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    Stormlight Book Four Updates ()
    #102 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Time for another update on your book, everyone! If you missed the previous update, it can be found right here. This update will get into some nitty-gritty outlining and wordcount details, which some of you might find boring. (Just a fair warning.)

    Since the second update, I've indeed started into the book full-time. However, you might have noticed a little delay in the progress bar ticking up. This is because at the end of February (just before going to Hawaii) I decided that Starsight (Skyward Two) needed some more work.

    I requested that the publisher push that book back a couple of months (it's now scheduled for first week in December) as I did a medium-sized overhaul based on some decisions I'd made after reading the beta reader comments. I'm pleased to say that revision went really well, and Starsight is in excellent shape. It did put me a little behind on Stormlight Four, I'm afraid. Looking at my tracking spreadsheet (which I used to gauge how I'm moving along) when I started into Stormlight four first part of April, I was about 45k words behind. I'm moving at a good speed, and am about 42k words behind now, with about 15k words finished.

    This is merely a way of marking guideposts; I don't intend rush the story in order to meet arbitrary deadlines. This is partially me just trying to give you, and my publishers, an idea of when to expect the book. If I finish it by January 1st, the book can come out Christmas 2020. If I don't, we will probably have to nudge it back.

    For reference, one percent on my progress bar is 4k words, and I anticipate the final book being 400k words long. A lot could happen during the next year of writing--the book could go super long, like happened with Oathbringer. Or I could run into some serious plot problems, which require time to work out. (For example, I've already thrown away chapter one after doing a short reading of it at an earlier convention--trying again with a slightly different tone.)

    That said, I really like the new first chapter, and am now well into the fourth chapter. I promised you an update on the outline this time, and I'm looking at this book in a different way from the last two. As you may remember, I tend to plot each Stormlight book as if it were three volumes, combined together. (Along with a short story collection in the form of the interludes.)

    With books two and three, the outline divided the novels into "books" by section. Part one of Oathbringer, for example, was "book one" of my three-part outline. Rhythm of War, however, is plotted more like The Way of Kings--meaning the separate books in it are divided by viewpoints.

    In TwoK, Kaladin's complete arc was "book one" of my outline. Dalinar's was "book two" and Shallan's was "book three" with all of them being interwoven into the final product, and with Part Five being a capstone epilogue to them all. This novel is similar, though with more viewpoints.

    We have what I'm calling the Primary Arc, which focuses on four characters who are all together in one place, their plots interweaving. The Secondary Arc is three different characters, their arcs interweaving, but in a separate location from the primary arc. The Tertiary arc is the last two characters, in a third location.

    There will be ties between the three arcs, but the book will read a little more like TWoK than Oathbringer--with several separate stories that imply interesting things for one another, but which generally focus on their own goals. Book Five should, then, be an interweaving like Book Two or Book Three.

    That's the plan, anyway! I'm not 100% done with the outline yet, as I want to explore some viewpoints first to make sure everything is lining up the way I want.

    The next update probably won't be until mid summer, as I want to take a nice chunk of writing time to determine how things are progressing before I come back to talk here.

    Until then, please enjoy listening to the community playlist of favorite epic tracks that remind them of Stormlight. This is what came of the previous thread, where I asked for suggested music to listen to while I work on Book Four. I've been doing so, and am slowly cultivating a shorter list of my favorite tracks that I'll release at a later date. Thanks to /u/DevilsAndDust- and my assistant Adam for putting this together.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #104 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Do you know what the next big series will be?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Right now, my job is to finish things. I won't start anything before that. There's some other big books I want to work on in the Cosmere. I will finish Wax and Wayne and Skyward 4 after SA 4, then comes SA 5.

    Stormlight Book Four Updates ()
    #105 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hey, all. Brandon here, back for another update on your book.

    January went well, and the outlining process is moving along. I've set the percentage bar perhaps a little higher than it deserves to be, considering that I plan to get the outline for Book Five done as well y the time that hits 100%, but I haven't started it yet. That said, I'm feeling very good at what I've accomplished so far. I've cracked a few tricky problems in the plotting, ones I anticipate being the toughest parts of the outline--which makes me optimistic that I'm further along than the wordcount might indicate.

    I did have to stop to do a quick 3.0 revision on Starsight, the sequel to Skyward, which is coming out in November. That's finished as of around 1:00am this morning. I'll be diving back into Stormlight now, though I'm in LA this week doing pitch meetings for Dark One as a television show. (So far so good, but these are very preliminary-type meetings, so don't expect any big announcements anytime soon.)

    Plan is to be finished with the outline of Book Four by March 1st. (Tentative title: The Rhythm of War, but I'm not 100% on that yet.) Then I'll dive into the book.

    Writing a Stormlight book is not an easy or quick process. To finish on time, I'll need to do 40k words a month every month this year--which is a tall order. (My average is around 30k a month, though, so it's not impossible.) That would have the first draft done by January 1st, then give me six months of grueling revisions to finish the final draft by July, which would allow a Christmastime release. This isn't set in stone, though, and if I don't meet this schedule the book could slip into the beginning of 2021.

    For now, I'm going to solicit a little help from you. While writing Stormlight 3, I built a specific playlist of some of my favorite epic-fantasy-feeling songs. I've posted it before, but if you missed that, find it here.

