STATE OF THE
SANDERSON

Every December
Brandon updates
readers on the state
of each of his projects.

EVENTS

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LATEST UPDATES

Brandon updates readers on Reddit.

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PROGRESS BARS

Stormlight 4 & 5 Outlining 100%
Starsight Release 100%
Stormlight 4 Rough Draft 85%
MTG: Children of the Nameless Release 100%

INTRODUCTION

A while back—June 2006—I started work on the novel which would follow my Mistborn trilogy. At the time, I noticed the work of Cory Doctorow, who releases all of his books on-line at the same time as the hardback comes out from Tor. At first, I thought this was insane. If you give it away for free, nobody will buy it!

Then, I spent some more time considering. Readers can ALREADY get their books for free; I went to the library often myself as a youth. And yet, I still bought books. I often bought the very books I’d checked out from the library, as I liked them so much I wanted to read them again and loan them out to others. What do I really believe? In resenting libraries and used bookstores because they share my books without any direct profit to me? Or, would I rather look at all of that as free publicity?

I’ve been kind of annoyed with how the RIAA has treated the MP3 explosion. I also realize that something Cory says is very true—my biggest challenge as an author is obscurity. I believe in my novels, and believe that if people read them, they will want to read and buy more of them. I believe that readers like to own books and, yes, even like to buy them specifically to support authors they want to write more books.

And so, I did something crazy. I went to Tor and asked if they’d be okay with me posting the entire version of Warbreaker AS I WROTE IT. Meaning, rough drafts. The early, early stuff which is filled with problems and errors. They thought I was crazy too (my agent STILL thinks this project is a bad move) but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do something that would involve and reward my readers. For those who are aspiring novelists, I wanted to show an early version of my work so they could follow its editing and progress. For those who are looking to try out my novels, I wanted to offer a free download. (Hoping that they would enjoy the book a great deal, then go on to purchase or check out ELANTRIS or my Mistborn books.)

So, that’s what this novel is. It WILL be published in hardcover by Tor. It’s not some old work I pulled out, dusted off, and offered for free. This book will be coming out in 2009 sometime. And, I’m offering it years ahead of publication here for you to read.

Part of me still worries that I take a huge hit in sales when this thing is released, as my readers will have read it ahead of time. Another part of me worries that new readers will see the flaws and the rough sections of the early drafts, then assume that the finished project will be inferior, and not ever bother to read any of my other books.

The stronger part of me still believes that this will make better publicity, and a better experience for my fans, and is well worth the risk. So, for better or worse, I present WARBREAKER.

SYNOPSIS

It’s been almost ten years since I started the first draft of ELANTRIS. It was my sixth book, and it took me four years or so to eventually sell it. By the time I did get a book deal and release the book, I’d moved on to the Mistborn books.

Still, ELANTRIS is very special to me, and I’m still planning to do sequels some day. Why do I bring that up here? Well, there is one thing about ELANTRIS that has always kind of bothered me. It’s not a terrible thing—the book turned out way better than I had any right to expect at that point in my career, and still stands as the book I’ve written with the best ‘high concept’ ideas. However, the book focuses on a kingdom where regular people are turned into gods—yet, the nature of the plot line makes it so that you never get to SEE what it’s like to have to live as a god after gaining all of these divine powers. (ELANTRIS focuses on a period of time where the magic doesn’t work, and the once-gods have lost their abilities and caught a terrible disease instead.)

I wouldn’t change ELANTRIS, but I’ve always kind of wished that I could write a book that actually focused on what it was LIKE to have to live with all of the expectations of being transformed into a deity. How would that affect a person? What if they, themselves, didn’t believe that their powers made them a god—yet everyone else did believe it? Could you have a god who didn’t believe in his own religion?

Eventually, I couldn’t leave this idea alone. I needed to explore it, perhaps for the same reasons I needed to explore the opposite idea in ELANTRIS. In many ways, this book is a companion—yet opposite book—to ELANTRIS. Though set in separate worlds with very different systems of magic, both take the same concept, then run different directions with it. I hope very much not to seem like I’m repeating myself as an author; I think by doing Mistborn and Alcatraz between these books, I’ve shown my versatility. Now, I want to try another book about deified men. (Coincidentally, I decided I wanted to deal with another concept I promised in ELANTRIS, but then ignored—the bride who is sent to another kingdom to marry a man she doesn’t know. Once again, I wanted to take it the opposite direction. In ELANTRIS, Sarene arrives to discover her fiancé is dead and gone. In WARBREAKER, however, I wanted to show what happened if the bride didn’t get to dodge this uncomfortable situation, but actually had to marry the man she’d been promised to.)

