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Mistborn
Weblog for Writer Brandon Sanderson
Steelheart has been nominated for another regional award, the 2016 Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Readers’ Choice Award, the oldest children's choice award in the U.S. and Canada. It was established in 1940 by Seattle bookseller Harry Hartman, who believed every student should have an opportunity to select a book that gives him or her pleasure.

News organizations are reporting that Carter Blanchard (of the new Independence Day and Glimmer) has been tapped by Fox as the screenwriter for the Steelheart movie adaptation currently under development for Shawn Levy's 21 Laps. (Shawn Levy is the director/producer of Real Steel and Night at the Museum.)

In this week’s Writing Excuses episode, Q&A on Middles, with Marie Brennan, Marie joins us again to help us field your questions about middles. Here are your questions that we collected from social media:

  • How do you maintain interest without having something explode every other chapter?

  • In short fiction, how do you prevent try-fail cycles from bloating the story?

  • How do you prevent the introduction of POVs during the middle of the story from being jarring?

  • How do you keep subplots from turning into side quests?

  • In longer stories, how important are “breather” chapters that ease the tension?

  • Do you have methods for weaving plot and subplot threads together? Do you outline this, or keep it in your head?


Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Kaladin went out for drinks with the guys and met some decidedly problematic patriots. This week, in Chapter 47, Shallan continues her researches into Urithiru and Lightweaving, with dubious help from Pattern.

My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter post archive for July.

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As I tweeted about a couple of weeks ago, io9.com revealed the cover for Calamity. They also posted the prologue and first two chapters for you to sink your teeth into.

We have some more fantastic news about Steelheart: it received another nomination for a state book award. This time it's the Green Mountain Book Award, a readers' choice award for students in grades 9–12 in Vermont.

In this week's Writing Excuses episode, Why Should My Characters Fail Spectacularly, we talk about why character failure helps make the middle of your story work and provide some tips about how to use it effectively.

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, we enjoyed Middlefest with Shallan, her family, and a certain someone. This week, in Chapter 46, we return to the bridgemen, and witness some of Kaladin’s turmoil as he attempts to make sense of his duties and desires.

My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter post archive for July.

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In case you missed my tweets about it, Tor.com has put up a few excerpts from Shadows of Self, which will be released in October. You can read the prologue, chapter one, and chapter two here.

At Comic-Con this past weekend, Joel Cunningham of Barnes & Noble interviewed me about this book and its sequel. Watch it here.

The last Writing Excuses episode in June was a Q&A on scenes and description Here are some of the questions:


  • How do you “Show, don’t tell” a character’s thoughts?

  • How do you describe a character’s appearance when they’re in their own POV?

  • What’s the difference between scene and setting?

  • How does your writing environment affect the scene you’re writing?

  • Can an evocative fantasy setting be described effectively in a short story?



In chapter 44 of Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Kaladin and some of his men began Shardblade training. Chapter 45 goes back in time to a festival in Jah Keved, attended by the Davar family.

My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter archive for June.

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Over the last few months I've mentioned various awards that some of my books have been up for or won. Here's some more news and a few award photos for you.

It's been a particularly exciting time for Steelheart as it has been nominated (along with The Rithmatist) for the 2016 Oklahoma Sequoya Award (one of the oldest book awards in the country) as well as the 2015–2016 South Carolina Young Adult Book Awards. It has also won the 2015 Kentucky Bluegrass Award (6–8 grade category), which is a statewide student choice award, and has been named an honor book in the Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers. (Pictured below.)

Georgia Peach, Steelheart

Thanks to the community at reddit (/r/fantasy) who voted and selected Words of Radiance as the Best Novel of 2014 and made it so I get to hang this awesome dagger on my wall!

Stabby

I posted a few weeks back about Words of Radiance winning the 2015 Audie from the Audio Publishers Association. Michael Kramer and Kate Reading did such a phenomenal job bringing this story to life. I'm honored to have their voices lent to the Stormlight Archive.

2015 Audie for Words of Radiance

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I’m at Comic-Con today and tomorrow doing a couple of signings and panels. Hope to see a number of you there! For future events, keep an eye on my events page.

San Diego Comic-Con International 2015

Date: Fri, Jul 10, 2015 – Sat, Jul 11, 2015
Address: San Diego Convention Center
111 W Harbor Dr
San Diego, CA 92101

Notes:
Grab a Calamity chapter sampler at the Random House booth #1515 and a Shadows of Self bookmark at the Tor booth #2707.

