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Mistborn
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In this week’s new Writing Excuses episode, Q&A on Viewpoint, Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard answer your questions about viewpoint. Here they are!


  • Do you have tips and tricks for making 3rd-person omniscient compelling?

  • How do you make 3rd-person limited compelling?

  • Is it normal to need several drafts to nail down a character’s voice?

  • What’s the best way to portray an unreliable 3rd-person limited narrator?

  • What are your most effective methods for immersing yourself in character attributes so that you can get the voice right?

  • How do you choose between 1st and 3rd person?

  • How do you select the viewpoint character for a scene?

  • How do you smoothly transition between viewpoints?

  • How do you prevent character voices from blending into each other and becoming indistinguishable?



Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Warbreaker, Siri had everyone blushing with her new bedtime routine, while Lightsong tried unsuccessfully to call in sick. This week, in chapter nineteen, Vivenna’s prejudices are on full display, even as her inexperience sets her up for further manipulation.

Brandon recently did an interview with Bulgarian fantasy outlet Shadowdance. You can read the interview in English or Bulgarian here:

You can see the February Twitter post archive here.

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Hey, all! I’ve been deep into revisions on Oathbringer. Turns out, big books don’t just take a long time to write—they take a long time to revise. (Who knew?)

Last year during my trip to the United Arab Emirates, I took a break from working on Oathbringer to write a novella, as is my habit to refresh myself now and then. Other than Edgedancer (the Stormlight novella in Arcanum Unbounded), this is the only thing I had time to write last year that wasn’t Oathbringer.

Snapshot is one of those stories that, once I had the idea, wouldn’t leave me alone. I wrote it furiously, having only about a week’s time to finish it, and I’m very pleased with the product: a kind of cyberpunk–detective thriller mashup. As we’ve posted earlier, Hollywood quickly snatched this one up, and it’s currently under option to MGM.

I think you’ll like it! The print edition is only available in a special edition leatherbound from Vault Books that will be released soon (though we will also a cheap hardcover toward the end of the year). But as is our tradition, we’re simultaneously releasing an ebook for a few bucks, DRM-free, in all markets. So you can choose whether you want the expensive collector’s edition, or the quick ebook. (Audible has also released the audiobook today.)

Please give the story a look on its explanation page, where you’ll find a synopsis and links to the first two chapters. Also, note that if you buy the print edition in any format, we’ll happily send you the ebook for free at your request. (This will be handled via a coupon for my store.)

On Short Fiction

This seems a good time to take a moment and talk about the various editions I have out for my short fiction.

There are several motives that war within me when it comes to producing editions of my work. The first is that I really don’t want people to feel they have to pay multiple times for the same piece of fiction. I figure once you’ve paid me for it, you’re good, and you should have access (at least in ebook form) to that story for the rest of your life, whenever you want to read it.

At the same time, I want to provide different distinctive editions of the works for people who like them. This sometimes conflicts with my first impression because of additional costs involved. For example, doing an audiobook is more expensive than a print book as—once all the work is done for the print book—you then have to hire another team to take that text and make an audio version. I haven’t realistically found a way to bundle audio, print, and ebook together. (Though I do think the industry will need to figure this out eventually.)

I think the best I can do for now is give away ebooks of the books I myself publish for free, once you have a print edition. (Note the emphasis—I don’t have the legal right to do this for books like Mistborn and The Way of Kings, which were published by Tor. I can only do it for my self-published ventures, like most of my novellas.)

In addition, however, I can talk about in what formats these novellas will be available, and when. This at least lets you know whether you want to hold off getting one until your preferred format is available. So here is what I see us doing with these for the foreseeable future.

Option One: Individual cheap ebook
Available DRM-free from most ebook vendors on launch day.

Option Two: Individual audiobook
These depend on Audible or some other company wanting to release an edition. (They did so for the Legion books, for example, but not others.)

Usually, individual audiobooks for shorts are a bad value for readers—as the Audible economy depends on people using credits on stories, and there are no “half” credits. Which means a credit can be applied to a three-hour novella or a full-length novel at twenty-plus hours.

So you can’t depend on these existing. Sometimes they will, but not other times.

Option Three: Individual leatherbound hardcover
I’ve done these for most novellas, partnering with places like Subterranean and Vault Books. These are meant mostly as collector’s items, and usually have a short and limited print run. For those who want each individual novella separate and in its own book, this is your best option.

Option Four: Dragonsteel edition hardcover
These editions are often printed as “doubles” around the holidays, and sometimes (before official publication) go with me to conventions as convention exclusives.

This is the economical way to get a print edition, as they usually cost $20 and have two stories. (Snapshot, for example, is being published with another story called Dreamer this fall, and will be at conventions with me all summer.)

However, there’s a windowing of a few months on most of these, meaning you can’t get it immediately. This is by request of the publishers of the leatherbounds, who want a small exclusivity window.

Option Five: Collection version (ebook, audio, print)

I will be doing two types of collections moving forward. Cosmere stories (in the Arcanum Unbounded tradition, likely named Arcanum Unbounded II, III, etc.). These will collect in a single edition all the stories that haven’t been collected so far. (Arcanum Unbounded, for example, contained every Cosmere piece of short fiction that had been published up to that point.)