    You can click on my profile to find the similar playlist I made for Skyward. I have been searching through other playlists people have made on Spotify with the right kind of music so I can build a similar playlist for Stormlight 4, but I thought I'd kick the question to you folks as well.

    Do you have any suggestions? What songs in specific (songs are better than artists, as I try to keep my playlists varied with only a couple of songs from any one given artist) do you listen to while reading the Stormlight books? What songs would you suggest to me that I listen to while writing the book? (Other than the Kaladin album, of course.)

    Generally, I prefer things that have an epic instrumental feel to them--though I don't mind words here and there. And I get tired of things that sound TOO trailer-esque. (Inception sound. Inception sound. Inception sound.

    For reference, my favorite song on the Oathbringer playlist--and the one I play in my head at the climax--is Alive by Phil Lober. Anyway, please suggest things for me to put on my playlist. Songs that are on theme, or even songs you just think are epic for whatever reason. (Though do look through the other two playlists I've made first, to double check the song isn't on one of them. I probably won't put any repeats on this playlist.)

    And as a final note, I won't be having replies from this thread sent to my inbox, and I don't know if I'll have time for many specific replies to questions. But I do plan a more involved AMA sometime in the near future, where I can answer questions. I will also hop back on the thread at some point and grab the suggested songs.

    Anyway, I'll give you another update when the outline is finished. Until then, Journey before Destination.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #106 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Would magic from one world work on another and if so, how?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Generally, magics in the cosmere work on different planets. But it depends on the magic. Things like the Dor on Sel are locked to the geography, so it gets difficult. The Metallic Arts work pretty much universally though. Making Surgebinding work on another planet would require Stormlight and the spren are bound to Roshar, so getting them off planet is quite hard.

    So the magics kind of work differently depending on whether a sentient being is involved, how the magic works and how it's powered. It would be very easy to take some Breaths off of Nalthis, which is a problem for them. It gets very complicated.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Can there be a mixing of magic?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, there can be.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #107 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Was Shallan's ability to draw intentional, just so you could have her draw all the maps?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, basically that was the seed for her. I was inspired by people from history like Darwin who was a scientist and did drawings. That was part of the concept that made me put Shallan into the books. All those drawings are intended to give you a sense of immersion.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #108 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    What idea sparked Stormlight for you?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The very first seed for everything was a man who's brother to a king. The king gets assassinated and the nephew becomes a bad king. How he copes with that is what I started thinking about. We all have somebody in our family. That became Dalinar and Elhokar in SA.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #111 Copy

    Paleo (paraphrased)

    How is Dark One coming along?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    It's coming along very well. It's like Harry Potter from the perspective of Voldemort, where the good guys want to get the bad guy. It's like Narnia was trying to assassinate those who come over to their world to destroy it.

    The outline is really great, we pitched it across Hollywood. We had a really great response, but no contracts are done. We're planning to release it as an audiobook original. We haven't closed the contract on that yet, but we have an offer.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #112 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    How do you choose worldhoppers to depict in your books?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    There's couple of ways I choose worldhoppers. The background story plays a big part, but some worldhoppers just want to be immigrants. Some people you meet, you'll notice they're from a different planet but aren't involved in any schemes. They just wanted to get to another planet.

    There's groups like the Ghostbloods, but there's also just trade between places like Roshar and Nalthis. I have to be careful to not make everyone an easter egg from other worlds. That would strain plausibility very easily.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #114 Copy

    Krios (paraphrased)

    If you have a form of manipulating your Identity and a form of healing, are you able to shapeshift or even evolve your body like growing wings?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    You'd have to do some real work on your Spiritweb to make that work. It'd take more work than you're implying, but the Parshendi for instance are doing this. It'll take a little more work, it's not just blanking your Identity. Hemalurgy would make it very easy, but also very evil. But what you want to achieve is possible.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #115 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Shadesmar is an inversion of Roshar. In the Physical Realm, planets are disconnected, but in Shadesmar you can reach one from the other. Is there a point in Shadesmar where I can instantly cross between diametrically opposed points on Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, technically there is, but oceans, etc. are problematic since there's not enough minds there. There are points, but the transition is more steady than instantaneous. It will be hard, since you're basically leaving the planet when you go far enough. If you just went south, you'd end up on another planet. Kind of yes. Shadesmar gets funky because you end up in no man's land. We'd need to do the exact maths on that one.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #117 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    The map of Kholinar looks like a lion's head. Is that an allusion to Caemlyn?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    It was not a conscious decision to make it look like Caemlyn. The city shapes are based on cymatic patterns that have deep-rooted origins in the history of Roshar. I may make a lot of unconscious allusions, but something like the Misted Mountains are a conscious reference.

    Stuttgart signing ()
    #118 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The interview mostly was about the usual stuff (how he got into writing, taking over Wheel of Time, how prolific he is and why he thinks he really isn't all that fast), but he expressed hopes for adaptations of Cosmere series with the upcoming Wheel of Time and Witcher shows.

    When talking about discovery writing vs outlining, he also told an anecdote about being on a panel with German writers. When he mentioned the two different approaches, they all said that of course you'd do an outline. In hindsight, he should have seen that coming in Germany.