Schedule:

Friday, July 10th

2pm Signing with Brandon Sanderson ­ at the Tor Booth (#2707)
In-booth sales by Mysterious Galaxy

Saturday, July 11th

12–1pm Family Feud: Sci-Fi vs. Fantasy, Room 7AB
Calling all Nerds! Since the dawn of time we have argued and contemplated crucial matters: What’s cooler? Who would win in a fight? Who would lose? Star Trek or Star Wars? Ironman or Captain America? Now, in an open forum, join us as other diehard Nerds and geek experts prove their mettle by squaring off into furious debates about the hottest topics in geek culture.
Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive series), Patrick Rothfuss (the Kingkiller Chronicle series), Ernie Cline (Armada), Naomi Novik (Uprooted), Chuck Wending (Zer0es), Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy), and Austin Grossman (Crooked)

1:30–2:30pm Signing in the autographing area, Table AA09

4–5pm Epic Fantasy, Room 29AB
Learn about fantasy literature and book-to-movie adaptations from New York Times bestselling authors Heather Brewer, Jonathan Maberry, Kami Garcia, Brandon Sanderson, and Maggie Stiefvater. Moderated by Henry Herz.

5:45–6:45pm Signing in the autographing area, Table AA09
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For those who haven't heard, I will be a keynote speaker at YALLFest in Charleston this November along with Brandon Mull, Richelle Mead, and R.L. Stine.

Back 2010, Elbakin.net in France gave an award to the first Mistborn book. This year, The Way of Kings has been nominated for the 2015 version of the same award. Best of luck to all the nominees, and I hope my readers in France are enjoying more and more of my books as they get translated there.

In this week's Writing Excuses episode, What Makes a Scene?, we try to answer that question. How do we, as writers, structure things using scenes? When does it begin, or end, and when has it gone on too long? We each do this a little differently, and because of those differences, definitions and processes will vary widely across mediums. So we are going to talk about how we do this, making reference to Scene/Sequel format, the MICE quotient and pacing.

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Shallan attained a new level in her Lightweaving. This week, in Chapter 42, she uses her new skills to survive a meeting with the Ghostbloods.

My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter archive for June.

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Reader Nate Kohl sent in these awesome photos of the woodburning project he did that features Szeth with some Allomantic symbols.
Szeth Table

In this week's Writing Excuses episode, Hooking Young Readers, we sit down with Kily Snyder, the Media Specialist (school librarian) at Discovery Middle School in Indiana, to help answer those often asked questions about the young reader markets from someone who has their finger on the actual pulse of those readers.

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Kaladin finally initiated serious Windrunner training and tentatively accepted Renarin’s presence. This week, in Chapter 42, Shallan tackles some serious Lightweaver training and is saved from grave error by Pattern’s...well, patterns.

My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter archive for June.

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I have some more exciting news: the students of Kentucky have chosen Steelheart as the 2015 winner of the Kentucky Bluegrass Award in the 6–8 category. It has also been selected as an Evergreen Teen Book Award nominee for 2015–2016.

I was fortunate enough to sit down with Adrià Guxens at Spain's Celsius 232 Festival a while back. Our discussion ranged from the Cosmere to my three laws of magic. You can read it here.

Writers and Illustrators of the Future volume 31 was released last month (I'll be one of the contest judges next year, for what goes into volume 32), and you can see the winners here.

In this week's Writing Excuses episode, Can You Tell Me How to Show?, we continue following the syllabus for the Season 10 Master Class. We have all heard the "show, don't tell" rule, so in this episode we're going to discuss showing–how to do it well, how to do it consistently, and how to use it to accomplish things that telling just can't get across.

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Shallan found her new home in the warcamps. This week, in Chapter 41, Bridge Seventeen and Kaladin begin in-depth training in the chasm.

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Words of Radiance has made it past the first round of voting for the 2015 David Gemmell Legend Award and is one of five nominees on the short list. (You may remember that The Way of Kings won this award back in 2011.) The polls are open from now until July 17th, and anyone can vote. The UK cover for Words of Radiance by Sam Green is also nominated for the Ravenheart Award on the same page. Good luck to all of the nominees!

The good news continues as Michael Kramer and Kate Reading were presented an Audie Award this past week for Words of Radiance. It has been a dream come true to work with these two amazing people who bring my characters to life.

My publisher in Israel just informed me that both The Way of Kings and A Memory of Light have been nominated for the Geffen Award for Best Translated Fantasy Novel, given out by the Israeli Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Awesome!

In last week's Writing Excuses episode, Q & A on Worldbuilding, we went to you for questions about worldbuilding and you had some really good ones:
  • Has there ever been a piece of worldbuilding that you didn’t include, and regretted not including?
  • How do you remain consistent?
  • How do you decide between writing a secondary world fantasy, and creating an historical fantasy?

  • Can you avoid cultural appropriation while still using elements inspired by other cultures?
  • What’s the minimum amount of worldbuilding required?