And so, we are introduced to four characters in this book. Lightsong is a God of the Hallandren people—a regular man who died in a heroic way, and was therefore brought back to life by the magic to rule as a god. (Or, at least, that’s how the Hallandren people interpret it.) We have Siri, a rebellious daughter sent by her father to marry the tyrant god-king of those same Hallandren people. We have Vivenna, sister to Siri, who goes to try to rescue her sibling from her fate. And then, there’s Vasher—whose motivations and goals are his own. (You can read about him in the prologue.)

The magic is one I’ve wanted to put into a book for a long, long time and the setting—with its vibrant color and tropical climate—is very different from the worlds of MISTBORN or ELANTRIS. This is the book I wrote when I, myself, got engaged and married, and I think it had a great influence on how I interpret the world.

I hope you enjoy the book! Click this link Warbreaker Rights and Downloads to go to a page listing downloads and explaining the Creative Commons License I’m giving the book.

Brandon Sanderson
December, 2007

WARBREAKER ART

ELANTRIS

INTRODUCTION

Elantris was Brandon’s first published book. A standalone epic fantasy novel, the book won the Romantic Times award for best epic fantasy of 2005, was chosen by Barnes and Noble.com editors as the best fantasy or sf book of the year, and has been released in twenty languages.

SYNOPSIS

It’s always interesting to describe your book to people, since a novel like this, at 200,000 words, is going to mean very different things to different people. If you want a more straightforward explanation of what the book’s about, read the Publisher’s Weekly review below. If you want something more casual, read the prologue. If you want something between, read on!

Tor classifies this book as an epic fantasy. I’m not sure if that’s actually the case. There is no quest in this book, nor is it about the end of the world. It takes place (as many of my books do) in one city, and is a mixture of political intrigue, interesting magic, and character dynamics.

The setting is the city of Elantris and the surrounding suburbs. There’s a force in Arelon known as the Dor that randomly chooses people and grants them divine powers. Elantris was once the city of the gods, where anyone who was ‘chosen’ went to live. Ten years ago, the Elantrians lost their powers and caught a terrible disease instead. From that point on, Elantris became a prison city/contamination zone for any who caught that disease, for the Dor continues to choose people and curse them.

The book follows the experiences of three people as they interact with the people of Elantris. Raoden, a prince, catches the disease in chapter one and is thrown into the city by his own father. Sarene, Raoden’s sight-unseen fiancee from a political treaty, arrives in the city and gets involved in schemes, troubles, and politics involving Elantris. Hrathen, a priest and missionary, is sent to convert the people of Arelon, and is told that if he fails, the people of the country will need to be killed instead.

The three stories intertwine as the truth of what happened to Elantris, and its inhabitants, ten years ago is unearthed.

REVIEWS

About the book, Publisher’s Weekly (which gave it a starred review) had the following to say:

“Sanderson’s outstanding fantasy debut, refreshingly complete unto itself and free of the usual genre clichés, offers something for everyone: mystery, magic, romance, political wrangling, religious conflict, fights for equality, sharp writing and wonderful, robust characters.

The godlike inhabitants of Elantris, once the capital of the land of Arelon, have degenerated into powerless, tortured souls, unable to die, after the city’s magic inexplicably broke 10 years earlier. When the same curse strikes Prince Raoden of Arelon and he’s imprisoned in Elantris, he refuses to surrender to his grim fate and instead strives to create a society out of the fallen and to unlock the secret that will restore the city’s glory.

Meanwhile, Princess Sarene of Kae (Arelon’s new capital), who was betrothed to Raoden sight unseen, believes her intended has died. Officially declared his widow, she must use her political savvy and wit to protect Kae from malevolent forces without and within the city, chiefly Hrathen, a leader of the creepy Shu-Dereth faith, who aims to either convert Kae or destroy it within three months.

The intrigue and excitement grow steadily in this smoothly written, perfectly balanced narrative; by the end readers won’t want to put it down. As the blurb from Orson Scott Card suggests, Sanderson is a writer to watch.”

And, speaking of the blurb by Orson Scott Card, he had the following to say about the book:


“Elantris is the finest novel of fantasy to be written in many years. Brandon Sanderson has created a truly original world of magic and intrigue, and with the rigor of the best science fiction writers he has made it real at every level.

What makes this novel unforgettable, however, is the magnificent characters he has created. True heroes who, in the face of adversity, find strength they did not know they had, make mistakes from whose consequences they do not shrink, and sacrifice to save what is worth loving in their world.

Best of all, the story is complete. Oh, there’s room for a sequel – and I hope there’ll be one. But this does not feel like “volume 1,” with all the important questions yet to be answered. Sanderson brings off an impossibly complicated resolution only a few pages from the end of the book, and you finish the book satisfied.

