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    Stormlight Book Four Updates ()
    #1 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Time for another update on your book, everyone! If you missed the previous update, it can be found right here. This update will get into some nitty-gritty outlining and wordcount details, which some of you might find boring. (Just a fair warning.)

    Since the second update, I've indeed started into the book full-time. However, you might have noticed a little delay in the progress bar ticking up. This is because at the end of February (just before going to Hawaii) I decided that Starsight (Skyward Two) needed some more work.

    I requested that the publisher push that book back a couple of months (it's now scheduled for first week in December) as I did a medium-sized overhaul based on some decisions I'd made after reading the beta reader comments. I'm pleased to say that revision went really well, and Starsight is in excellent shape. It did put me a little behind on Stormlight Four, I'm afraid. Looking at my tracking spreadsheet (which I used to gauge how I'm moving along) when I started into Stormlight four first part of April, I was about 45k words behind. I'm moving at a good speed, and am about 42k words behind now, with about 15k words finished.

    This is merely a way of marking guideposts; I don't intend rush the story in order to meet arbitrary deadlines. This is partially me just trying to give you, and my publishers, an idea of when to expect the book. If I finish it by January 1st, the book can come out Christmas 2020. If I don't, we will probably have to nudge it back.

    For reference, one percent on my progress bar is 4k words, and I anticipate the final book being 400k words long. A lot could happen during the next year of writing--the book could go super long, like happened with Oathbringer. Or I could run into some serious plot problems, which require time to work out. (For example, I've already thrown away chapter one after doing a short reading of it at an earlier convention--trying again with a slightly different tone.)

    That said, I really like the new first chapter, and am now well into the fourth chapter. I promised you an update on the outline this time, and I'm looking at this book in a different way from the last two. As you may remember, I tend to plot each Stormlight book as if it were three volumes, combined together. (Along with a short story collection in the form of the interludes.)

    With books two and three, the outline divided the novels into "books" by section. Part one of Oathbringer, for example, was "book one" of my three-part outline. Rhythm of War, however, is plotted more like The Way of Kings--meaning the separate books in it are divided by viewpoints.

    In TwoK, Kaladin's complete arc was "book one" of my outline. Dalinar's was "book two" and Shallan's was "book three" with all of them being interwoven into the final product, and with Part Five being a capstone epilogue to them all. This novel is similar, though with more viewpoints.

    We have what I'm calling the Primary Arc, which focuses on four characters who are all together in one place, their plots interweaving. The Secondary Arc is three different characters, their arcs interweaving, but in a separate location from the primary arc. The Tertiary arc is the last two characters, in a third location.

    There will be ties between the three arcs, but the book will read a little more like TWoK than Oathbringer--with several separate stories that imply interesting things for one another, but which generally focus on their own goals. Book Five should, then, be an interweaving like Book Two or Book Three.

    That's the plan, anyway! I'm not 100% done with the outline yet, as I want to explore some viewpoints first to make sure everything is lining up the way I want.

    The next update probably won't be until mid summer, as I want to take a nice chunk of writing time to determine how things are progressing before I come back to talk here.

    Until then, please enjoy listening to the community playlist of favorite epic tracks that remind them of Stormlight. This is what came of the previous thread, where I asked for suggested music to listen to while I work on Book Four. I've been doing so, and am slowly cultivating a shorter list of my favorite tracks that I'll release at a later date. Thanks to /u/DevilsAndDust- and my assistant Adam for putting this together.

    Stormlight Book Four Updates ()
    #2 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hey, all. Brandon here, back for another update on your book.

    January went well, and the outlining process is moving along. I've set the percentage bar perhaps a little higher than it deserves to be, considering that I plan to get the outline for Book Five done as well y the time that hits 100%, but I haven't started it yet. That said, I'm feeling very good at what I've accomplished so far. I've cracked a few tricky problems in the plotting, ones I anticipate being the toughest parts of the outline--which makes me optimistic that I'm further along than the wordcount might indicate.

