So, for a little commentary on these chapters [in Part One of Rhythm of War], you might find it interesting that I plotted this opening sequence as if it were a climax section of a book. In the Stormlight novels, I generally limit myself to one viewpoint a chapter. This is to give a stronger identity to the chapters and characters--we usually get big chunks from a person's viewpoint (with chapters that average two or three times as long as chapters from something like Wax and Wayne or Skyward.) This gives each chapter a kind of short-story feel with their own arcs and themes.
However, as I approach climactic sections of books, I bleed the viewpoints across one another, adding to the frantic feel of a building crescendo. Viewpoints alternate in quick succession, with bite-sized chunks, hooks and payoffs, like one might plot closer to what you'd see in a thriller novel. The goal here is to evoke quick scene changes, lots of twists and turns, and a general sense that viewpoints are piling up on top of one another to enhance the feeling of an impending climax.
In a normal stormlight book, I generally start slow and build to such a climax near the end of part one. (Though I usually don't start the full viewpoint bleeds until the end of the book.) Here, I wanted to give the feeling that the year that passed had its own narrative arc, and some of those threads were culminating here. So we're beginning the book at the end of the "previous book" (imagining the in-between year as a "book."
That led to some confusion and consternation among alpha and beta readers, since this isn't how a Stormlight book generally begins--but in this case, I decided I was all right with that feeling, as this truly was the tone I wanted starting out.
I'm sorry, but I cannot help but wonder id throughout the book we will get more answers about this in-between year.
I want to know how or where all these Edgedancers come from, for example, because it's a huge jump between "there are only 7 radiants we know about, and Kaladin and Shallan are training more" to "a whole order coming out the ship and being advanced in their Ideals and forming like a healer batallion"
I do give a little context, but at the same time, I think the previous books have set this up well. We've followed in close detail how a Windrunner initiated his oaths, found a group of squires, and then started an order. We got the same for a lightweaver. In the story chronology, that all happened in a span not so different from the year between.
Because we don't have any major viewpoint edgedancers or Stonewards in these five books, I have to leave most of this to the imagination--as you can take the model of Kaladin and Shallan, then extrapolate from comments mentioning that this sort of thing was happening all across the world, not just at the Shattered Plains.
I think the narrative leads you to the answers that connect this all. I do try to give some additional mentions of what was happening through the story, though I don't know if I'll explain enough for what you're asking here.
So the whole book is a sanderlanche?
No, don't get me wrong. Imagine previous stormlight books starting with a build up, then ending with a mini-climax at the end of Part One. (For example, in book three, we are building toward the reveal of the Unmade at Urithiru, and the confrontation, which happens at the end of Part One.)
In this book, Part One starts with the climax--a kind of indication of what the missing months were building toward. What follows is more introspective and quiet through the second half, as we react to events and get our bearings.
You'll probably get some books in the cosmere that, like A Memory of Light, where the Sanderlanche takes up an unusually large chunk of the story--but it isn't time for that quite yet. We still have slow, building parts of the story that need to be in place for both contrast and grounding of characters. Like a symphony works better with softer and louder sections.
I really enjoy this action-packed intro (though just a little sad that Dalinar doesn't have viewpoints)
Dalinar does have viewpoints in the book, but they are reserved for later on, for reasons I can explain better once the novel is out.
I seem to remember that you said a while ago that this book contained a very important moment in your first vision of the story. Is that still the case?
It is, though that moment happens near the end.
It reminds me of those Bond/Lucasfilms blockbusters (well, and everything that came after) that would open with an in medias res action setpiece.
Yes, I'm a big fan of the cold open. (As one might be able to note from the Wax and Wayne books.) It's not the right tool for every story, but it felt appropriate here.