State of the Sanderson 2017
Welcome and happy Koloss Head Munching Day! It is time for my yearly update on projects! Strap in for a long post. (If you want to compare, here is a link to last year’s post.)
It has been a busy month for us, here at Dragonsteel Headquarters. The leatherbound edition of Mistborn 2, which was supposed to get here in November, was delivered the day I flew home from the UK, ending my tour. (And the Mistborn 1 second printing came the next day.) So I’ve been doing a lot of sitting and listening to podcasts while I sign stacks and stacks of books. (If you’re curious, I’ve been listening to Hardcore History.)
- My Year
- Main Projects Updates
- Secondary Projects Updates
- Minor Projects Updates
- Potential Projects Updates
- Movie/Television Updates
- Updates Conclusion
- Projected Schedule
January–June: Oathbringer Revisions
I spent most of this year doing revisions for Oathbringer. I did several exhaustive drafts during the January–June months, and did the final handoff to Peter (for copyediting and proofreading) right at the end of June.
June–Mid September: The Apocalypse Guard
Then, for the first time in what felt like forever (it was really only about sixteen months), I got a chance to work on something that wasn’t Oathbringer or Edgedancer. I launched right into The Apocalypse Guard, the follow-up to The Reckoners…and it didn’t work. I spent July, August, and part of September writing that. (I finished the last chapter sometime in early September, and turned in the second draft a few weeks later.)
September–October: Legion 3
I was already feeling a little discouraged by that book not quite coming together, though at that point I assumed I’d be able to fix it in revisions. (Well, I still think I can do that–I just think it will take more time.) Mid-September, I launched into Legion Three: Lies of the Beholder. That took around a month to finish, bringing us to mid-October. By then, I knew something was seriously wrong with The Apocalypse Guard, as my revision attempts were fruitless. So, I called Random House and pulled the book–then launched into Skyward.
I have been writing on that book ever since, and you can read the blog post yesterday about that.
November–December: Oathbringer Tour
The tour was wonderful–somehow both exhausting and energizing at the same time. Here are some of the fan costumes that showed up this year. Thank you all for coming out to see me!
Szeth – Anderson’s Bookshop
Shallan, a mistborn, and Lift – BYU Release Party
Veil – Anderson’s Bookshop
Adolin and Shallan – Murder by the Book
December so far: Skyward
Unfortunately, and I know you guys know to watch for them, there are no hidden or secret novellas or books for this year. I have been running around feeling behind all year, first on Oathbringer, and then trying to find a replacement for The Apocalypse Guard.
Updates on Main Projects
It’s time to take a little breather. I’ve begun working on the outline for book four, which is kind of a mess right now because of things I’ve been moving around between books as I write. My goal this year for Stormlight will be to have rock-solid outlines for books four and five done by December 2018.
My current projection is that I’ll spend half of my time writing Stormlight, and half of it doing other things. (I spoke last year about just how big an undertaking a Stormlight book is–and why I can’t write them back to back.) I realize that many of you would prefer to have only Stormlight, but that would drive me insane–and drive the series into the ground.
I think this is a realistic schedule. So, I’m giving myself 2018 to work on Skyward (hopefully a trilogy) and other projects. Then on January 1st, 2019, I go back to Stormlight refreshed and excited to be back in Roshar, and I write on book four until it’s done. (With a 2020 or 2021 release, depending on how the writing goes.) I do hope to find time for a novella, like Edgedancer, that we can put out between books. This one is tentatively called Wandersail.
For those who don’t know, the Stormlight Archive is a ten-book series composed of two five-book arcs.
Status: Writing outline for book four.
Wax and Wayne 4 is on the slate next after I finish Skyward. (Though if it’s going well, I may do the entire trilogy for Skyward first.) I need four or five months at least to do Wax and Wayne, so rain or shine, my plan is to get into this on September 1st at the latest. Hopefully a little earlier.
This will wrap up the second era of Mistborn books. (And yes, I’ve settled—at long last—on just calling it that. All the other terms I tried were just too confusing.) Once the Wax and Wayne books are done, I’ll look to do something else for a little while before coming back for Era Three. (1980s spy thriller Mistborn.)
Status: To be written in 2018.
Current main project. Yesterday’s blog post talks about it in depth–but so far, so good!
Status: To be written in 2018.
Updates on Secondary Projects
The third Stephen Leeds/Legion story (which is roughly the same length as the second one) is finished! Titled Lies of the Beholder, this is the story that delves into Stephen’s backstory, his interactions with Sandra, and the nature of his aspects. Good stuff! It’s done, and it’s weird. But good weird.
Right now, the goal is to collect all three Legion stories and release them in hardcover sometime around September 2018. That means there probably won’t be a standalone release of Lies of the Beholder until a year or so later, like we plan with Edgedancer. However, for those who like cohesion on their bookshelves, I’ve mandated that Subterranean Press be allowed to do a leatherbound like they did with the first two. So you can have books that match. This should happen right around the release of the collection.
