The second set of The Stormlight Archive. Is that the same characters? Or different ones, like you did with Mistborn?
They are same characters, but we're gonna see a few main characters fade to being secondary characters. The ones that survive. And we're gonna see a few minor characters fade to be-- The structure of The Stormlight Archive is: one flashback sequence per book, and a focus on one of the Orders of Knights Radiant per book, and I've already announced who these all are, though I have secrets that pertain to them. Our next two books are Eshonai and Szeth. But, of course, Eshonai is dead. We're gonna see flashbacks from her viewpoint that inform our "now," but I haven't promised that these characters all live. Does that makes sense?
But our back five are Lift, when she's grown up. It'll be about ten years later. I haven't gotten the exact date yet.
Is she alive, or a grown-up ghost?
...If she survives! *laughter* It will be Lift, Renarin, Taln, Ash, and Jasnah. So, yes, your main characters-- some of them are main characters. People who aren't on that list will still-- some of them will have big chunks of the stories. Just like you will notice that there's a big chunk of Kaladin in Book 4, even though it's Eshonai's book. So, that will happen. But I'm not making any promises about who survives and who doesn't.
What I really also wanna do is, like-- The big epic fantasy series. I have an advantage over Robert Jordan in that I've read Robert Jordan. And I can see the structure of this, and say, "What can I do to create the structure of a big epic that will have a lot of the things I love about a big epic but avoid some of the potential pitfalls." And I feel that one of those is beginnings, middles, and ends are really hard the longer you go in a series. And if I bring it to five, and then I take a break. And those five tell a story. And then I certainly am gonna leave some things that we start up in the next one, and do the second sequence of five. It's just kind of how the structure of The Stormlight Archive works for me.
A given book, I usually plot as three novels. And I will do this outline of three novels, and this becomes one volume of The Stormlight Archive. Well, each of those novels has Act One, Act Two, Act Three. And then all of those combine into the thick ones that you get, and then five of those combine into an arc. And then the two books of five combine into their own arc. So, hopefully it'll all work out. When I first pitched this to my editor back in 2003, his response was, "Wow, you're ambitious!" And he was a little frightened when I gave him Stormlight. And then, in 2004, I pitched the whole 9-book Mistborn thing that is somehow now... 13. But, yeah, so. We'll see.