anything yet. I haven’t even written the novella, so it’s possible that won’t even happen. However, it’s likely that we’ll be letting you choose an order of Knights Radiant (and we’ll post full descriptions of all ten orders, including information not yet in the books) and receive rewards based on your preference (i.e. physical rewards with that order’s symbols on them).
There’s also a decent chance I’ll offer an ebook of The Way of Kings Prime (the version I wrote of the book back in 2002 that is way different from the 2010 version) as a stretch goal unlock. This would be sent to everyone who participates in the campaign at any level.
Okay, if you’re still with me after that (we’re over a thousand words into this SotS already, and I haven’t even really started yet), let’s talk about the survey. After The Way of Kings, the next book to hit its ten-year anniversary is The Alloy of Law. Instead of being a lot larger than the average Sanderson book, AoL is half the size. We aren’t allowed by Tor to sell our leatherbounds for less than $100, and the logistics of printing them kind of preclude that anyway.
However, I thought that perhaps you all would like to get The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self bundled together as a single leatherbound. I figured if we have to charge double for a double-sized stormlight book, shouldn’t we charge half for a half-sized mistborn book? This would require binding the two books together though.
Assistant Adam, who is a leatherbound connoisseur, mentioned that some people might not like this—he thought the leatherbound collectors he knows would just prefer to have the individual books, separate as they’re sold in stores, for their collection. So, we thought we’d ask you.
Finally, a couple of questions for those of you who attend my book signings. I’m having some growing pains in this department. My signings, put flatly, are just getting too long for me to handle. The last Stormlight tour wore me out, with each signing lasting until 1 or 2 a.m., with signs that they were going to grow even larger. I need to do something to either speed up the lines, or make the signings easier.
Fortunately, I have some guides in this department. I’m fortunate enough to be approaching crowds similar to the ones GRRM or Neil Gaiman get, and talking to people like them, I’ve found that there are two approaches authors generally use. Neil, for example, will pre-sign all the books. You don’t get to meet him personally at a signing, but instead you get a signed book—and then he does an extra-long presentation, with much longer readings, Q&As, and speeches than I do. In short, it becomes “an evening with Neil” instead of a book signing. Other authors (I know George has done this) still sign all the books, but don’t do a presentation at all, and don’t allow personalizations or pictures.
I’m curious what all of you think. My own inclination is a hybrid of my current method and Neil’s method—where I do a longer presentation like Neil does, perhaps bringing Isaac to do a presentation on artwork too. Then have a lottery (which is not based on your ability to buy a more expensive ticket, and is instead completely random) for a hundred people to come meet me afterward and get a book personalized.
If you’re interested, I’d enjoy you answering some questions about this too. (Note that none of these apply to release parties, which will continue to be the insane and enormous extravaganzas you’ve come to expect.)
Okay, whew. Thanks for sticking through all of that for me. But we spend a lot of time on the leatherbounds, and want to make sure we’re creating them the way you want. Now, on to the regular State of the Sanderson.
Welcome, everyone, to our final State of the Sanderson for the decade! If you’re not familiar with these posts, each December I take a look back at my year and talk about the projects I’ve been working on. Then I turn an eye to the future to see where I’m planning for things to go in the coming years. If you’d like to see last year’s State of the Sanderson, you can find it at this handy link.
This year was dedicated primarily to writing Stormlight Book Four; I’ll have a specific update on that for you in a little bit. I also spent a lot of time traveling, particularly to Europe—to the point that I’ve been feeling the weight of my travel. (Which indicates it’s time to scale back for a while.)
Stormlight years always have a little less variety than “off” years where I work on a more eclectic mix of stories. So while I got a ton done, there won’t be much in the way of updates on other projects. One thing I wanted to add this year, however, is a little survey—mostly about our leatherbound books. So if you’d do me a favor and hop over to answer a couple of questions, [that would help us a ton.] I’ve put the survey link both here and at the bottom of the following section, which will dig into leatherbounds in depth. This section is a tad long, which will come as no surprise since I wrote it. So if you’re not interested, you might want to meet me back at Part Two.
Is the footwear for Plate a version of sabatons? Meaning, is it a form fitting armor over a boot? I ask because I was wondering how an Edgedancer would use Abrasion on the Shardplate they were wearing?
Shardplate as it is used by Shardbearers in the modern era of Roshar would interfere with Edgedancers moving like they do. (Yes, it does fit around the boot entirely.)
I learned today that "Elend" in German means "Misery" - a spurious connection to the books, of course, but interesting!
Coincidence. They actually changed his name to Elant in the German version because of that.
Brandon was trying to make up German-sounding names for Elend and Straff, and they both ended up being actual words.
How long were the Ones Above known to the people of First of the Sun as of Sixth of the Dusk?
Only a short time - a few years (ten at most).
Before Ambition was Splintered, where were they running from? At least, are we currently aware of the place they were running from?
I'm gonna RAFO that right now, sorry.
Would you be able to get any kind of additional power from burning a Hemalurgic spike?
There would be power there, but you wouldn’t be able to access it. Like burning someone else’s metalmind.
Will we ever get to see a Kelsier vs. Kaladin showdown?
Does Earth still exist in Skyward?
Will Moash worldhop?
What would happen if Nightblood was drawn in the Spiritual Realm?
Trademark, REALLY bad thing.
When will we learn more about the Cognitive Anomaly on Nalthis?
Does Hoid have a favorite type of Investiture?
Can a Highstorm recharge sand from Taldain, and would that sand be charged with Stormlight or would it be masterable?
It would recharge the sand, and it would be masterable, not Stormlight
Would a Shardblade hurt a Kandra?
A Shardblade would not kill a Kandra outright, but it would do significant damage.
Is there anything in specific that made Stick special, or was Shallan just bad at Soulcasting?
No, Stick is just a regular stick. Shallan was just bad.
Would Allomancers born twins or triplets have the same metals?
It is more likely, but not 100%.
You said at the Starsight release that [Adonalsium] was intentionally preventing the spren from accessing Surges through fabrials and such pre-Shattering. Was this a passive or active effect?
It was kind of both - the way [Adonalsium] worked was just that the way he saw the world was the way the world worked. He didn't want the spren to be able to do that, so they couldn't.
So did [Adonalsium] want to die?
*makes face along with various non committal hmings*
That at least gives credibility to the theory.
Yeah, it gives credibility to the theory.
Would it be possible to use a soulstamp to give or take Allomancy?
Not under normal circumstances. The amount of Investiture required to do so would effectively short-circuit the stamp.
Give me a random piece of Cosmere/Investiture related info.
There is a planet with the corpse of a dead god on it.
Is it possible for a Physical being to exist in the Spiritual Realm like they can in the Cognitive?
Yes, but it’s weird. So, yes, but big asterisk.
It has been almost twenty years since I first outlined The Stormlight Archive. Back then, I didn’t think anyone would be interested in this crazy epic I’d devised–and it’s been so thrilling to see enthusiasm for it grow to such heights over the years. Book four finally gets to one of the foundational scenes I conceived from the beginning. In fact, it might be the very first big scene I imagined, and my favorite in the entire series. A part of me can’t believe people are finally going to be able to read it.
*inaudible* relationship *inaudible*
*inaudible* But that is an intentional *inaudible*