As someone else has posted, I have finished the rough draft of Dalinar's flashbacks for Stormlight Three. I consider the experiment of writing his flashbacks for this book, instead of waiting for book five, to be a success. Therefore, I'm proceeding with the Dalinar/Szeth flip.
The reasoning for this is something I can't discuss in detail until the book is released. I'd be happy to revisit this topic once you all have a chance to read the novel. But for now, a few statistics.
I'm working at about 2,000 words a day on average. That's slow for me (a better rate is around 3,000 words) but Stormlight is difficult to write. The complexity of the worldbuilding and the narrative structure require extra attention and detail. At this rate, though, I should be finishing the book sometime between December and February. We'll see--I have a tour for the new Mistborn book, as well as several weeks in the UK, coming up. They'll impact my ability to write.
I'm doing a revision on these Dalinar scenes right now, and I'm very pleased with them. At fifteen chapters and 55k (rough draft) they're significantly longer than the other two sequences--I had a lot more to cover in them. I still anticipate the finished novel being about the length of the other two; Dalinar's flashbacks will simply eat a little into his other narrative. Also, expect the wordcount to shrink as I do revisions.
Next step is digging into Part One. I anticipate this book moving well in the coming months; my outline is solid, my enthusiasm high, and I will finally get to write some scenes I've been planning for over a decade now.
Thank you for putting up with the delayed pace of Stormlight releases. I know you all think I'm freakishly fast, but the truth is that even if I can get this book in on time, it will be two and half years between Stormlight releases. I've accepted that this is just how my process has to work. The difference between me and other writers (ones I wish readers would disparage less) doesn't seem to be one of actual speed. It's just that the thing that relaxes me for the next book happens to be writing side projects that, hopefully, you all enjoy reading.
Edit: As a bonus, here's the first line from the first flashback: "Rockbuds crunched like skulls beneath Dalinar’s boots as he charged across the burning field."