Recent entries

    Secret Project Kickstarter Reveal and Livestream ()
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    Daniel Green

    Are the new [Secret Project] Cosmere books open to new readers, or more Cosmere-aware because they are special?

    Brandon Sanderson

    All of these books are pretty open to new readers. In fact, I would say Secret Projects One, Two, and Three in particular are among the most open to new readers of books I've written. There are slight Cosmere-aware things that you will get from them. You will get lots of references. In fact, I shouldn't say slight: more than early books of mine, because there's more of the Cosmere to reference, now, that you know about. So you will get lots of cool inside references through both of those.

    But the way the core narratives are designed, they are very good entry points to the Cosmere, particularly Secret Project One and Three, I would say. Secret Project Four is the one that is more requiring of some Cosmere knowledge. It is, again, written in a way that you don't need any, but it is the one that's focused on a character you've seen before, and that character's backstory is relevant, and you will get more out of it by having read some things.

    Basically, if you have never read any of my books before, this is a safe Kickstarter to back. But it's also me allowing myself more references than I used to put in, shall we say. And you'll see, on Thursday, some of what I mean by that. Because Thursday will make it clear that there is at least one very big reference that is relevant.

    Chris Tobin

    Will you let us know what Cosmere books to read before?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Really, again, only Secret Project Four would really benefit from that. The rest of them, they'll be, but I can let you know. The other two will reference worldbuilding elements pretty consistently from around the Cosmere, here and there, but not in ways (hopefully) that are distracting.

    I will say that Lost Metal is a little more Cosmere-aware than any book I've done before. So that's the one that I would say: be up to date on some of your other Cosmere series before you read, particularly one of the novellas in particular, shall we say. It is hard to talk around those. When Lost Metal comes out, for those who want to be spoiled a little bit more, I can mention which that is. But let's just say that if you have read Arcanum Unbounded, you have read the main reference point that you would want to know for Lost Metal.

    General Reddit 2022 ()
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    Ben McSweeney

    Scouts will pole-vault across chasms where they cannot leap them. Bridge crews portage and push (lift! run! drop! push!) their bridges across.

    The maximum chasm width a Sadeas bridge can cover is about 15', perhaps a bit more with the right staging. This doesn't sound like much, until you consider that the goal is to move an army. Even small gaps of as little as 3-5 feet need to be bridged when you're going to march a few thousand men and materiel across them and you don't wish to get held up.

    During bridge assaults, multiple bridge crews are sent in at the same time in order to divide enemy response. Parshendi will fire at the crews with arrows, but they need to withstand covering fire at the same time (with little coverage of their own) and they are not carrying a wealth of arrows (fletching and shafts being hard to source on Roshar, especially without soulcasting) so they do run out of ammunition.

    And still, running a bridge crew is considered a death sentence. It's incredibly dangerous, deadly work. And it is meant to be so, Sadeas uses it as a punitive threat for discipline in his own warcamp and considers the bridgemen to be human shields, absorbing arrows that might otherwise be shot at someone useful (by his standards).

    The main advantage to a Sadeas bridge is speed of deployment. He can get his troops out and across the Plains faster than almost anyone else using any other method (Dalinar's siege-bridges are much safer for the troops and engineers, but they advance at a painfully slow pace). And this speed of action is of the greatest importance, when you consider that the goal of the Shattered Plains War is not the elimination of Parshendi, but the acquisition of gemhearts.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Lost in Discovery

    Are the maps you depict in the books drawn by in-world characters?

    Isaac Stewart

    Yes, they are. A lot of them come from unnamed cartographers, and then Nazh goes to the world (usually at Khriss's behest) and goes and finds these things. I think occasionally Nazh has done his own maps, or he's drawn them based on maps that he's seen, but he's not principally a cartographer. He goes and finds things.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He's a grumpy secret agent, as how Isaac has described him.

    Isaac Stewart

    He's an old grump.

    Usually I'm think about who would be drawing this map, and for whom. In the new maps that we did for the Elantris tenth anniversary edition, the ones that are done for the Fjordell Empire, they were done by cartographers who are worried that if they don't do this right, they might lose their head or be thrown in prison or something like that, and so they artificially inflate, maybe, the landmass of the Empire, those sorts of things.

    So I'm thinking about that, and then you can do fun things. 'Cause throughout history... I mean, maps have started wars. You draw a line on a map and you say "this is where one thing starts and another thing begins" and people dispute it. There was a whole thing about when Pakistan was separated from India, and somebody drew a line on a map and set a date and said "this is the time when Pakistan will be Pakistan and India will be India" and then, like, a million people died in the war that came after that. So I'm thinking about these things when I make the maps, because it's a relic of history on the worlds. It's a way to really flesh out more of the worldbuilding.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And you can find all kinds of little easter eggs in that regard in a lot of the maps that Isaac does and commissions.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Questioner

    The Arcanist?

    Isaac Stewart

    That's sort of the working title. I'm still kind of in the back of my head thinking if we can find something that's White Sand and still has that same cadence so it feels like it... I mean, calling it The Arcanist is good because it will be Khriss's story. We follow Kenton in this one, I think the back half to this story would need to be Khriss going back to Darkside and figuring out what to do with the Emperor there and saving her town.

    The status? I have a lot of notes for that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He's writing Boatload of Mummies right now. So the status is: finish Boatload of Mummies, release Boatload of Mummies, decide what he wants to do next in the Cosmere. 'Cause Isaac's got the do-what-he-would-like-in-the-Cosmere ticket.

    Isaac Stewart

    The one that I'm really excited and might wind up doing after this, and I'm not gonna give too much on it, but I love the title of it. But it would be set on Scadrial and be called Son of Bones. That's the one that I would really like to write after Boatload of Mummies if it turns out okay.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Isaac Stewart

    Been getting back into my book, writing Nicki Savage. I started reading it to Kara, and it got me out of a slump, 'cause it got me excited again.

    Boatload of Mummies. That won't be on the front of the book, just the back of the book. It's basically Death on the Nile mixed with The Mummy mixed with King Kong with no King Kong set in the Mistborn universe with a side character that's mentioned in a newspaper.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Bobby2797

    You once said that you want to explore in your books how humans change in their behavior and personality when living several hundred or a thousand years. Many of these characters in your books go mad: for example, the Heralds or the Lord Ruler. But still, Hoid seems as "normal" as someone can be after such a long time. Is there any reason why he didn't become "mad"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's more that what happened to the others, something is wrong, if that makes sense. What's going with the Heralds, the supernatural madness of the Heralds is related to their specific situation. With the Lord Ruler, I don't think what happened to the Lord Ruler... His is a really interesting situation. I would say that it is not supernatural; it is his isolationist attitude, the pressures placed upon him, and things like that. It's a very normal type of mental... I don't want to call it mental illness, but you know what I mean. A conventional mental illness, if you will, exacerbated by extreme periods spent alone and isolating self. And that's where you get what happened to him.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    328382943

    How many future Cosmere books have you already decided the title for? Are you planning on having another title for Era Three and Four like Wax and Wayne?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a great question. I've decided a bunch of titles, but I don't really decide titles. Like, Dragonsteel will be called Dragonsteel, the series. I don't know if the first book is still going to be called Liar of Partinel or not; I have to write the book and figure it out. I'm less pleased with that title the more time I get from it. And what are various series gonna be called, and things like that. With Mistborn, it's really interesting because the publisher would like to just kind of do, not a full rebranding, but they don't want to go out big with Mistborn Eight and be like "The Eighth Book in a Series!" because they don't want to be intimidating to new readers. And they still worry that Wax and Wayne was a little too intimidating to readers of the original series. They want to find some way to market it in which it says, "This is just a cool new series from Brandon. By the way, it is in the Mistborn world." That's how they would like it to be marketed. So I don't know what we'll end up calling the series of it, if it'll have Mistborn in the series title, if it's not gonna have... No idea yet. That's all marketing stuff. If you're on this stream, it won't really matter to you, because you know what it is. But it's to the people that may not know what it is. If all things go well and we have a Mistborn film coming out in three years or whatever, and Tor has a brand-new Mistborn series in hand, what do they want to do with marketing that?

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    EruSmikalov

    Do you regret setting the precedent that Stormlight books are as big as they are?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nope. They are the length I want them to be, and I have always said to people these will be at the length that I want them to be. I view them as thousand-page epics: that's how I plot them, that's how I pace them, that's how I want them to be. If I changed my mind, I would let you all know, but I have never felt constrained by that. I have more felt constrained by the realities of publishing and how long I can get before the presses break.

    And I'm much more comfortable with that now that I know I can do hundred-thousand word novels that are tight and things like Skyward or Bands of Mourning (instead of the new one, because the new one's 150), but the fact that I can do that and I can do novellas that are tight means that I can with confidence say that I'm writing the Stormlight books at the length they deserve to be, not at an artificially inflated length, if that makes sense.