In this week's episode, Project-in-Depth: Of Noble Family, we discuss Mary's latest novel, so if you haven't read it yet be warned. This episode contains many, many spoilers. You will get more out of our discussion if you read (or listen to) the book before listening to this episode.

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, we reach back in time to Shallan's happy childhood home on the Davar estate. This week, in Chapter 40, Alice Arneson is with Shallan as she finds her temporary home in the warcamps. In case you missed it, here are the links for chapters 37 and 38.

My assistant Adam had updated the Twitter post archives for May.

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I have finished the second draft of Calamity, the third and final book of the Reckoners trilogy. As I’ve said before, my second draft of a story is the one where I do “bug fixing.” Essentially, I read through again and tweak any problems I know the book has, trying to make it readable by my editor. I often do a polish and trim during or after this. (In this case, the book was clean enough that I did it during, doing about a 5% cut along the way to tighten the language.)

So, huzzah! The book, and the series, is a wrap. I’ll probably end up doing one to two more drafts on this book after alpha readers (my family, writing group, editor, and agent) and then beta readers (who are carefully selected by my assistant Peter) have a look at it.

But for now, my Reckoners plate has been cleared. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) someone just shoved another full plate at me: Mistborn, Shadows of Self. It’s time for the editorial and beta reader edits for that book, which is due into Tor in its (mostly) final form June 15th. So, there’s no rest for me this time around, despite wanting to someday have a chance to play Bloodborne. (Mmm...Dark Souls games...)

Anyway, as you can see from the progress bars on my website, I'm already halfway through the Mistborn revision, so I may finish ahead of schedule. June 15th or earlier, then, will mark my official start of work on Stormlight Three. I know a lot of you are waiting for this, and I’m eager to get to it. Things will go better if I get this Mistborn revision done first, however, since we’re not far away from that one actually getting released.

Thanks, as always, for your support and patience. I realize many of you would rather I just stick to one project—but time has proven to me that my writing is stronger if I keep a variety of stories moving through my brain. The books that you personally love are made stronger by me dividing my time.

Anticipated work and release dates of future books are:

  • Shadows of Self (Mistborn Era Two, Book Two)
    Set for October 6th and up for preorder now! Working on final revisions currently.


  • The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn Era Two, Book Three)
    Set for January 26th and up for preorder now! The final revision notes not yet back from the editor. Will probably be due in two or three months. (So I’ll need to take a break from Stormlight when they arrive.)


  • Calamity (the final book of the Reckoners)
    Spring 2016 sometime. The date isn’t set yet; we’re talking with Random House about this right now. The book just got sent in, and editorial revisions will likely be due late this summer. My goal will probably be to do them during the same break where I do Bands of Mourning revisions.


  • Alcatraz vs. the Dark Talent (The Evil Librarians Book Five)
    Summer 2016 sometime. Note that currently the plan is to rerelease all four of the previous books during the winter/spring with brand new art (and, at last, ebooks). Yay!


  • Stormlight 3 (No official title yet, though I’ve bandied about many different ones, including Stones Unhallowed)
    Christmas 2016. My next project, starting work in June. Anticipated writing time: 8–10 months, plus interruptions for drafting other books. Follow along on the progress bar on my website.


There you go! As I’ve said before, my goal is generally to do two books a year—one large epic and one smaller teen novel. However, last year, instead of doing a large epic I did two shorter Mistborn novels. (Along with one tiny book, in Evil Librarians 5. Amusingly all three of these books added together are only around two-thirds the length of a Stormlight novel.)

Hopefully I’m not releasing too much. I don’t want you folks to get tired of me. One side effect of the way I approached last year is that I currently don’t have any novellas in the pipeline, which saddens me, as Perfect State, Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Legion: Skin Deep, and Sixth of the Dusk have all had very good receptions over the last year. So, I’ve been wondering if—while writing Stormlight 3—it might be good for me to squeeze in a novella-length story about one of the side characters, then release it next spring as a teaser. We’ll see.

As for what I’ll do when Stormlight 3 is finished...well, that’s too far off to judge. My eyes are solidly on Stormlight at this point, and it’s going to dominate my life for the better part of a year. Once it’s done, we’ll see. My next book could be Rithmatist 2, or it could be the final Wax and Wayne book, or it could be a new teen project to follow up the Reckoners. All three are things I’ll consider doing in the break between Stormlight 3 and 4.

But man...I don’t even want to think about Book Four right now. Book Three is looming large, and it’s almost time to settle in and get to work.

For now, I hope you enjoy the Mistborn books and Calamity as they are released. Thanks again for your support!

Brandon Sanderson
May 2016

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