These are for the completionists who want everything, but who don’t mind waiting. They’re also very economical, as if you wait for the paperback edition, they will probably give you a dozen stories (of various lengths) for around ten bucks.

I do anticipate doing a non-Cosmere collection within a year or two, which will include stories like Snapshot and Perfect State. (And probably the Legion novellas, unless they become their own thing.)

Option Six: Dragonsteel collection leatherbound

If there is interest, we might do a leatherbound edition for the 10th anniversary of the collection, like we’ve done with Elantris and are currently doing with Mistborn. So if you like leatherbounds, but miss the initial limited edition, these will eventually be available—but they are a looong way off.


Anyway, I hope that lets you plan! Thank you for your interest in these smaller stories. Your enthusiasm for them is part of what keeps me so productive, as I don’t feel locked into doing one type of story. Overall, this makes even things like Stormlight move faster, as I remain engaged and excited as an author moving between projects.
And do please consider giving Snapshot a look!

Best,

Brandon

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Hello, everyone! I’ve had my nose to the grindstone working on Oathbringer. However, as awards season is upon us again, I’m pausing to do my yearly roundup of what I have that is eligible.

I know that to many of you, the science fiction awards (and the occasional drama surrounding them) are of little interest. However, I think it is important for me to support these awards, as they are valuable for our community.

Science fiction and fantasy, as genres, have become increasingly mainstream. In addition, those outside fandom are coming to understand us better. However, we continue to face unfair treatment by certain literary circles. We can’t simply say, “Hey, you shouldn’t regard an entire genre with derision, particularly when the genre is so wide,” without in turn saying, “Take a look at these books as great examples of what we do well.”

It is important that we in the genres uphold what we think is excellent about what we do. Those authors—and the world at large—deserve to understand that we’re proud of ourselves and of what we accomplish.

At worst, awards are a popularity contest. And that’s just fine. At their best, though, they are the means by which we grow as a community.

This year has a special difference from previous years, in that the Hugo Awards is trying out an award for Best Series. Below I've listed what I have that is eligible for the Hugo and Nebula awards this year.

Hugo Awards nominations are open to all members of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 World Science Fiction Conventions, and the deadline is March 17. You had to be a member by January 21st to nominate, but it's not too late to become a member of the 2017 Worldcon in order to vote on the final ballot once it's announced.
The Nebula nomination deadline, for SFWA members, is tomorrow, February 15.

Best Novel



  • The Bands of Mourning

  • Calamity

  • The Dark Talent


(Note: Calamity and possibly The Dark Talent are also eligible for consideration by the Andre Norton Award jury.)

Best Novella



  • Mistborn: Secret History

  • Edgedancer (appeared in Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection)


(Note: Both of these novellas are slightly over 40,000 words and thus are eligible as novels for both the Nebula and Hugo Awards. However, under the Hugos’ 20%/5,000-word category relocation rule, they are also eligible for the Best Novella Hugo Award, where they fit best.)

Best Series (Hugo Awards only)



  • Mistborn

  • The Stormlight Archive

  • Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians



In these award eligibility posts, I generally pick one thing I’d like to highlight for awards consideration. Usually it’s a novella or novel I think represents my best work of the year, or the one that I think stands best on its own.

This year, however, I feel that my novellas and novels don’t work independently. The novellas are both parts of larger series, requiring foreknowledge to really work. The two novels I released were the third in their respective series.

(Arcanum Unbounded could be eligible for the World Fantasy’s anthology award, but that is juried by a committee. So it’s up to whoever is part of that jury, not the voting public.)

Therefore, the thing I’d like to highlight this year is Mistborn for the Best Series Hugo Award. Mistborn had two entries this year, and I do think I’m doing something particularly interesting with that series. (Taking an epic fantasy world and pushing it toward a modern-day urban fantasy.) I would rather people consider it, than the Stormlight Archive, as I’d prefer the attention be on Stormlight in a year when it has a full novel in consideration. Hopefully we will have many more years of the Series Hugo to consider worthy works.

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Brandon will be in Boston next week for Boskone 54 below is a brief overview of his schedule. You can see all the details, including his future trips, on his Upcoming Events page.

Friday



My Toughest Book
Time: 15:00 - 16:00

Signing
Time: 17:00 - 18:00

Saturday



Mistborn: House War Game Demo
Time: 11:00 - 12:00

Building a Career
Time: 13:00 - 14:00

Boskone Book Club: The Rithmatist
Time: 16:00 - 17:00

Sunday



Reading and Q&A
Time 12:00 - 13:00

Signing
Time: 13:00 - 14:00

In this week’s new Writing Excuses episode, Variations on Third Person, Brandon, Mary, Dan, Howard focus their discussion on the third person POV, and some variations on them, like omniscient and limited, and some sub-variants like cinematic and head-hopping.

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Warbreaker, our main protagonists all gathered in the arena, and the priests began their debates. This week, in chapter sixteen, the subject of war with Idris becomes the focus; both Siri and Lightsong are deeply disturbed.

