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    Skyward Three Updates ()
    #51 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Skyward Three Update Three

    Hey, all! I'm here to bring you some good news. I managed to hit my deadlines for the first and second drafts of Skyward Three (tentatively titled NOWHERE) and submitted the book last week to my publisher. This is the third in a sequence of progress reports on the novel, the second of which can be found here.

    Now that the 2.0 draft is done, I'm waiting on the editor to look through the novel and tell me what she thinks. The tight deadlines on this one are because of paper shortages and printing delays in the industry. (Many of my books are on backorder right now in hardcover, for example. We can't even get them.) I had to promise to get this book in under a pretty rigid set of deadlines to guarantee a November/December release.

    I'm pleased with the revisions I did to make the 2.0 document, and once you've read the book, remember to ask me about them--I made some choices that I think will be interesting to writers who like watching how different authors do revisions. I am very pleased with the book, but I'm always pleased at the 2.0 stage. (If I'm not, I don't send the book in.)

    I'm eager to see if the publisher is equally pleased, and then see if beta readers bring up any major issues I didn't notice. That will all happen over the next few months. If everything goes well, I should be giving you a final update for the book sometime late March, early April.

    (At that point I'll do the hand-off to Peter, who will handle the copy editing and proofreading. I'll move on to the final Wax and Wayne book, which I know a lot of you have been waiting for.)

    Thanks, as always, for your patience in putting up with me jumping projects as often as I do. I hope you're having a happy New Year! (Also, note, that I will not be having replies to this go to my inbox, so apologies in advance if I don't see your comment or question.)

    EDIT: I forgot to mention the novellas. (The three tie-in novellas we're releasing to show what the rest of Skyward flight is up to during the events of Book Three.) The timing of these is going to depend on when Janci and I finish them, and I don't know when that will be yet, as they don't have to follow a traditional publishing schedule. (If there are print editions, they'll come along in a future year--this year we'll only be focusing on ebook and audio, which should be simultaneous.)

    In a perfect world, I think I'd release these in the months leading up to Skyward Three--but they could be read after as well, so we'll see how the writing of them goes. I will have more for you by the final update post in March/April. For now, just know to expect them sometime around the book release.

    Brandon

    YouTube Livestream 25 ()
    #52 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Then I need to work on outlines, because Janci has got the second outline for her second novella. I'm really excited by the Skyward novellas. Because what's going on is: the third Skyward book, very pleased with. I really like how it turned out. But one of the issues with this series is, the first book was kind of a... They're all first-person from one character's view point, so it's not like they are ensemble books. But in the first book, the character had a large cast she interacted with of characters who are quite endearing. And in the second book, those characters were intended to continue on. But the way the second book played out, about halfway through, I felt like (because it was in a different location and the whole team had gone) that it just was not working. There was too much of a safety net for the main character, with the whole team being there. And I rewrote the whole book so she was there on her own, isolated. And the book just worked way better.

    But one of the problems is: the outline for the four-book series had Book Three already being a solo adventure from the character in a way I couldn't really write out of the series unless I just cut the book entirely. And I didn't want to do that; I like the character growth that happened in it. But that now means that we have two books in a row where the main character's isolated from her team, that you still probably want to find out about if you enjoyed the first book. So my fix for this is to have a series of novellas from three different viewpoints (Janci picked the viewpoints) that I'm co-writing with Janci Patterson, a good friend of mine for many years and an excellent writer. And, honestly, more in touch with YA than I am, and kind of knows that genre. And I went to her and said, "Hey, would you pick three characters that you really wanna tell about from this other group and write three novellas that kind of progress the story, so that it's one long story in three chunks." And she was really excited by this idea and is writing these.

    So, basically, at the time Book Three comes out, we hope to... (no promises on timing on these; I have to let Janci write at her speed. She's a writer that writes at a good pace, but I want her to have the freedom that she needs.) She's going to write these novellas from three different viewpoints that are, together, going to cover the same time that the third book does, that kind of catch you up on what everybody is doing while Spensa is doing kind of solo adventure stuff. And she just turned in the second of those outlines for me to go over and offer feedback on. I'm only about half done.

    YouTube Livestream 25 ()
    #53 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not doing the [BYU] lectures as YouTube videos this time. We figure we only wanna do these every three or four years; there's no reason to do them every year. But, because of covid, I have to stream the class to all of my students. And I do apologize; it is a closed stream through the university. But we will be creating highlights out of each lecture; maybe there'll be a fifteen-minute or a thirty-minute chunk here that Adam thinks will make a good stand-on-its-own thing, and you will get to see those probably after the semester's done, whenever Adam gets them together. We're gonna be doing that from the Lair.

    YouTube Livestream 25 ()
    #54 Copy

    Questioner

    Which order of Knights Radiant was hardest for conception?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was definitely the Dustbringers, which I'm not even sure yet, because I haven't done a lot with them in the books. But I wanted the Dustbringers to be more than just "generic fire magic." Not that people haven't done great things with generic fire magic that they have individualized, but kind of the whole idea behind the Surges in the Stormlight Archive is that they are using, as the elements of their society and the fundamental forces, things that you wouldn't normally see as magic systems in a fantasy novel. And generic fire magic didn't fit into that schema very well.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #55 Copy

    Mojonero

    In Era 1 there was an imbalance between Ruin and Preservation because humans had a bit more Preservation than Ruin in them. After Harmony became a thing did this imbalance become [ir]relevant because both powers turned into one, or is it something Sazed had (or has) to deal with?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a RAFO for now--should come up in Era 3.

    YouTube Livestream 24 ()
    #56 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dragonsteel: Chapter One

    The lumberman’s son was born into a world of magic. Perhaps others would not have thought so, but to a young boy full of curiosity and wonder, the forest was a place of enchantment.

    Jerick saw magic in the growth of the great pines, seeds barely as large as a pebble eventually becoming monoliths, with trunks so wide that when he hugged them, pressing his check against the rough bark and stretching his arms to their fullest, his fingertips still didn’t touch at the back.

    He heard magic in the wind, which blew whispers through the branches, dropping cones and needles to the ground like a rattling waterfall.

    He tasted magic in the fruits of the wilderness, berries both sour and sweet, musty pine scents that tickled the back of his nose.

    He felt magic in the forest’s life. A group in which the lumberman’s son included himself. Like the branch rat, the wolf, the rabbit, and the deer, Jerick was a creature of the woods.

    His first steps had been taken on a floor of pine needles. His home, a simple hut constructed from those same trees that surrounded it. The lumberman’s son knew other, less fortunate children who lived in a village a short distance down the river, a place where the mountainside tapered and the trees fell away into a broad plain. Here, people lived cramped together, their houses huddled like frightened rodents or birds too young to leave the nest. Other lumbermen lived in this village, taking carts or boats each day to the lumbering camps.

    Jerick could not understand these men. They worked with the forest, yet it did not intoxicate them like it should. He did not know how they could leave the beautiful woods each day, instead choosing to live in a place so crowded and suffocating.

    Jerick had friends in the village. They didn’t see things the same way he did. When he showed <Cenn> and the others a tree older and stronger than the rest, they would shake their heads, not understanding its strength. When he found a large fish swimming in the river’s sheltered shallows, its bulbous, unblinking eyes regarding him with an unasked question, the other boys would only try to catch it. When Jerick wondered how the clouds could move in the air when there seemed to be no wind, the others would ask him why he cared.

    So, though trips to the village were exciting, Jerick was always glad to return home. Home to his mother, who would be finishing the day’s washing. Home to his forest on the mountainside, where he could listen to the pines rustling, <fallow owls> calling, and twigs crackling, as opposed to the silence caused by men yelling to one another.

    He loved to accompany his father into the woods. The lumberman was so tall and broad-chested, he seemed almost to be one of the trees. <Ryn’s> arms were thick and rough with hair, his tough axe-calloused fingers like ancient roots, his beard like a thick gathering of pine needles that poked and scratched Jerick’s skin when they hugged. His father had deep, understanding brown eyes and wide lips that were usually parted in a contented smile.

    As far as Jerick could tell, his father was the only person alive who understood the forest better than Jerick himself. <Ryn> could tell the strength and quality of a tree’s wood simply by rubbing his fingers across the bark. He could see birds nesting high in branches that Jerick had assumed were only shadows. And he could always find sweetberry bushes to sate a growing boy’s appetite.

    More importantly, the forest seemed to accept his father. Jerick soon came to understand that this was because his father respected the woods. “Look at the trees around you, my son.”