    Adam Horne

    Correct me if I'm wrong; I might be conflating stories. At one point, you had considered making each of the books three different books, right? Or breaking them up?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. I plot them, in order to be able to put this all together, I plot them as three. Not as three different books, but as a trilogy intended to be read together without breaks between it. But that helps me conceptualize how to build it. The fifth one will not be built that way, though, as I was alluding to earlier. It will be built someway else, and I will tell you about that when we get closer to it and after I make sure that this structure is working.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    AdelRD

    Who will be the main interlude character in Stormlight Five?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Stormlight Five is Szeth as the main interlude character. Flashbacks of Szeth's childhood intermixed with Szeth in the modern day.

    Footnote: Brandon has later clarified that he misspoke, and Szeth is the flashback character, not the interlude character.
    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Homie Reborn

    How many times have humans been created and/or evolved in the cosmere? We know it's at least two, but could it be more?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It could be more. And I won't put a definite number on it, because that would lock me into not being able to change my mind if I come up with a world where it makes sense.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Albinrath

    A lot of things changed for certain characters between Warbreaker and Stormlight. Will we get any of that story in future Stormlight books, or do we have to wait until Nightblood?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You probably are gonna have to wait until Nightblood. There is a chance I'll do some Vasher stuff in Stormlight to catch you up. It's gonna depend on how long it takes to get to Nightblood, and various things like that. I have plans to find a place for some of this if I can't get to Nightblood in time. But most of it, I'm hoping, will be able to be in the Warbreaker sequel.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    AdelRD

    What Radiant Order would Khriss be in?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Khriss could fit into several different Radiant Orders. She's most obviously Elsecaller, but I don't want Elsecallers to be the only scholar Order. That's the thing to keep in mind; in fact, there could be a scholar in basically any Order.

    The thing about the Orders is, I don't necessarily want the Knights Radiant Orders to be too restrictive. I don't want them to be Harry Potter houses, in other words. What do I mean by that? I don't want them to be too exclusive to anyone who would want to be in them. The number one thing that's going to determine what Order you would be in is what Order you would want to be in and whether you jive with the spren of that Order in the right way. And it's possible that you won't be able to just jive with the spren, and it wouldn't work out, but it's not like "All the brave ones go into this Order, and all the nerdy ones go into this Order." That's not how I want to run it. I want to kind of run these based on the Truths that you're speaking, the Oaths that you're speaking, what those mean to you, what you're trying to do. And some of those aren't going to be archetypal: the whole idea of protecting, or things like that.

    I could make a pretty good argument for Khriss in Lightweaver. I could make a pretty good argument for Khriss in Truthwatcher. You could make good arguments for a good half the Orders for any given character, and that's how I want it to be.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Questioner

    Leatherbounds. Will Skyward be part of that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are plans to eventually do Skyward. Here's the thing: we have the rights. Reckoners, we don't have the rights on. So we would like to maybe do a Reckoners one, but we would have to go to the publisher and work out the rights. By the time we signed for Skyward, we knew this was a thing we loved to do, so we just included it in the contract. So Skyward is actually more likely than Steelheart, even though Steelheart came out first. Though I would like to do both of them eventually.

    The primary Cosmere stories are our focus, and so it remains to be seen whether we will have the resources in-house to put together other books. We would like to. We are not promising them.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Asmodeus9

    So far in the Cosmere we have seen different kinds of stories that fit a wide variety of genres across many different worlds. Was the Cosmere intentionally built specifically to be this open-ended sandbox that you can play in? Or is that something that happened more over time as you came up with more and more stories that you might be able to tell in there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a little of both. You have to go back to the fact that, before I published, I write these thirteen novels and got very experienced at the idea of telling new worlds and new stories, and that's part of what excites me. And I built the Cosmere specifically to be able to tell different kinds of stories. Now, as I've matured as an author, there are stories that have occurred to me to tell that may not have occurred to me when I was younger, and I wouldn't have realized that I would want the space to tell. But I always was aware that this is something that I like to do and that the structure that I built should allow me that flexibility and freedom.

    And I also am very aware, and have been from the beginning, that I didn't want to tell the same story over and over. In fact, once I wrote Dragonsteel (which, we'll release Dragonsteel Prime for the Words of Radiance Kickstarter; you guys'll be able to read it), it has more of a classic fantasy farmboy goes on an adventure story than I've generally done in my other books. And I wrote that, and the cosmerenauts or the lore keepers or the Arcanists who watch the things I've said know that the only book I abandoned out of those thirteen was book number nine, which was the book I started right after I wrote Dragonsteel. And I found myself writing kind of the same story again, another similar feel, similar vibe, of this kind of more classic fantasy tropes. And I actually abandoned it, and the main reason I did is I was like "I've done this story. I'm not going to do this story again. I don't want to be telling the same archetype over and over again." I do like taking a stab at an archetype, a lot of times, even if it's a well-worn one; I think that that's fun. But I don't want to be doing it over and over. I want to do it once really well and then move on. So that is why I think I could have even said early on that I would have known that sub-genre hopping was a thing taht I was going to be doing a lot of.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    NC23Nick

    Is there a character in either the Stormlight or Mistborn series that you feel you underdeveloped and wished you had spent more time on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Usually, when I run into situations like this, I just write a story about them. Are there characters I wish I had time to write more stories about? Yes. I wish, for instance, I had time to write more stories about all of Bridge Four. There are plenty of characters in Bridge Four that you just barely even get their names, because there's so many people to track. And there's, of course, Kaladin and the core team, but I would have liked to have been able to spend more time (and maybe someday I will) fleshing out more of those characters. There's that.

    I think Dockson could have used a little more time in Mistborn, maybe, but that's something I would do with a short story. Though, there are things I might change going back, I don't think expanding anyone's story is something that I would do if I were to rewrite the books. That's my instinct.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Sam Flynn

    How long do you think Stormlight Five will be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Similar length to the others. I've said that every time. We'll see. But that's my expectation, similar length to the other ones.

    Every time, I've said "I think this one'll be shorter" and then it isn't, so I'm not gonna say that this time so you guys can't "gotcha" me. But it's possible it'll be shorter; who knows?

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Flagrandall

    Will Stormlight Five feel like the end of a series, or will it be more open-ended so that the next five books finish the story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's going to be somewhere in between those two. It will be a climactic book and should be paced differently than any other Stormlight book. I'm not sure how much I wanna to spoil, but just the pacing is going to be different. I'm going to be treating it different in how I write and build it just from a structural level. But it should feel like a climactic book. But it's not the end. It's not as much an ending as Mistborn Era One was, and even Mistborn Era One left a big door open for future eras; and it's not that decisive. When I release Book Six, it will be Book Six of The Stormlight Archive. And yes, there will be a change in focus, but if you hadn't known that, it would feel like a time jump and a little bit of a changeover, but you wouldn't go into it going, like, "Oh, this reads like a completely different series." Yes, Lift is going to be a bigger character and the Heralds are going to be bigger characters, and Renarin and Jasnah will be bigger characters. But Renarin and Jasnah are alraedy fairly decently prominent characters in The Stormlight Archive, so it's not gonna be out of nowhere.

    I'll just have to let you guys see what you think, but that's what my impression of it is.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    SMG9000

    I really enjoyed Arcanum Unbounded. Do you see yourself releasing a collection of short stories like that again? And have other authors approached you about writing a short story in the Cosmere? What other author would you enjoy seeing tackle a story in the Cosmere, and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think an Arcanum Unbounded 2 is someday inevitable, but it depends on how many novellas I get around to writing, or short pieces. I think it is inevitable; we already have one in Dawnshard that would go in it, and we will have Horneater in a year or two, and maybe someday we will have the Lopen short story that could then fit in there. But for me to really want to do Arcanum Unbounded, I have to write some stories on other plants, like finish up the Sixth of the Dusk sequel, and stuff like that.

    On the second question, there are people who are interested. Right now, the only person that is authorized to write in the Cosmere except me is Isaac. And he is working away on his first stab at a Cosmere story. I don't know what the length; we had talked about a novella. It seems like it's longer? It is. So he is working away at that. I haven't read any of it yet, I've just helped him outline, and things like that. So if that works, potentially there is a chance for more. The Skyward novellas have been very well received, and that makes me excited for the potential. I could see a short fiction collection that is just lots of different Cosmere things that different friends of mine have written.