You can see the February Twitter post archive here.

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Adam here.

Yes, you read that right. Snapshot, Brandon's forthcoming novella, was just optioned by MGM. Broken Road Productions and Entertainment 360 (Office Christmas Party) are to produce.

If you're not familiar with Snapshot, you can find a brief synopsis below. You can use the widget to the right to see preorder options in your region. It will also be available on Audible, but their preorder link is not yet live.

Now, as always, this option news doesn't mean that a film will definitely be made—they don't yet have a director or actors, and many film options never make it that far. But I for one hope it happens, because this story would be great to see on the big screen!



If you could re-create a day, what dark secrets would you uncover?

From New York Times #1 bestselling author Brandon Sanderson comes a detective thriller in a police beat like no other. Anthony Davis and his partner Chaz are the only real people in a city of 20 million, sent there by court order to find out what happened in the real world 10 days ago so that hidden evidence can be brought to light and located in the real city today.

Within the re-created Snapshot of May 1st, Davis and Chaz are the ultimate authorities. Flashing their badges will get them past any obstruction and overrule any civil right of the dupes around them. But the crimes the detectives are sent to investigate seem like drudgery—until they stumble upon the grisly results of a mass killing that the precinct headquarters orders them not to investigate. That’s one order they have to refuse.

The hunt is on. And though the dupes in the replica city have no future once the Snapshot is turned off, that doesn’t mean that both Davis and Chaz will walk out of it alive tonight.

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Brandon, while touring in Italy for his European tour last fall, sat down for a few minutes with Isola Illyon –an online publication known in Italy as a central hub for information on fantasy and gaming– to talk about fantasy, and whatever else came to mind.



In this week’s new Writing Excuses episode, Project in Depth, “Risk Assessment,” by Sandra Tayler, Brandon, Mary, Dan, Howard, with Sandra Tayler discuss "Risk Assessment". This Project in Depth episode contains spoilers for “Risk Assessment,” which is included in Force Multiplication: Schlock Mercenary Book 12. The story was written by Sandra Tayler, and illustrated by Natalie Barahona. Howard handled the writing and illustrating for the framing story, but this episode isn’t about that part.

Risk Assessment is a romance wrapped up in an adventure and is very different from most of the rest of Schlock Mercenary. Have a listen, and Sandra will tell you about it.

If you want to learn more about the application process for 2017 WX Retreat Scholarship, you can read today's post by Dan Wells. If you don't know the details regarding the Writing Excuses retreat for 2017, Dan also wrote a post about it last week.

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Warbreaker, Last week, Lightsong learned the theology of his own religion, and Siri discovered that she’d survived the night after all. This week, in chapter thirteen, Vivenna tries to figure out how to keep her skin and her ideals intact, and Siri is prepared for presentation at the Court of Gods.

You can see the January Twitter post archive here.

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In this week’s new Writing Excuses episode, Variations on First Person, Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard spend a few minutes on the administrative stuff before jumping into January’s structural topic, the first person voice, with a discussion of the variations in how that POV is presented. We cover some of the different first person POV styles, what sorts of stories they’re often best-suited for, and how we go about writing them well.

Tor.com's Warbreaker Reread: Last week, in chapter ten, Vivenna was repeatedly sent spinning as she tried to cope with mercenaries and the death of Lemex. This week, in chapter eleven, we return to a decidedly bored Siri, as she attempts to find something interesting to do with herself—since kneeling naked on the floor for hours is definitely not at the top of the list.

You can see the December Twitter post archive here.

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Hi all, Karen here.

I’ve just finished reading and evaluating the applications for Brandon’s English 318R class at BYU. For those of you who don’t know, Brandon teaches a creative writing class each winter semester. The lecture portion of the class (English 321R) is open to as many students as can fit into the auditorium, and many of the lectures have been posted online for those who can’t attend in Provo.

The main thing students are graded on is whether they complete 30,000 words of the beginning of a novel during the semester, submitting chapters each week. Brandon encourages students in his lecture class to form writing groups to read and comment on their classmates’ work. The students who are accepted into the 318R workshop class are divided into three groups, and Brandon rotates among them each week, reading the submissions and giving feedback. Because of time constraints, he can only give this personal attention to fifteen students each year.

In order to spend his time and energy where it will do the most good, Brandon has asked me to decide which of the applicants is in the best place in their authorial development to get high-level feedback on their writing craft. It doesn’t help anybody if he has to say things like, “I really couldn’t understand what was going on in this chapter,” or, “Your grammar needs so much work that it overshadows your plot.”

You may think that I’m exaggerating here, but I’m honestly not. Each year, most of the submissions we receive are from enthusiastic applicants whose writing shows that it needs a great deal of work before it will be at a level where Brandon's individual attention will be helpful. We also get some pretty fabulous submissions each year, and I’m always excited to find them. I have even been known to ask for more of the novel just because I want to read more of it. Some of the students who pass through this class are so well prepared that they go on to publish within just a few years.