    (By the way, I’m not gonna do the dialect. I had dialect in Dragonsteel. People from the rural areas don’t say the word “the,” they just say “ta.” So, “Look at ta trees” is what they would say. But I’m not gonna do the dialect.”

    … his father would instruct as they walked together. “Man can be born, grown, and die in the time it takes one of them to get so high. They’ve seen the likes of us come and go.” That would be all he said for a while. <Ryn> didn’t speak much, not like the other lumbermen, who always seemed to have something to say and not enough people to say it to.

    <Ryn> was a King’s Man and cut lumber for the king’s shipping. Like the other lumbermen, <Ryn> used a shiny bronze axe to do his work. The most important possession he owned; bronze was rare. The only other piece of metal Jerick’s family owned was his mother’s bronze cooking knife. Jerick had heard men in the villages speaking of a new, stronger metal that had been discovered recently in the south, something called mountainsteel. They said its name came because it was the same color as mythical Dragonsteel. But to Jerick, it was all the same. He had never seen either one; bronze was good enough for lumbermen.

    As soon as he was able, Jerick followed his father to the lumbering camp. After a few weeks, the burly men welcomed his presence, and he was allowed free rein of the camp, where he watched, thinking of questions to ask his father as they travelled home. He wanted to know what made the men’s arms so big. Why the trees fell the way they did. And what the lumbermen did with all the branches they cut off the trunks. He wanted to know why the King needed so much wood. And how long it took to float all the way down the <Trerod> river to the palace.

    Some of the questions, his father could answer; others, he could not. Some things, Jerick simply noticed and asked no questions. Most of these had to do with his father. For instance, after felling a tree, his father would dig two holes and drop pine seed into each one. The others did not. Every day when the work was done, his father would start a small fire of green pine needles sprinkled with pungent witherdust and let it burn among the trees slated for the next day’s lumbering. The smoke would trigger a reaction in the pine larks and <cheps>, and they would fly or scamper away, taking their young with them. The other lumbermen would scoff at his father’s precautions. But Jerick watched with pride. Actions like these, and dozens like them, were where the lumberman’s son learned the most important lesson his father ever taught him: all life was precious.

    Such was Jerick’s life up until his eleventh year. He wandered the forest, helped his mother with cleaning and baking, ran chores in the lumbering camp. To him, there could be little else to life; he was content, and he wanted nothing else.

    His father, however, had other plans.

     (I consciously did a bit more of a storyteller’s style for this. You can see; that first section’s basically omniscient. This was always kind of meant to be a story that Hoid was kind of telling after the fact. You can kind of see hints of that in some of these sections. Other sections go more into the third limited. But you can imagine that sequence that I just read you all being said by Hoid to people who want to know about what happened and how everything came to be.)

    “Jerick, son, go fetch your mother some water.”

    “Yes, Father.” It was dark outside, and his mother had little need of fresh water, but Jerick complied quickly. His father made few demands; when he did, the lumberman’s son did not question. He did, however, run quickly, so he could return to listen outside the door.

    “The boy notices things, <Martle>,” his father was saying. “He’s quick of mind. The other day, <Javick> and Henry hadn’t been watching the angle properly as they cut. That tree would’ve fallen the wrong way and could have killed a man. Jerick saw the error in an instant. He pointed it out to them. A boy barely two hands old speaking lumberin’ to a pair of men who’d been cuttin’ trees their entire lives. He has more questions than I can answer; though sometimes he answers them on his own.”

    “And what would you be havin’ us do about it?” his mother asked. Jerick could imagine the slight frown on her face as she asked the question, her broad frame seated on the floor beside <Ryn>. His mother was practical in all respects, evaluating everything on its ability to be used. When Jerick asked her a question, the answer always came in the form of another question, usually asking him what he would do with the answer if he had it.

    “There’s that new school in the village,” his father explained. “They say the king himself ordered it built.”

    “I’ve heard of it,” his mother said hesitantly. His mother disapproved of anything that broke with tradition.

    “I’d take the boy to it once a week. He’d be able to learn.”

    “What could he learn that would do him any good to lumberin’?” his mother asked.

    “Probably nothin’ at all,” his father admitted.

    “’Tis an unnatural thing, <Ryn>. It won’t last long; the people won’t put up with it. Schools are for nobbles and kings.” (I used “nobbles” instead of “nobles.” We had a nice little vowel shift in this.) “Not for lumbermen.”

    “I know, <Martle>. There was silence for a moment.

    “Well, then,” his mother said, “as long as you understand that, I doubt there’s any harm in it. Just be sure not to let the boy get a wrong thinkin’ about it. Learning could spoil him.”

    “I doubt anything could be spoilin’ Jerick,” his father replied.

    And so, the lumberman’s son went to school.

    The scholar was the most fabulous creature Jerick had ever seen. (No, that’s not Hoid.) His robes were made of cloth, not furs or skins, and they were a red as deep as the colors of the setting sun. More amazing, his hair was a pale yellow, like the mane of a light-colored horse, rather than deep black like everyone else. His beard was not bushy and wide like that of Jerick’s father, but it was straight and stiff, about a handspan long, and only came out of his chin. It was pulled tight and wrapped with thin strings, making it ribbed, like a bale of hay. The beard almost resembled a slice of bread, with the short end glued to the bottom of the man’s face, and made his chin seem like it was a foot long. His head was covered with a tight cowl that stretched across his forehead and hung loosely against the back of his neck. And his eyes were dissatisfied as he stepped from the chariot, a wonder in itself, and regarded the village.

    Jaw moved slightly, and his face pulled tight, as if he had suddenly tasted an extremely rotten, bitter fruit. Around his neck, Jerick could make out a gleaming castemark; the mark of a man’s rank in life. It was made of gold, rather than the plain wood of those like the lumbermen.

    “Bow, lad,” his father ordered. Jerick complied, joining the rest of the village in bowing for the strange man.

    “Why do we bow, Father?” he mumbled as he lowered his head.

    “Because the man’s of nobble blood, boy,” <Ryn> explained.

    (I’m not gonna do all the accents, but he says “formers” instead of “farmers.” Sound change. The whole idea is that the nobility accent is shifting away from the way that the accents of the lowborn are, which is kind of this fun thing that happens in linguistics. And this is one of the things that causes vowel shifts, where you’ll often see different vowels getting replaced over time. I find that sort of thing very fun. I’m probably not going to read that to you. But you can see it when you read the book.)

    “Lumbermen and farmers must bow before anyone higher than them, whether it be a merchant, a noble, or even crafters.”

    The idea seemed wrong to Jerick, but he said no more. People were beginning to raise their heads, and, for the moment, he was more interested in viewing the odd, brightly-clothed scholar than he was in asking about the nature of the caste system.

    “Classes will begin at noon,” the man declared in a high-pitched voice. The words sounded odd, as if the man couldn’t form them properly. They were sharp and separated; not smooth and comfortable, like what Jerick was accustomed to hearing.

    “What’s wrong with his speakin’?” Jerick asked, furrowing his brow in confusion.

    “That’s how nobbles are speakin’, boy,” his father explained. “They’re not the same as lumbermen. They think differently. They have learning. You’ll get used to it. Now go play ‘til noon; since we’ve come to town, might as well see about gettin’ my axe sharpened.”

    Jerick nodded, his eyes seeking out <Cenn> and <Yon>, two of the boys that he usually played with. However, as his father walked off toward the smith’s, Jerick turned away from the boys. He was still more interested in the scholar than anything else.

    The man was speaking softly to <Millen>, head of his father’s lumbering camp. <Millen> was a short man with graying hair. His head bowed practically to waist level, and he was bobbing subseqiously. Jerick had never seen such behavior from the foreman before. Eventually, <Millen> gestured for the scholar to follow him. The man nodded to his several companions: two packmen and younger woman that Jerick hadn’t noticed before. She must have also been a noble, for her hair was light and luxuriously long, not cropped short at the shoulders or pulled up in a bun. The scholar reached up his hand to help the woman from the bronze chariot. She looked distastefully at the ground, though Jerick couldn’t understand what she found wrong with it. It was, after all, just ordinary mud.

    <Millen> led the four to a house at the center of the village. Jerick had noticed the building earlier; it had been a storehouse, but that had been emptied and its walls washed unnaturally clean by the efforts of a dozen workmen. He’d wondered what it would be used for. Not the school; a building on the other side of town had been prepared for that. It couldn’t possibly be a place for the scholar to live; it was far too large for that. What would one man, even four, do with so much space? It was so silly an idea that Jerick only gave it a passing thought.