    But we'll see. I have no immediate plans; the only immediate plan for this is Isaac working on his story and me working on Horneater.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Potato

    What kind of attractions would be in an in-universe cosmere amusement park?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know. If I were going to come up with an in-universe one, I would try to build it in a modern or future era where you could use the powers in interesting ways. Like a roller coaster that goes in and out of speed bubbles could be interesting in that it is a dimension of experience that we can't have in our world, and so I would write those kind of things in so that reading about it would be more interesting. That's how I approach these things; the magic system and the worldbuilding would be relevant to how the theme park runs.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Abandon the King

    Is the current state of the Cosmere still true to your original vision? Or has it deviated much from those early development days?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on what you mean. For instance, I would have guessed that I would have been back to Elantris sooner than I'm getting back to Elantris, if you would have asked me in 2006, when I was really building the Cosmere out, 2004 and 2005, I would have said, "Oh yeah, I'll be back to Elantris. And I don't know when I'll be back to Stormlight." And back then, I thought I would be getting to Dragonsteel pretty soon, actually, I would have imagined Dragonsteel was going to happen, and then Elantris was going to happen, and then Stormlight was going to happen. This was pre-Wheel of Time, pre-me figuring out how to fix Stormlight, and all of that. And Stormlight coming together and working in 2009 (from the version that I wrote in 2002 that didn't work) is a big upheaval for doing the Cosmere, because that's when Bridge Four moved out of Dragonsteel and into Stormlight, and Dalinar had already jumped ship, and Stormlight then became the flagship Cosmere epic, replacing Dragonsteel, which does change how I view things quite a bit. Dragonsteel is still going to be there, but it has become much more Hoid's story than anyone else's, and some of the characters in Dragonsteel probably may not even show up in it anymore, because other incarnations of them have made it into other books. So there is that.

    The general scope and idea, though, that hasn't changed. The general idea of telling this interconnected web of epic fantasy stories that started moving together and coming together, that's all still working; the general plan for what the backstory of the cosmere is has remained the same, and it is working. So that's the big change, I would say. And the Elantris fans are probably in the chat going "Aww." I will get to you, I will, but Stormlight working has changed some things around.

    YouTube Livestream 39 ()
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    Very Nice Name 16

    You write a lot of immortals in your books. How do you think about people living on large time frames like that and how that affects the way they think and act compared to ordinary people? And also, say, 10,000-year-old compared to a 2000-year-old to a 300-year-old?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is actually something I've dedicated a lot of thought to. I think fantasy and science fiction, one of the things it does well is explore human experiences that aren't possible in contemporary or realistic fiction. And so there are a lot of people out there searching for the key to human immortality. And what would it be like? How would we deal with it? These are questions that are interesting to me, and doing a story on a 10,000-year timescale lets me play around with that. I will say that various people you've met are immortal; some are not. Some, it's more time dilation shenanigans than it is extended lifespan.

    But regardless, how do I approach this? By gut and instinct, just trying different things out. No human being's experience is identical to another human being's experience, so I figure no immortal's experience will be identical to other immortals' experiences, and so I can have lots of different responses. I can base it partially on the magic system and how they were made immortal. And then that lets me play with different experiences. Like, the things the Heralds are going through, Hoid hasn't gone through. Some of the sort of degradation of what's happening with their souls is unique... not wholly unique, but individual to the experiences they're having. And I play with those differently than I play with someone who's been elevated to holding near-infinite power in one of the Shards and how their experience goes. And then you've got, just, random people who have run across things that have changed their experiences in different ways, and I will approach them in a different way. And I can't really say how exactly I'm gonna do this with everybody. It's just gonna be different for each character in each situation.

    That's a very long non-answer. I've thought about it a lot; I don't have answers yet. You'll see them in the books when I write them.

    General Reddit 2022 ()
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    MrCargoPants

    Im thinking on using a marewill flower in a tattoo soon but after searching i cant decide which flower resemble the most. If you ever thought about it which would be your decision?

    Ben McSweeney

    There’s a canon design forthcoming at some point soon. It became important enough to make something of it.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    So what are we gonna read? Well, I have draft number two of Wax & Wayne 4, The Lost Metal.

    And as I warned you, if anyone came in late, the prologue is available on my YouTube channel with me reading it, or we sent it out as a newsletter. If you're not on the newsletter ask one of your friends, or go hang out in the 17th Shard and ask them. I give permission that they can send it to you so you can read it if you want to. It might be posted, as far as I know, on there as well. I expect when I read these things that they're gonna get around. So we're going to read chapter 1 of The Lost Metal. And I'm just going to kind of read until we hit to 7:30.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter 1

    Marasi had never been in a sewer before, but the experience was exactly as awful as she'd imagined. The stench, of course, was incredible. But worse was the way her booted feet would occasionally slip for a heart-stopping moment, threatening to plunge her down into the "mud" underneath.

    It would be bad, but manageable, if the place was slippery in a consistent way. Inconsistent slippage was far worse. At least she'd had the foresight to wear a uniform with trousers today, along with knee high leather work boots. That didn't protect from the scent, the feel, or, unfortunately, the sound. When she stepped, map in one hand, rifle in the other, her boots would pull free with a squelch of mythical proportions. It would have been the worst sound ever if it hadn't been overmatched by Wayne’s complaining.

    "Wax never brought me to a rustin’ sewer," he muttered by her side.

    "Are there sewers in the Roughs?"

    "Well, no," he admitted. "Pastures smell almost as bad, and he did make me march through those. But Marasi, they didn't have spiders."

    "They probably did," she said, holding the map toward his lantern to read it. "You just couldn't see them."

    "S’pose," he grumbled, "but it's worse when you can see the webs. Also, there's, you know, the literal sewage."

    Marasi nodded to a tunnel to the side, and they started that direction. "Do you want to talk about it?"

    "What?" he demanded.

    "Your mood."

    "Nothing's wrong with my rustin’ mood," he said. "It's exactly the kind of mood you're supposed to have when your partner forces you to stick your front side into a bunch of stuff that comes out the back side."

    "And last week," she said, "when we were investigating a perfume shop?"

    "Rustin’ perfumers," Wayne said, eyes narrowing. "Never can tell what they’re hiding with those fancy smells. You can't trust a man that doesn't smell like a man should."

    "Sweat and booze?"

    "Sweat and cheap booze."

    "Wayne, how can you complain about someone putting on airs? You put on a different personality every time you change hats."

    "Does my smell change?"

    "I suppose not."

    "Argument won. There are literally no holes in it whatsoever, conversation over." They shared a look. "I should get me some perfumes, eh?" Wayne said. "Someone might be able to spot my disguises if I always smell like sweat and cheap booze."

    "You're hopeless."

    "What's hopeless," he said, "is my poor shoes."

    "Could have worn boots, like I suggested."

    "Ain’t got no boots," he said. "Wax stole ‘em."

    "Wax stole your boots. Really?"

    "Well, they're in his closet," Wayne said, "instead of three pairs of his poshest shoes, which somehow ended up in my closet, completely by happenstance." He glanced at her. "It was a fair trade, I liked those boots."

    She just barely kept her balance at another slip. Rusting hell, if she fell, he would never stop talking about it. But this did seem the best way. Construction on citywide underground train tunnels, or just the Tunnels, was ongoing, and two days ago, a demolition man had filed a report warning that he didn't want to blast the next section. 

    Apparently, seismic readings had indicated they were near to a cavern of some sort. This area underneath Elendel was peppered with aging caverns, and the seismograph readings the demolition man had found indicated an unknown one was somewhere in this region. The same region where a group of local gang enforcers kept vanishing and reappearing, almost as if they had a hidden exit to an unmarked, unseen lair.

    She consulted the map again marked with construction notes and a nearby oddity that the sewer builders had noted years ago which had never been investigated.

    "I think MeLaan is going to break up with me," Wayne said softly. "That's why maybe I've been uncharacteristically downbeat in my general disposition as of late."

    "What makes you think that?"

    "On account of her telling me, 'Wayne, I'm probably going to have to break up with you in a few weeks.'"

    "Well, that's polite of her."

    "I think she got a new job from the big guy or something," Wayne said, "but it ain't right, how slow it's going. Not the proper way to break up with a fellow at all."

    "And what is the proper way?"

    "Throw something at his head," Wayne said, "sell his stuff, tell his mates he's a knob."

    "You’ve had some interesting relationships."

    "Nah, mostly just bad ones," he said. "I asked <Jamie Walls> what she thought I should do. You know her, she's at the tavern most nights."

    "I... know her," Marasi said. "She's... a woman of ill repute."

    "What?" Wayne said. "Who's been saying that nonsense? <Jamie> has a great reputation! Of all the whores on the block, she gives the best—"

    "I do not need to hear that next part, thank you."

    "Ill repute," he said, chuckling. "I'm gonna tell <Jamie> what you said about her, Marasi. She worked hard for her reputation. Gets to charge four times what anyone else does! Ill repute indeed."

    "And what did she say?"

    "Well, she said MeLaan just wanted me to try harder in the relationship," Wayne said, "but I think in this case, Jamie was wrong, because MeLaan doesn't play games. When she says things, she means them. So it's, you know."

    "I'm sorry, Wayne," Marasi said, taking him by the arm.