Here’s a quick rundown of how the application process works. First I read each submission and write a quick summary and my first impression of the skill level of the writer. Each story gets a grade of yes, maybe, or no. Then I read the applications, and take into account what year each applicant is in school, whether they’ve taken the lecture portion before, and how many novels they have finished. After that, I narrow it down to the fifteen finalists, and send out the good (and bad) news. If you want more details on this process and hints for getting accepted, see the FAQ page.

Most of the submissions arrive in the last few days before the late December deadline, so I do almost all of the reading between Christmas and New Year’s. With all of the regular holiday stresses, I’m often rather grumpy this time of year. Reading fiction that needs so much work makes me even grumpier, so I try to smash the whole process into a couple of very grumpy days (I am exaggerating a bit here; it’s not really that bad). When I worked at BYU’s Leading Edge magazine with Brandon and my (then future) husband Peter among others, we called this sort of reading “wading through the slush pile,” and I think it’s an appropriate activity for some of the darkest, coldest days of the waning year. (Regarding those submissions that arrive well ahead of the deadline, I'm able to review those in a more relaxed and less stressful setting.)

The hardest part of the process is not actually the reading of submissions. Even the ones I dislike for one reason or another have some redeeming qualities—an interesting plot, relatable characters, imaginative settings, and so on. The hardest part is reading the applications’ short essays knowing I’m going to have to reject most of the authors. Almost all of them say something like, “I love writing, and want to devote my life to it. I owe so much to the authors who have inspired me that I want to give back to the community by writing great fiction.” I’m seldom reminded as strongly that my friends and I are living the dream of a career in the publishing world than when I see how many writers out there are still dreaming.

That’s why in every rejection letter I send, I include the hope that those writers will continue writing, continue learning to improve, and continue sharing their work. And in fact, each year I receive and accept applications from students who have applied and been rejected in the past, but have a much better submission the second or third time around.

I’ll end with a few statistics you may find interesting:

  • We had 72 submissions this year (though two of those were late, and were rejected without being read).

  • There were 39 women and 31 men (I guessed from the names, so this might not be quite accurate).

  • After my first impressions, among the submissions there were 9 automatic passes, 40 automatic rejections, and 21 maybes.

  • By far, most of the submissions (45) were from seniors, plus 13 Continuing Ed students, 2 law school students, 3 grad students, 10 juniors, 7 sophomores, and 1 freshman.

  • Applicants reported a total of 139 finished novels, with the most prolific author clocking in at a whopping 16.


Congratulations to the students who were accepted, and good luck in the future to those who didn’t make it in this year.

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Introduction




Hello, and welcome! I hope the holiday season is treating you all very well. Around this time each year, I write a blog post called State of the Sanderson. I usually post it on or around my birthday, which happens to be today. (So, happy Koloss Head-Munching Day to you all.)

These posts run long and are extensive essays that go over what I did during the year, updating you all on the projects I’ve been working on, then doing a rundown of projects that I’m planning. (Find last year’s State of the Sanderson right here.)

I hope you’ll find this helpful and interesting. Storytelling is not an exact science, and things don’t always go as planned. At the same time, I believe it important to be up-front with you all. I know what it’s like to wait for years to read the ending of a favorite series, and I appreciate your longsuffering support when I jump between projects.

In teaching my university lectures and workshop, I interact with many, many hopeful and talented newer writers. Their excitement, and worry about the future, reminds me how fortunate I am to be able to do what I love for a living. In the story of the ants and the grasshopper, I get to spend my life making music—but instead of letting me starve in the winter, you bring me in and give me something warm to eat, then you listen while I tell you a story.

It’s strange to consider what might have been. How many plausible variations of life are there where I’m not a professional novelist? Did I hit on the one perfect sequence of events that brought me here, or would I have muddled my way through even if Moshe hadn’t agreed to look at Elantris back at a party in Montreal in 2001?

Though I deal in the fantastic as my daily labor, the scene where I’m not a writer is one scene I have difficulty conjuring. Would I be a professor perhaps? I do enjoy teaching, though only in moderation. (When I had to teach the same class multiple times in a day, I found the experience monotonous. One course a year is just about right for me—exciting, vibrant, and involving new things to teach and talk about.)

Indeed, early in my graduate studies, I realized I’d never make it as an academic. Ironically, I discovered that doing all the things in my writing program that would prepare me for a good Ph.D. or MFA course (being on the staff of journals, assisting professors, traveling to conferences) would prevent me from actually writing—so I threw all of that up in the air and doubled down on my novels. Some of my colleagues went on to professorships, but I was never really headed that direction.

For me, it was always write or bust. I don’t know what busting would look like—but I do know that, barring something truly insane, it would involve me ending up with a closet full of dozens and dozens of unpublished manuscripts.

As an aside, for those who didn’t hear the story on tour this year, my second son (who is six) has started to figure out what it means that I’m an author. He came up to me a few months ago and said, “Daddy. You write books!”

I said, “Yes!”

“You sell them, so we have money for food and our house!”

“That’s right.”

“And when people visit, you give them books from the garage! That’s how you sell them!”

I often give copies of the books to friends who visit, and in his six-year-old understanding, this was how we made our living. But hey, there are worse things to be than a garage novelist with a trunk full of demo manuscripts.