    As the five people disappeared into the building, Jerick made a decision. He ignored the calls of the other boys, waving for them to go on without him, and wandered over to the structure, looking as if he were interested in the pile of stones beside the front path. His interest soon changed to a small beetle, a large leaf, and several other objects that progressively brought him closer to the building, until he was standing just beneath the window, admiring a snail as it climbed up the whitewashed wooden wall.

    Though his eyes followed the snail, his ears stretched to catch more of the noble’s strange words. He jumped in surprise as the door opened and <Millen> and the two packmen left. Determined not to run away, Jerick focused his eyes on the snail and tried to look engrossed. The men paid Jerick no heed, and he congratulated himself on his strong nerves, then thanked the snail for remaining so calm, as well. The small creature continued to slide along, completely oblivious to Jerick or its own part in the subterfuge.

    Calming himself with a few breaths, Jerick concentrated again. His efforts were rewarded, and soon he could make out the whiny, snappish voice of the scholar speaking within. “I spend an entire year training in <Trexados>, the grandest center for learning on the continent, and my reward? Forced exile to an insignificant mud pit on the far side of the kingdom.” His strangely accented words sounded less authoritative than they had before. It almost resembled the voices of the younger boys who pled to be allowed to play with Jerick’s friends.

    “Calm yourself, brother,” a second, feminine voice soothed.

    “I cannot and I will not calm myself, <Willan>,” the scholar snapped. “You cannot feel what an outrageous appointment it is. Tomorrow, that chariot will carry you back to <Emory>, leaving me to be forgotten. He must hate me.”

    “Perhaps he simply wants someone to teach the people here.”

    The scholar snorted loudly. “Teach lumbermen and farmers? <Willan>, be rational. What purpose could that serve?”

    “I do not know,” the woman confessed. “It seems ridiculous. But he did appear sincere when he gave you the instructions.”

    “It must be a move by House <Strathan> to discredit us,” the scholar declared as if he hadn’t heard his sister’s comment.

    “Discredit us?” The woman’s voice was now amused. “Brother, no matter how much your trip to <Trexados> inflated your pride, you can’t possibly have deluded yourself into thinking you’re important enough for house politics. You’re the fourth son of a second son. Be glad the family didn’t decide to send you off to the Eternal War and be rid of you.” (That’s where the Shattered Plains are in this book.)

    There was no reply to that comment, but Jerick could feel the dissatisfaction seething through the wall.

    “So, what will you teach them?” the woman eventually asked.

    “As little as possible. The philosophy of the Three Realms of existence is far beyond them. Perhaps I’ll teach them some tricks of mathematics or history, things that might actually be practical in a place like this.”

    “Reading?”

    “By the Lords, no!” the scholar replied. “You know what damage that could do?”

    “The king implied that’s why he was sending you,” the woman noted. “How will you get around it?”

    “Reading requires materials, <Willan>,” the scholar said with a self-satisfied tone. “Look around this town. I doubt you will find a single scroll of text.”

    Jerick waited patiently for the conversation to continue, but either the two had decided not to speak further, or they had moved to another part of the building. Sighing, Jerick realized how little of the conversation he’d understood. None of it made sense to him.

    One thing was clear; the scholar had spoken to the king himself. And that made him an important man, indeed. Jerick had heard stories of the king and knew from them that only important people ever spoke to the man directly.

    Reaching up, he allowed the snail to slide onto his hand, then rose from a squat to walk away from the building. He placed the snail on a shrub he often saw them eating, then wandered off in the direction the other boys had gone.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The initial premise of Dragonsteel, which you guys will eventually be able to read, is: the King has a bet on whether people from a rural village can be trained to be as smart as people from the noble court. And this is part of the bet. And that’s kind of the initial place that this starts and goes.

    Hoid shows up pretty overtly; he’s got viewpoints in this book. He is not hidden at all; you will see him when he comes on screen, and you will know him. I think he goes by “Cephandrius” in this one.

    You will be able to read that, eventually. Like I said, it’s not bad. It’ll be easier for you to compare when you get to the Bridge Four sequence, which was originally in Dragonsteel, and compare it to the new Bridge Four sequence from Way of Kings and see how the new Bridge Four sequence is so much more strong.

    It is no longer Cosmere canon. Nothing in it really spoils too much. It spoils some of the magic system that’ll eventually be part of Dragonsteel, and some of those things. But when I go back to this planet, it’ll be Hoid’s viewpoint. Jerick has basically been written out of the Cosmere; I don’t know that I will ever do a book about him. It’s possible, but there’s so much overlap between his story and Kaladin’s story, now, that I don’t know if I could do it and make it interesting and distinctive. One young and somewhat brooding man raised to be a scholar from a no-name village is probably enough for the Cosmere. Even though there are distinctive different parts, since Kaladin’s father was educated.

    YouTube Livestream 24 ()
    #57 Copy

    My, My Skirt, and I

    Is there chocolate on Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No chocolate on Roshar. Chocolate on Scadrial. I believe I've even mentioned it on Scadrial, before. If I haven't... in fact, I'm almost 100% certain I mentioned it in the last Scadrial book. But there is no chocolate... there's the possibility that some worldhopper managed to bring a piece of chocolate, but Roshar, the first five books are even a few years behind the Wax and Wayne books in the chronology, and chocolate's kind of coming to be known even in those books.

    So, no chocolate on Roshar. I'm sorry. If you're a chocoholic, you definitely want to choose Scadrial. It is also the closest to instant noodles, so that's where Hoid wants to be.

    YouTube Livestream 24 ()
    #58 Copy

    Alexander

    Which of your villains are you most and least happy with?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Least, I'll probably cheat and use Padan Fain. As I said before, after the fact, looking back at the Wheel of Time ending, Padan Fain is the one that I feel I dropped the ball a little bit on.

    Most proud of is a spoiler. The character that you find out is a villain only at the end of The Way of Kings is the villain I am most proud of now. For a while, it was Hrathen. But the amount of depth I've been able to do and work I've been able to do on this character, and the twists and turns that this character has been able to take, I am very proud of, all the different incarnations of how this character worked. He is now the villain I am most proud of.

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    #59 Copy

    Chloe

    How does the revision process for Alcatraz differ from your adult series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Alcatraz is a very different process from other books, because when I write the Alcatraz books, I like to discovery write the whole book. And I usually approach this like an improv comedy sketch. Where what I'll do is, I'll brainstorm a bunch of 'props' to use in the story. For the first one, this was talking dinosaurs. Just things that occur to me. I make a big list; I'm like, "I have to draw at least three or four items from this list and make a story around it." And then I just start writing.

    Because the books are improv, the revision process, then, needs to do more work to give a structure to the story. So they are really off-beat and a little off-kilter as I write them. I try to retain as much of that as possible, but inject actual story, foreshadowing, and these sorts of things that don't I don't have to do in my other books, generally, because I've outlined them. But I think discovery writing is an important enough skill for a writer to have, because sometimes you go off script in your outlined books, that it's good practice. And I consider the Alcatraz books to be practice for that skill.

    That's what the revision process is. There's also a lot of cutting bad jokes in the revision process of the Alcatraz books. Because things that seem funny when you're writing the book don't always seem as funny in second or third draft. Sometimes it's because you've read it too many times. But a lot of times, you can tell; you're like, "I was just in a mood, and that one does not land."

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    #60 Copy

    Questioner

    Are you planning on writing more broadsheet stories for The Lost Metal?

    Isaac Stewart

    I'm assuming at this point that I'll do what I've done in the last two. I didn't do much on the Alloy ones, at all. That you, Peter, and...

    Brandon Sanderson

    On the first one, I wrote Allomancer Jak. You wrote the next two.

    One of our goals is eventually to have Isaac writing some Mistborn books or graphic novels, because he's the only person who knows it as well as I do and who could do it justice. People want more Cosmere, so the goal is eventually to do that. But he has his hands full with White Sand stuff right now.

    Isaac Stewart

    Which is preparatory for...

    Outlining a couple of Cosmere stories right now.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But right now, you're the only one who's written canon Cosmere fiction other than me, because the Nikki Savage story is in-world fiction, but it's, you know.

    Isaac Stewart

    And the other Allomancer Jak story. I can't remember exactly what it was; the Lord Ruler's cufflinks?

    YouTube Livestream 24 ()
    #61 Copy

    Javier

    Which of your characters do you feel is the most misunderstood by fans?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If I'm doing my job, people won't misunderstand characters.