    I did have to stop to do a quick 3.0 revision on Starsight, the sequel to Skyward, which is coming out in November. That's finished as of around 1:00am this morning. I'll be diving back into Stormlight now, though I'm in LA this week doing pitch meetings for Dark One as a television show. (So far so good, but these are very preliminary-type meetings, so don't expect any big announcements anytime soon.)

    Plan is to be finished with the outline of Book Four by March 1st. (Tentative title: The Rhythm of War, but I'm not 100% on that yet.) Then I'll dive into the book.

    Writing a Stormlight book is not an easy or quick process. To finish on time, I'll need to do 40k words a month every month this year--which is a tall order. (My average is around 30k a month, though, so it's not impossible.) That would have the first draft done by January 1st, then give me six months of grueling revisions to finish the final draft by July, which would allow a Christmastime release. This isn't set in stone, though, and if I don't meet this schedule the book could slip into the beginning of 2021.

    For now, I'm going to solicit a little help from you. While writing Stormlight 3, I built a specific playlist of some of my favorite epic-fantasy-feeling songs. I've posted it before, but if you missed that, find it here.

    You can click on my profile to find the similar playlist I made for Skyward. I have been searching through other playlists people have made on Spotify with the right kind of music so I can build a similar playlist for Stormlight 4, but I thought I'd kick the question to you folks as well.

    Do you have any suggestions? What songs in specific (songs are better than artists, as I try to keep my playlists varied with only a couple of songs from any one given artist) do you listen to while reading the Stormlight books? What songs would you suggest to me that I listen to while writing the book? (Other than the Kaladin album, of course.)

    Generally, I prefer things that have an epic instrumental feel to them--though I don't mind words here and there. And I get tired of things that sound TOO trailer-esque. (Inception sound. Inception sound. Inception sound.

    For reference, my favorite song on the Oathbringer playlist--and the one I play in my head at the climax--is Alive by Phil Lober. Anyway, please suggest things for me to put on my playlist. Songs that are on theme, or even songs you just think are epic for whatever reason. (Though do look through the other two playlists I've made first, to double check the song isn't on one of them. I probably won't put any repeats on this playlist.)

    And as a final note, I won't be having replies from this thread sent to my inbox, and I don't know if I'll have time for many specific replies to questions. But I do plan a more involved AMA sometime in the near future, where I can answer questions. I will also hop back on the thread at some point and grab the suggested songs.

    Anyway, I'll give you another update when the outline is finished. Until then, Journey before Destination.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #4 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    The map of Kholinar looks like a lion's head. Is that an allusion to Caemlyn?

    Brandon (paraphrased)

    It was not a conscious decision to make it look like Caemlyn. The city shapes are based on cymatic patterns that have deep-rooted origins in the history of Roshar. I may make a lot of unconscious allusions, but something like the Misted Mountains are a conscious reference.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #5 Copy

    Brandon (paraphrased)

    The interview mostly was about the usual stuff (how he got into writing, taking over Wheel of Time, how prolific he is and why he thinks he really isn't all that fast), but he expressed hopes for adaptations of Cosmere series with the upcoming Wheel of Time and Witcher shows.

    When talking about discovery writing vs outlining, he also told an anecdote of being on a panel with German writers. When he mentioned the two different approaches, they all said that of course you'd do an outline. In hindsight, he should have seen that coming in Germany.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #38 Copy

    Paleo (paraphrased)

    Have Rosharan mathematics advanced far enough to know Julia sets?

    Brandon (paraphrased)

    Yes, they know Julia Sets. Some of the mathematics are farther along at this time than ours, some are behind. Kinda like abstractionalism is a centuries-old art style on Roshar, calculus was discovered way earlier.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #39 Copy

    Paleo (paraphrased)

    Is Wisdom a Shard? If so, how bad does it want to survive?

    Brandon (paraphrased)

    There is a shard with a similar intent. The Shard has realized that survival might not be the most desirable/important.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #40 Copy

    Paleo (paraphrased)

    There's symbols in the temple at the end of The Bands of Mourning which none of the characters recognize. Are they from any writing system known to us or did Kelsier make them up?

    Brandon (paraphrased)

    RAFO

    Bonn Signing ()
    #47 Copy

    Brandon

    Lirin was impressed by how calm he felt as he checked the child's gums for scurvy. Years of training as a surgeon served him well today. Breathing exercises, intended to keep his hand steady, worked just as well for covering up fugitives as they did for surgery.