In any case, you have my sincere thanks for your support! I’m glad we’re not in the alternate, dystopian Sanderson timeline where I have a goatee and have to spend my life selling people insurance.



My Year




This year was almost completely dominated by the writing of Oathbringer, Book Three of the Stormlight Archive. The first files I have for the book were Kaladin scenes, written in June 2014. But the book didn’t really start in earnest until July 2015, when I wrote the Dalinar flashback sequence. (See State of the Sanderson 2015.) I had those done by October, but November was when I really dove into the novel.

I spent most of 2016 working on it, with only a few interruptions. It was an extremely productive year spent writing on something I’m very passionate about—but it was also a monochrome year, as I poured so much into Stormlight. There were far fewer side projects, and far fewer deviations, than the year before.

I’ve come to realize I can’t do a Stormlight book every year, or even every two years. You can see that this one took around 18 months of dedicated writing time (though that does include some interruptions for edits and work on other things.) My process is such that, when I finish something like Stormlight, I need to move on for a while to refresh myself.

That said, Oathbringer is done as of last week! Here’s a quick breakdown of the year.

January: Oathbringer


A lot of this month was revisions. I decided to do something unusual for me, and revise each chunk of the book as I completed it, which let me get my editor working on his notes early in the year—rather than making him wait until this month, when the whole thing finished. That means I’ll soon have a second draft of the book completed, though I only completed the first draft a little bit ago.

Also squeezed into January was a trip to Bad Robot, where I had a cool meeting with J.J. Abrams. (In conjunction with a video game my friends at ChAIR Entertainment are making—the Infinity Blade guys. I just gave a few pointers on the story; I’m not officially involved.)

February: Calamity Tour


I toured for Calamity, the last book of the Reckoners. The whole series is out now, so check it out! There is a nice hardcover boxed set of all three available in most bookstores, and it makes a great gift.

While on tour, I read from Stormlight 3, and some kind person recorded the reading for you all. Also, here’s another version from FanX in SLC.

As to be expected, there were a huge number of awesome costumes shown off during the tour. (More than I can reasonably put in this post.) Here are a few:







March: Trip to Dubai


I was invited to, and attended, the Emirates Festival in Dubai, then traveled south to Abu Dhabi to visit some friends. This was an extended trip, and I often find it difficult to work on a main project (like Stormlight) while traveling. I have too many interruptions. I can write something self-contained, but have more trouble with something very involved.

On this trip, I wrote a novella called Snapshot: a science Fiction detective story where people solve crimes using exact recreations of certain days in the past. It’s a little Philip K. Dick, a little Se7en. This one’s coming out in February, and will likely be my only release in 2017 other than Oathbringer (which will be in November). More details here.


April: Oathbringer


I got back into the groove of writing, and did a big chunk of Oathbringer Part Two. If you missed the discussions on Reddit, here are my various updates there spanning about a year’s time, talking about the book: One, Two, Three, Four, and Five.



May: Edgedancer


I took a short break from Stormlight 3 to write...Stormlight 2.5, an extended story about Lift, with smaller appearances by Szeth and Nale. If you want to get your Stormlight fix before the release in 2017, you can find Edgedancer in Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection. (There will eventually be a solo ebook release, but that’s a number of years away, as required by my contract with Tor.) I also wrote essays and annotations for each world and/or story in the collection.

When I decided I wasn’t going to kill myself (and my team) trying to get Oathbringer out in 2016, I committed to writing this novella to tide people over. I think you’ll enjoy this one, unless you’re one of the people that Lift drives crazy. In which case you’ll probably still enjoy it, but also want to punch her in the face for being too awesome.

June-August: Oathbringer


I finally got a good long chunk of time dedicated to Oathbringer.

I do love traveling, but it takes a big bite out of my writing time. So please don’t get offended when I can’t make it out to visit your city or country on tour. I try to do as much as I can, but I’m starting to worry that has been too much. Last year, for example, I was on the road 120 days for tours or conventions. This year was a little better, clocking in at about 90 days.

September: Alcatraz Release & Writing Excuses Cruise


Book Five of my middle grade series, Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, came out this month. (A long-awaited book.) You should read it. And if not, you’ll still have to look at a picture of my cute children wearing Alcatraz shirts.



The cruise was a fun time, but very unproductive for me. There is too much going on, and too much to organize, for me to get much writing done. I did finish one chapter of a potential novella on the single day of writing time I got. (The story, called “The Eyes,” is a space opera inspired by Fermi’s Paradox.)

I might do something with the chapter eventually, but for now I’m sending it in to be this month’s Random Hat reward for the $10 patrons of Writing Excuses on Patreon.

As a warning to those planning on attending the cruise in 2017: we’ll have a ton of awesome guest instructors, and it will be well worth your time and money. I, however, won’t be attending. I’ll be on the cruise other years in the future, but (like JordanCon, which I love) I can’t promise to go every year. Once every two or three years is more likely. It’s just a matter of trying to balance touring/teaching with writing.

By the way, JordanCon, FanX, and Dragon Con had some amazing costumes this year—but I’ll save those for another post.