    "I knew it couldn't last," he said, "rustin’ knew it, you know? She's like, what, a thousand years old?"

    "Roughly half that," Marasi said.

    "And I'm not even 40!" Wayne said. "Probably more like 16, if you take count of my spry, youthful physique."

    "Or your sense of humor."

    "Damn right!" he said, then sighed. "Things have just been rough lately, with Wax being all fancy these last few years, MeLaan being gone for months at a time. Feel like nobody wants me around. Maybe I belong in a sewer, you know?"

    "You don't," she said. "You're the best partner I've ever had."

    "Only partner."

    "Only?" she said. "<Gorglan> doesn't count?"

    "Nope, he's not human. I gots papers what prove he's a giraffe in disguise." Regardless, he smiled. "But thanks for asking, thanks for caring." 

    She nodded then led the way onward. 

    When she'd imagined her life as a top detective and lawwoman, she hadn’t envisioned this part. But at least the smell was getting better, or she was getting used to it. Or maybe the insides of her nose were just dying off. Still, it was extremely gratifying to find, at the exact place marked on the map, an old metal door set in the wall of the sewer. 

    She had Wayne hold up the lantern, and one didn't need a keen detective's eye to see the door had been used lately. Silvery scrape marks from the sides of the frame, handle clean from the pervasive filth and cobwebs.

    "Nice," Wayne said, leaning in beside her. "Some first rate detectivin', Marasi. Sewer portion notwithstandin'. How many old surveys and building reports did you have to read to find this?"

    "Too many," she said. "If I'd known how much of my job would involve searching the documents library..."

    "They leave that part out of the stories when they write about us," Wayne said. "All the research."

    "You did this sort of thing back in the Roughs?"

    "Well, it was the Roughs variety," Wayne said. "Usually involved holding some bloke face down in a trough until he 'remembered' whose old prospecting claim he'd been filching. But it's the same principle really, just with more swearing."

    She handed him her rifle and investigated the door. He didn't like her to make a big deal out of him being able to hold guns these days without his hands shaking. She'd never seen him fire one, but he said he could if needed to. He really was getting better.

    They'd been working almost six years now, since Wax's retirement following the incident surrounding the Bands of Mourning. Wayne was an official constable, not some strange, barely-inside-the-law deputized citizen. Even wore a uniform once in a while.

    Now, this door. It was shut tight, of course, and had no lock on this side. But it seemed the people she was hunting had found it closed too, as there were a bunch of marks on the metal on one side. Looking close, she found that there was just enough room to slip something through the door and frame. "I need something sharp to get through this," she said.

    "You can use my razor sharp wit."

    "Alas," she said, "you aren't the type of tool that I need at the moment, Wayne."

    "Ha!" he said. "I like that one."

    He handed her a knife from the backpack, where they kept supplies like rope, along with their metals, just in case they faced an Allomancer. These kinds of gang enforcers shouldn't have access to that sort of thing. They were just your basic "shake down shopkeepers for protection money" types. Yet, she had reports that made her wary. She was increasingly certain this group was funded by the Set, and if she caught them they might finally lead to answers she'd been hunting for years.

    With the knife, she managed to undo the bar holding the door closed from the other side. It swung free with a soft clang, and she eased the door open to look at a rough hewn tunnel leading downward. One of the many that dotted this region, dating back to the ancient days before the Catacendre, to the time of myths and heroes, ashfalls and tyrants. Together, she and Wayne slipped inside, then did up the door to leave it as they found it. They dimmed their lantern as a precaution, then started down into the depths.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter 2

    "Cravat?" Steris asked, reading from the list.

    "Tied and pinned," Wax said, pulling it tight.

    "Shoes?"

    "Polished."

    "Proof one?"

    Wax flipped a silver medallion up in the air, then caught it.

    "Proof two?" Steris asked, making a check mark on her list.

    He pulled a small folded stack of papers from his pocket. "Right here."

    "Proof three?"

    Wax reached into his other pocket, then paused looking around the small office, his senator's chamber in the house of proceedings, he'd left that...

    "On the desk back home!" he said, smacking his head.

    "I brought an extra," Steris said, digging in her bag.

    Wax grinned. "Of course you did."

    "Two copies, actually," Steris said, handing over another sheet of paper, which he tucked into his other coat pocket. Then she consulted her list again.

    Little Maxillium stepped up beside his mother, looking very serious as he scanned his own list, which was mostly just scribbles. At five years old, he knew his letters, but preferred to make up his own.

    "Dog picture," Max said, as if reading from his list.

    "I could use one of those," Wax said. "Very useful."

    Max solemnly presented it, then said, "Cat picture,"

    "Need one of those too."

    "I'm bad at cats," Max said, handing him another sheet, "so it looks like a squirrel."

    Wax hugged his son, then tucked the sheets away reverently with the others. The boy's sister, Tindwyl—as Steris liked traditional names—babbled in the corner, where <Kath>, the governess, was watching her.

    Finally, Steris handed him his pistols one at a time. Long-barrelled and nasty looking, they had been designed by Ranette to look menacing, but had two safeties and were actually unloaded. It had been a while since he'd had to shoot anyone, but he continued to make good use of his reputation as the lawman senator of the Roughs. Cityfolk, particularly politicians, tended to be intimidated by small arms. They preferred to kill people with more modern weapons, like poverty and despair. 

    "Is a kiss from my wife on that list?" Wax asked.

    "Actually, no," she said, surprised.

    "A rare oversight," he said, then kissed her, lingering before pulling back. "You should be the one going out there today, Steris. You did more of the work preparing them than I did."

    "You're the house lord."

    "I could appoint you as a representative to speak for us."

    "Please, no," she said. "You know how I am with people."

    "You're very good with the right people."

    "And are politicians ever right about anything?"

    "I hope so," he said, straightening his suit coat and turning toward the door. "Because I am one now."

    He pushed out of his chambers and walked the short walk to the Senate floor. Steris would watch from her seat in the observatory balcony. By now, everyone knew how particular she was about getting the same one. Wax instead stepped into the vast chamber, which buzzed with activity as senators returned from their short recess.

    He didn't go to his seat. For the last few days, different senators had been given a chance to debate the current bill, and his was the last speech in line. He had positioned it right after the planned break, as he hoped it would set his argument off, give him a final chance to avert a terrible decision.

    It had taken a great deal of trading and promising to get this spot in the debate; and not a few of his political enemies were upset that he'd managed it.

    He stood at the side of the speaking platform near the center, waiting for the others to sit, hand on his holster, looming. You learned to get a good loom on in the Roughs when interrogating prisoners, and it still shocked him how many of those skills worked here.

    Governor <Varlance> didn't look at him. The man instead adjusted his cravat, then checked his face powder. Ghostly, pale skin was fashionable these days, for some arcane reason. Then he set out his badges on the desk, one at a time, as he always did, making everyone wait.

    Rusts, I miss Aradel, Wax thought. It had been novel to have a competent governor for once. Like eating hotel food and finding it wasn't awful. Or spending time with Wayne and discovering you still had your pocket watch.

    But the governor's job was the type that chewed up the good ones, the ones who tried to swim deep. It was the same type of job that let the bad ones float blissfully along the surface. Aradel had stepped down two years back, and it did make some kind of sense that the next governor chosen had been a military man, considering the tensions with the Malwish right now. Though Wax did question where <Varlance> had gotten all of those medals. So far as he knew, the army hadn't seen any actual engagements. Were they for, perhaps, excellence in shining your shoes?

    <Varlance> finally nodded to his vice governor, a Terriswoman, of course. She had curly, dark hair and a traditional robe. Wax thought he'd known her in the village, but it could have been her sister, and he'd never thought of a good way to ask. Regardless, it always looked good to have a Terris on the staff. Most governors chose one. Made you look respectable. Almost like the Terris were another medal to be shown off.

    <Adathwyn> stood up and belted to the room. "The governor recognizes the senator from House Ladrian."

    Though he'd been waiting for this, looming and whatnot, Wax now took his time sauntering up onto the podium, which was lit from above by a massive electric spotlight. Funny, how ordinary he thought that all was now. If he walked into a room and there wasn't a light switch on the wall, he'd search for it for an embarrassingly long time before remembering there were some buildings that just weren't wired yet.

    He turned around in a slow rotation, inspecting the circular chamber. The spotlight was low enough that he could still make out the faces around him. One side held the elected seats, senators who were voted into office to represent a guild, profession, or historical group. The other held the lords, senators who held their position by benefit of birth. The guild system left many people without a representative. As many as twenty percent of the population worked jobs without a senator's seat, by Marasi's estimate. The lords were supposed to make up for that, representing everyone who lived in their assigned region of the city. But when had a group of nobles ever cared about beggars? Maybe in the Last Emperor's time and just after, but people just weren't like that anymore. They were petty and short-sighted.