    The one I usually answer on this question is Kelsier, who... Kelsier is definitely a heroic figure. He did a lot of right things. But Kelsier is much closer to being a villain than people see, because he was in the best place for him possible, which is being capable of burning something down. He is just really good at tearing stuff down, and he is a great agent of chaos in that regard, and great at coming up with masterful ways to mess up what other people are doing to get what he wants. And what he wanted in that story happened to align very well with the needs and interests of the general population, and he genuinely wants to do good and right by them. It's not like he's some antihero who is accidentally doing the right things. But he is arrogant; he is very, very driven; and he is very, very dangerous; which are a combination that could have led to disaster in other circumstances.

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    #62 Copy

    Questioner

    What is the weirdest, strangest, most odd and possibly ridiculous magic system idea you've ever had?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I had a really ridiculous world idea, less a magic system, that's just maybe too weird. The really weird worldbuilding idea I had was: people who live on an enormous boulder being pulled by a giant around a very large, very hot surface. And all the light comes up around. And you have to be constantly moving; the population is migratory, otherwise they'll fall off, things like that. It's not big enough to have its own gravity, but it's big enough that... Basically, you would send people ahead who plant crops. There's people planting crops, and the crops grow as you are migrating. And then you harvest them and send crops up to the people at the front, so a group of people is, like, three clans. This whole society built around which of the three you're part of, and they're always following each other. This thing, like, mulches into the surface below and brings up fresh soil that will grow plants relatively quickly, but you've got to be constantly moving. Like, it rotates ever couple of days, basically. If you sat still for two days, you would be crushed under it.

    That felt really cool, and also maybe just too weird for being weirdness's sake. I never ended up writing that story. But I had some interesting ideas for that. Those are the weird... really weird settings often occur to me more frequently than weird magic systems. A lot of the magic systems that don't make it into the books aren't that they're too weird; they just are dumb. Or they just never click. I haven't been able to find a sound-based, purely sound-based magic system that I like. It just doesn't write well on the page. You can do it; Pat has really great writing about music in his books, and I can write about it kind of from a scientific, technical standpoint like I do in Rhythm of War. But every time I've tried a purely sound-based magic systems, it's one of those things that sounds better (pun intended) in concept than it does work on the page. And it just ends up being one of those things that the reader can't experience, they just have to listen to characters try to explain experiencing it. Where I prefer magic systems that the reader, in a way, feels like they're experiencing. When gravity works differently for Kaladin, you could imagine how that feels, and you can put yourself there and walk on the wall and things like that. And all the music ones have been too much more abstract than that. That might be because my music theory background is wanting. I played trumpet all through high school, I took a lot of music classes and things, but I wouldn't consider myself enough of an expert to really talk about it the way that a true musician does.

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    Lucas Blair

    Who's having the best New Years party in the cosmere? Not Elend's book-reading kind of party; the Times Square kind of party.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say the best parties are probably happening someplace like Silverlight. Just because they have access to so much more potential shenanigans, how about that. Like, if you want alcohol from across the cosmere, that's where you can get it. And if you want access to the most scientifically advanced aspects of the cosmere as they're understood and known at a given time, you probably want to go there.

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    SmellHappy

    So Skyward 3 is focused "mostly on Spensa", meaning there's going to be another POV character?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    That's not what it means.

    SmellHappy

    Oh ok I just remembered in one of his livestreams Sanderson mentioned the possibility of multiple POVs.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Yeah, the audio novellas thing is instead of that possibility.

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    maxident65

    If I were a Knight Radiant before the Recreance, what would my wedding vows be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I suspect this would be flavored toward your Order, and would vary depending on your ethnicity and religious beliefs. However, something along the lines of uniting the two to be one would be thematically appropriate.

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    YaBoiAlex

    Can Radiant Soulcasters Soulcast objects into ones of different temperatures? For example turning a piece of the ground into molten metal or turning water into ice?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Kind of, but not the way you want. Most things are going to have to be room temperature--so water, but not ice. That said, there are some funky things you can do with pressure and the like if you get more advanced in the skill.

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    MoriWillow

    Hello, I was hoping to find out whether some stuff I found vague in RoW was supposed to be vague or not.

    In part one, Navani says that some of the fabrials they found in Urithiru worked in ways they understood, but had "spren trapped in Shadesmar" (which by the end we know refers to spren that have manifested as a fabrial), with Soulcasters being the only ones that confuse her.

    Is the intent here supposed to be for us to make the connection that the older fabrials they found use the different types of metals used in modern fabrials? Or is it supposed to be vague how exactly they compare for now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The confusion here is that Navani didn't realize that Soulcasters were a version of something like a Shardblade. She thought that by seeing spren in Shadesmar, it meant that the soulcasters had somehow trapped a spren--but they didn't seem to be trapped in a gemstone anywhere in the physical realm. This is what bugged her.

    It's less about the metal, and more about "where is the trapped spren? I know it's there--I can see it in Shadesmar."

    MoriWillow

    Does this mean that all the old manifested spren fabrials, like the attractors and conjoiners they found in Urithiru and were able to improve, had weird metals like Soulcasters and it was just their identifiable functions that kept them from being confusing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that is correct. (This was regarding old manifested fabrials having weird metals as part of them.)

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    Staenbridge (paraphrased)

    I asked why half-shard fabrials were absent from Rhythm of War, and how they worked. I also asked if honorspren are okay with the mechanism for half-shards, as Taravangian had implied that they used Radiant spren. 

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    RAFO because he's planning on going into more detail about half-shards "when it's the right place". Brandon accidentally confirmed that spren are okay with how Soulcasters work, but RAFOed half-shards again. 

    Direct submission by Staenbridge
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    Simon

    1) Is Hoid still holding his Dawnshard?

    2) If not, is the Dawnshard currently hold by Rysn the same as Hoid's or a different?

    3) Nikli mentions 4 Dawnshards. Are there more than that?

    4) Are all the Dawnshards currently (as of SA 4) on Roshar? Or in the Rosharan System?

    5) Are there some of them on worlds we have already seen (Scadrial, Sel, Threnody, etc...)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    1. Hoid Dawnshard is a RAFO.

    2. Same.

    3. There are only four Dawnshards.

    4. RAFO on whether they're on this planet or not.

    These are great questions, but Dawnshard info is mostly for the future cosmere books--and so I consider most of it very RAFOy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Same here meant RAFO. I answer these quickly, I'm afraid, particularly when they come in a list like that.

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    Questioner

    Considering that bonding a second spren to belong to another Order is possible but never happened, and taking into account that spren get drawn to an individual through their bond, is it possible for an individual to bond another spren of the same Order? If not, then what's stopping them from the bond that doesn't stop bonding to a different Order?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This could happen too, I suppose, but it wouldn't increase their strength in the Order.

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    YaBoiAlex

    I ask this in a vague manner intentionally, but can we expect to see the Shardplate spren of other Orders being able to do different things on command depending on the kind of spren? Kind of like how Kaladin commanded the windspren to form plate on others and hold back the storm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO!

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    Gary

    I was wondering if Dawnshards were created at the same time that Adonalsium was.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dawnshards, I’ll have to RAFO that, mostly because my timeline for all the Yolen stuff, with the Adonalsium stuff, is going to depend on writing Dragonsteel. And right now, I intend those to be post-Adonalsium but pre-Shattering. But I can’t canonize that until I’ve actually written that mythology and lore. Because the original intent of the Dawnshards, when you read Dragonsteel Prime (which we’ll release with the Words of Radiance leatherbound), you will find two Dawnshards in there. And their original intent has changed a great deal as I’ve canonized things and really, really dug into building the cosmere. And you’ll see what my kind of original intent for those was. (Or at least I can talk about it.) And it’s changed since then. The way that they were in that book (and have remained so far) is that they are younger than Adonalsium.

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    Zachary

    In reference to the events in Rhythm of War, what is the timeframe for Mistborn Era Three? Is it before? Or after?

    Brandon Sanderson

    After. Era Three is after. Era Three is gonna take place around fifty to seventy years after Era Two. And Era Two is happening in the ten years between Books Five and Six of Stormlight. Era Three will be happening in a post-all-ten-books-of-Stormlight world.

    So I have to jump forward in time seventy years on Scadrial, and then jump backward in time and finish Roshar, and then jump back forward in time. I think it’s all gonna work in the jigsaw puzzle of my brain of how all of this is going. But Karen will tell me if it doesn’t work, and we will adjust appropriately. She keeps the timeline and keeps me honest.

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    R'Shara

    Are we ever going to know what caused the chasm line in Elantris?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will, hopefully, learn a little bit more about that. Not huge amounts. What I’ve said before in the past is that the cause and effect is mixed up. And I can’t say more without giving away spoilers. But cause and effect is mixed up in that world in that event, specifically. We will learn a little bit more. There are some events surrounding it that are interesting. Hopefully, if I can ever get around to writing Elantris sequels. I can’t even 100% guarantee that that will go in there. But it is planned to go in there, now.