October: Europe Tour


Though I had a few good weeks of writing between the end of the cruise and the start of the Europe trip, I quickly lost steam again as I visited France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal on tour. I had an awesome time, signed a ton of books, and met many people in excellent costumes.











November: Arcanum Unbounded Release


Finally, I released Arcanum Unbounded: the Cosmere Collection. The tour for this was short, and I apologize for that, but...well, there’s this writing thing I need to do sometimes...


December: Writing Excuses and Oathbringer


I got about half the episodes for next year’s writing excuses season recorded at various locations, and then finally managed to type “THE END” for Oathbringer.

There’s still a lot of work left on the book, but I’m confident we’ll hit our November 2017 release date.

Big List of Things I’m Working On




All right, here we go. Here’s the rundown on everything I’m actively working on right now, and some of those that I’m not really working on very much at the moment... (Sorry.)

Main Projects



The Stormlight Archive


Book Three is done! Edgedancer is out!

I’ll be spending about four months of 2017 doing revisions on Oathbringer, then will have a tour in the fall. (Might manage to get to the UK on that one too.) Things are looking good for Stormlight and Roshar, and not just because we are working on a film. I’m excited for you to read the next installment.

I’m officially adding “Oathbringer (Stormlight 3) third draft” to the progress bar, now that I’m almost done with the second draft. (Most of which was completed during writing the first draft, as I explained above.)

Book Four will probably not be released until 2020—I’ll start managing those expectations now, rather than trying to promise 2019 like I thought I might be able to do, once upon a time.

As I always promise, I’ll see if I can speed that up. But if you take the year it took to outline Book Three and add eighteen months to actually write it, we’re already at 2.5 years—not counting other projects I want to do.

Status: Book Three in revisions, out in 2017.


Mistborn




The Lost Metal, Wax and Wayne Four, will be my next non-YA novel project. I still intend to write it so that it can come out in 2018. You should see a progress bar for it pop up sometime in the fall of 2017.

This will be the last Wax and Wayne book. Because of fan outcry, we’re just going to call the Wax and Wayne books “Era Two” of Mistborn from here out, and I’m sorry for the “Era 1.5 fiasco” of last year. That would have worked if I’d started calling it that from the get-go, but it’s too late now.

Once Era Two is done, we’ll let Mistborn lie fallow for a few years while I move on to Elantris/Warbreaker sequels. (See below.)

Status: Book Seven (W&W 4) being outlined.

The Apocalypse Guard



This is my next YA book series, in the same universe as the Reckoners. The simple pitch is: Emma is the intern/coffee girl for the Apocalypse Guard, a group of scientists, engineers, and superhumans specialized in saving planets from extinction-level events.

When the Apocalypse Guard headquarters gets attacked by a shadowy and unexpected force, Emma gets stuck on a doomed planet they were planning to save. She has to either find a way off, or find a way to put the Apocalypse Guard’s plans into motion—and do so with no training, no powers, and no support.

Here’s the concept art I’m working from. (Note, this isn’t cover art. It’s just the art I commissioned so I’d have character designs to reference.)



This will be my next writing project, between Oathbringer revisions and Wax and Wayne 4. Like the Reckoners, it’s right on the borderline between YA and Adult—and might be published in my adult line of novels in some countries.

I intend the series to follow in the footsteps of the Reckoners—having the feel of a science fiction/superhero action film. Sometimes as a reader (and as a writer), I want something a little less “steak dinner” and a little more “hamburger and fries,” if that makes any sense.

Stormlight is my steak dinner, and while I originally thought of Wax and Wayne as hamburger and fries, by books two and three they became steak dinners too. (Just a 6oz fillet instead of a 12oz T-bone.)

Okay, that metaphor is getting a little out of control. I might need to go out for steak for my dinner. Let’s just say that the Reckoners managed to hit that sweet spot of fun action, interesting worldbuilding, and quick plots I was looking for—so I’m eager to do something similar. The Apocalypse Guard is the next step; look for the progress bar to start on it sometime early in 2017.

Status: Outlining almost finished; will be my next project.

Secondary Projects



The Rithmatist


A sequel to The Rithmatist is looking likely this year, depending on some factors (such as how long Stormlight revisions take.) This is the single most requested book I hear about, though that’s probably because people know that Stormlight is coming along very well already.

Some people do wonder why I’d do like The Apocalypse Guard before The Atzlanian (Rithmatist 2). It comes down to having two publishers. Stormlight, Rithmatist, and Wax and Wayne are all books for Tor. I need to give Delacorte some love too, and they’ve waited patiently all year for me to finish Stormlight. So they get the next major writing time slot.

I hear you, Rithmatist fans. We’ll get something to you before too much longer. My son Joel (who has a character in the book named for him) is getting old enough to read The Rithmatist, and so I intend to read it with him together, and then jump into the second book sometime soon.

Status: Soooooon.

Alcatraz


My big reveal for Alcatraz promised one more book in this series, though you shouldn’t read that blog post until you read the first five books.

I will probably do Rithmatist 2 before Alcatraz Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians. But I can’t say for certain. This is where that part about books being art, and not science, comes into play. I can’t say exactly what my inclinations will be on these books, as I need some freedom built into my schedule. We’ll see what happens.