    "This bill," Wax announced to the room, loud and firm, his voice echoing, "is a fantastically stupid idea."

    Once, earlier in his political career, talking so bluntly had earned him ire at best. Now, he caught multiple members of the senate smiling. They expected this from him. Many of them seemed to enjoy it, as if they knew how many problems there were in the city and were glad that one man was willing to call them out, ignoring propriety and political necessities.

    "Tensions with the Malwish are at an all time high," Wax said. "This is a time for the entire Basin to unite, not a time to drive wedges between ourselves and those who should be our strongest allies."

    "This is about uniting," a voice called to him. The dock worker senator, <Maelstrom>. He was mostly a puppet for Hasting and Erikell nobles, who had been consistently a painful spike in Wax's side. "We need a leader for the whole Basin officially."

    "Agreed," Wax said. "But how is elevating the Elendel governor, a position nobody outside the city can vote on, going to unite people, <Maelstrom>?"

    "It will give them someone to look toward, a strong capable leader!"

    And that, Wax thought, glancing at <Varlance>, is a capable leader? We're lucky he pays attention to these meetings, rather than spending the time going over his appearance schedule, <Varlance> had, so far in his one year tenure, rededicated seventeen parks in the city. He liked the flowers.

    Wax didn't say anything to this effect. Steris had warned him not to antagonize the governor. There was bluntness, and then there was stupidity. He had to walk a fine line between them. Instead, he kept to the plan, getting out his medallion and flipping it in the air. 

    "Six years ago," Wax said, "I had a little adventure. You all know about it. Finding a wrecked Malwish airship, intervening in a plot by the outer cities to find its secrets and use them against us in Elendel. I stopped that. I brought the Bands of Mourning back to be stored safely."

    "And almost started a war!" someone muttered in the reaches of the room.

    "You'd rather I let the plot go forward?" Wax called back. When no response came, he flipped the medallion up and caught it again. "I dare anyone in this room to disparage my loyalty to Elendel. We can have a nice little duel. I'll even let you shoot first."

    Silence. That was one thing he'd earned. A lot of the people in this room didn't like him, but they did seem to respect him, and they knew he wasn't an agent for the outer cities. He flipped the medallion and Pushed it higher, all the way up to the top of the ceiling high above. He caught it again when it came streaking down, glimmering in the light. As he did, he made certain to cast a glance toward Admiral <Jons>, current ambassador from the Malwish nation. She sat in a special place on the floor of the senate, among where mayors from the other cities were given seats when they visited. None had come to this proceeding, a visible sign they considered even a vote on this topic to be ridiculous.

    "I know," Wax said, turning the medallion over in his fingers, "better than anyone the position we're in. You want to make a show of force to the outer cities, prove that they have to have to follow our rules. So you introduce this bill, elevating our governor to a presidential position of the entire Basin.  This ignores the reason everyone outside Elendel is so mad at us. The bad faith actors who are leading some of the outer cities wouldn't have gotten so far without support of their people, if the average person living outside Elendel weren't so damned mad at us for our trade policies and general arrogance. This bill isn't going to placate them. This isn't a show of force. It's a maneuver designed to specifically outrage them. We pass this law, and we're demanding war between ourselves and the outer cities."

    He let that sink in. They knew it.

    They tried to ignore it.

    They wanted so badly to appear strong, and if left unchecked, they'd strong-arm themselves right into a war, never realizing this was precisely what their enemies wanted. An excuse to rebel, a justification for war.

    Wax pulled out the stack of papers in his left pocket. He held it up and turned around.

    "I have 60 letters here from politicians in the outer cities. These are reasonable people, willing, even eager to work with Elendel on policy, but they are frightened, worried about what their people will do if we continue to impose tyrannical, imperial policies upon them. They're worried about war. It is my proposal that we vote down this silly bill, then work on something better. Something that can actually promote peace and unity. A kind of national assembly with representation for each outer city, and and elected supreme official from that body." 

    He'd expected boos, and got a few. But most of the chamber fell silent, watching him hold the letters aloft. They were afraid of what he was proposing. Afraid of letting power leave the capital. Afraid that the political ways of the outer cities would change the entire dynamic. They were cowards in that regard, and they were also playing to the hands of the Set, a shadowy organization which included his sister and his late uncle as high-ranking members, who had been pulling the strings for years.

    They were still active somewhere. They might even have agents among the senators. They wanted war most of all, though he didn't know exactly why, even still. A way to gain power, certainly, but there was something else. Orders from someone, or something, known as Trell.

    Unfortunately, he couldn't pin his arguments on an organization that most people still didn't believe existed. He turned around slowly, still holding up the letters, and felt a little spike of alarm as he turned back to <Maelstrom>. He's going to shoot, Wax's instinct said.

    "With all due respect," Senator <Maelstrom said>, "you are a new parent and obviously don't know the proper way of raising a child. You don't give into childish demands. You hold firm, knowing that your decisions are best for them, and they will eventually see reason. As a father is to his son, Elendel is to the outer cities."

    Right in the back, Wax thought, turning around. Amusing how those instincts worked here. He didn't respond immediately. You waited to aim well for return fire like this. Thing was, he'd made these arguments before, mostly in private, to many of the senators in this room. He was making headway, but he didn't have enough time. Now that he had these letters—now that they'd all seen them—he needed a chance to go back to each senator, the ones on the fence, and share these words, the ideas, and persuade. His gut said that if the vote happened today, the bill would pass. So he hadn't come here just to make the same arguments again. He'd come with a bullet loaded in the chamber, ready to fire.

    He carefully folded up the letters and tucked them snugly into his pocket. Then he took the smaller stack, two sheets from his other pocket. The ones that Steris had made copies of in case he forgot. Actually, she probably made copies of the other ones too. And seven other things she knew he wouldn't actually need, but would make her feel better to have her bag, just in case.

    Rusts, that woman was delightful.

    Wax held up the sheets and made a good show of getting in just the right light to read it.

    "Dear <Maelstrom>," he read out loud. "We're pleased by your willingness to see reason and continue to enforce Elendel trade superiority in the Basin. You will make us all wealthy, and we promise you half a percentage of our shipping revenues for the next three years, in exchange for your vocal support of this bill and eventual vote in favor. From, Houses Hasting and Erikell."

    The room erupted into chaos, of course. Wax settled in, hooking his finger around his holster, standing and waiting for the cries of outrage to run their course. He met <Maelstrom>'s eyes as the man sank down in his seat. He had hopefully just learned an important lesson: Don't leave a paper trail detailing your corruption when your political opponent is a trained detective.

    Rusting idiot.

    Footnote: Brandon initially stated that he would be reading chapter 1, but continued reading until some point in chapter 2.
    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #1026 Copy

    Questioner

    It's referenced that on Roshar, a foot is longer than is cosmere standard. I can't find anywhere how long it actually is.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's gonna come down to questions for Isaac and Karen. Not that you should go ask them right now. Mainly, what's going on is, we have to have height charts and things like that. Let me talk about the reason for this. I want to be able to say something in world like, "Kaladin's about 6'4." So that people can picture him compared to the people around him. He's probably closer to 7 foot compared to people from Scadrial. But if I say he's 7 foot, you're going to imagine him of the wrong proportions and size compared to the people around him. So I went ahead and said, we will use feet, but scale them different in order-- this is kind of just me fudging for your perception. When you see actual people from Roshar next to people from Scadrial, particularly tall Alethi, they're gonna look like giants.

    Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 ()
    #1028 Copy

    Questioner

    What do you think is the book that you had the most fun writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say probably the most fun would be the Wax & Wayne series. If we're just looking at pure fun. It was Alcatraz before that, but it became Wax & Wayne once I started writing those.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #1029 Copy

    Ben McSweeney

    Chull shells are traditionally shaped by domestic herders for a variety of utilitarian ways and reasons in cultures across Roshar. The porous stone is strong but relatively light and easy to carve away without injuring the chull so long as you do not approach their actual carapace beneath the rock layer.

    aluminum22

    So, is what we see in the art not even their shell, is it just... Like a rock?

    Ben McSweeney

    We see carapace on the limbs and belly, but the part of the back that is visible and rocky is basically very porous stone yes. It’s carapace inside, at a deep enough point, but the boulder grows from that.

    That’s why the stone can be carved and anchored and adapted, and it doesn’t hurt the chull at all… if anything they might appreciate becoming a bit lighter, like shearing a sheep.

    aluminum22

    Very interesting, so forgive the questions, but when you say the 'boulder' grows from that, what's the boulder made of?

    Ben McSweeney

    Crem, stone, and other general trace minerals in the food they’re eating (they eat rockbuds, cracking them open like eggs and chewing up the veggie goodness), processed by the digestion and then extruded naturally through various channels in the back and legs.