    "Here," he said to the child's mother, digging from his pocket a small carved characters sheet(?). "Show this to the woman at the dining pavillion, she will get you some juice for your son. Make certain he drinks it all each morning."

    "Very thank you," the woman said in a thick Herdazian accent. She gathered her son close, then looked to Lirin with haunted eyes. "If... if child found-"

    "I will make certain you are notified if we hear word of your other children," Lirin promised. "I'm sorry for your loss."

    She nodded, wiped her cheeks and carried the child away towards the town. The morning fog obscured most of Hearthstone. On the outside, it looked like a group of dark shadowy lumps, like tumours. Lirin could barely make out the tarps stretched between buildings, offering meager shelter for the many refugees pouring out of Herdaz. Entire streets were closed off this way. The sounds of plates clinking and people talking rose to the fog. The shanties would never last the storm, of course, but they can be quickly torn down and stowed. There just wasn't enough housing otherwise.

    Glancing at the line to those waiting for admits (?) today, he wondered how many more people the town could hold. Erik and the other men - once guards at Roshone's mansion, now forbidden swords - organised the line and kept anyone from sneaking in town before Lirin saw them. He had persuaded brightness Abijan that it was essential he see each refugee and judge if they be bringing dangerous diseases into the city. In truth, he wanted to intercept those who might need a wound bound or a treatment.

    The woman carried her child up to the watchpost just out of town. Here, a group of armed parshmen lifted her hood and compared her face to descriptions that had been sent to them by the Fused. Hesina, Lirin's wife, stood nearby, ready to read the descriptions as required. She was one of the few women in the city who could read, though brightness Abijan and several of the other parshwomen were quickly learning their lessons.

    Parshmen carrying swords, learning to read. Even a year after their awakening, Lirin found the notion odd, but really, what was it to him. In some ways, little had changed despite the coming of the Everstorm and the awakening of the Parshmen. Their skin was different, but the same old conflicts consumed them as easily as they had the Alethi brightlords. People who had a little taste for power wanted more and they sought it with the sword. Normal people bled and Lirin had to try to put them back together. He turned back to his line of waiting refugees - he still had at least a hundred to get medical assessments to today. And hiding among them was one in particular. In some ways, it was the man who was the author of all this suffering. The next person in line had lost an arm in battle, but the wound was a few months old at this point and there was nothing that Lirin could do about the extensive scaring. He held up his finger and moved it back and forward before the man's face, watching his eyes track it.

    Shock, Lirin thought. "Have you suffered wounds recently you are not telling me about?"

    "No wounds," the man whispered, "but Regals, they took my wife dear (?) Surgeon, took her, left me tied up to a tree, just walked off, laughing..." Bother, mental shock wasn't something Lirin could cut out with a scalpel.

    "Once you enter town," Lirin said, "look for tent 14 and tell the women there I sent you to bed in that place."

    The man nodded dully, though his stare was so hollow Lirin wondered if the man had registered the words. Memorising the man's description - gray hair with a cowlick (?) in the back, three large bulbs on the upper left cheek - Lirin made note to check tent 14 for him later tonight. It was the place were he had assistants watching for refugees who might turn suicidal. It was, with so many to care for, the best that he could manage.

    "On with you," Lirin said, gently pushing the man towards the town. "Tent 14, don't forget, I'm sorry for your loss." The man walked off.

    "You say it so easily, surgeon," a voice said from behind Lirin.

    Lirin stood and turned with surprise, then immediately bowed with respect. Abijan, the new city lord, was a parshwoman with stark white skin and fine red swirls on her cheeks.

    "Brightness!" he said, "What was that?"

    "You told that man," Abijan said, "you were sorry for his loss. You say it so easily to each of them, but you seem to have the compassion of a stone. Do you feel, surgeon, for these people?"

    "I feel, Brightness," Lirin said, "but I must be careful not to be overwhelmed by their pains. It's one of the first rules of becoming a surgeon."

