Brandon Sanderson's Blog, page 9

June 2, 2015

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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Published on June 02, 2015 08:42 • 1,696 views

May 29, 2015

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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Published on May 29, 2015 15:06 • 3,147 views

May 20, 2015

Tomorrow I’m off to Kansas City for the ConQuesT convention that starts on Friday. My complete schedule (including a “Play Magic with Brandon” game) down below. Also, copies of the Perfect State/ con exclusive double hardcover will be available at the Basement Books booth in the dealers’ hall. But first some updates.


I’ve mentioned before that my middle grade humor series that starts with Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians will be republished next year by Tor, leading up to the release of the fifth and final book that Alcatraz will write. Well, there will also be a ton of new illustrations in the book, and Isaac Stewart has written up a post for Tor.com that introduces the illustrations to you. Enjoy!


Over the weekend, Words of Radiance was named the winner of a 2014 Whitney Award for the Speculative category. Thanks to all of the Whitney Awards academy members who found it deserving! And many congratulations to all of the winners and finalists.


There are a couple of Writing Excuses episodes I haven’t yet talked about in the blog. The 19th episode this season talks about Intrigue. What’s the difference between intrigue, suspense, and mystery? We answer this and then talk about what makes intrigue useful as a tool for any story, and how to use it without falling back on idiot character plots, or simply withholding information from the reader. Intrigue is also its own genre, with spy stories and political intrigue stories fitting into this space. We talk a bit about how those stories work and how they’re built. Next, the 20th episode is titled, How Do I Write a Story, Not an Encyclopedia? You’ve done piles of worldbuilding. How do you convey this world to reader without infodumping? We talk about the different skill levels involved, and then the techniques that you’ll be using as you get better and better at what is probably the most critical skill unique to genre fiction writers.


ConQuesT 46

Date: Fri, May 22, 2015 – Sun, May 24, 2015

Address: Kansas City Marriott Downtown

200 West 12th St

Kansas City, MO 64105

Phone: (816) 421-6800


Friday, May 22

4:00 p.m., Count Basie Ballroom A

MidAmericaCon II

MidAmeriCon II is coming to KC in 2016. Learn more about Worldcon and the local fans helping make this happen.

Diane Lacey, Ruth Lichtwardt, George R.R. Martin, Jeff Orth, Mark Oshiro, Brandon Sanderson


5:00 p.m., Count Basie Ballroom A

World Building – Religion and Magic

We’ll discuss creating believable worlds from religion to magic systems. We’ll also look at how you make everything work together and decide what everyone needs to see and what only you need to know.

Kathleen Collins, Gera L. Dean, Brandon Sanderson, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Thomas Trumpinski


7:00 p.m., Count Basie Ballroom A

Opening Ceremonies


Saturday, May 23

1:00 p.m., Count Basie Ballroom A

Brandon Sanderson Interview


3:00–5:00 p.m., Count Basie Ballroom A

Brandon Sanderson Book Signing


5:00 p.m., Count Basie Ballroom A

Research – How Much Do You Really Need?

Discussion of what to research, where to research, how much to research, when to quit researching. How to determine if the information is legitimate. How to use Google and other serach engines for research.

Holly Messinger, Penny Cockrell, Gera L. Dean, KD McEntire, Brandon Sanderson


7:00 p.m.–midnight, Mary Lou Williams room, 3rd floor

Magic Draft with Brandon Sanderson

This will be a Magic: The Gathering draft of the type that Brandon likes to do at conventions. The cost is $15. Limited to 16 participants. Sign up ahead of time using the signup sheet located in the main gaming area.


Sunday, May 24

12:00 p.m., Bennie Moten A/B

The Story Mind

Neurological research suggests that the human mind is hardwired for stories and that humans remember stories more easily than they remember facts. Panelists discuss this theory and what this means for sf & f tales.

M.C. Chambers, Zo Allen, Marshall Edwards, Lezli Robyn, Brandon Sanderson


5:00 p.m., Count Basie Ballroom A

Closing Ceremonies

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Published on May 20, 2015 09:16 • 670 views

May 5, 2015

In this week’s new Writing Excuses episode, Build an Entire World? Are You Crazy?, we address those of you who who start writing the story before you finish building your world. Letting the story drive the worldbuilding can often be more efficient.


Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, we saw science in action on the shattered plains. This week, in Chapter 36, Alice Arneson discusses the beginning of Shallan’s newest stage of her journey as she reaches the war camps and tries to get established there.


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

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Published on May 05, 2015 11:11 • 805 views

May 4, 2015

krunk4ever Sat May 02
@BrandSanderson Own pretty much every book of yours on my Kindle. Just curious why your Alcatraz series is not available on the Kindle.


BrandSanderson Sat May 02
@krunk4ever We are re-releasing them in January, and are waiting til the for ebook editions.



USFbull2281 Sun May 03
flying through Atlanta and Nashville today.. hoping to come across a stealth signed book!! @BrandSanderson


BrandSanderson Sun May 03
@USFbull2281 It has been a while since I hit Atlanta. If any are left, they will be at the NY Times store by the E gates.