Status: Soooon also, but a little less soooon.

Elantris


The plan is to alternate Stormlight Books with Elantris sequels after I finish Wax and Wayne. Likely I’ll go into Stormlight 4 sometime in 2018, but there’s a chance I do Elantris 2 first. It won’t be written this year—that plate is full of the books mentioned above—but we’re growing ever closer and closer to getting back to Sel.

Status: Not this year. Small chance of being written in 2018.


White Sand



The graphic novel incorporating the first third of the book was a huge success, so we’re going full-steam on the second part. And, of course, Khriss (one of the main characters) is the in-world author of many essays in Arcanum Unbounded. So Taldain is still peeking up here and there, reminding everyone it’s part of the cosmere.

I don’t have control over when the second part of the graphic novel comes out. That all depends on the artist’s schedule—but I have assurances from the publisher that it won’t take too terribly long. We’ll post when we know for sure about release dates.

Status: Second volume actively being worked on.

Tertiary Projects



Warbreaker


No real motion on this one, folks. I’m sorry. We’ll get a second book some time, but don’t hold your breath. The cosmere has a long outline.

Status: No Evil to Be Slain Today

Legion


The new Marvel television show is unrelated, but it being out killed our chances of a television show based on these books. I do want to do a third story, but might save it for another short story collection (with all of the non-cosmere works like this, Perfect State, etc.)

I really wanted Legion to be a television show, even before I started writing the first story. So we might rebrand them, calling them simply Leeds, and try another run through Hollywood with the new titles. If so, another novella would certainly help us get attention there. We’ll see.

Status: Probably not this year, but still on my radar.

Adamant


My epic science fiction space opera super-series is getting closer to finding a home. I can talk a little more about it, as I spin up my mind on the outlines.

I’ve envisioned Adamant as a sequence of novellas, released episodically through the year, one every other month. Ideally, I write four of them, then find co-authors for the other two to give them a slightly different feel, like you’d see on a television show à la Doctor Who or Star Trek.

If I did this though, I’d want to have all four of my parts done first as the backbone of the “season” of books. The last thing I need is another unfinished series looming over me.

I’ve only written one “episode” so far, but had a kind of breakthrough on how to work out some of the visuals and worldbuilding for the series. So it’s inching closer to the front burner. You might see a progress bar for it pop up this year.

Status: Novella 2 could happen at any time.

Dragonsteel


This story (the story of the shattering of Adonalsium, as told by Hoid) is next-to-last in my sequence of cosmere novels (though it’s first chronologically). So don’t expect it until Stormlight 10 is done.

Status: A long way off. Though it might still beat that one book by that other author.

Dark One


Ah, the eternal Dark One update. If you’ve been reading State of the Sanderson posts for a while now, you might be looking forward to this one (still) making no progress.

My anti-Harry Potter story told from the viewpoint of a boy who discovers he is prophesied to be the Dark One...has made no progress this year. I’ve had a ton of trouble writing this one. I did set aside three different versions of the first chapter of this, each of which have a very different tone from one another, to be Patreon Random Hat Rewards for January, February, and March. If you want to read “The Eyes” and these three chapters, you could sign up for those months only.

Be warned, though, the Patreon is primarily intended for people who want to support Writing Excuses. The rewards are mostly afterthoughts as a thank you, rather than true incentives to coax you into spending money. The tidbits you’ll get probably aren’t going to be worth the $10 you give for them. (For example, each of the ones I’ve mentioned are a few thousand words at most.)

The real reward is supposed to be Writing Excuses going ad-free, so don’t sign up just to get the fiction.

Status: Nope.

Death By Pizza


Still on hiatus, but not dead. (No pun intended.)

Status: See above.

Silence Divine


Still on hiatus, but still...getting sick and gaining magic powers? (No pun discovered.)

Status: A fan recorded a short reading from this at a signing for Words of Radiance. The reading is at the end.

Soulburner



No progress here either. (This was a bad year for side projects, as I warned you.)

Status: On hiatus.

Aether of Night



No progress. (Though you can still get a copy of the draft I wrote back in college, around the time I wrote Elantris. Also, requisite request that you sign up for my mailing list. I give some free fiction away on the newsletter every time I send it, and the chapters I set aside as Patreon rewards usually do make their way on here eventually, though many months later.)

Status: On hiatus (but still part of the Cosmere sequence, with seeds of the story already in other books).

The Reckoners


DONE!

There’s a chance of a standalone Mizzy book sometime in the future, which is why I put it here and don’t just leave it off entirely. But even if I do that, it won’t be for a while. Do know that Snapshot is in the Reckoners universe, though it’s very much not a YA story.

Status: On hiatus.

Untitled Threnody Story


There’s a novel in the Threnody system I’ve been planning for many, many years. Might as well move it onto this list. I’d originally planned it as the arrival of people in hell after fleeing the Evil that destroyed their homeland across the sea, but I’m toying with flipping this around, sending an expedition back to the destroyed continent.