    Dragonmount Zoom Call ()
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    Corban

    Does the fact that Adonalsium has ten letters in his name at all relate to the big magical number on Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. Complete coincidence. Good question. Excellent question. I came up with the name years before. The name existed before I canonized Roshar as ten. The name existed when I was working on Dragonsteel, before I even had Roshar. Back when Dalinar existed, but Roshar didn’t yet exist. The connection there is a just pure coincidence one. If I’d been really cool, it would have sixteen letters. And maybe, in their languages, it does.

    State of the Sanderson 2020 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    CONCLUSION

    So, there you go! Another beast of a document to keep us on track for another year. This has been one of the stranger time periods in my life, and I suspect you feel the same. I simultaneously feel like I was only just doing this, posting a State of the Sanderson for 2019—and also that the times pre-COVID like that were somehow an eternity ago.

    For now, though, I intend to continue doing what I always do. Keep my eyes forward, and continue telling stories.

    Wishing you the best,

    Brandon SandersonDecember 2020

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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART TEN: PROJECTED SCHEDULE

    COVID is slowing things down a little—and Stormlight years are always a challenge—so while I was pretty productive this year, it seems impossible to get Wax and Wayne 4 out next year. Indeed, because of COVID delays and publisher worries, even getting Skyward 3 out next year will be a challenge. (Though I’m reasonably confident we’ll do it.)

    So, my schedule now looks like this going forward. As always, this is just an estimate.

    Fall 2021: Skyward 3Spring 2022: Alcatraz 6Fall 2022: Wax and Wayne 4Spring/Summer 2023: Skyward 4Fall 2023: Stormlight 5

    Once I’m done with Stormlight 5, it will be time to have another big talk about the future of the Cosmere. But for now, I have to keep my attention focused on that goal.

    If you want to follow along in 2021, I should be able to finish writing both Wax and Wayne 4 and Skyward 4, bringing those two series to a close. If I have any extra time, I’ll probably try to do a draft of The Apocalypse Guard and maybe finish the Sixth of the Dusk sequel novella. In addition, I’ll be doing drafts on the Skyward novellas as they come in, so I’ll be keeping busy!

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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART NINE: TRANSLATION UPDATES

    This year I did something I’d been considering for a while—I asked some of my larger overseas publishers if they wanted to include any updates in the State of the Sanderson. I had a few of them get back, and hopefully we’ll grow this section in future years.

    As a quick aside, I wanted to mention that we’re working to have a broader availability of my Gollancz hardcovers be more easily available in places like the UK and India. Hopefully more on this in the coming months.

    For now, here are a few updates.

    Germany

    Two of my German publishers sent us a list of recent and upcoming publications.

    From Heyne:

    • Edgedancer / Die Tänzerin am Abgrund: 11 November 2019
    • Children of the Nameless / Die Kinder des Namenlosen: 13 April 2020
    • Oathbringer Vol. 2 / Splitter der Macht: 11 January 2021 (paperback)
    • Rhythm of War Vol. 1 / Der Rhythmus des Krieges: 15 February 2021
    • Rhythm of War Vol. 2 / Der Turm Der Lichter: 24 May 2021

    From Droemer:

    • Skyward / Der Ruf der Sterne: 1 July 2021 (ebook) & 2 August 2021 (paperback)

    Poland

    Zysk, my YA publisher in Poland, enthusiastically got back to us first with news, follwed by MAG and IUVI. All of my Polish publishers have been awesome, so I hope you’ll support them.

    One of the things I asked these publishers was how people could order the books internationally, if they wanted copies. Zysk has links for those who want to grab the books, though unfortunately this is a place that only ships to Europe. Eventually, I’d like to have links in this section for those around the world who want to order copies, but we’ll start here.

    From Zysk

    1. Skyward (published 2nd of April 2019) and Starsight (published 14th of April 2020)Audio editions of The Skyward Series & The Reckoners Series are available via Storytel.
    2. Zysk plans to publish book #3 in The Skyward Series: “Nowhere”, publication dates to be determined once they receive material.
    3. Polish bookstores which deliver internationally (to Europe)

    From MAG

    Here is their upcoming lineup for 2021:

    • Rhythm of War Vol. 1: March
    • White Sand Vol. 3: March
    • Dawnshard: March
    • Rhythm of War Vol. 2: June
    • Children of the Nameless: June
    • All available 10th Anniversary Editions: Between March and October

    From IUVI

    The whole Acatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series (vol. 1–5) are available to Polish readers.

    1. Piasek Raszida
    2. Kości Skryby
    3. Rycerze Krystalii
    4. Zakon Rozbitej Soczewki
    5. Mroczny Talent

    Audio editions of of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians Series are available via Storytel.

    If you enjoy reading reviews for translated works, here are a few reviews you can check out.

    France

    From Livre de Poche

    At Le Livre de Poche, we are thrilled to work with Brandon Sanderson and Dragonsteel Entertainment to present his novels to French readers worldwide.In 2020 we published simultaneously in paper and digital formats the Omnibus editions of Legion : The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds (Légion : les nombreuses vies de Stephen Leeds) in May, and most recently – last November – the first installment of Skyward (Vers les étoiles) in trade.

    2021 will be a very busy and exciting year for Brandon’s French fans. In January, the two-volume mass market editions of Oathbringer (Justicière) will be available alongside the first part of the highly anticipated Rhythm of War (Rythme de Guerre) in trade. The second part of Rhythm of War should be published in May 2021.

    Finally, the second installment of the Skyward series, Starsight, will come out in trade in September, alongside the mass market edition of Skyward (Vers les étoiles).

    French versions of Brandon Sanderson’s books are available worldwide in online bookstores such as Place des Libraires, Mollat, Décitre, Furets du Nord, Dialogues, and Cultura, or online retailers like Fnac.com, Amazon, Rakuten, Momox, and many others, but don’t forget to ask your local bookseller if they can get it for you!

    You will find all the many ways to get Brandon’s books in French on our website.

    En français

    Au Livre de Poche, nous sommes ravis de travailler avec Brandon Sanderson et Dragonsteel entertainment pour proposer ses romans aux lecteurs francophones du monde entier.

    En 2020 nous avons publié simultanément en papier et en numérique la version intégrale de Légion : les nombreuses vies de Stephen Leeds en mai et, plus récemment, en novembre dernier, le premier tome en grand format de la série Skyward, Vers les étoiles.

    2021 sera une année intense et passionnante pour les lecteurs francophones de Brandon Sanderson. En janvier, l’édition de poche de Justicière (volumes 1 et 2) paraîtra aux côtés de la très attendue première partie de Rythme de Guerre. La seconde partie de Rythme de Guerre paraîtra en mai 2021. Enfin le deuxième tome de la série Skyward, Starsight (titre français à venir) sortira début septembre, en même temps que la parution en poche de Skyward, Vers les étoiles.

    Les versions françaises des ouvrages de Brandon Sanderson sont disponibles à la commande dans le monde entier sur les librairies en ligne telles que Place des libraires, Mollat, Décitre, Furets du Nord, Dialogues, Cultura ou sur les plateformes de vente en ligne comme Fnac.com, Amazon, Rakuten, Momox et bien d’autres, mais n’oubliez pas de demander à votre libraire s’il peut vous les commander!

    Vous trouverez toutes les manières de vous procurer les ouvrages de Brandon en français sur notre site.

    A few reviews from my French-translated books.

    Italy

    From Mondadori (my new publisher there, who we’re very happy to be with)

    Here in Italy, we published the translation of Rhythm of War the same day as the American release. It was a remarkable feat for which we have to thank Gabriele Giorgi, Sanderson’s inexhaustible and heroic Italian translator, who committed to the cause with the usual abnegation and legendary painstaking accuracy.

    2021 will be a year full of Sandersonian releases: we are working on a three-volumes collection of the graphic novel White Sand, which will come out in the first semester, while in the second semester we are planning the release of Arcanum Unbounded, as well as an illustrated edition of Mistborn: The Final Empire, on the heels of the leatherbound American edition. Surprise releases are also not entirely out of the question, although the whole 2021 schedule is still quite fluid in light of the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, which might cause some delays in the second-semester releases in order to adapt to the shifts in exogenous factors and market conditions.

    Spain

    From Ediciones B

    We have just released Rhythm of War in trade on 19 November on a simultaneous launch with the US edition. The first print run of the book in Spain was 14.000 copies and we have already reprinted three times in less than a month. (Now we have a total of 30.000 copies printed since publication.)

