Recent entries

    State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
    #7051 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Secondary Book Projects


    I do still intend Elantris sequels. (And the enthusiasm for the leatherbound edition proves that people are still interested in the world.) Right now, I have them scheduled to be slotted in once Wax and Wayne is done. We'll take a break from Scadrial at that point, go back to Sel and do some Elantris books, then hop back to the 1980s era Mistborn series.

    This slots an Elantris sequel into the spot between Stormlight books 4 & 5. It is coming, just more slowly than I'd once hoped.

    Status: Delayed, but coming before too long

    State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
    #7052 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Main Book Projects


    And speaking of Mistborn, how is Scadrial doing? My current plan is still to have the Mistborn books stretch throughout my career, establishing stories in different eras of time with different sets of characters.

    The original pitch was for three trilogies. The Wax and Wayne books expanded this to four series. (You can imagine Wax and Wayne as series 1.5, if you want.) This means there will still be a contemporary trilogy, and a science fiction trilogy, in the future.

    I have one more book to do in the Wax and Wayne series, and I'm planning to write it sometime between Stormlight books three and four. Until then, Wax and Wayne three—The Bands of Mourning—comes out in January!

    Status: Era 1.5 book three done; book four coming soonish

    State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
    #7053 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Main Book Projects

    The Reckoners

    The last book of the trilogy is complete, revised, and turned in. It's coming out in February, and is—indeed—the ending.

    I have not closed the door on doing more in the world, but it will not be for a while. If I do return, it will be like a Mistborn return, where the focus of the books shifts in some way and I create a new series. I like leaving endings as endings, even if the world and some of the characters do progress.

    I'm extremely pleased with the last book. I look forward to having you all read it, and I am grateful to you all for supporting this series. There were voices that told me something outside the Cosmere would never sell as well as something inside—but this series is neck-and-neck in popularity with Stormlight and Mistborn. It's a relief, and very gratifying, to see that people are willing to follow me on different kinds of journeys.

    Status: Completed!

    State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
    #7054 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Main Book Projects

    The Stormlight Archive

    Stormlight is going very well. I'm working on Book Three, which I'm calling Oathbringer. (That is likely at this point to be the final title.) This is my main project, and I won't be writing any new prose on other stories until it is done. You can follow the progress bars!

    Release dates for this book are still in flux. Even if I finish it early next year, it could be a year or more until you see the book. The amount of editing, continuity, and art that these books require creates a need for a long lead time. I've told people that Fall 2016 is the earliest they'd see it, but my team has been warning me that's not realistic. We'll see, but for now you should assume on a 2017 release.

    What does this mean for my once optimistic "one Stormlight book every eighteen months" goal? The more I work on these books, the more uncertain I am about that. The outline for Oathbringer, for example, took about a year for me to nail down. Considering how many moving pieces there are in these books, it's tough to judge how long they will take to write. And while there are books I can force through if some things aren't right, I can't afford to do that on this series.

    I'll continue to write Stormlight books at as quick a pace as is reasonable. I consider this my main project for the next decade or two, and am dedicated to it. But each book, as I've said before, is plotted as four books in one. So even if I release them once every three years, you're getting four "books" in three years.

    We'll see. I'll try to pick up the pace. In the meantime, I'll try to get some short stories in the world out for you. (More on this later.)

    Status: Book Three in Progress

    State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
    #7055 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Big List of Things I'm Working On

    Now, let's get to it. Each year around this time, I take stock of my many projects. You can read last year's post here, to compare and see how things have been progressing. (And to see how well I did in my plans for 2015.)

    Thank you in advance for continuing to give me the freedom I feel I need to jump between different worlds. While I know it's frustrating sometimes that I'm not working on your world, the greater plans I have for all this require me to approach things in a certain way. Both for my health as a writer, and to bring about some large-scale awesomeness.

    I'm going to go down the list of projects I'm working on, starting with what I consider my "main" projects. These are getting the focus of my time right now. From there, I'll move on to things that I'm still toying with doing sometime soon.

    Then it gets a little more speculative.


    State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
    #7056 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    My Year

    2015 was a bit slower than last year was, as I spent a lot of time editing.

    January–May: Calamity

    The bulk of my writing time this year was spent on Calamity, which I'd been putting off last year in order to write the two new Mistborn novels. Looking back at my records, I finished the last chapters in early May.

    This was interrupted, on occasion, for revisions of various books—and for the Firefight tour, along with a trip to Sharjah in the UAE. Busy times. So busy, in fact, that it's taken me all the rest of the year to give full feedback to the writers who took my class. I managed to grade their papers in May, somehow, but promised them each a personalized look at their final story submissions, which I'm only now finishing up.

    June–August: Stormlight Three

    I did squeeze in some writing time for Stormlight in here, though not a whole ton of it got done. I had to stop for revisions, touring, and travel through most of September and October.

    September–October: Revisions and a Secret Project

    Traveling so much made it difficult to do Stormlight 3 writing, which requires a lot of time investment. So between revisions, I managed to finish a project I've been working on for about a decade now. (Yes, a decade.) You'll see this soon. It's a novella.

    November–December: Stormlight Three Again

    I plan to keep on this one until I finish it, as I'll talk about below. However, if you want to read a little about my writing time in November, you can read this other blog post.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7057 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    Next year will be a little quiet, following this year's releases. (Which included Secret History, The Bands of Mourning, Calamity, White Sand, Alcatraz, and Edgedancer/Arcanum Unbounded.) Right now it's just Snapshot and Oathbringer. (Which might give you a glimpse into how much work a Stormlight book is. The new one is longer than all of the above stories combined, and then some.)

    As always, thanks for reading.

    Brandon Sanderson

    December 19th, 2016

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7058 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Projected Release Schedule

    I'm going to keep this to three years this time, as my projections in the past have tended to go skiwampus (technical term) after about one year of projecting.

    I intend Rithmatist 2 and Alcatraz 6 to slip in here somewhere, but I don't know where. (I was hoping to do one of them this year, but Stormlight three went even longer than projected.)

    February 2017: Snapshot

    November 2017: Stormlight 3

    Spring 2018: Apocalypse Guard 1

    Fall 2018: Wax and Wayne 4 (final book)

    Sometime 2019: Apocalypse Guard 2

    Sometime 2019: Undecided. (There will likely be a second novel this year. It's possible that I'm still working on Stormlight 4 though, and will have a lean year as a result.)

    Sometime 2020: Stormlight 4

    Sometime 2020: Apocalypse Guard 3 (final book)

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Tertiary Projects

    Untitled Threnody Story

    There's a novel in the Threnody system I've been planning for many, many years. Might as well move it onto this list. I'd originally planned it as the arrival of people in hell after fleeing the Evil that destroyed their homeland across the sea, but I'm toying with flipping this around, sending an expedition back to the destroyed continent.

    Either way, a Threnody novel has been part of the cosmere since before I got published, so I'm confident we'll see more from it eventually. If you're confused by all this, might I mention again the value in grabbing a copy of Arcanum Unbounded?

    Status: Very early planning stages.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7062 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tertiary Projects

    Aether of Night

    No progress. (Though you can still get a copy of the draft I wrote back in college, around the time I wrote Elantris. Also, requisite request that you sign up for my mailing list. I give some free fiction away on the newsletter every time I send it, and the chapters I set aside as Patreon rewards usually do make their way on here eventually, though many months later.)

    Status: On hiatus (but still part of the Cosmere sequence, with seeds of the story already in other books).

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7066 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tertiary Projects

    Dark One

    Ah, the eternal Dark One update. If you've been reading State of the Sanderson posts for a while now, you might be looking forward to this one (still) making no progress.

    My anti-Harry Potter story told from the viewpoint of a boy who discovers he is prophesied to be the Dark One…has made no progress this year. I've had a ton of trouble writing this one. I did set aside three different versions of the first chapter of this, each of which have a very different tone from one another, to be Patreon Random Hat Rewards for January, February, and March. If you want to read "The Eyes" and these three chapters, you could sign up for those months only.

    Be warned, though, the Patreon is primarily intended for people who want to support Writing Excuses. The rewards are mostly afterthoughts as a thank you, rather than true incentives to coax you into spending money. The tidbits you'll get probably aren't going to be worth the $10 you give for them. (For example, each of the ones I've mentioned are a few thousand words at most.)

    The real reward is supposed to be Writing Excuses going ad-free, so don't sign up just to get the fiction.

    Status: Nope.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7068 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tertiary Projects


    My epic science fiction space opera super-series is getting closer to finding a home. I can talk a little more about it, as I spin up my mind on the outlines.

    I've envisioned Adamant as a sequence of novellas, released episodically through the year, one every other month. Ideally, I write four of them, then find co-authors for the other two to give them a slightly different feel, like you'd see on a television show à la Doctor Who or Star Trek.

    If I did this though, I'd want to have all four of my parts done first as the backbone of the "season" of books. The last thing I need is another unfinished series looming over me.

    I've only written one "episode" so far, but had a kind of breakthrough on how to work out some of the visuals and worldbuilding for the series. So it's inching closer to the front burner. You might see a progress bar for it pop up this year.

    Status: Novella 2 could happen at any time.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7069 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tertiary Projects


    The new Marvel television show is unrelated, but it being out killed our chances of a television show based on these books. I do want to do a third story, but might save it for another short story collection (with all of the non-cosmere works like this, Perfect State, etc.)

    I really wanted Legion to be a television show, even before I started writing the first story. So we might rebrand them, calling them simply Leeds, and try another run through Hollywood with the new titles. If so, another novella would certainly help us get attention there. We'll see.

    Status: Probably not this year, but still on my radar.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Secondary Projects

    White Sand

    The graphic novel incorporating the first third of the book was a huge success, so we're going full-steam on the second part. And, of course, Khriss (one of the main characters) is the in-world author of many essays in Arcanum Unbounded. So Taldain is still peeking up here and there, reminding everyone it's part of the cosmere.

    I don't have control over when the second part of the graphic novel comes out. That all depends on the artist's schedule—but I have assurances from the publisher that it won't take too terribly long. We'll post when we know for sure about release dates.

    Status: Second volume actively being worked on.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7072 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Secondary Projects


    The plan is to alternate Stormlight Books with Elantris sequels after I finish Wax and Wayne. Likely I'll go into Stormlight 4 sometime in 2018, but there's a chance I do Elantris 2 first. It won't be written this year—that plate is full of the books mentioned above—but we're growing ever closer and closer to getting back to Sel.

    Status: Not this year. Small chance of being written in 2018.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7073 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Secondary Projects


    My big reveal for Alcatraz promised one more book in this series, though you shouldn't read that blog post until you read the first five books.

    I will probably do Rithmatist 2 before Alcatraz Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians. But I can't say for certain. This is where that part about books being art, and not science, comes into play. I can't say exactly what my inclinations will be on these books, as I need some freedom built into my schedule. We'll see what happens.

    Status: Soooon also, but a little less soooon.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7074 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Secondary Projects

    The Rithmatist

    A sequel to The Rithmatist is looking likely this year, depending on some factors (such as how long Stormlight revisions take.) This is the single most requested book I hear about, though that's probably because people know that Stormlight is coming along very well already.

    Some people do wonder why I'd do like The Apocalypse Guard before The Atzlanian (Rithmatist 2). It comes down to having two publishers. Stormlight, Rithmatist, and Wax and Wayne are all books for Tor. I need to give Delacorte some love too, and they've waited patiently all year for me to finish Stormlight. So they get the next major writing time slot.

    I hear you, Rithmatist fans. We'll get something to you before too much longer. My son Joel (who has a character in the book named for him) is getting old enough to read The Rithmatist, and so I intend to read it with him together, and then jump into the second book sometime soon.

    Status: Soooooon.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7075 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Main Projects

    The Apocalypse Guard

    This is my next YA book series, in the same universe as the Reckoners. The simple pitch is: Emma is the intern/coffee girl for the Apocalypse Guard, a group of scientists, engineers, and superhumans specialized in saving planets from extinction-level events.

    When the Apocalypse Guard headquarters gets attacked by a shadowy and unexpected force, Emma gets stuck on a doomed planet they were planning to save. She has to either find a way off, or find a way to put the Apocalypse Guard's plans into motion—and do so with no training, no powers, and no support.

    This will be my next writing project, between Oathbringer revisions and Wax and Wayne 4. Like the Reckoners, it's right on the borderline between YA and Adult—and might be published in my adult line of novels in some countries.

    I intend the series to follow in the footsteps of the Reckoners—having the feel of a science fiction/superhero action film. Sometimes as a reader (and as a writer), I want something a little less "steak dinner" and a little more "hamburger and fries," if that makes any sense.

    Stormlight is my steak dinner, and while I originally thought of Wax and Wayne as hamburger and fries, by books two and three they became steak dinners too. (Just a 6oz fillet instead of a 12oz T-bone.)

    Okay, that metaphor is getting a little out of control. I might need to go out for steak for my dinner. Let's just say that the Reckoners managed to hit that sweet spot of fun action, interesting worldbuilding, and quick plots I was looking for—so I'm eager to do something similar. The Apocalypse Guard is the next step; look for the progress bar to start on it sometime early in 2017.

    Status: Outlining almost finished; will be my next project.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7076 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Main Projects


    The Lost Metal, Wax and Wayne Four, will be my next non-YA novel project. I still intend to write it so that it can come out in 2018. You should see a progress bar for it pop up sometime in the fall of 2017.

    This will be the last Wax and Wayne book. Because of fan outcry, we're just going to call the Wax and Wayne books "Era Two" of Mistborn from here out, and I'm sorry for the "Era 1.5 fiasco" of last year. That would have worked if I'd started calling it that from the get-go, but it's too late now.

    Once Era Two is done, we'll let Mistborn lie fallow for a few years while I move on to Elantris/Warbreaker sequels. (See below.)

    Status: Book Seven (W&W 4) being outlined.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7077 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Main Projects

    The Stormlight Archive

    Book Three is done! Edgedancer is out!

    I'll be spending about four months of 2017 doing revisions on Oathbringer, then will have a tour in the fall. (Might manage to get to the UK on that one too.) Things are looking good for Stormlight and Roshar, and not just because we are working on a film. I'm excited for you to read the next installment.

    I'm officially adding "Oathbringer (Stormlight 3) third draft" to the progress bar, now that I'm almost done with the second draft. (Most of which was completed during writing the first draft, as I explained above.)

    Book Four will probably not be released until 2020—I'll start managing those expectations now, rather than trying to promise 2019 like I thought I might be able to do, once upon a time.

    As I always promise, I'll see if I can speed that up. But if you take the year it took to outline Book Three and add eighteen months to actually write it, we're already at 2.5 years—not counting other projects I want to do.

    Status: Book Three in revisions, out in 2017.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7078 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    My Year

    This year was almost completely dominated by the writing of Oathbringer, Book Three of the Stormlight Archive. The first files I have for the book were Kaladin scenes, written in June 2014. But the book didn't really start in earnest until July 2015, when I wrote the Dalinar flashback sequence. (See State of the Sanderson 2015.) I had those done by October, but November was when I really dove into the novel.

    I spent most of 2016 working on it, with only a few interruptions. It was an extremely productive year spent writing on something I'm very passionate about—but it was also a monochrome year, as I poured so much into Stormlight. There were far fewer side projects, and far fewer deviations, than the year before.

    I've come to realize I can't do a Stormlight book every year, or even every two years. You can see that this one took around 18 months of dedicated writing time (though that does include some interruptions for edits and work on other things.) My process is such that, when I finish something like Stormlight, I need to move on for a while to refresh myself.

    That said, Oathbringer is done as of last week! Here's a quick breakdown of the year.

    January: Oathbringer

    A lot of this month was revisions. I decided to do something unusual for me, and revise each chunk of the book as I completed it, which let me get my editor working on his notes early in the year—rather than making him wait until this month, when the whole thing finished. That means I'll soon have a second draft of the book completed, though I only completed the first draft a little bit ago.

    Also squeezed into January was a trip to Bad Robot, where I had a cool meeting with J.J. Abrams. (In conjunction with a video game my friends at ChAIR Entertainment are making—the Infinity Blade guys. I just gave a few pointers on the story; I'm not officially involved.)

    February: Calamity Tour

    I toured for Calamity, the last book of the Reckoners. The whole series is out now, so check it out! There is a nice hardcover boxed set of all three available in most bookstores, and it makes a great gift.

    While on tour, I read from Stormlight 3, and some kind person recorded the reading for you all. Also, here's another version from FanX in SLC.

    March: Trip to Dubai

    I was invited to, and attended, the Emirates Festival in Dubai, then traveled south to Abu Dhabi to visit some friends. This was an extended trip, and I often find it difficult to work on a main project (like Stormlight) while traveling. I have too many interruptions. I can write something self-contained, but have more trouble with something very involved.

    On this trip, I wrote a novella called Snapshot: a science Fiction detective story where people solve crimes using exact recreations of certain days in the past. It's a little Philip K. Dick, a little Se7en. This one's coming out in February, and will likely be my only release in 2017 other than Oathbringer (which will be in November). More details here.

    April: Oathbringer

    I got back into the groove of writing, and did a big chunk of Oathbringer Part Two. If you missed the discussions on Reddit, here are my various updates there spanning about a year's time, talking about the book: One, Two, Three, Four, and Five.

    May: Edgedancer

    I took a short break from Stormlight 3 to write…Stormlight 2.5, an extended story about Lift, with smaller appearances by Szeth and Nale. If you want to get your Stormlight fix before the release in 2017, you can find Edgedancer in Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection. (There will eventually be a solo ebook release, but that's a number of years away, as required by my contract with Tor.) I also wrote essays and annotations for each world and/or story in the collection.

    When I decided I wasn't going to kill myself (and my team) trying to get Oathbringer out in 2016, I committed to writing this novella to tide people over. I think you'll enjoy this one, unless you're one of the people that Lift drives crazy. In which case you'll probably still enjoy it, but also want to punch her in the face for being too awesome.

    June-August: Oathbringer

    I finally got a good long chunk of time dedicated to Oathbringer.

    I do love traveling, but it takes a big bite out of my writing time. So please don't get offended when I can't make it out to visit your city or country on tour. I try to do as much as I can, but I'm starting to worry that has been too much. Last year, for example, I was on the road 120 days for tours or conventions. This year was a little better, clocking in at about 90 days.

    September: Alcatraz Release & Writing Excuses Cruise

    Book Five of my middle grade series, Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, came out this month. (A long-awaited book.) You should read it.

    The cruise was a fun time, but very unproductive for me. There is too much going on, and too much to organize, for me to get much writing done. I did finish one chapter of a potential novella on the single day of writing time I got. (The story, called "The Eyes," is a space opera inspired by Fermi's Paradox.)

    I might do something with the chapter eventually, but for now I'm sending it in to be this month's Random Hat reward for the $10 patrons of Writing Excuses on Patreon.

    As a warning to those planning on attending the cruise in 2017: we'll have a ton of awesome guest instructors, and it will be well worth your time and money. I, however, won't be attending. I'll be on the cruise other years in the future, but (like JordanCon, which I love) I can't promise to go every year. Once every two or three years is more likely. It's just a matter of trying to balance touring/teaching with writing.

    By the way, JordanCon, FanX, and Dragon Con had some amazing costumes this year—but I'll save those for another post.

    October: Europe Tour

    Though I had a few good weeks of writing between the end of the cruise and the start of the Europe trip, I quickly lost steam again as I visited France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal on tour. I had an awesome time, signed a ton of books, and met many people in excellent costumes.

    November: Arcanum Unbounded Release

    Finally, I released Arcanum Unbounded: the Cosmere Collection. The tour for this was short, and I apologize for that, but…well, there's this writing thing I need to do sometimes…

    December: Writing Excuses and Oathbringer

    I got about half the episodes for next year's writing excuses season recorded at various locations, and then finally managed to type "THE END" for Oathbringer.

    There's still a lot of work left on the book, but I'm confident we'll hit our November 2017 release date.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
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    Do you find Time to work on your personal projects and as an Artist how to you reconcile the two ?

    Ben McSweeney


    I'm afraid I've largely set aside my personal work, I find little bits of time for it here and there but when I have to balance it against time with my family or time spent working for pay, it gets the short end. It doesn't hurt, I suppose, that I'm happy as a hired gun. Mostly what I like is working, I like to create and produce, and what I'm producing (or for whom) isn't always that important, so long as it's fun. :)

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7080 Copy


    Any sweet secrets you can share about Stormlight 3?? :)

    Ben McSweeney

    Nope. I like my job, and I wanna keep it. :)

    I only know a few secrets about Stormlight anyway, and I have no idea when or if Brandon will ever reveal 'em. I don't pry too deeply, because I enjoy reading the novels as much as anyone and I don't want too many spoilers (unless they're related to Shallan subjects).

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7081 Copy


    In his chapter annotations, Brandon specifically pointed out the scene in Well of Ascension where Vin and the Koloss walk out of the mists, and said that- well, let me just find the quote... Ah, here it is.

    "The scene where Vin walks away with the koloss in the mists, sword over her shoulder, all of them making silhouettes. . .well, that’s one I wish someone would do an artistic rendering of sometime."

    As far as I can tell, nobody has ever done a rendering of that scene (though you have done one that was similar, with just Vin in the mists- that image now adorns my mousepad. :) thanks!)- have you ever thought about doing it? I'd love it if you did. ;)

    Brandon Sanderson

    The illustration of Vin you mention was, in fact, an aborted start to illustrating that very scene. One day I might get back to it. :)

    General Reddit 2016 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The number of authors with creative control of films are very small, and sell orders of magnitude more copies than I do. (Sorry ). It is either sell the rights and hope to be involved, or have no film.


    It might sound insensitive but....are you not as big as I thought? You, Butcher and Rothfus (or maybe Martin...special mentions to McClellan and Weeks)....I always imagine you three as the BIG names in the genre of the generation. I guess I have the bias of how much I love your books but it seems to me someone so acclaimed could in the figurative sense "name their price"

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not insensitive. I'm pretty happy to be able to be make a living at all, let lone to be as successful as I've been. I'm certainly "big" for fantasy--the issue isn't that, it's that even popular books just don't make a dent in film numbers. It takes so much to finance a film these days, that it's very rare (and requires a huge, huge fanbase) for anyone to risk putting an author in charge. We're not a known element.

    For example, Stephenie Meyer (of Twilight fame) wasn't popular enough to get creative control from a major studio, which resulted in her going to a second string studio to get the power she wanted. And she was orders of magnitude more popular than GRRM is now. The only author I know of to manage it for sure is Rowling.

    In answer to your question, last I checked (which was around the end of the year last year) Pat, and Jim, and myself were basically even. Pat sold the least of us three that year, but when he has a new book out, he jumps to the highest of us by a significant margin. Over time, we are pretty even in the US. (Though it should be noted Pat does that with far fewer books than the other two of us.)

    George was about five times our numbers, and there weren't any fantasy writers in between him and us that I recall. Dashner (author of Maze Runner, and a friend of mine, so I thought to look) was about seven times our numbers. (Even with Grisham.) Hunger Games was about double us. Big romance/thriller writers hovered at around George's level.

    Fifty Shades of Grey (the one book alone, not the series) in its first year sold about 10 times what Pat, Jim, and I sell in a year. So while we might be big sellers for our respective genres, we become small fish when we swim out into romance/thriller waters. The only one who can hold his own out there is George, and maybe Niel Gaiman. (I didn't think to glance at his numbers.)

    And even they don't sell enough to name their price with a film studio. These are places with the kind of cash flow that they could buy every single copy of every Sanderson, Rothfuss, AND Butcher book ever printed, misplace them on accident, then shrug and write it off.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not planning a 'regular' novel edition of White Sand, though I do still send the old (unedited and not-quite-canon-version) to people who write through my website form and ask for it.

    I fully intend to do some stories set in this world, in prose form, eventually. However, I won't retell the story of the graphic novel. I'll make them their own thing. However, there's so much on my plate that I can't promise when (or even if) I will actually do that.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #7087 Copy


    I've always pictured Rock and the Unkalaki / Horneaters as Pacific Islanders. Are they based on Pacific Islanders despite their red hair?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Their linguistics and some parts of their culture are based on Pacific Islanders, though their physical characteristics are not.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #7089 Copy


    I read Perfect State when it came out. Reading your annotations and the deleted scene has jogged my memory. Honestly, I never made the connection that Sophie was Melhi for all intents and purposes. I believed Melhi's facade and thought he was simply a crazed do-no-gooder (I totally forgot that the Wode mentioned Melhi's gender).

    Reading the deleted scene makes things alot clearer though. I was chatting with a friend about the deleted scene and we agreed that we're glad it was omitted. It smelled too much of the Matrix and, worse, it cheapened Kai's betrayal. That is, "Sophie" didn't really die. The person that Kai found attractive due to her outlook and personality was in fact not a creation on Melhi's part to simply hurt Kai but was Melhi being her honest self (I imagine it's much easier to just be yourself then construct a person as realistic as Sophie). Melhi being Sophie undoes the reversal of Sophie being a robot. Shadows of Self spoiler: It'd be like if at the end, after the Lessie/Paalm reveal, we find out it's really a different Kandra after all.

    Regardless, the deleted scene interests me and leaves me wanting a sequel.

    Edit: More thoughts. I appreciate understanding Melhi's motivation for how and why she does what she does. I don't think I picked up on that. Again, I took Melhi at face-value. I would say that Melhi is pretty selfish though. She feels she knows best for everyone else. That it's better for others to feel the same way about being a brain in a jar as she does. This is obviously an opinion though as any revolutionary can be viewed as a traitor.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think your analysis is spot on, both about what the scene does to the story, and Melhi's character. I would call her selfish, but in an approaching self-aware way.

    Either way, I'm glad to have this out there, but--though I go back and forth on it--I'm mostly glad that I left it out of the official release of the story.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #7090 Copy


    If [Mistborn: Birthright] doesn't come out, would we see a book based around the story that was written for the game?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's possible. I did send in an outline for the story of it. I could use that for a story, though I've got a full plate right now.


    Would you consider doing it as a graphic novel (if the White Sand graphic novels do well of course, though I really don't have any doubts about that)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, that's actually a really good idea.

    This could be a very elegant solution. I'll think about it.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #7091 Copy


    [The sunrise metaphor] is one of my favorite quotes. Did you spend much time rewriting it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This one took a fair bit of time to craft.

    Going into Calamity, one of the things I knew I wanted to show was that David could--on occasion--really NAIL a metaphor. That he wasn't completely hopeless; he just often spoke without thinking or finding the right setting.

    Here, I needed the metaphor to be more than just silly--or even more than just "This is really sweet, once he explains it." It needed to work in a way one hadn't before. So I spent a great deal of time pivoting on this scene in my head, trying to determine the way to go.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #7092 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I was working on Mistborn 2 with my editor, he asked me, "Are Vin and Elend sleeping together?" I said, "Absolutely." He requested some confirmation of it on the page, and I explained something that has always been my policy, and one that has served me well.

    I consider what I'm writing to be a very detailed script, which you the reader direct in your mind. Each person's version of the books will be slightly different, but in sometimes telling ways. The subtext of conversations will change, the visualizations of the characters, even larger implications are changed, distorted, and played with by the reader as they build the story in their imagination.

    This is an area in which I prefer to leave the answers to the reader. For those who wish to imagine that the characters are having sex, then the implications are often there. (Though I've gotten better at that balance, I feel.) For those who don't want to imagine it, and wish to pretend the characters are living different standards, I will often leave the opportunity for that--unless it is a plot point I consider relevant.

    Certainly, my upbringing and beliefs are an influence on this. I'm obviously more circumspect in these areas than I am in others.

    But yes, for those who don't want to pretend otherwise, Vin and Elend were sleeping together. And Wax and Lessie never had a real ceremony. My editor tried to remove the word "wife" from one of the later books, and I insisted, as the shift in Wax's thinking was a deliberate point on my part--related to his changing psychology in the books. But even to him, it's more a 'common law wife' thing.

    As a side note you'll likely find amusing, I do get a surprising number of emails from people who complain to me (even take me to task) for the amount of objectionable material I include in my books, and ask me why I have to wallow in filth as much as I do. I'm always bemused by this, as I doubt they have any idea how the books are perceived in this area by the general fantasy reading world...


    Does this mean that Wayne and MeLaan's fling is "a plot point [you] consider relevant"?

    Calling it right now, Wayne's... intimate... knowledge of Kandra biology will be a point on which the fate of the entire cosmere hinges. Because why wouldn't it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The plot point isn't exactly what you think it is, but yes.

    One of Wayne's roles is that of a character who points out absurdity, either through word or action. There is a certain level of absurdity in what I described up above, and I realize that. Some things I talk about explicitly in books, some things I don't.