BrandSanderson Mon May 04
Up early today, as my schedule is off following my return from the UAE. Been working on Calamity a couple hours already. Nearing the end.


movinmeat Mon May 04
@BrandSanderson so how does it end? #SpoilerAlert


BrandSanderson Mon May 04
@movinmeat Well. :)




TylerWalpole Mon May 04
@BrandSanderson I’m late to the party, and hungry for Stormlight Archive Book 3. Have you announced an approximate release date?


BrandSanderson Mon May 04
@TylerWalpole Fall 2016


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Published on May 04, 2015 16:08 • 550 views

April 27, 2015

In this week’s new Writing Excuses episode, Q&A on Beginnings, we answer some of your questions on the matter. Here are some of the questions:



What are there differences between the beginnings in different forms?
How do you begin in media res when you’re not writing action?
What’s the biggest mistake that can be made when plotting the beginning?
I see a lot of big-name author beginnings that aren’t all that strong. Why should I spend time making my beginning awesome?
How do you balance the need to have something happening right away against the need to have the reader know something about the characters?
In creating a character, where do you start in the development process, and what do you begin revealing first?

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Last week, Alice Arneson watched madness blossom in two interlude chapters. This week, Carl Engle-Laird, watches science mixed with a little madness, flourish on the Shattered Plains.


The Rithmatist is on sale in the UK on Kindle (and may be price-matched at other vendors) until May 4th. I have country-specific links in the tabs here. And for everyone else (including those in the UK), my novella Perfect State came out a few weeks ago, if you missed the news.


My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter posts archive for April.

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Published on April 27, 2015 14:40 • 807 views

April 24, 2015

Tonight I will be doing a signing; details can be found below and on the events page. This will be my last public event for this trip to the UAE and I want to sign your books! As always, if you want email reminders of when I’ll be appearing in a city near you, simply sign up for my newsletter and tell me what city you want notifications for.


Sharjah, UAE – Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

Date: Saturday, April 25, 2015

Time: 18:00–19:00

Place: Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, Hall 5

Address: Expo Centre

Al taawun Street, Al taawun, – إمارة الشارقةّ

Sharjah, UAE

Phone Number: +971 6 577 0000


Jashanmal Books will have a very limited number of my books on hand. They will sell out quickly, so if you have your own books, please bring them. I will also sign cases for electronic devices if you prefer, or anything else other than body parts.

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Published on April 24, 2015 23:40 • 228 views

April 20, 2015

This afternoon I am heading off to the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival in the United Arab Emirates. For those of you who are in the vicinity, I look forward to seeing you there! So far I’ve listed a panel on Thursday the 23rd on my events calendar, and I’ll try to add more details when they’re forthcoming.


In this week’s new Writing Excuses episode, What Do I Do With All This Blank Space?, we talk about how to fill the space on the first few pages of your story. Those are the few pages where you have to convince the reader to keep going, as the first page is often the only opportunity you have to get the reader’s attention at all.


Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Carl Engle-Laird viewed the storm with grumpy old men and cheeky whippersnappers. This week, Alice Arneson discusses the outcome of two incomprehensible experiences and their respective forms of madness.


The Rithmatist is on sale on Kindle (and may be price-matched at other vendors) until May 4th in the UK. I have country-specific links in the tabs here. And for everyone else (including those in the UK), my novella Perfect State came out a couple of weeks ago, if you missed the news.


My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter posts archive for April.

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Published on April 20, 2015 19:41 • 534 views

April 13, 2015

Good news for everyone in the UK! The Rithmatist is on sale on Kindle (and may be price-matched at other vendors) until May 4th. I have country-specific links in the tabs here. And for everyone else (including those in the UK), my novella Perfect State came out a couple of weeks ago, if you missed the news.


And some more awesome news: Rhode Island teens voted, and Steelheart has tied for the 2015 Rhode Island Teen Book Award. Thanks to all of my readers there! Firefight is out now, and I’m hard at work on the final book in the trilogy, Calamity. I’ve passed the 50% mark and should finish around the first week of May. You can keep track by looking at the progress bars in the upper right corner of my website.


There is a new Writing Excuses episode this week: Worldbuilding Wilderness with Wes Chu. Wes recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and has some things to say about all the wilderness trekking that our characters do in the books we write, and how we often forget to say anything about sleeping on inclines, altitude sickness, or packing toilet paper. More importantly, we need to remember that our characters are experiencing these wilderness treks, and have opinions about them.


Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Alice Arneson attempted to unravel the mysteries of the Listener songs. This week, Carl Engle-Laird deals with Interludes 5 and 6 which generally involve grumpy old men talking down to young whippersnappers.


My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter posts archive for April.

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Published on April 13, 2015 15:45 • 640 views

April 6, 2015

There is a new Writing Excuses episode this week: How Much of the Beginning Needs to Come First? We all have cool things we want to put in our stories, which means we need what sets it up earlier. In this episode we talk about how to determine which of these elements needs to come first.


Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Carl Engle-Laird finished off the last chapter in Part 2 and waved a sad farewell to a sinking ship. This week, Alice Arneson wraps up Part 2 briefly, then moves on to an examination of the Listener songs in the Part 2 Epigraphs.


My assistant Adam has updated the Twitter posts archive for March and April.

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Published on April 06, 2015 15:20 • 514 views