    The book started very strong in GFK, and reached number 7 of the general trade list of GFK for week 47 and also number 7 of the trade fiction list, with 4.977 copies sold during the first week.

    It also reached number 2 of top 100 of FNAC on the first week of sale, and has been top 1 of November sales in Gigamesh bookstore. It has also been in the top 100 of Amazon Spain during two weeks.

    Before publication, Gigamesh has sold 700 copies in preorder of their limited edition.

    We plan to publish Dawnshard in the summer and our Mistborn 1–3 illustrated edition during the second half of the year. We also plan to publish Skyward 3, depending on the final release date of the US edition and the translation timing.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART EIGHT: OTHER COOL PROJECTS

    Picture Books

    One of the things I talked about last year was doing a picture book based on “The Girl who Looked Up” from Oathbringer.

    We eventually decided to fold this deal and walk away. The publisher was pleasant, but it became clear we both had different visions of the project, and I wasn’t sure how much control I was going to have over the text and the artwork—something very important to me, especially when it comes to my Cosmere-related works.

    Ideally, I’d still like to do a series of picture books using “The Girl who Looked Up,” “The Dog and the Dragon,” and maybe a few of the other stories-within-a-story that show up in the Cosmere novels. To this end, I actually wrote a different picture book, unrelated to the Cosmere, and am currently shopping it.

    My philosophy again is that I’d like to know more about the market (like with the first tie-in Mainframe stories) before I commit to something involving Cosmere continuity, even in a tangential way. Hopefully I’ll be able to sell this other picture book and get some experience in the market, and then have a better idea of how/when to approach doing the Cosmere Storybook ones. (Where I’d probably want to start with “The Dog and the Dragon.”)

    Board Games and Crafty Updates

    This year saw the release of the Stormlight-themed Call to Adventure board game by Brotherwise Games, who have just been fantastic partners in this area. The board game is fun and has great art. Brotherwise are big fans of the series, and their knowledge of the property shows. More information on their website.

    Additionally, Nauvoo Games ran a Kickstarter for the Steelslayer expansion to their Reckoners board game. We’ve found that Nauvoo creates quality products, and we appreciate their attention to detail on this one.

    Crafty Games also has an expansion coming for their Mistborn: House War board game. This one’s titled Mistborn: The Siege of Luthadel and is currently available for pre-order. Crafty also released some new sets of Mistborn dice this year that are particularly cool, especially the metal ones.

    We also partnered with the folks at Forged Foam, who created these amazing shardblade designs! They are currently out of stock but we’re hoping they’ll be available again soon.

    If you are getting the Orders of the Knights Radiant and Wit coins from our Way of Kings Kickstarter, perhaps you need a beautiful handcrafted wooden coin display to go with it? Dragon Wood Shop is taking preorders now.

    We have a Mistborn card deck in progress with the guys at Kings Wild Project and it is turning out so nicely. We can’t wait for the final product to be out in the world!

    The Kaladin art book is moving and shaking with Petar Panev taking on the art direction.

    And, as usual, our other vendors continue to offer high-quality Cosmere merchandise! Shire Post Mint produces Mistborn coins from two distinct eras in the series. Badali Jewelry features jewelry and accessories inspired by Mistborn, Stormlight Archive, and Elantris. Worldbuilders Market offers a huge variety of products including posters, phone cases, and more.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART SEVEN: FILM/TELEVISION/VIDEO GAME UPDATES

    The film/television world is a strange place right now, with COVID, and a lot of things slowed down or got stalled. So there are no big updates for you on anything here, though I’ve still broken everything down here by series. Basically, I’m afraid I have to tell you there hasn’t been motion on any of them.

    That said, there are some cool things happening behind the scenes on a few of these projects. I hope to have announcements sometime this year that will make you excited.

    Stormlight

    This is still owned by Dan Mintz/DMG Entertainment. There has been no motion this year.

    Mistborn/Rest of Cosmere

    I still have all of these rights, and have not yet sold them, though I’ve been working on a screenplay for Mistborn myself and have had some interesting opportunities behind the scenes. Nothing I can announce yet.

    Legion

    Still owned by Cineflix Media. No updates.

    Skyward

    Owned by Universal Television, purchased last year. I’m eager to see what they come up with!

    Alcatraz

    Optioned by Gaumont with Stuart Beatie, the writer of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, adapting for an animated series.

    Dark One

    Joe Michael Straczynski wrote a pilot for this earlier in the year, and we’re still shopping it around. It’s been a cool experience so far, working with someone who knows the business as well as JMS does.

    Snapshot

    Option lapsed this year. We’ve been looking for another home for this.

    Steelheart

    Option lapsed last year. No home for this yet either.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART SIX: UPDATES ON MINOR PROJECTS

    White Sand

    I’m moving this Cosmere story to the minor projects for now, since the graphic novels series is finished. (Though Isaac has been working hard on an omnibus version of it, for those who wanted to wait for that.)

    In addition to small fixes to bring the omnibus more in line with the underpinnings of the Cosmere, we’re also adding a 30+-page prologue with art by the amazing Nabetse Zitro, whose work can be found on and on Twitter.

    But as a bit of a teaser, here’s one of his sketches from the prologue, showing Khriss and Baon.Someday, I might do a revision of the original prose novel, which is one of the only ones from my unpublished years that is good enough (with some work) to release. If I do so, I’ll update it to match the graphic novel in terms of characters and narrative—as the graphic novel is Cosmere canon.

    Status: Omnibus in the works

    The Reckoners and Legion

    Both are getting some kind of continuation via Mainframe, my audiobook company. See the announcement up above! I talked last year about maybe doing these, and now they’re both in the works for real.

    Status: Mainframe projects in the works

    Soulburner

    Still a cool secret going on here, but I can’t say anything.

    The Apocalypse Guard

    Still plan to do a revision of this and get it out, likely after Skyward Four.

    Other Small Projects

    Things I want to do include: Adamant, untitled Threnody novel, Sixth of the Dusk sequel, untitled Emperor’s Soul sequel, The Silence Divine, Secret Standalone Cosmere Book, that wacky YA Cosmere Book with Magic Kites, Kingmaker (First of the Sun YA novel not involving Sixth), and Aether of Night.

    No progress I can talk about on any of these, though I did do a reading from the Sixth of the Dusk sequel at the Rhythm of War release party.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART FIVE: UPDATES ON SECONDARY PROJECTS

    Alcatraz Series

    I’ve been promising Book Six for a while, and we finally have the publisher on board. I’ve been saying this for years, but the book is now complete. But as I said above, publishers really like more time to publish books than I often give them—so here, I decided to let them guide me, as they want to relaunch the series in paperback with new cover illustrations (the illustrator we’re hoping to get is fantastic), and a box set available of the first five books next year for the holiday gift-giving season.

    Those should be coming out next year or early 2022, with the sixth and final book projected to come out in hardcover sometime in spring 2022. I know it’s been a wait, and I apologize, but the last book turned out really cool. It’s from Bastille’s viewpoint, and is coauthored by me and Janci Patterson, one of my writing buddies. It was the fun time we had doing Alcatraz that made me approach her about the Skyward novellas. If you’re curious, give her books a look. I suggest A Thousand Faces.

    Status: Last book (finally) has a publication date. (Though a vague one. First quarter 2022.)

    Dark One

    We released, in limited print quanities, the first Dark One graphic novel, and it’s awesome. The trade release through regular retail channels is set to be released May 2021. The team put together an incredible visual, based on my outline. I heartily suggest you give it a look, if you like graphic novels. We learned a lot working on White Sand, and I think we leveled up with this one.

    We plan there to be three graphic novels eventually, if people like them. However, if you don’t care for graphic novels, I will do a prose/audiobook version of this in the near future, likely as a Mainframe project. The television show is taking a long time, after all. (See below.)

    Status: Out now!

    The Original

    The first of my Mainframe projects was released! Find it on any audiobook site of your preference.

    For now, we have no firm date on ebook/print editions of this, though I anticipate them coming eventually. (The audiobook company we partnered with has an exclusivity period.)

    Status: Out now!

    Elantris, Warbreaker, Rithmatist

    As you probably expected, no motion here. I didn’t plan for there to be any this year, though all three should get a sequel eventually. I’ve been targeting the post-Stormligh-Five timeline for these. I could see slipping Rithmatist 2 in between Mistborn Era 3 books, for example, when I need a break.

    Status: No motion (Sorry again.)

    Songs of the Dead

    This book, about a heavy-metal-singer-necromancer, is still seeing some revision work done on it. We’re trying to find the right home for it, and have gone to some editors for feedback.

    Urban fantasy is a new type of story for me, so we want to make sure we do this right. Peter and I both did a lot of work on it this year, so I’m hopeful we’ll have news on it in the near future.

    Status: In final revisions, looking for a home

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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART FOUR: UPDATES ON PRIMARY PROJECTS

    The Stormlight Archive

    This was a Stormlight year, as you got not only a new book, but a novella and a non-canon alternate novel!

    Rhythm of War is spending its third week on the New York Times bestseller list as of this writing, and has spent all three of those weeks as the #1 most read book in the country, per Amazon’s charts. So…huzzah! Thank you so much. 2020 might have been a trash year, but I hope this helped end it on a better note for many of you.

    The book did about 40% better in sales than the previous volume, which is amazing. Thank you all for your support. This series is still in active progress, and I’ll dive into Book Five (the final book of the first sequence) in 2022, for a 2023 release. (Which is when we’ll probably do the Kickstarter for Words of Radiance in leatherbound.)

    I also intend to write a novella about Rock to fill in what happened with him after the events of Rhythm of War. The first group of books won’t be finished until then.

    After that, what happens? Well, let’s get to Book Five, and then I can talk about it more.

    Status: New books!

    Skyward Series

    Skyward is my other active project right now. As I said above, I’m working on the third book (out of four) in the series right now, with a goal to have the rough draft done by January 1st. Hopefully we’ll be releasing tie-in novellas right around the time we release the novel, but I can’t promise exact dates.

    I’ve posted some updates on Reddit where you can read more.

    The short version is that I’m working hard on this project. Once it’s done, I will have one more book in the series I want to write. I anticipate doing that final book sometime in the latter half of next year, after I’ve finished writing Wax and Wayne number four.

    Status: Working on it now!

    Mistborn

    While I haven’t been active on this series for a few years, I still consider it a main project. Wax and Wayne 4 (the last volume of Era Two) will be my next project, after Skyward 3. Watch for the status bar for that one to pop up sometime in the spring.

    Right now, I’m planning to refine and update the outline for W&W4 while the beta readers work on Skyward 3—which should be around February. Then I’ll start writing probably in March/April, with a goal to finish sometime around July.

    Once that’s done, and Era Two is closed out, I’ll turn my eyes to Era Three. My goal right now is to write all three books in a row, like I did for the first trilogy, maybe with a novella in between from another world to keep me fresh. That’s likely to be my writing for 2023–2025. Once that’s done I’ll dive into Stormlight 6.

    State of the Sanderson 2020 ()
    #93 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    PART THREE: THE WAY OF KINGS LEATHERBOUND KICKSTARTER UPDATES

    We had a very successful Kickstarter campaign this year for The Way of Kings! People in the first wave are still getting their books, as the fulfillment warehouse can only ship several hundred each business day, and shipping services are overloaded and behind on shipments due to COVID, increased online shopping, and the holiday season. We’re doing all we can behind the scenes to keep getting these 2020 copies out to Kickstarter backers. For more details, please check out this Kickstarter update. And should you have need to contact us about the Kickstarter, please check the Customer Service heading on this update.

    I’m still signing pages for the 2021 group of leatherbounds that should go out sometime mid-to-late summer of next year, depending on when the bindery can fit us in. Please be patient. It can take up to six months for these leatherbound books to be signed, printed, and bound, their slipcases made, and the whole set assembled and shipped.

    We have decided not to put any other copies up for sale, even for preorder, until these are shipped. While we could start taking orders, it just doesn’t feel right at this point—if I had backed a Kickstarter, I’d expect to get my book before there was even talk of selling more copies to other people.

    Because of this, we decided not to do a new leatherbound next year. We’re moving the Wax and Wayne leatherbound release (which will include the first two W&W books sold together) to 2022. Right now, we anticipate selling those together as a set for around $150—but we’ll decide specifics later. We won’t do a Kickstarter, as we want to reserve those for Stormlight books.

    Next year, our goal will be to get The Way of Kings leatherbound back in print, so people can have it for 2021 holiday presents. I’ll hop away and let Isaac take over to talk about the other Kickstarter rewards that are still in the works. Take it away, Isaac!

    Isaac Stewart

    Hello there, and thanks for taking a moment to read Brandon’s yearly update. He’s already talked a bit about The Way of Kings leatherbound, so I’ll focus this section on the additional rewards, breaking them down into two categories. First, the rewards that were included in some of the higher tiers, like the physical editions of Dawnshard and The Way of Kings Prime. Secondly, I’ll give updates on the stretch goal rewards that came at no additional cost to backers with many of the tiers. (Though many of these rewards were also offered for sale as add-ons in BackerKit.)

    The physical editions of The Way of Kings Prime and Dawnshard are currently in production. We’ve finished the files for both of them and approved the proofs, and both books are in the process of being printed and bound, with a likely delivery to us sometime in January. As soon as we get the books, they’ll start going out to domestic backers. If your address is outside the United States, your books will be shipped together with the stretch goal rewards in order to save on shipping, as was mentioned on the Kickstarter page under the Shipping heading.

    Now on to the other goodies.

    The Bridge Four poster has been shipped out to all backers who have completed their BackerKit survey. So if you haven’t received this (or the digital Dawnshard novella or novella drafts digital package), then the first place to check would be to see if you’ve completed this survey.

    And continuing down the list of stretch goal rewards…

    The Knights Radiant Order patches, art prints, and pins (as well as our orders of the Backer Pin, Chicken Scout merit patch, epic bookmark, and drink coasters) are all done and in our warehouse.

    The Knights Radiant and Chromatic Chicken Scouts sticker sheets and the Journey Before Destination bumper sticker should arrive from the manufacturer sometime this week.

    The Knights Radiant Order coins have all been approved and look fantastic. They are currently in the process of being manufactured. As a teaser, here are three of the approved samples, with a special thanks to Steve Argyle for his sculpting help on these:Not far behind is the Wit/Witless coin, which took a bit more work with the supplier to figure out how to make the tails side of this coin work the way we wanted it to. We’ll know soon if our latest round of changes has the desired effect, but so far it’s looking really promising.

    In order to ship all these in one package, we have to wait until all of the goodies are in hand, and the last thing we’ll likely be waiting for is the Stormlight Playing Cards. The set is done and all art has been turned in, but the printing company has a long lead time, and we’re just at the beginning of the process of approving proofs and getting things moving there.

    As for the digital art package, it’s still in the making, and we’re hoping to release it late this month or in early January.

    Thank you for your support of our Kickstarter, and thank you for your patience as we get all the moving pieces put together.

    State of the Sanderson 2020 ()
    #94 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    PART TWO: MY YEAR

    I keep a handy spreadsheet to track my work throughout the year—it has a list of dates on the left, and then a column for words written each day, and other columns for goals and targets and the like.

    One of the ways I keep myself productive on projects is by setting goals and tracking my progress toward milestones. Making progress really helps me feel the book coming together, and it keeps me motivated. It also lets me look back and see what I spent my time doing each year. So, I can give you specific dates of when I was working on what during the year.

    January–July 12th: Rhythm of War

    December 2019 on the 31st, I finished the first draft of Rhythm of War in a marathon writing session. Then, three days later, I launched into revisions. Revising a book this big is a long, involved procedure, using many alpha and beta readers.

    It’s not my favorite part of the writing process, particularly with these long novels that take a ton of effort to revise. However, I’m extremely pleased with the resulting book. These days, I balance my time between Stormlight books and other projects—eighteen months on each, in rotation. It’s been working well, so I imagine continuing it for at least one more cycle.

    That means I’ll start writing Stormlight 5 on January 1st, 2022 for a fall 2023 release.

    July 13th–19th: Songs of the Dead Revision

    You can hear more about this in project updates below. This is a book I’m working on with a friend, Peter Orullian. His latest draft came in, and it was my turn to do some work on a few key parts of the story before turning it back over.

    July 20th–August 26th: Dawnshard

    I would have liked to have had more time between Rhythm of War and Dawnshard, the latest Stormlight novella. (This one focuses on Rysn and Lopen, if you haven’t read it yet. The ebook is out now.) However, since I wanted to get it out to Kickstarter backers before the arrival of Rhythm of War, I had to slot it in as early as possible. To that end, I dove in and finished the first draft in July–August.