    Ultimately the idea here to design a creature that performs a particular role, and when sleeping or hunkered down it looks like a boulder. It has a (somewhat) more typical crabby shape under the stone, but I was designing towards a goal and working backwards.

    Miscellaneous 2022 ()
    #1030 Copy

    Mike Lach

    When will we be getting a non-cosmere short story collection? I'd like to have all of the cytoverse in print

    Brandon Sanderson

    We've got it prepared and ready, just have to find time for it. (And I have to decide if I want to do an exclusive story for it or not.)

    Miscellaneous 2022 ()
    #1031 Copy

    Shreyas Wajekar

    I'm just going to throw in a title suggestion for Stormlight 5. Knight(s) of Withered Truth(s).

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a good one. I've toyed with Knights of Woeful Truth for a while. That's the frontrunner, but yours isn't a bad one.

    Miscellaneous 2022 ()
    #1032 Copy

    Maor Bril

    SA 5 Title: Knight Of Winds and Thunder

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's not bad, actually. One of the better suggestions I've been given. But it can't just be cool, it has to match the text. Knight of or Knights of is likely to start it, but the last words are ones I'm still mulling over.

    Miscellaneous 2022 ()
    #1033 Copy

    Syen Adnan Moquith

    Any chance you can release the original ‘too dark’ version of the Rhythm of War?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think it's Oathbringer you're talking about. If you're referencing the sequence I trimmed where Dalinar is brutally murdering a bunch of people. (In the scene after the avalanche.) Unless I'm forgetting something else? I'd be happy to release the scenes for you, if those are the ones you're talking about.

    Miscellaneous 2022 ()
    #1035 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I took it a little easy over the Holidays, and actually worked on Stormlight 5's prologue as I'm eager to get to it.

    Gavilar viewpoint. Final perspective on the book one prologue. Some interesting secrets revealed in this one...

    General Reddit 2021 ()
    #1036 Copy

    Counterblaste

    There are some rumors he's [Brandon's] working on Forspoken

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was asked to work on a game for Square-Enix, but I don't know if it is this one or not. (I think, looking at it, that the one I was asked to work on might have been different--but it's hard to say, because titles of games and even gameplay changes around a lot during development.) Unfortunately, I had to say no, as I'd already agreed to other things. Forspoken looks cool, though.

    State of the Sanderson 2021 ()
    #1037 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    PART TWELVE: CONCLUSION

    Whew!  That’s something, isn’t it?  Reading through all of that, you might think I’m stretched a little thin.  However, the bulk of this is centered around letting me focus my attention on the Cosmere.  The co-authored Mainframe projects are ways for me to tell stories with the help of talented writers–scratching the itch of storytelling these stories while leaving me with more time to devote to things like Mistborn and the Stormlight Archive.  Hosting a convention instead of going on tour is much, much easier on me–it lets people come to me, rather than me flying around to meet people in small groups.  Having the YouTube channel instead of going out to a lot of different comic cons lets me be available to fans, but also allows me to sign stacks of pages at the same time, so it’s not cutting into what would otherwise be writing time.

    So far, it’s been working well.  All of this is why, for example, I’ve been able to dedicate more time to the Mistborn and Stormlight adaptations.  I worry more about overwhelming all of you than I do about overwhelming myself, though (admittedly) that second one is also a danger.  I’m trying to make sure I have a good work/life balance, so that I can continue telling stories as long as you all are willing to put up with me.

    A strange, and very ephemeral year though it’s been, I’m still honored to be your storyteller.  Thank you for supporting me, my work, and my team.

    Here’s to many more, and a year of working on Stormlight!

    Brandon

    State of the Sanderson 2021 ()
    #1038 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    PART ELEVEN: PROJECTED SCHEDULE

    Last year, I suggested this schedule for the next few years:

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

    Well, I got Skyward 3 out, and have finished Wax and Wayne 4 and am close to finishing Skyward 4. The only change there that seems likely is that Alcatraz 6 is come out at the very end of summer, and the first five Alcatraz books are getting a rerelease first. Adding in a few other things, my release schedule looks like this:

    December 28th:  Evershore (the third Skyward novella) ebook and audio

    January: The Original ebook

    February: Dawnshard audiobook [THIS IS NOT FIRM]

    April: Skyward Flight hardcover collection

    May: Alcatraz 1 paperback rerelease

    June: Legion: Death and Faxes, Alcatraz 2 paperback

    July: Lux (Reckoners) ebook, Alcatraz 3 paperback

    August: Alcatraz 4 paperback

    September: Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz 6), in hardcover, ebook, and audio; Alcatraz 5 paperback

    October: Dark One: Forgotten audio

    November: The Lost Metal (Wax and Wayne 4), in hardcover, ebook, and audio

    I’ll be spending the entire year writing Stormlight 5!  So you can follow along, as always, with the percentage bars on my website.

    State of the Sanderson 2021 ()
    #1039 Copy

    Jane Horne

    PART TEN: THE LIGHTWEAVER FOUNDATION

    Thank you to everyone who donated this year to our annual holiday ornament fundraiser! This year we were able to raise $42,328 for the School Zone at the Primary Children’s Miller Family Campus in Lehi, Utah. We appreciate every donation and are amazed at the fan support this year! Ornaments are currently in production and will be shipped by the end of January 2022.

    We also want to thank Malkier Talks, who ran a 24 hour WoTaHoliday Charity Livestream. Their efforts brought in a total donation to The Lightweaver Foundation of $10,752.

    Thank you again for all your support this holiday season and year! We are excited for what 2022 has to bring!

    State of the Sanderson 2021 ()
    #1040 Copy

    Adam Horne

    PART NINE: YOUTUBE PROJECTS

    We have some new and exciting things happening on YouTube right now. We recently started a new series called Five Favorites where Brandon and a guest discuss their five favorite “somethings.” So far we’ve been fortunate enough to have Will Friedle, Brandon Mull, Kevin J. Anderson, and Daniel Greene. We have some exciting guests planned for next year, and I look forward to seeing your reactions! You can watch all the released episodes here.

    And in case you missed it (I’m sorry if you did!), we recently did a giveaway for the Twelve Workdays of Christmas—which concluded during the spoiler livestream last week—where we gave away a bunch of awesome stuff, including signed sets of books, two Rhythm of War advanced reading copies (ARCs), and we capped it off with a full set of our leatherbound book collection! Across the whole campaign nearly 100,000 of you entered to win, which really shows how awesome you all are, and I wish I could send something to all of you.

    We’ll be occasionally doing more of these types of giveaways, so if you don’t want to miss one, be sure to follow Brandon across all his social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube). YouTube in particular is the best place to keep a close eye on what Brandon’s working on. So if you’re interested in following that, be sure to subscribe there. If you only want to know about the big stuff that’s happening, subscribing to his newsletter is probably the best option for you, as we only send a few out each year.

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    Peter Alhstrom

    PART EIGHT: TRANSLATION PROJECTS

    Since Elantris was published in 2005, Brandon’s reach has expanded every year. As of now his books have been translated into 35 different languages and have sold over 21 million copies.

    The newest language releases coming up include Arabic (Mistborn and Legion), Persian (Warbreaker), and Bengali (Legion). It’s an exciting time to be a Sanderson fan.

    Brandon’s German and French publishers sent along some announcements, so if you read those languages you’re in for a treat!

    Germany

    Recent and upcoming releases from Heyne

    • 15, 2021: “Der Rhythmus des Krieges” (Rhythm of War, part 1), in hardcover / ebook / audio download format
    • 21, 2021: “Der Turm der Lichter” (Rhythm of War, part 2), in hardcover / ebook / audio download format
    • 8, 2022: “Sturmklänge” (Warbreaker, reprint with new cover design), in trade paperback / ebook / audio download format
    • 25, 2022: “Das Original” (The Original, with Mary Robinette Kowal), audio download (at Random House Audio)
    • 12, 2022: Dawnshard (German title to be determined), in trade paperback / ebook / audio download format

    For Brandon Sanderson fans who would like to buy German editions of his work we can recommend:

    1. a) the Otherland Berlin fantasy and science-fiction bookstore who are eager to provide everyone with their genre book of choice; they do not have an online store, though, but do answer requests promptly and friendly;
    2. b) Thalia ships internationally, but only to some European countries; and of course
    3. c) our own Penguin Random House online store; we sell German and English books by Brandon Sanderson and ship internationally.

    We successfully launched our German landing page for all things Sanderson, brandon-sanderson.de where you can find all of his translated work, from Penguin Random House publishers as well as from others.

    Recent and upcoming releases from Droemer-Knaur

    • Skyward – Der Ruf der Sterne: 1 July 2021 (ebook) & 2 August 2021 (paperback)
    • Starsight – Bis zum Ende der Galaxie: 1 February 2022 (ebook) & 1 March 2022 (paperback)

    Brandon also did an interview with Droemer on Instagram.