In the UK, there should be a small-format version of the story on its own rather than a collection. (Again, for matching purposes. In the US, the small-format hardcovers have been published by my own company, Dragonsteel, as we waited for enough stories to do a collection.) We should eventually do a small-format Dragonsteel edition for people who really want one of those to match, but I’d suggest that the best way to support the stories is to buy the collection. And if you haven’t ever tried them out, you’ll be able to get them all at once!
This marks the end of the Stephen Leeds stories, though we’re in talks for another television deal—so maybe that will happen.
Status: Series finished! Publication in late 2018.
Contrary to last year’s State of the Sanderson (where I didn’t expect movement on this series this year) there have been developments. I have tried working on the sixth and final book (which will be from Bastille’s viewpoint) and have found that I didn’t like the test chapters I did.
The story went the wrong direction, and beyond that, I didn’t feel like I had Bastille’s voice down. In some attempts, the book just sounded too much like the previous ones—but when I exaggerated her voice, she felt a bit Flanderized. I’ve been toying with how to make it work, and I’ve come up with a somewhat outside-the-box solution. My long-standing friend and former student, Janci Patterson, is also a big fan of the series. She’s been offering feedback since I wrote the first book back in…2006, was it? I’ve gone to her and asked if she’d be willing to collaborate on it.
The goal is that by bringing in another author to write it with me, I’ll be able to get the book to work—to have it feel different enough from the others, yet still be in the same theme and spirit. The goal is to do an outline in early February once I have book one of Skyward done, then hand that off to Janci and let her toy with it a while before sending it back to me.
So you can watch for that, and I’ll post updates.
Status: Outline to be written in 2018.
Elantris and Warbreaker
No change on either one from last year. The plan has always been to look back at Sel and Nalthis once the Wax and Wayne books are done. That’s still my intention.
Status: Keep waiting. (Sorry.)
Graphic Novel 1 was a huge success, and Graphic Novel 2 is finished and off to the printers. Expected publication date is February 2018. It will be the second of three.
The prose version is still available to be read. If you sign up for my mailing list, we auto-send you a link to it.
Status: Graphic novel 2 coming in early 2018.
This continues to be the single most-requested sequel among people who email me or contact me on social media. It is something I want to do, and still intend to, but it has a couple of weird aspects to it—completely unrelated to its popularity—that continue to work as roadblocks.
The first problem is that it’s an odd relic in my writing career. I wrote it as a diversion from a book that wasn’t working (Liar of Partinel, my second attempt at doing a novel on Yolen, after the unpublished novel Dragonsteel). It went really well—but it also was something I had to set aside when the Wheel of Time came along.
I eventually published it years later, but my life and my writing has moved in a very different direction from the point when I wrote this. These days, I try very hard to make stories like this work as novellas or standalone stories, rather than promising sequels. I feel I did promise a sequel for this one, and I have grand plans for it, but the time just never seems to be right.
The other issue is that writing about that era in America—even in an alternate universe—involves touching on some very sensitive topics. Ones that, despite my best efforts, I feel that I didn’t handle as sensitively as I could have. I do want to come back to the world and do a good job of it, but doing an Aztec viewpoint character—as I’d like to do as one of the viewpoints in book two—in an alternate Earth…well, it’s a challenge that takes a lot of investment in research time.
And for one reason or another, I keep ending up in crisis mode—first with Stormlight 3 taking longer than I wanted, and now with The Apocalypse Guard not turning out like I wanted. So someday I will get to this, but it’s going to require some alignment of several factors.
Status: Not yet. We’ll see.
Updates on Minor Projects
The Apocalypse Guard was in this universe, and we’ll see what happens there, but for now I’m leaving this series alone. There might be a Mizzy book that I end up doing, but no promises.
Status: Trilogy complete. Series done, for now.
This space opera novella series is in same place it was last year, I’m afraid. (One novella done, no more written on the rest.) I took a little time to work on the outline, but didn’t find a chance to write the second novella. It will be awesome when I do it, and I got really close to moving this to the front burner several times, but it didn’t end up working.
Status: Still possible in the near future.
My eternal “like Harry Potter from Voldemort’s viewpoint” fantasy sequence is still hanging out, buzzing at the sides of my brain. I wrote a really spectacular outline for it this summer, one I love quite a bit, and it got both television graphic novel interest—but these are deals still very much in the works, so I can’t talk about them yet.
I’m pleased with what I have though, and feel this series has moved for the first time in a long while. Note that I did end up pulling it out of the Cosmere, as it ended up working better as a dark secondary world fantasy than it did as a Cosmere YA series. It went both older, and more twisted, in the current outline. Hopefully, by next year’s State of the Sanderson we’ll have something more solid to announce.
Status: Exciting developments in the works!
Death by Pizza
Pizza delivery man becomes a necromancer. On my perpetual list of things to do—but no movement.
Status: No movement.
Random space opera thing I worked on for a while.
Status: No movement.
Potential Cosmere Stories List
Here are things that at one point I’ve had in the works, and probably someday plan to do, in the Cosmere:
- Dragonsteel/Liar of Partinel. (Hoid’s origin story, to be written sometime after Stormlight is done.)
- Sixth of the Dusk sequel. (I had a pretty cool idea for this last year. Nothing more than that.)
- Untitled Silverlight novella. (What it says on the tin.)
- