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    _imagine_7

    One of those, however, is this: Venli doesn't see herself as a hero, nor is she interested in being one. Emotionally, she's not really about saying ideals. She feels she's the wrong person for whatever it is that has started to happen to her.

    It is good for the characters to be different so I don't have any problem with this. However, it seems as if she will speak the ideals over a long period of time because of this. We had a theory floating around that Venli can go to the cognitive realm for the escape. I guess she will either need to speak the third ideal (it looks like this will take time) or she will need help from someone else. Maybe BRDIGE 4?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    CephandriusTW

    Would Moash (not Vyre) be on her side if given the opportunity? I mean, would he empathize with her and understand her point?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Moash and Vyre are not distinct personalities, so that part of the question isn't as relevant. However, I'd say that he wouldn't really care one way or the other about Venli's problems.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    _imagine_7

    Was busy yesterday writing a picture book.

    Don't leave us with less info! What is it about?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO for now. I want to show it around to some people first and see what they think. I'll tell you all what it's about if:

    A) It doesn't turn out to be good enough to publish professionally.

    or

    B) We get a deal for it.

    It is not cosmere, however. I wrote it in part to practice the format, as some day I'd like to do some of Hoid's stories (like the Girl who Looked Up) as picture books.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Neshuacadal

    Does the book [Rhythm of War] have only four main characters Kaladin, Shallan, Navani and Venli?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would consider Dalinar, Adolin, and Eshonai to be in that grouping as well. But it depends on your definition of main character. Jasnah gets multiple viewpoints in this book, for example, but not as many as the others. Taravangian gets a fair number too.

    Neshuacadal

    Thank you! My definition of main character...I mean, plenty viewpoints in each part of the book and role in main arc of the story. Only Kaladin, Venli, Navani, Shallan who were introduced in part 1 fit that definition. Unless someone else shows up in remaining chapters.

    I hoped for another Dalinar's book, because some other characters get multiple 'big books', but it won't happen, I guess?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In Stormlight books, in order to contain the story, I limit the number of viewpoints per part. If you look back through the other ones, generally I'll alternate which characters get viewpoints in a given part.

    Dalinar still has a large role to play in the events of the series.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    MistbornSynok

    So is the 4th Wax and Wayne book coming after Skyward 3 or after Skyward 4?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Skyward 3 will happen next, then Wax and Wayne 4. I realize people have been waiting for Wax and Wayne longer than they've been waiting for Skyward, and in a perfect world, I might do it next.

    However, there are two big things pushing me the other direction. First, my Skyward and Mistborn are different publishers--and I just delivered a Stormlight book to the Mistborn publisher. The Skyward publisher has been very patient and understanding, but I feel I need to make good on my promises to them too.

    Beyond that, I really like to alternate between projects. If I did Wax and Wayne 4 next, I'd be left with two Skyward books in a row. I'd rather split those up.

    That leaves us with Skyward 3, W&W4, Skyward 4, then Stormlight 5. That should, barring some kind of big problem, be the next four books I write. I've been doing well at moving random ideas I have (like the Original) into things like collaborations lately. This has both let me do some fun things (for example, I think The Original is better as a collaboration than it would have been if either of us had tried to write it alone) and save time to focus my attention on my main book projects.

    The nice thing about this is that it puts us in really good shape in 2023 with Stormlight 5 coming out. Since Alcatraz 6 is done, and Legion is finished, this means I'll have wrapped up every major arc I've been writing as we hit the halfway point of the cosmere.

    That will leave me free to dive into Mistborn era 3 and the Elantris sequels as the next "chunk" of books I write. But we shall see how things play out.

    AutumnWell

    I was wondering if you intend to write a novella set between Stormlight 5 and 6 to bridge the gap between the two arcs.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't have any current plans. Like the gap between books three and four (though, admittedly, longer) I have constructed the story so that the information is part of the narrative. To actually write it out would, I think, be anticlimactic--since you'll be getting plenty of it through context. To say more would stray into spoilers, so I'll leave it there.

    YidItOn

    Do you have plans for a sequel to "The Rithmatist" in the next chunk after Stormlight 5, or will it more likely be sometime after that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I keep telling myself I'll get to it, but still haven't found the right time. But I've always said that once Legion and Alcatraz are finished, it would be the last of the "loose end" series from the first part of my career that I want to tie up. So it's very much on my mind.

    meh84f

    What about Warbreaker 2? Is there any plan to write another book in that world? It seems like it’s set up for one and there’s a lot of questions raised by the characters worldhopping.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do plan to do it, but it's been perpetually in a "We'll see" in regards to when.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Sacae

    I'm waiting each preview chapter for even a line referring Lift (which has been great! With the Syl slang pick up and so forth.) and Im not expecting much else than a line or two like that - cause back five, I know, so just looking for the scraps so to speak. Just curious - if there are a few lines more in the Part One previews coming up or I got my fill.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's a Lift interlude, which is your only viewpoint for her in this book I'm afraid. She makes one other brief appearance in this part, but don't expect much of her until later in the book.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Eleven

    Dropped the ball a little on my annotation this week. Was busy yesterday writing a picture book. (Yes, I know. Look, I needed a break to do something different, all right? I'll let you all know if anything ever happens with it.)

    Anyway, on to Venli! As I said last week, this is kind of the true "Chapter One" to Rhythm of War. The Venli chapters in this book are second only to the Shallan chapters in the number and extent of the revisions I ended up doing. There was a fine balance to walk with her in a lot of ways, as will become more evident as the book progresses.

    One of those, however, is this: Venli doesn't see herself as a hero, nor is she interested in being one. Emotionally, she's not really about saying ideals. She feels she's the wrong person for whatever it is that has started to happen to her.

    This means there's a different tone between her and the other characters. What she mostly wants is to find a way to escape the powder keg she's gotten herself into, and while she DOES want to make amends for things she's done, I wanted her to feel more "normal person trapped in a strange situation" in many ways than someone like Kaladin.

    The fine line to walk here is that I didn't want her to come off petulant, or be too annoying. But I also didn't want her to come off as a gung-ho "let's be heroes" type. That's a delicate balance, because there's a danger because it's very easy for readers to resent her for not being as "on board" with the story as the other characters.

    It was worth the risk, and the likelihood that some people will just plain not like her viewpoints, for me because I feel it adds variety of perspectives to the story. It's good to have someone who feels trapped, in over their head. Someone who doesn't know the "right" thing to do, and is a little less proactive as a result. I like how authentic her viewpoints feel because of that.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    hairyforehead

    How has no one asked Brandon what a Herdazian accent sounds like yet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It wouldn't sound like anything we know. I give no instructions to audiobook readers on accents for that reason. However, I DO use our-world linguistics to build languages, and Herdazian is based on Spanish, with a heavy influence of mexican slang.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Sms231

    I'm surprised that ANY author today would do this, given that releasing an audio-only book [The Original] is discriminatory against Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals who can't use audiobooks.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sorry. The issue here is that the money to do these things is being put up by Audible and Recorded. The story literally wouldn't exist if they hadn't wanted material for their audible original lines.

    Maybe I could ask the publisher to make text versions available for hard of hearing people? Seems like a reasonable thing to ask. But being angry about this seems basically the same to me as being angry at an author for releasing a print only edition of a book, as it discriminates against blind people. The publisher is funding things for their platform--and it's an audiobook platform.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    thrillofdarkness

    Is there going to be any Szeth in the book? I mean as far as main characters go his screen time seems to me to have been ridiculously short until now.

    I guess this is intentional on your part, to retain the mystery surrounding him and set him up somehow for book 5.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Afraid there's not a TON of Szeth. He does have a viewpoint, but it's an interlude. Other than that, he appears in several chapters and does a some very relevant things to the plot, but always through other viewpoints. You'll have to wait for Book Five for a larger chunk of Szeth, I'm afraid.

    You're right, I've intentionally been holding him back. I worried that too much Szeth too soon would undermine his flashbacks. I think it was wise; you'll see in this book that though the Venli flashbacks are still interesting, they're not as compelling as ones like Dalinar's, since you basically know Venli's entire backstory by this point. Just not the details. There's not a lot to explore or reveal that I can't do just as easily in her mainline viewpoints.

    I was careful in the outlines to front-load the flashbacks for the characters I knew would have a lot of screen time. Szeth has always been intended to get the fewest viewpoints of the main five characters.

    Kitchen_Abrocoma_297

    So Szeth won't be the one most prominently featured character in the main timeline in book 5, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He will have a larger part than he's had in most previous books.

    Kitchen_Abrocoma_297

    I am curious...how Szeth's role in book 3 could have played out if he were the focus character. Would his role increase or stay the same?

    Or Dalinar's role in book 5. Will those big chunks of his story still happen in book 5 or they were moved into book 3?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If Szeth had been the focus, we would have had all the stuff with his homeland in three--and then had to wait until 5 to get Dalinar's flashbacks. It COULD have worked, and by doing it this way, I had to kind of keep Szeth off the center stage in book four. But I am confident it was the right choice, as delaying longer on Dalinar would have felt like a worse stretch.

    Kitchen_Abrocoma_297

    Oh. So book 5 main timeline narrative for Dalinar will still happen because you moved only flashbacks?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, the main storyline stayed basically the same. You will see in Book Five why my initial feelings were that Dalinar's flashbacks would work there. Szeth's joining the Skybreakers would also have meshed well with his flashbacks, but I have instead enhanced the trip back to Shinovar to be longer instead.

    Note, however, that a LOT of things move around during writing. The Book Two Kaladin climax was originally outlined to happen at Urithiru, for example.

    LordColms

    Just curious, if you think that Venli doesn't have as much potential for the flashbacks as the others then why did you choose to focus an entire book on her?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In the original outlines, I hadn't intended to go into as much depth as I ended up doing with Eshonai/Venli in books two and three. I realized quickly into writing the series that I couldn't wait that long to humanize the Parshendi. So I put a lot of the mystery of their culture and their motives into books two and three.

    That led me to deciding in this book to split the flashbacks between them, as I felt it added more variety to the flashbacks--as I had sacrificed some of the novelty that was originally going to distinguished the flashbacks for this book.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Ten

    And here we finally reach the culmination of a plot cycle I've been working on for four books now, but really kicked into overdrive in Oathbringer.

    I knew pretty early into the creation of the "new" Kaladin (as opposed to Merin, from Prime) that I was going to have to deal with the fact that he'd been put through hell--and that sort of thing leaves scars on a person. Just like I eventually realized I needed to step up and do my research to properly treat Shallan's arc, I decided early on I'd need to be responsible with how I treated what Kaladin had been through.

    Mental health has become a theme in the Stormlight Archive, but I've often noted that it isn't that I set out to write specifically about that topic. More, I feel that the extreme circumstances I'm putting characters into naturally lead to these kinds of conflicts. If I'm going to follow through with what the characters are experiencing, it means talking about these ideas.

    This chapter is the unmarked "end" of what I imagined being the cold open lead-in to the novel. (The kind of "climax to a book between the two novels you didn't see" that I've been talking about in these annotations.) With the next chapter, we'll go to a character we haven't seen yet this book, and begin into the core plot of the novel.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    erik02847

    I don’t know if this has been discussed any wear before, but I can’t get this idea out of my mind that a massive influx of stormlight due to the rediscovering of shadesmar by the common person through the oath gates will cause inflation to skyrocket in shadesmar cities. This does not even account for the war that is also likely to absorb a lot of resources in the cognitive realm, further increasing the scarcity of certain materials, which would only drive prices higher due to the low of supply and demand. I’m just curious if this would even happen based off of the unique qualities of trade in shadesmar (items can just disappear, and money can too if it’s not in the right gem), but it would seem that it would based off of my current understanding of economic theory.

    Is this something you are able to talk about?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not yet, as it's something I don't want to dig in to too much yet. Consider it a RAFO for now.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    godminnette2

    I would also like to point out that both Shallan and Adolin wondering what kind of places could have such names, after being told by Azure last book that she came from a far land other than Roshar, is mildly amusing to me. They do have a lot on their minds.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is true. They MIGHT start putting some things together in relation to Azure later on in the book, fortunately.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Mrrobot112

    Is it possible to know which characters will be getting viewpoints after Part 1?

    Brandon Sanderson

    All the main characters get viewpoints, though there aren't a lot of them for Szeth or Jasnah. (Technically, she isn't a main character of this sequence--but she has a couple viewpoints here and there regardless.) The structure is a little more like Book One, with one "A" plot that runs the entire book (in book one, it was Kaladin in Bridge Four) and two "B" plots that each are in half of the book.

    In this book, parts 2 and 4 are one of those B plots and parts 3 and 5 are the other one. (In book one, the first B plot was Shallan and the second was Dalinar/Adolin.) Like the previous books there are two "C" plots. One being a flashback sequence for one of the characters (in this case two) and one being a sequence of interludes.

    Venli's flashbacks are weighted toward the back half of the book, as it felt better to have them in quicker succession, since she's sharing them with Eshonai.

    The A/B/C breakdown doesn't start happening until after Part One in this book, though. So I'd say wait until you get the book. Anyone you don't see in Part Two will be in Part Three (and a group of people in Part Two won't be in Part Three.)

    I do this deliberately to keep the number of viewpoints down per section, as it helps with the complexity a little. Epic fantasy tends to have a problem of viewpoint sprawl, which has made problems with the pacing. This kind of structure is how I combat that in the Stormlight Archive.

    That doesn't mean characters don't have a part in the story, even if they aren't getting viewpoints. For example, Dalinar is in multiple chapters in Part One, though he doesn't get viewpoints in this part.

    Glamdring804

    Since this is a front half book, can I assume that this doesn't include Ash and Taln?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is correct. No Ash/Taln viewpoints in this book, though they do appear in the text briefly.

    ascraz

    Do we have any view points from moash as well? I really enjoy the character.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is at least one Moash Viewpoint in the book.

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    Asiriya

    With RoW did you know immediately that you wanted a time jump? From how rigorous you seem to be I presume you've plotted out the whole year, but how did you decide on the point to open the book at; did you always envision using Kaladin returning home?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I knew I wanted a time jump in the first five at some point, but I wasn't certain exactly which book it would go between until I was further along. Again, it was more of an instinct thing.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Asiriya

    How do you approach breaking a story? Is it still scary / daunting? How did you know that the first version of Dragonsteel wasn't right, and how many iterations did it take to get to the published Way of Kings? Is it something you can do alone, or do you rely on your network of collaborators? Your pace makes it seem like there's not much time for reinvention - is that simply because you don't need it now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The best thing I can tell you to try, is to write something else, something you haven't been planning for years--something more off the cuff (even if you outline it first) that you're not worried as much about "breaking" by doing wrong. Get some more experience as a writer, then tackle the big more messy problems like the books you've been working on for many years. That is what worked for me, at least.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    jurble

    but one kingdom (led by a mysterious figure who knew far too much)

    Did this evolve into or influence the Ishar/Tezim situation at all? Or maybe the latter is a parody even of that idea.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The mysterious figure was Aronak (though I don't remember how I spelled it) one of the original figures planning to kill Adonalsium. Back then, before the cosmere fully formed, they were demigods--but I later decided it was more interesting for the Shards to have been (mostly) ordinary mortals before the shattering. So he's no longer canon.

    He was basically breaking the agreement between the others of his kind by giving rapid technological development to his people. This was, in part, because I was intrigued by the idea of a single highly-advanced (in technology) culture among a group of bronze age peoples. An idea you see play out in science fiction (with advanced aliens among modern cultures on earth) but not often in fantasy. (Except in some versions of "Old world meets new world" style recreations of what happened on Earth.)

    ericsando

    (mostly) - translation: dragons?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, at least one Dragon. And at least One Sho Del.

    LewsTherinTelescope

    Is Aronak (though not necessarily with the same name) still one of the original Vessels in the current version of the Cosmere? If so, does he have a different name in the current canon?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO, I'm afraid.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Nine

    So, I might have mentioned this before, but one of the oldest (and eventually discarded) scenes I had for this book was Kaladin returning home. It's existed in some form since I was first developing Dragonsteel in my late teens. It eventually happened last book, but I gave Kaladin the chance to ruminate on it in this book.

    The very first version was from Dragonsteel--and was supposed to begin the second book, which I never wrote. In that story, most everyone was around a bronze age level of technology, but one kingdom (led by a mysterious figure who knew far too much) was rapidly progressing his people technologically. So the protagonist, after joining his army and fighting on the Shattered Plains with Bridge Four, eventually was to return home in full plate armor to confront the version of Roshone who ruled there.

    Like I said, that never happened. But I eventually took many of those ideas and wrote The Way of Kings Prime. Though Bridge Four didn't make the jump yet, Dalinar did--and so did the idea of the young peasant boy forced into war. The second book of THAT was to begin with Merin, returning home from war, to find something very strange at home--which eventually turned out to be related to that book's version of the Voidbringers. (And Merin's nacent windrunner abilities would let him kill one. He would haul the head back to Dalinar as proof that something was up.)

    That book never got written either. I finally got to put the scene in, mostly, in Oathbringer. But, like most of the revisions to the story over the years, it became a little less triumphant and a little more messy. (Intentionally messy, to more accurately depict how events in life are often full of contrasting emotions.)

    It was interesting for me to reflect on those 25+ years of imagining one scene, evolving over the years, as I put a kind of capstone on it in this book.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    PM_ME_CAKE

    Here Sanderson says that the flashback chapters will be quite heavy in Cosmere content, and yet we get this before even that happens. I am so very hyped.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let me point out that is NOT what I said. I said there were a few things in Venli's viewpoints that would be of interest to those watching the larger Cosmere. The flashbacks are not cosmere focused.

    If people want huge cosmere revelations in Venli, they're probably going to be disappointed. I don't want to predispose them wrong. However, there ARE some interesting tidbits.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    ailvara

    In this moment: "Oh! a perky voice said in Shallan’s mind. We were almost here anyway, Veil! What are we doing?" Shallan is Veil (or was just a paragraph earlier with no hint it's changed) and Pattern calls her Veil but the phrasing is "in Shallan's mind". Is it a typo (or significant... mismatch)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm a little tight for time now, so I can't look specifically, but I BELIEVE what is happening here is that Pattern is guessing which alter she is, and getting it wrong. It happens in this book several times, where Shallan is not giving external cues at which one she is at the moment.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    WhoisJohnFaust

    I got a real emotional allomancy vibe from Moash here. It felt like he was rioting Kal's depression and exhaustion. Is there something more going on than must Moash having a past and being able to cut Kal to the soul?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can see how it would be read that way, but you have it a little reversed. This depression and exhaustion is how Kal has been feeling lately, and he's been painting over it with other emotions. He's been forcing himself to keep moving, and at this moment, he was just too tired to keep lying to himself.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Claincy

    I've been thinking for a while about the presentation of disability and chronic pain in Brandon's books and I reread a bunch of them recently and ended up with a lot of thoughts. I wrote a letter/email to Brandon trying to provide a little insight and I think it might be worth sharing here as well.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is exactly the kind of feedback that is useful for writers to hear. I try to do the best I can, but I can always do better. I particularly like how you outlined some of the traps/tropes authors fall into, because those are exactly the things that are super helpful for me to read. (And similar lists have helped me a lot with my writing in other areas.)

    I don't want to say much more than that, because I don't want to imply your perspective is invalid. (It most certainly is.) But I do want to mention that I pay a lot of attention this kind of issue, and there is a fine line to walk. Many things having to do with disability have a bit controversy surrounding them similar to the cochlear implant one--where the community itself can be very divided at what they want to happen, and what they want to see happen in fiction.

    I consider it my job to listen, particularly to well-reasoned and passionate arguments like yours. But I do need to note that there are arguments on the other side that I do also listen to. And I personally--from all the many things I've read and the time I've spent pondering it--do not currently consider curing of physical aliments with magic to be inherently problematic. I DO consider it to be a difficult issue, and recognize your feelings, which are completely valid. If healing people of disability in the real world is difficult and full of touchy subjects, with a variety of opinions, then it certainly is valid to consider it so in fantasy!

    My goal is always to try to depict the varieties of different human experience and opinions. And, indeed, one of my goals with Rysn is to specifically have a character to contrast someone like Lopen--who falls (as you have noted) on a different side of the argument.

    But, to be honest, I don't even consider the healing of mental disabilities with magic to be inherently problematic. (Speed of Dark, an excellent science fiction novel, is about a cure for autism--and is done brilliantly.) I do run into a lot of people who really like that I don't let Stormlight heal most mental illness--but I'd say I've run into an equal number of people with depression who wish that I would let it do so, and have told me they'd take a cure for depression without hesitation if one gets invented. (Indeed, there are many who do a great deal to medically to try just this.)

    What I would say is that I need to be careful not to present one idea as the only valid response to these sorts of things. You're absolutely right that there is a perspective I need to be careful not to invalidate, and tropes I can be harmful in perpetuating if I don't watch myself. (My sister in law has chronic fatigue, and yeah--the number of people who told her if she was just stronger-willed, she'd get past it, is huge.)

    I will be very careful with the Rysn novella. (And we do these days try very hard to have specific readers who have disabilities like the ones I depict. It is my plan to do this here.) And I'll keep your post handy as I revise, as I think it will be helpful.

    [deleted]

    I would strongly urge you with Renarin in particular to not do some sort of "cure" storyline and to leave him as autistic. I feel that the story would be better off with that and would most probably do more good that way.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have no intention of "curing" Renarin, as I agree with your points here--but I really appreciate you mentioning them. We are aligned on this idea. I used Speed of Dark as an example of how a theoretical cure could be used in a story in a non-problematic way. (In that story, a cure is invented, and the story is entirely about the ramifications of it--and the dangers. It is a highlight of why I think Science Fiction is important. Asking the question, "What if?" before something happens in real life gives us a lot of questions, ideas, and concerns to work on as a society in preparation for such events.)

    That said, that is a book that specifically deals with this idea. My intention for the Stormlight Archive, and Renarin specifically, is to explore him as a character. Not to change him into someone else.

    Claincy

    I was wondering if we'd see assistive devices using fabrials in future stormlight books? I think there might be a lot of in-world potential with fabrials in wheelchairs, prosthetics and other assistive devices as that technology progresses.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dawnshard actually has Rysn looking at fabrials and wondering if those could be of use in the way you're indicating here. I think you'll be pleased with the result.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    [deleted]

    Are we to take Moash literally here [in Rhythm of War Chapter Eight] or metaphorically? Like is he literally telling Kaladin to kill himself or is he talking about some meta physical death/rebirth?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to have to RAFO this for now. I don't want to interfere with the text doing its job. Suffice it to say I knew this would be a subject of discussion, and the unfolding of the story should fuel the debate.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Eight

    Annotation for this chapter: Moash was one of the characters that was most difficult to get right for this book. There's a difficult balance to maintain with him, compounded by how difficult a line I'm walking with Kaladin in these chapters. I had to do several tone rewrites of this chapter after the Alpha read, to make it all work.

    Part of the trick was to convey just how exhausted Kaladin is, mentally while in his viewpoint--since he doesn't accept it himself. Then mix that with a Moash who, in part, does still want to be a good friend--but no longer is capable of reasoning in a conventional way. (And who won't acknowledge to himself that being right, proving that he made the right decisions, is actually far more important to him than his friendships ever were.)

    You'll get a Moash viewpoint in a future interlude, which should help explain where his mindset is these days. As for Kaladin, well, it's becoming more and more difficult for him to maintain the lie that everything is fine.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Asdomuss

    Honestly, given how depleted the sunlight reaching the ground is, and given how it talks about the Lord Ruler modifying the peoples of the planet in order to survive, it would make sense for everyone to be really pale, as that increases vitamin D production.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I usually see Sazed as black myself, but I very specifically didn't talk a lot about races in Mistborn for a couple of reasons. (Though Vin is often mentioned being pale.)

    The most relevant of these reasons is that if Terris were all black, then the secret about the Lord Ruler would just kind of be a silly one for nobody to have noticed. So I've noted in the screenplay treatment that either everyone has to be the same skin tone, or all societies need to have varied skin tones.

    In my mind, it's the latter. Scadrial is a completely fabricated world, and done recently (in the last ten thousand years) on a cosmological scale. People were made and placed there, and there hasn't really been time for evolution to play a big role in things like adapting to certain environments.

    The LR did change people to survive, and what you mention is indeed a good way to do it--but not the only way. Regardless, you may head-canon Sazed as looking however you want.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    MyCatGreg

    I’ve never seen that antagonist issue [Skelletor Syndrome] described before, but it’s really interesting to learn about and it seems like the opposite of what I call Dragon Ball Z syndrome - something Red Rising also had a heavy problem with. It’s the endless cycle of main character beats somebody in a fight, someone stronger comes along and almost kills them, main character is defeated, then trains and gets stronger in order to ultimately win in a re-match, then rinse and repeat into oblivion. Someone stronger comes along, almost kills them, they heal and train, win in a rematch, yadda yadda yadda. It was literally the entire story structure of Dragon Ball Z, and is my least favorite part of Red Rising. Makes the story feel too predictable.

    Thankfully it’s not something you have any sort of issue with! Your post just reminded me of it. IMO it seems like those protagonist/antagonist issues only truly show themselves as a problem when the creator doesn’t have an ending in mind or a story outlined before publishing the first of a series (cough Disney Star Wars cough)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you hit on something real with DBZ syndrome too. It can make it feel like achievements the characters make are weak, and basically worthless, since they're immediately back into the same state as before--too weak to fight a new villain who makes their old "power level" look the same as their current one.

    I think there is an important line to walk here that doesn't stray too far either direction--but it's not so hard as that, so long as new characters and situations present different kinds of challenges. Done right, you have something like the original series of star wars, where at first you think that simply being a better duelist will let Luke defeat Vader--but then the scope expands, and he realizes that it's not about how good he is with his weapon. The challenge is deeper, more interesting, and the person Luke could conceivably beat in a duel gives way before the more nefarious villain who requires a different type of strength entirely to defeat.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seven

    Annotation time! So, one of the things I worry about (maybe too much) in an extended series like this is something I'll call Skelletor Syndrome. This is the problem that the protagonists need victories through the course of the series--the text will naturally build to important moments, and while there will be failures, there will also be victories.

    The more times an antagonist gets defeated, however, the less of a threat they become in the reader's mind. It's hard to justify to the reader that a villain is still a credible threat after they've been foiled time and time again. (Kylo Ren ran into this problem, for example, in the new Star Wars series.)

    Going into the Stormlight Archive, this is why I staggered the threats moving from non-supernatural antagonists (like Sadeas) toward increasingly dangerous threats. This isn't to say that someone like Ialai couldn't be a credible threat without powers. However, I still felt it best to move on from her as a representation of the antagonists in the earlier part of the series, pointing us toward larger (and more cosmere-aware) threats as the conflict of the books expands. I could easily have had an entire book with a major thread about toppling her little empire on the Shattered Plains, but that would have been too backward looking.

    So in this book, we're pointing away from the Sadeas/Amaram team toward Odium, some individual fused, and several of the cosmere-aware players (Thaidakar and Restares.) Don't worry if those names aren't clear to you on first read--they've been around for a while, but I haven't delved too much into who they are. This book will do so.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    HeWontEatTheHam

    I'm rereading Oathbringer right now, and I'm in chapter 36 (a Dalinar flashback). While reading through it, I noticed Dalinar commenting on a particular flamespren that seemed odd to him.

    Dalinar narrowed his eyes at the flamespren. That one did have a sword. A miniature Shardblade.

    Knowing that it's almost never a coincidence when we encounter a strange spren, it got me wondering; we don't know what a Dustbringer spren looks like, but it feels like it would make perfect sense if Ashspren looked like flamespren. This led me down a really interesting line of thought:

    Would the Blackthorn have been a Dustbringer?

    Now that we know that Dustbringers are all about self-mastery and channeling their incredible power, wouldn't that be a really interesting path for one of the most dangerous (even before he could surgebind) men on Roshar? That idea is just terrifying.

    Maybe his visit to the Nightwatcher disrupted his progress towards becoming a Dustbringer and led him down a different path?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. :)

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    AutumnWell

    I was itching for a long time to know how much more will we get to know about Heralds in comparison to the previous books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're not going to get a ton about the Heralds until the back five books, but this one (book four) has more about them than any previous novel so far.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapters Four and Five

    Here's an annotation for these chapters! One of the most revised sequences of this book were these Shallan chapters--continuing through the entire novel. As I have said elsewhere, I originally designed Shallan's mental state to be a more fantastical look at something like Dissociative Identity Disorder. (Like the fantastical look at Schizophrenia I did with Stephen Leeds.)

    I was fascinated by how something like mental health challenges relating to identity would intersect with magic that let you quite literally become someone else. The original version of this was for a character I wrote in Dragonsteel--which I'll eventually release to the public like I've done with TWOK Prime.

    In this series, however, I've found myself leaning away from the fantastical elements more and more, and trying to lean into the real science and best mental health practices. This is because I've realized that having Shallan's ailment be completely fantastical was both irresponsible (in representation terms) and less realistic. Where I settled earlier in the series was in representing not someone with a fantastical disease, but someone with a very real disease--that is exacerbated by fantastical elements.

    Because of this, I listened very hard to my beta readers on Shallan, particularly those with specific experience in this area. In the original draft of these scenes, for example, Shallan wasn't shifting between the various alters of herself nearly as often--and with some feedback, I tweaked that, and found it not only worked better in a realism way, but it also read far, far better. It's simply more interesting to see Shallan's different aspects doing different things, thinking different ways.

    Some of the most satisfying moments in revisions come when you try something different, and find that it's what you wanted to do all along--but didn't quite know how to accomplish until a comment nudges you.

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    JuakoHawk

    I'm sorry, but I cannot help but wonder if throughout the book [Rhythm of War] 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."

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapters One to Three

    So, for a little commentary on these chapters, 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.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Skyward Three Update One

    Hey, all. Brandon here with my first of a series of updates on the Skyward series. This post does not contain spoilers for the first two books, other than mentions of the structure of the series, but the comments could very well include them. So reader beware.

    First off, a note about where I'm posting this update. I'm aware that /r/skyward not only exists, but is actually about the books. (I am surprised, as I anticipated such a common word having already had a subreddit for it when the series started.) Me posting here is not a suggestion that /r/skyward is an unworthy subreddit. I heartily suggest people help that subreddit grow and have fun with the discussion there.

    However, for my shorter series, I think I'd prefer to post updates on a general interest subreddit. So, for the time being, you can expect Stormlight updates to go to its subreddit, Mistborn updates to go to its subreddit, but all other updates to be split between /r/cosmere (for cosmere stories, obviously) and this subreddit. I think that will make it easier for people to track where I'll be posting.

    Finally, if the mods would rather I not co-opt this subreddit for posts like this, let me know. I'd be happy to post them to my user profile instead, as I don't want to derail this subreddit or take over conversations.

    That said, it's time to talk about Skyward. As is common for me with a series like this, I had an idea of where the series was going when I wrote the first book--but didn't sit down and codify the entire series until it was time to write the second novel. Like what happened with Wax and Wayne, Skyward became four books when I did this, as I realized the story I wanted to tell worked better as four volumes: a stand-alone solo book to kick off the series followed by a more in-depth trilogy digging deeper into lore and characters.

    The good news is that the outline for Skyward Three, which I wrote back in summer 2018, is in really solid shape. I only need to make minor updates to account for things I changed/tweaked while writing book two. I officially started work on the outline today, and anticipate spending about a week doing these updates.

    From there, I'll need to stop and do a revision on the Stormlight Novella from the kickstarter. I anticipate starting the actual writing for Skyward Three on October first. The book should be roughly 100k words, maybe a little longer. Generally, I can count on 8-10k words a week of solid writing.

    If all goes well, then, the rough draft should be finished January 1st. I'll try to do a second update sometime in November to let you know how it's going. If I turn in the book January 1st, I should be able finish the fifth draft by summer (depending on editorial and beta reader feedback) and have the book out around a year from November. But that's just a guess, not a promise.

    Thanks, all, for your patience on this one. Stormlight books take a huge bite out of my time--justifiably so, but it does mean everything else has to arrange around those novels. I'm sorry to make Skyward skip a year as a result, particularly since it ends on a cliffhanger. But hopefully I can get books three and four to you all in 2021 and 2022, with no further interruptions.

    As always, I won't be having replies from this post sent to my inbox. I apologize if I don't see your comment as a result.

    Brandon

    General Twitter 2020 ()
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    Nanotyrannus

    How much continental surface is covered in the maps of Scadrial (Era 1) and Roshar compared to Earth continents?

    Isaac Stewart

    Scadrial's map isn't completely canonized yet, so answering could be a bit spoilery, but I believe Brandon has said that most of Roshar is ocean.

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    Code4Medic

    Since you made the Alethi script for Stormlight. I'm curious if it is a phonetical transcription or alphabetical. Specifically with the -tion letter/sound. Would it be spelled as is or pronounced?

    Isaac Stewart

    Alethi script is mostly alphabetical. English speakers would just spell -tion.

    General Twitter 2020 ()
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    Yata

    I have the doubt about RoW's Epigraphs. The 9-10's Epigraphs explains how pewter/tin allows to build amplifiers/diminishers but then it moves to Steel and Iron (metals never mentioned yet) cages for adv design. Is the epigraph right or is there an error in it?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    No error.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Haverworthy

    Just had a question, when a Returned consumes a Breath, is it a property of their body that does so or the Divine Breath itself? It's been contentious in the community. If it's specifically just their body and a hemalurgist were to spike a Divine Breath as indicated was possible here*, would the hemalurgist not need to consume a weekly breath?

    *https://wob.coppermind.net/events/364/#e11389

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a very interesting question. The thing that requires the Returned to continue gaining investiture is their nature as cognitive shadows--they are dead, and in this case, need a power source to continue persisting in the physical realm. The Divine Breath is part of this. Imagine the Divine Breath as the thing that Infuses their soul, making it persist initially, and then and sticks it to the body. So if you stole it, but you yourself were not in need of being kept alive, I would say that you wouldn't need to be fed a new breath each week to maintain the Divine Breath.

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    Yoitsthew

    Are there any deserts on Roshar, and if so could the white sand organism spread? Just imagining how sand mastery might possibly migrate to Roshar lol.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The White Sand organism could spread on Scadrial, and on any planet, but it would need investiture to do so. It would be easier for it to spread on Roshar, for example, because of the storms.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Yoitsthew

    Would a Lerasium/Atium alloy create a Feruchemist, rather than an atium misting?? What with the way that it’s an alloy of god metals, and the way that lerasium can be used to acquire other magics? As far as I know there is no lerasium left currently, so this one is also just for my curiosity!!

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can use the god metals from Scadrial to make a Feruchemist, but I have to RAFO the actual means.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Yoitsthew

     Theoretically, would it be possible to form a new shard from splinters of multiple other Shards? Could I have posses enough investiture from Honor, Cultivation, and/or Odium and effectively become Unity, without holding the entirety of those shards?? I’m really just curious haha.

    Brandon Sanderson

    What you want here is theoretically possible, but more difficult than it sounds.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    ZuperzubS

    Hi Brandon, just to double check my understanding of things, Odium is still mostly bound on Braize right? Just that he can influence things on Roshar because of proximity?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I treat Braize, Ashyn, and Roshar as if they were almost one entity for a lot of Identity/Connection related issues. It's more than proximity, though proximity leads to it. We on Earth, I feel, would consider the moon and even Mars to be "ours" so to speak, part of our family of planets. Odium's binding, and that of the heralds/fused encompasses Roshar and Ashyn. There are some subtle distinctions, but for the most part, being bound on Braize is the same as being bound on Roshar.

    mraize7

    So Shadesmar is only from Roshar or from the three planets??

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can reach all three through Shadesmar, with a much shorter trip than to other systems. But the map we provide so far is only Roshar.

    Phantine

    Have you come up with a name for their star? It'd be easier to refer to all three by calling it the [???]ar/[sol]ar system instead of the Rosharan/[earth]an system like we do now.

    Brandon Sanderson

    By people in world, it's being referred to as the Rosharan system. This is kind of confusing to us, because we focus on the suns to orient what makes a system. But in the cosmere, they travel directly to planets, and so the biggest trading planet becomes the source of naming conventions in most places. I agree it's a little confusing for us, but I believe it's the way it would naturally arise for them.

    Uth-gnar

    On the topic of the Rosharan solar system, do we get to learn about the significance of the 10 gas giants? We’re they there before the shards ever made their home there? Is that the ‘origin’ of the significance, in the context of the cosmere's natural laws?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO, I'm afraid.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Vanahian

    Brandon has said that the Ashynite Disease-Based Magic was related with the Old Magic. Did he mean it in a direct way? Like this magic from Ashyn was a branch or a variety of the Old Magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do have to RAFO this, for the most part. Suffice it to say that the disease magic is related to a symbiotic bond between spren-like investiture and microorganisms.

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    lupicorn

    Hi Brandon,

    I was wondering about how color-based magic like Soulcasters would work before the terms that define the colors existed. I know the Spiritual Realm is supposed to be associated with color and sound (maybe due to the mathematical basis of wavelengths?), but it doesn't seem like the exact wavelengths of the gemstones used in Soulcasters matter as much as whether they're understood as being specific colors. Does the existence of a color category precede the existence of a distinct magical effect or would the effect exist regardless? Like, before the language of the first inhabitants of the Rosharan system had words to differentiate between green and yellow would heliodors and emeralds have produced the same effect? Or smokestone and amethyst before the existence of the blue category?

    I have a feeling the answer is going to be similar to why the Bands of Mourning couldn't be used before they were known to be the Bands of Mourning but I thought I'd ask.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, the color theory things in a lot of the cosmere are deeply integrated with the ideas of perception. I've mentioned before that some gemstones, for example, are nearly identical chemically, but are different colors--and so work differently in the magic. This is about perceptions.

    Linguistics certainly has a hand in shaping our perceptions of things. And so yes, the direction you're theorizing here has merit, but I'm going to have to RAFO details for now.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twelve

    This is the last we'll see of Rock in the book, I'm afraid. I really hope to be able to do the Rock novella sometime in the next few years to trace his course, but one of the things I forced myself to do in this series is keep the focus on the main storylines and characters.

    Epic fantasy tends to involve ballooning casts, and this tends to derail books as the author lets their focus move away from the primary storyline toward side characters. I put some rigid requirements on myself when I started Stormlight that require me to move side stories out of the main narrative. It's odd to be talking about trying to keep books this length "lean" but I believe one of the strengths of the series is that it has (so far) kept its eye on the proverbial goal. This is more important than ever, with book five being the end of the first sequence.

    That said, what we're witnessing here is kind of the end of Bridge Four as a cohesive entity, at least as it existed in the series up until now. I was sad, for all the fun of this chapter, to be moving into this sequence of the stories. There was a temptation, of course, to just let Bridge Four continue to be Bridge Four--but it wouldn't feel right. Lives change and evolve. My tight-knit friend group from college can never be the same again, not now that we all have families and jobs. Bridge Four couldn't remain the same either.

    One of my problems with some forms of media like extended network television shows is the format's inability to let the status of the characters evolve, change, and grow. For a series like this, we need progression, and we need to let Bridge Four become something else. If we're sad about the changes, the early books will always be there to experience again.

    As for the Kaladn/Adolin/Shallan interactions, I actively look for moments like these to put into the novels. It's important to let the characters live, and one of the reasons I enjoy epic fantasy is that it (with the space afforded me) allows for more time like this.