    France

    In 2021, at Le Livre de Poche, we published, simultaneously in paper and digital formats, Rhythm of War (Rythme de Guerre) in January, alongside with the mass market edition of Oathbringer (Justicière). Last May we published the second installment of the Cytoverse, Starsight (Astrevise), and last September the mass market edition of Skyward (Vers les étoiles).

    In January of 2022 we will publish Children of the Nameless (Les Enfants de l’Innommé), Brandon’s incursion in the Magic: The Gathering multiverse. The mass market edition of Starsight will be out in early May. For the end of 2022, the spin-off to the Stormlight Archives, Dawnshard (Aubéclat), will hit the stores in September and the mass market edition of Sixth of the Dusk (Sixième du crépuscule et autres nouvelles) will come out in November.

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

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

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    Kara Stewart

    PART SEVEN: STORE AND LEATHERBOUND UPDATES

    We’ve had a busy but amazing year! The first half of 2021 was focused heavily on fulfilling rewards for pledges made during our 2020 The Way of Kings 10th Anniversary Leatherbound Edition Kickstarter campaign. We shipped tens of thousands of packages all around the world and are proud that the majority of our backers received their rewards within a year of making their pledge. Many of these items are now available on our store for those who may have missed the Kickstarter campaign, and The Way of Kings leatherbound will continue to go in and out of stock as we sell out and reorder them. Note: the next printing currently in production will not be signed by Brandon.

    Speaking of our online store, we have rebranded and are now Dragonsteel Books! You will still receive the same great service and products, but we are positioning ourselves to continue to grow and provide a wider array of products in future years. Watch our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for announcements of new products and events, restocks on your favorite products, and more! We might have some fun surprises in store!

    One of our proudest moments of the year was Dragonsteel 2021, the first multi-day event held in conjunction with the release of Cytonic, the third installment of Brandon’s Cytoverse series. We had two days of games, panels with experts and fans, live painting sessions, puzzles, cosplay, and exhibitors from Brandon-affiliated authors, artists, and partner vendors. We look forward to doing something like this again—stay tuned for future announcements!

    Did I mention the future? This year we’ve restocked leatherbound books of The Way of KingsMistbornThe Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. We are actively working on another restock of these books as well as Elantris and Warbreaker. However, we are excited to announce that in late 2022 we will be debuting the leatherbound editions of The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self! These books will be individually bound and initially sold as a bundle for $150. After the first printing is sold out, future printings will be sold separately for $100 each like our other leatherbound books. Watch for preorders of these books to open up sometime next year.

    Since 2022 will also include the release of the print edition of the Skyward Flight collection, the sixth book in the Alcatraz series, and The Lost Metal, watch our store for potential signed books and swag bundles for these three titles. We hope you will join us!

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    Isaac Stewart

    PART SIX: LICENSED PROJECTS

    Brotherwise Games

    Brotherwise Games, the team that created Call To Adventure: The Stormlight Archive, would like to announce a new project: Stormlight miniatures. They’re working very closely with Isaac and the Dragonsteel team to create official sculpts of more than 20 characters. The miniatures will be standard scale (28mm-32mm), unpainted but highly detailed. This project will head to Kickstarter in summer of 2022. You can sign up for more information at the Brotherwise Games website.

    The Kings Wild Project

    Jackson Robinson and co at the Kings Wild Project have created a fantastic deck of Mistborn playing cards that are currently up for pre-order. They visited a few months ago and filmed some of Brandon’s reactions to the cards themselves.

    Nauvoo Games

    Nauvoo Games ran a Kickstarter in late 2020 for The Reckoners: Steelslayer expansion to their Reckoners game. They have some nicely detailed updates on their Kickstarter page, including a way to lock in a late pledge. The game is being shipped internationally, and the latest update from November has some specifics for what to expect depending on the continent.

    The Black Piper

    The producers of the Kaladin Album are waiting on their hardcover art books to arrive and will send them to backers soon after that. They’re unable to sell the exclusive hardcover edition outside of the Kickstarter, but for the Dragonsteel convention in November, they were able to make available some softcover versions as a bundle with the album. Some of the second edition softcover art book/album bundles are still available for a limited time.

    Here’s a list of our other licensees in case you would like to check out some of the awesome things they’re doing

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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART FIVE: TELEVISION, VIDEO GAME, AND FILM UPDATES

    The Wheel of Time

    Hey, the Wheel of Time television show is out!  I don’t agree with all of the decisions made in the creation (and it includes some content that I find objectionable).  However, I do like the team working on it, and I feel they’ve listened to my voice as I’ve advocated for a lot of things behind the scenes.  You can read some of my spoiler-ish thoughts on the WoT subreddit here, here, and here.  Overall, I think they’re doing a great job.

    Mistborn

     I’m still developing (in a hands on way) a Mistborn feature film.  I’ve written a treatment, some actual scenes, etc.  I can’t tell you much about it other than that I feel very good about the motion on this for the first time ever, as I have some really excellent partners on the project.

    The Stormlight Archive

    Likewise, I’ve been working very hands-on in creating the Stormlight Archive as a premium cable television show.  This is with Dan Mintz and DMG, who has had the rights forever.  I’ve enjoyed my time working with him, and have enjoyed his thoughts as a partner.  I think this will happen someday, though I’m not sure when and with whom.

    Other Properties (Film/Television)

    Other things are moving (slowly) behind the scenes, but I wouldn’t say that anything else is very far along.  The pandemic slowed down a lot of Hollywood for various reasons.

    Other Projects (Video Games) 

    I’ve been working on a video game for several years, and I suspect it will be announced this year.  So, commence speculation!  (Note: it’s not for one of my properties, but something new that I built with them.  It’s a game company many of you will have heard of, but probably not the one you’re thinking about right now.  Not that other one either.)

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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART FOUR: UPDATES ON SECONDARY PROJECTS

    Alcatraz Series

    As I warned you last year, 2021 was going to be spent on repackaging this series–and getting the art for the sixth book done.  I also co-wrote this one with Janci, as I got about halfway through it back in 2014 and got stumped on something, so I went to her for help both with that and with smoothing out the character voice.  (This one is from Bastille’s viewpoint.)

    So, there’s not much of an update from last year.  The first five books are coming out with new covers in 2022, culminating with the final book on September 20th. Final revisions for the book are in, and artwork is approved for the new covers of the early ones, so we should be super close.

    Their release schedule is below, including the brand new sixth book!

    • May: Book 1: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
    • June: Book 2: The Scrivener’s Bones
    • July: Book 3: The Knights of Crystallia
    • August: Book 4: The Shattered Lens
    • September: Book 5: The Dark Talent
    • September: Book 6: Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians

    Dark One

    A second Dark One graphic novel is in the works for those who enjoyed the first!  But in case that’s not your thing, you can go read the Mainframe update above, where we’re working on a prose version. That should be released first in audio, but Dan Wells is currently drafting from my original outline for that–and I’ve read some of his work on it, which has made me very excited. In the meantime, enjoy Dark One: Forgotten, a shorter tie-in that Dan and I have created for release this fall.

    Elantris, Warbreaker, Rithmatist

    Nothing here, again.  (Yes, Rithmatist fans, I hear you screaming at the screen.)  Elantris/Warbreaker sequels aren’t planned until after Stormlight Five, as I’ve been saying for years now.  Rithmatist might be a little closer than it was, as we’ve been researching potential co-authors who have knowledge and background in the real-world Aztec lore I’d like to incorporate into the book.  So don’t give up hope.  But, like finishing Alcatraz, this is more a labor of love than a mainline series of mine, so it has to take a back seat to the main stories I’m telling.

    Part Four: Updates on Secondary Projects

    Songs of the Dead

    Moving this one back to minor projects this year.  Though Peter Orullian is still working on it, this is one of the co-authored projects that has turned out to be a more difficult write.  He’s spent this year on revisions of it, and I hope you’ll all be able to read it someday.  But we need to make sure it’s working right first.

    The Reckoners

    If you didn’t see that there is a new Reckoners novel out…then there’s a new Reckoners novel out!  It’s called Lux, and I co-authored it with Steven Michael Bohls, another of my writer friends.  (This was a Mainframe project, and so it was an audio original.)  The reception was great, and the sales were great too, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we did another one soon.  But we’re figuring out when and how to do this.  (Also we plan a print edition sometime, but at the very least an ebook should come out around the one-year mark of the audio edition.)

    The Original

    This first of the Mainframe projects will soon be getting an ebook release!  So if you don’t like audio, take heart.  It’s coming in January.  I wrote it with the excellent Mary Robinette Kowal, and it’s a kind of cyberpunk/action/mystery.

    Check out the pitch for it here!