Sanderson writes within a moral universe where people are rarely sure who the good guys and the bad guys might turn out to be. But the difference between good and evil is clear even though it’s subtle and sometimes hard to find.

It’s rare for a fiction writer to have much understanding of how leadership works, how communities form, and how love really takes root in the human heart. Sanderson is astonishingly wise.

I’m glad I didn’t write this book. I’m not the least bit envious. Because if I had written it, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of letting it unfold before me as this story did, in all its ugliness and beauty and excitement and pain.”

Read the whole review on Orson Scott Card’s website!

Orson Scott Card


“Brandon Sanderson is the real thing—an exciting storyteller with a unique and powerful vision. ELANTRIS is one of the finest debuts I’ve seen in years.”

David Farland


“While every new fantasy author is hailed as unique, new, and different, Brandon Sanderson’s ELANTRIS does indeed provide an absorbing adventure in a unique, different, and well-thought-out fantasy world, with a few nifty twists as well.”

L. E. Modesitt


“Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris is a marvelous, magic monster of a book, packed full of intrigue and daring, based around a killer high concept. When the city of the gods becomes a city of the damned, who and what do you believe in? The story twists and turns, characters bait traps for one another as they vie for secular and religious power, and no-one is necessarily who or what they seem. Royal houses rise and fall, the fate of all Humanity is in the balence, and maybe, just maybe . . . the gods are coming back. All this and a genuinely touching love story too. Elantris; the book that put epic back into fantasy.”

Simon R. Green


“ELANTRIS is a new BEN HUR for the fantasy genre, with a sweeping, epic storyline and closely personal characters.”

NYT bestselling coauthor of DUNE: THE BATTLE OF CORRIN.

Kevin J. Anderson


“I suspect that most of us have marveled at the human body’s amazing ability to heal itself, and perhaps have considered how awful it would be if all the injuries of one’s life, from shattered bones to stubbed toes, sprained ankles, and bruises, even down to each annoying paper cut, all reappeared at the same time—and never healed. It doesn’t bear thinking, does it?

“Brandon Sanderson obviously has thought about it—and has used a variation on this notion as part of the premise for his excellent first novel, Elantris—except that, in the world he’s imagined, this unhappy state stems from a disease. After you’ve “died” from it, you’re not really dead—but every injury done to you from that point accumulates, along with all the aggregate of pain. And you can never really die.

“There’s more—much more—but I’ll refrain from revealing any more of the ingenious plot twists.

“Elantris, Brandon Sanderson’s excellent debut novel, is marked by vivid and strongly drawn characters (including a memorable female character) and ingenious plot twists that will keep the reader turning pages. Don’t miss it!”

Katherine Kurtz


“Sanderson’s outstanding fantasy debut, refreshingly complete unto itself and free of the usual genre clichés, offers something for everyone: mystery, magic, romance, political wrangling, religious conflict, fights for equality, sharp writing and wonderful, robust characters.

“The godlike inhabitants of Elantris, once the capital of the land of Arelon, have degenerated into powerless, tortured souls, unable to die, after the city’s magic inexplicably broke 10 years earlier. When the same curse strikes Prince Raoden of Arelon and he’s imprisoned in Elantris, he refuses to surrender to his grim fate and instead strives to create a society out of the fallen and to unlock the secret that will restore the city’s glory. Meanwhile, Princess Sarene of Kae (Arelon’s new capital), who was betrothed to Raoden sight unseen, believes her intended has died. Officially declared his widow, she must use her political savvy and wit to protect Kae from malevolent forces without and within the city, chiefly Hrathen, a leader of the creepy Shu-Dereth faith, who aims to either convert Kae or destroy it within three months.

“The intrigue and excitement grow steadily in this smoothly written, perfectly balanced narrative; by the end readers won’t want to put it down. As the blurb from Orson Scott Card suggests, Sanderson is a writer to watch.”

Publishers Weekly


“An epic fantasy novel that is (startlingly) not Volume One of a Neverending Sequence . . . [with] an unusually well-conceived system of magic . . . the story has some grip and it’s a tremendous relief to have fruition in a single volume. . . . A cut above the same-old.”

Kirkus Reviews

FUN STUFF

These are some interviews I did for various media venues during the first year ELANTRIS was out.

Email Interview with RFbookreviews.com

Eric James Stone interviews me

Radio Interview/podcast with the Dragon Page

Pat’s fantasy Hotlist (Feb 2006)

Like all of my books, I try to release a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ material, all of which you can get to from the Related Content Sidebar. Annotations are chapter-by-chapter musings I have written to be something like a director’s commentary for a DVD. There are also sample chapters, essays, expanded world information, and deleted scenes. Have a look! I think you’ll find plenty to interest you.

ELANTRIS ART