    On a certain level, Wayne showing that people do--yes indeed--actually have (and talk about) sex in Sanderson books is there for the same reason that a court jester could mock the king. When as a writer you notice you're doing something consistently, even if you decide you like the thing that you're doing, I feel it's a good idea to add a contrast somewhere in the stories.

    It's one of the reasons that Hoid, though a very different kind of character from Wayne, has more leeway in what he says in Stormlight.


    I know this was a few months ago, but I have a follow up question (huge fan of your work btw!): Do you purposely mention characters having sex to show that they are maybe not "good guys"/"bad guys" are mentioned having sex as a continuation of their lowered morals? Like OP mentioned with rape, of course that would be a sign that someone is a terrible person, but I can think of several other instances in your books were someone engages in consensual sex who later turns out to be more morally loose.

    ETA: I mean premarital sex

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't personally consider this to be a sign of who is good or bad, but I can't speak for how the morals that shape my own society might affect my unconscious application of morals in my books. That's certainly something for critics to analyze, not for me to speak on.

    If it's relevant, though, I don't perceive it this way. More, the people I mention engaging in premarital sex are ones more likely to reject societal mores. (Such as MeLaan.) I also am more likely to do it for characters who are not primary viewpoint characters, for reasons I've mentioned--the ability to allow plausible deniability for readers who wish to view the characters in a certain way. I can see myself unconsciously letting myself say more about villains for a similar reason, though I don't intend it to be causal.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #7094 Copy


    Hi guys, this might bore some (most) of you but this is my take on why the plants on Scadrial were turned brown after the Lord Ruler's Ascension.

    So basically, heres a bit of plant biology:

    Plants absorb light during the first phase of photosynthesis , converting specific waves lengths into high energy electrons, which are then used to create NADPH, ATP and Oxygen. Some of these molecules are then used in the second phase to make carbon molecules, which we break down into energy.

    However, only specific light waves are used by plants, namely the red, blue, purple and to a lesser degree yellow waves. The green light waves are not absorbed and are actually reflected - the reason why chloroplasts and plant cells containing chloroplasts are in our eyes, green.

    Because of the ash in the sky, plants were not able to get enough light, and thus were unable to survive. To combat this, the Lord Ruler altered many plants to have a new pigment (say chlorophyll-C) which allowed them to absorb green light waves and therefore get more energy - stopping them from dying.

    Thus, green light was no longer reflected by plants and they were brown instead (probably because light absorption isn't 100% effective and so the small resulting meld of colours looked brown to the people of Scadrial - like how paint eventually just turns brown when you mix too many different colours).

    Although this makes sense to me, I'm sure I've overlooked something, and I'm not sure why this would result in plants that were less nutritious to man kind. Maybe because of the ash? I'm pretty sure that at some point Sazed mentions that the plants help breakdown the ash so maybe this made them less nutritious?

    But yeah, there you go, the science behind the brown plants on Scadrial!

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is actually pretty close to correct. The plats are not actually "sickly" or unhealthy. I basically looked at plants like red sea weed and some ornamental plants and asked about how they got energy--and came to many of the same conclusions that /u/neverbeenspotted has come to.


    Seems like a smart worldhopper could hybridize pre-final empire plants, final-empire plants, and post-final empire plants in various ratios, and be able to market crops adapted to a very wide range of environments. Anything like that going on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Things like this are more "Space era cosmere" than it is current era.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #7099 Copy


    I was thinking about how Shardblades are essentially invested swords. Now, the investiture' source does not necessarily have to come from Roshar, as we have seen with Nightblood, which is a sword invested with Endowment's investiture.

    So I was wondering if, say, a feruchemist decided store a LOT of investiture into a large block of nicrosil and fashioned a sword out of it, or at least made part of the blade out of it, would this essentially act as a Shardblade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO! (Did you expect anything different on this one?) :)

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #7100 Copy


    For Brandon, any ETA for Nightblood? Would love to know more about how that thing ended up with Szeth.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm working on my State of the Sanderson blog post for this year, which will cover most of these things. But...don't hold your breath. That one's pretty low on the list, I'm afraid. I need to do the Elantris sequels first, as they're far more cosmere relevant.