    A fun fact in here is that my computer died halfway through writing this one, but I had a new computer within a day—since I work from the cloud, my computers are basically dumb terminals. This is probably my favorite thing about the modern writing process. Unless major cloud services somehow lose all their data at the same time my computer completely dies, I’ll never lose any writing ever again. (Something that has really happened only once in my life, long ago, but it was a perpetual worry for a big chunk of my writing career.)

    August 28th–September 17th: Reckoners Novellas

    My extra time this year gave me time to do a pass on these novellas, which had been in the works for a while now. (See the Mainframe announcement above.)

    My work these weeks, then, was me getting the first drafts from the author and going through for my pass, working on them—mostly in an editorial role, making suggestions and helping beef up the story in various ways.

    We hope to release these in 2021 sometime. So stay tuned!

    September 18th–29th: Skyward Three

    The third Skyward book (out of four) is my current main project, and things are going really well for it. (Particularly because I’m excited about the Janci novellas, and how they’ll tie together with the novel.) I dove into Book Three in earnest in September, first cleaning up the outline, then writing a short chunk of it before Dawnshard revisions came due.

    I did take a day off in here to rent a theater (which was really cheap to do in the COVID months) and go see Tenet with my family. I love me some Christopher Nolan, and wanted to experience it on the big screen. I think you can guess from the way I like to plot that I loved the film—it might just be the most Nolany Christopher Nolan film that was ever Nolaned upon the world.

    October 1st–13th: Dawnshard Revisions

    I actually did a brief 2.0 of this between work on the Reckoners novellas earlier in the year, but the bulk of the revision process happened here, after we got back beta reader feedback.

    Print and audio editions should be forthcoming. I’ve been thinking I’ll probably release the audio under my Mainframe imprint—even though this book isn’t a collaboration—as the print edition’s publisher is undecided as of yet. Translated editions should be forthcoming in most of my major markets.

    October 14th–Now: Skyward 3

    The tentative title is Nowhere. If you want to read the various updates on this book, look at the updates section. (I did also sneak a final polish of Dawnshard in October, and had a week off to do Rhythm of War launch party stuff in November.)

    State of the Sanderson 2020 ()
    #95 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    PART ONE: MAINFRAME ANNOUNCEMENTS

    As I will be getting into some of these projects below, I think it’s time to talk a little bit more about Mainframe, my audiobook company.

    A few years back, a friend of mine from Hollywood and I were chatting about how hard it was to get things made for film/television. Such projects are just way too big for us to do on our own. Yet I had a lot of projects I thought would work really well in this space.

    As kind of a stepping stone toward that, the two of us founded Mainframe with Recorded Books being a launch partner. We figured that we could start taking some of the things I wanted to do for film/television and do them as audio originals—as this was a space the two of us, with some help from things like a writer’s room, could do ourselves. This would let me both explore storytelling in some new ways and build toward one of my eventual goals, which is having my own film production company.

    The main goal of Mainframe, then, is to take ideas I have that I (so far) haven’t been able to do anything with, or to take stories I want to see done more as a television show, then try to make audio-drama-style expansions to them.

    The first thing we collaborated on was The Original, which you can find right now on audiobook platforms—and is on sale for just $2.75 on audiobooks.com until the end of the year. This was written with Mary Robinette Kowal. I wrote the outline, she did the first draft, I went through (kind of more in an editorial role) and did a second draft, then she did a third draft. I hope you’ll give it a look!

    (Note that it, like the other things that come out from Mainframe, should eventually have ebook/print releases. However, they will need some revision to accomplish that, because they are being written specifically for audio. MRK did some excellent work in this area for The Original, as she has a lot of expertise in the world of audio.)

    Along with The Original, we began several other projects like this for Mainframe. And I finally get to talk about them here! The first is an extension to the Reckoners series. When I wrote the original books, in my pitch to both the publisher and Hollywood, I explained that I’d really like to do a video game or other tie-in to the series by showing a different group of Reckoners and what they were up to.

    To that end, we’ve developed three novellas (cowritten with the talented Steve Bohls)—Author of the middle grade book Jed and the Junkyard War (which has fantastic worldbuilding)—following a new group of Reckoners in the same universe. The novellas start around the time of the end of the original trilogy, then go past them into the future of the series. They can be seen as three “episodes” of a television show, or read together as a single novel, since they are all told from the same character’s viewpoint.

    The second project is working on the Legion/Stephen Leeds series. Many of you may know that I wrote the original novella as kind of a pitch for a television show—and while that show has been in development pretty much continually since then, it’s never actually gotten made.

    Therefore, we decided to try and basically build our own television series based on the concept, only doing it as audio dramas. In this case, we went with a traditional Hollywood writer’s room, letting a “showrunner” (in this case, my partner Max, with whom I founded Mainframe) guide the process. We’re working together on a “pilot episode” in this framework.

    The final project I want to announce is an expansion to the Skyward series. The way the series has gone, the second book focused only on Spensa, without much of a look at the rest of Skyward Flight. As the third novel mostly continues Spensa’s story, I worried about how isolated from the rest of the team the narrative would feel.

    Therefore, Janci Patterson and I have designed a sequence of three tie-in novellas to this series. These will each be from a different viewpoint, three members of the team back on Detritus, running parallel to Skyward Three and having some cool overlaps between them.

    While the previous two announced Mainframe projects will be audio only, it’s our intention to release these Skyward novellas simultaneously in ebook and audio, with a print follow-up. We feel that because the series is ongoing (and these novellas are therefore a little more important for keeping track of the novels), we don’t think audio exclusive is as good an idea for these.

    This may seem like a lot with these three projects, but we’ve been working on most of this for years now—I just haven’t been able to announce it yet. Plus, we wanted to try a variety of different things and see what my readers liked the most.

    The Original is a completely new story. The Reckoners novellas are a continuation of a series I’ve finished. The Legion series is a Hollywood-style adaptation, using screenwriters instead of novelists. And the Skyward tie-ins are unique in that Janci and I are working very closely on a story in progress, with the goal of expanding the narrative to give it more depth. (These should read a little more like the Stormlight novellas I’ve been doing.)

    After a few years, once these are all out, I’m hoping to get some feedback from you all in regards to these projects about what you liked and what you didn’t. The eventual goal will be to try some things like this in the Cosmere (since I’ve been getting a lot of requests for more Cosmere material). However, I wanted to experiment a little first with things outside the Cosmere, where continuity isn’t as complex and the stakes aren’t quite as high.

    So if you want to help me with quality control and making sure we’re doing expansions like this right, check out these projects as they come along! Some of them (like the Reckoners novellas) should be available to grab for free for those of you with Audible Plus, as I believe they’re being released under the Audible Originals banner.

    And lastly, Tor just recently released a new box set of Stormlight books 1-3 and make a great gift last minute gift for the holiday season. We’re not sure, but we’re hoping a year from now that we’ll be able to offer a hardcover box set with the first four books.

    State of the Sanderson 2020 ()
    #96 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    INTRODUCTION

    Well, this has certainly been quite the year, hasn’t it? Dan Carlin on his podcast likes to quote the old (supposedly) Chinese saying that goes: “May you live in interesting times.” I think I better understand why that phrase is usually used as a curse, not a blessing.

    I like it when things are different; it is good for my writing brain to live in a different way. However, I’d prefer this experience not come at the terrible expense many people have paid this year because of COVID. I hope the vaccines are widely available soon.

    For now, if you can appreciate one silver lining to the pandemic, it’s this: A year of staying home and not touring has led me to be rather productive. I’ve been able to work on a lot of behind-the-scenes projects that will eventually come to light—as well as meeting all of my deadlines for things I wanted to accomplish this year. So hopefully, my stories provide you with a little relief from these “interesting” times.

    If you missed it earlier this year, we released a book I call The Way of Kings Prime. This is the (very, very different) version of the book I wrote in 2002 that I decided not to publish. I started again from scratch in 2009–2010 to create the book actually published as The Way of Kings. If you’re done with Rhythm of War and want some more (non-canon) Cosmere, feel free to give this older one a read. It’s very different.

    YouTube Livestream 23 ()
    #98 Copy

    Benjamin Susla

    Did Hoid confirm that Cultivation is a dragon?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know if Hoid did. I can confirm it for you. Cultivation is. 

    If I RAFO'd that one, everyone would be "Oh it's a secret still." It's not. I could RAFO it so people continue to theorize, which I sometimes like. But it's not suppose to be a secret.

    YouTube Livestream 23 ()
    #99 Copy

    patmanzero

    Maya told the honorspren not to take their sacrifice. If the Recreance was a deliberate act between Radiants and spren, would spren like Maya consider new bonds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is also a RAFO. I'm sorry.