    "Curious," she said. The parshwoman raised her safehand, which was shrouded in the sleeve of her Havah. "Do you remember setting my arm when I was a child?"

    "I do."

    "Such a curious memory," she said. "It feels like a dream to me now, that life. I remember pain, confusion, a stern figure bringing me more pain. But now I recognise that you were simply seeking to heal me. So much trouble to go through for a slave's child."

    "I've never cared whom I heal, Brightness. Slave or king -- I'm sure the fact that Wistiow payed good money for me had nothing to do with it. He of course wanted his investment protected."

    She narrowed her eyes at Lirin, when she next spoke there was a cadence to her words as if she were speaking the words to a song. "Did you feel for me? The poor confused child slave whose mind had been stolen from her. Did you weep for us, surgeon, and the life we led?"

    "A surgeon must not weep," Lirin said sadly. "A surgeon can not afford to weep."

    "Like a stone," she said again, then shock her head. "Have you seen any plaguespren?"

    "Diseases aren't caused by spren," Lirin said. "It is spread by contaminated water and proper sanitation, or sometimes the breath of those who bear it."

    "Superstition," she said.

    "The wisdom of the Heralds," Lirin replied. "We should be careful." Fragments of old manuscripts, translations of translations of translations, spoke of ancient diseases that killed thousands, spreading quickly and persistently. Such things haven't been recorded in any modern text he had read, but he had heard rumours of something strange on the west. A new plague they were calling it, details were sparse and ensure (?) he wasn't sure what to watch for, but Abijan moved on without further complaint to him. Her attendees, a group of elevated parshmen and parshwoman joined her. Though their clothing was of Alethi cuts and fashion, the colors were lighter, more muted than humans might wear. The Fused had explained that the singers in the past had shooed (?) to wear (?) bright colours as to not distract from their distinctive skin patterns. Lirin sensed the searched for identity in the way that Abijan and the other parshmen acted, their accents, their dress, their mannerisms. They were all distinctively Alethi, but they hung on what the Fused said about the lives of their ancestors and tried whenever they could to emulate them. He turned to the next group of refugees - a complete family for once - and though he should have been happy to see that, he couldn't help wondering how difficult it was going to be to feed five children and parents who were flagging (?) from poor nutrition. As he sent them on, a familiar figure moved down the line towards him.

    Laral wore a simple servant's dress now, with a gloved hand instead of a sleeve, and she carried a water bucket. Ostensibly, she was seeing that nobody in line was thirsty. She didn't walk like a servant though. There was a certain determination about the young woman that no forced subservience could smother. The end of the world itself seemed about as bothersome to her as a poor harvest once had. She paused by Lirin, offering him a drink, levelled (?) him a fresh cup rather than taking straight from the bucket, as he insisted.

    "He is three down," Laral whispered to Lirin, as she said Laral grabbed (?) him.

    "Shorter than I expected him to be," Laral noted. "He is supposed to be a great general, leader of the Herdezian resistance. Looks more like a travelling merchant than he does a soldier."

    "Genius comes in all shapes, Laral," Lirin said, waving for another drink. More to give her an excuse to keep talking.

    "Still," she said, then fell silent as Dunash (?) passed by, a tall parshmen with swirled black and red skin a sword on his back. Once he was well on his way she continued softly, "I'm honestly surprised at you, Lirin. Not even once have you suggested that we turn this man in. He'd be executed. You think him a criminal, though, don't you?"

    "Criminal? I'm not sure, but he bears a terrible responsibility. He perpetuated a war against an overwhelming enemy force, he threw away the life of his men in a hopeless battle."

    "Some would call that heroism."

    "Heroism is a myth you tell idealistic young man to get persuaded to go bleed for you," Lirin said. "It got my son killed and my other son taken from me. You can keep your heroism and give me back the life of those wasted on foolish conflicts."

    Bonn Signing ()
    #48 Copy

    Cultivation's Champ

    I wonder whether Jasnah has been to the Cognitive Realm of planets other than Roshar?

    Brandon

    She has not, she is not horribly cosmere-aware as of the end of Oathbringer, she is starting to get-- *inaudible* Give her some time and you might be impressed with how quickly she can come up to speed.