Either way, a Threnody novel has been part of the cosmere since before I got published, so I’m confident we’ll see more from it eventually. If you’re confused by all this, might I mention again the value in grabbing a copy of Arcanum Unbounded?

Status: Very early planning stages.

Silverlight



We’re almost far enough in the cosmere where I can set a story in Silverlight. It would be a novella, rather than a full novel. I don’t expect it in 2017, but you all know enough tidbits about Silverlight that I can at least put it on the list now.

Status: Very early planning stages.


Projected Release Schedule



I’m going to keep this to three years this time, as my projections in the past have tended to go skiwampus (technical term) after about one year of projecting.

I intend Rithmatist 2 and Alcatraz 6 to slip in here somewhere, but I don’t know where. (I was hoping to do one of them this year, but Stormlight three went even longer than projected.)

February 2017: Snapshot
November 2017: Stormlight 3
Spring 2018: Apocalypse Guard 1
Fall 2018: Wax and Wayne 4 (final book)
Sometime 2019: Apocalypse Guard 2
Sometime 2019: Undecided. (There will likely be a second novel this year. It’s possible that I’m still working on Stormlight 4 though, and will have a lean year as a result.)
Sometime 2020: Stormlight 4
Sometime 2020: Apocalypse Guard 3 (final book)


Conclusion




Next year will be a little quiet, following this year’s releases. (Which included Secret History, The Bands of Mourning, Calamity, White Sand, Alcatraz, and Edgedancer/Arcanum Unbounded.) Right now it’s just Snapshot and Oathbringer. (Which might give you a glimpse into how much work a Stormlight book is. The new one is longer than all of the above stories combined, and then some.)

As always, thanks for reading.
Brandon Sanderson
December 19th, 2016

Postscript



All right, let’s talk about the birthday thing.

Every year, people ask me if they can give me anything for the holidays or my birthday. On one hand, I’m flattered. On the other hand, I’ve already got basically everything a person could ask for, while there are many others who do not.

In the past, I kept an Amazon wishlist for people who wanted to send me gifts—but I not only found that very impersonal, it also made me feel guilty. I don’t need anything, really. The charities linked above deserve your attention far more. You’ve already given me a gift by reading these crazy stories I put together.

However, I understand that saying, “Oh, just give to charity” is somehow a weak answer to people who want to do something for me personally. It’s like asking for the cash instead when someone offers to buy you dinner.

So, I’ve given it some thought. I maintain that I really do not need you to send me anything. But if you must, I figure you could do this. Dig out or buy a foil Magic card from the Kaladesh set or its sequel coming out in January. Try to pick one that strikes you, or matches you in some way.

I’m building a foil cube of that set—and though even the common foils look great, they only cost around $.25. (Don’t feel you have to give me rares or mythics—I’ll actually need five of each common, three of each uncommon, and fifty of each basic land—so commons and lands are totally needed.) Like I said, try to pick one that matches you somehow, not one that is famous, as this is better if they’re randomized so I get some of each.

Take the card, and sign or write your name on the back side (the side that says “Magic: the Gathering”) with a felt-tip pen or Sharpie, so you don’t dent the front. Tell me where you’re from, write me a message, or tell me something about yourself. Whatever you feel like saying.

Then, stick the card between two pieces of cardboard (or slip it in a card case) and send it to me to me at:

Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC
PO Box 698
American Fork, UT 84003

I’ll put them all together, protect them in protective sleeves, and then take them to conventions so we can play games with them—and everyone can glance at the backs of the cards and see what you wrote. That will make a pretty cool keepsake for the year for me, but won’t (hopefully) cost you more than a buck or two for the card and the postage.

Again, I repeat, this isn’t a request. Consider it more a pressure valve to give you compulsive gift givers an outlet for your madness in a way that won’t make me feel like I’m taking advantage of my wonderful fans.

I’ll post the results when we get them.

Thank you all again.

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Adam here. You may remember a post that Brandon wrote this past summer regarding a novella he finished on his trip to the United Arab Emirates. It is called Snapshot and is a science fiction detective thriller. Normally when Brandon releases a novella he starts promotion at the time of release. This time, however, he is working with some of his long time colleagues (including a bookseller who long ago organized Brandon's first real signing) who just started a specialty press. Snapshot doesn’t release till February but is available for pre-order now at the Vault Books website. Let me give a little warning here: the leatherbound collector’s editions are expensive. If the price tag makes your eyes bulge, realize there will be a simultaneous ebook, and then later in 2017 we will have a non-limited-edition hardcover available on Brandon’s website store. Without further adieu, here is your first look at the cover of Snapshot.



Another special edition that recently released, that is already sold out on Brandon’s website store, is the leatherbound edition of Mistborn: Final Empire. Below is a list of several independent bookstores around the country where you may be able to acquire one.



In this week’s new Writing Excuses episode, Hand-Selling Your Book to Potential Readers, with Michael R. Underwood, we hear about placing your product in the hand of your customer, the reader, rather than pitching to editors and agents.

Tor.com's Warbreaker Reread: Last week, in chapter eight, Siri wandered the palace, wondering what to do with herself. This week, in chapter nine, Vivenna enters T’Telir, responding to it much differently than Siri had.

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