    White Sand

    We should have the graphic novel omnibus coming at you sometime in the near future. I hear that the individual original volumes are sometimes going for a lot of money, but I’d suggest not grabbing one of those but waiting for this new edition. We’ve spent a lot of time making it the quintessential White Sand graphic novel experience, updating text and dialogue to be more in line with the Cosmere. There are 38 new pages at the beginning, revised text and art throughout, a new map and glossary, and fourteen Ars Arcanum pages. We think you’re really going to enjoy experiencing the complete package.

    All Others

    If there’s something not on this list you’re waiting for, then there’s not really anything to update you upon.  Other novellas and small projects continue to bounce around my brain, but I haven’t had time for most of them lately.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART THREE: UPDATES OF PRIMARY PROJECTS

    The Stormlight Archive

    I didn’t do much work on Stormlight this year, as my focus was on other series.  But I did want to mention that we plan to get Dawnshard in audio out very soon.  Hopefully within the next few months. Max, with Mainframe, has created the audio for it–via the always excellent Kate Reading and Michael Kramer.

    Obviously, the big motion on this series will happen with Stormlight Five starting in January, with a target for a Christmas 2023 release.  (It could end up coming out in the spring of 2024, depending on how difficult a write it is.)  Also, I will very likely do a Rock novella as part of the Words of Radiance leatherbound kickstarter in the summer of 2023.

    So check back for updates as I work through the book, which will include Szeth’s flashback sequence!

    Skyward/Cytoverse

    As I’ve talked about already, Cytonic and two of the novellas are out.  While I’m writing this, I’m around two-thirds of the way through the final novel–which, with the Jorgen novella out this month, will mark the end of this first sequence.

    Turns out, Janci and I had a lot of fun working together on the novellas.  Our plan was to do another set of them between books three and four, but the timing was tight on these first ones–and that was a tad stressful.  So we’re now working on doing some follow-ups to the first four-book series.  We’ve brought on Darci Cole, an excellent writer and one of the beta readers on the Skyward series, as a co-writer as well.

    Together, we’re deciding where to take the Cytoverse and what the right things will be to bring to you after Defiant is done.  There will be more, but Book Four also involves some major changes and interesting turns.  So I won’t say more now, other than that if you love the series, I can promise you more is coming.

    Mistborn

    Wax and Wayne Four, The Lost Metal, is done and the beta readers have already finished going through it!  One of my jobs will be to get a 3.0 draft of it done in the coming months, opposite working on Stormlight Five.

    As many of you may know, I do two writing sessions a day—the first one from around 1:00 until 5:00, and the second from around 10:00 to 2:00 a.m.  In 2022, I’m going to try doing something new–writing prose on Stormlight in the afternoon session, then doing revisions on Mistborn in the evening session.  I’m curious whether this works for me, and if so, whether it’s better or worse for my pace and my enjoyment of the process.

    I’ll bring you some updates as I proceed!

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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART TWO: MAINFRAME

    As I mentioned above, Janci and I have co-written three novellas in the Skyward series.  Those join The Original and Lux as stories created as part of my Mainframe project.  (Mainframe being an audiobook company I created with my good friend–and all around excellent guy–Max Epstein.)

    Max is the driving force behind Mainframe.  (He was also one of the first people in Hollywood to see the value in my work as it relates to films.)  We’ve got a couple more projects coming in 2022 that I’m excited about, so I’m going to let him tell you about them here!

    Thanks, Brandon! As mentioned above, throughout, and below, by the end of this year we will have successfully released four projects. And of course we have more on the way, two of which are currently scheduled for release in 2022. Both are with our partners at Recorded Books, who have been excellent.

    The first is the audio exclusive Stephen Leeds: Death and Faxes.  This is a new Leeds story within the Legion universe[, with a co-writer]. While we could have released this in 2021, our primary decision to push this to 2022 was because of the four months of back-to-back Cytoverse releases, which will culminate with Evershore in a few short weeks. We’re very excited about Leeds and can confirm that we have the wonderful Oliver Wyman back in the booth as narrator. More information to come as we get closer to our June 2022 release date.

    Death and Faxes will be followed up later in 2022 by Dark One: Forgotten, an audio series that ties in with the larger Dark One universe that Brandon has created.  Dan Wells co-wrote this with Brandon (along with a larger Dark One novel that we’ll be releasing after Forgotten, though likely not until 2023). We’re all very excited about how the pages for Forgotten have turned out, and we can’t wait for you to hear them. We’re currently planning on six episodes with a full cast, sound design, and music. Very exciting stuff in the year ahead with more to follow shortly.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART ONE: MY YEAR

    Like always, I keep tabs on everything I did through the year via a spreadsheet.  Usually this lists all of my trips and tours also–but there were barely any of those this year!  So, we’ll just talk about the books I worked on.

    January 1st-March 31st: Cytonic and Sunreach

    I spent the bulk of the first part of my year in the Cytoverse, working hard on two stories that are both now out!  Cytonic, book three in the Skyward series, came out last month.  (Thanks to all who attended the convention and who supported the book its first few weeks!  We outsold the previous book in the same timeframe, which is one of the most important metrics for book sales.)

    In case you haven’t seen yet, I also co-wrote a series of novellas in the Skyward series with my good friend Janci Patterson.  The first two of those are out, with the third one (starring Jorgen!) coming right after Christmas.  I hope you’ll check them out.  They are a lot of fun, and add some important backstory to what other characters are doing during the events of Cytonic.

    April 1st – September 20th: The Lost Metal, ReDawn, Evershore

    Most of this extended stretch was spent working on the final book of the Wax and Wayne series of Mistborn books.  (It should be out for Christmas 2022.)  This was a longer write than the other Wax and Wayne books, as I increased the book-length by 50% (and gave the story a little more outlining time) to make certain to wrap up things in style.

    While working on that, I also managed to get work done on the other two of the three novellas I wrote with Janci.  Basically, anytime I needed a break from Wax and Wayne there was something else to work on, so I had a nice rhythm here.  I dove right into the 2.0 of Wax and Wayne once the 1.0 was done, and the beta reads finished up in November!

    September 21st-October 31st: Various Revisions and Consulting

    After getting that second Wax and Wayne draft done, there were just a lot of little things demanding my attention that I’d been putting off.  Some Wheel of Time scripts, some work on the various film projects for my other series, and loose ends of various other things I needed to do.

    All this kept me busy until near the end of October, and so I decided to spin my heels a little until I could do NaNoWriMo officially, starting November 1st.  Which takes us to…

    November 1st – End of December: Defiant

    One of my goals this year was to tie up both Wax and Wayne and the Skyward series (at least the Spensa arc of it, see below.)  Assuming I can finish up this month strongly, I should be able to do that–as far as rough drafts are concerned.  I’ll still need to do some revisions on Defiant next year, but all of the actual writing should be finished–making both of these series a wrap.

    That leaves me free to tackle Stormlight Five all next year!

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    Brandon Sanderson

    INTRODUCTION

    Is it me, or does it feel like this year just kind of vanished into vapors?  I can’t believe we’re already back to December and I’m working on another State of the Sanderson.  After 2020 (which felt like it lasted an eternity), perhaps I should be grateful.  At the same time, it feels really soon to be gearing up for the daunting task of writing another Stormlight book–and book five (the final volume of the first sequence) at that.

    Regardless, I continue to be deeply grateful to all of you who continue to follow me on this journey.  It’s been a strange year for me, for more than one reason.  Eventually perhaps I’ll be able to explain more of why that is.  But for now, it’s time for the State of the Sanderson: my yearly wrap-up post where I tell you in-depth about everything I’m working on.

    Warning: these things are usually pretty long.  They stay up all year, available prominently on my website.  For reference, last year’s State of the Sanderson can be found.

    Enough of an introduction, then.  Let’s get into it!

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    deadmatt666

    With the mainstream success of animated series like Arcane, would ever reconsider anyone of your Cosmere IPs to be animated instead of live action?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would consider it. The more popular animation becomes for the general public, the more likely I am to consider it. Now, if I am able to get some live-action adaptations, then the chances that I do animated go way up. But it's unfortunate; I wish it weren't the case, but you can go look at the numbers of Into the Spiderverse versus these other Spiderman films and see who went to them. I think Into the Spiderverse is amazing; it's probably my favorite Spiderman film. I think it is incredible. But the unfortunate and annoying truth is that many fewer people will go to it because it's animated.

    You might legitimately say, "Well, don't you just want something to be awesome? Let's focus on making something awesome." And that's a pretty good argument. But I feel like I'm not in the realm right now where I want to just have one thing be cool and then leave pop-culture consciousness. If I'm going to get the whole Cosmere made, I need to hit big. Otherwise, we're going to get a couple of seasons and then be done. Because even good things on a lot of the premium cable streaming services right now get a couple of seasons, and then they're done and that is it. If I want to see everything get made, which I would like to see, I'm going to have to hit bigger than leading with animation can get me right now. That could change, that could absolutely change, but that's where my mindset is.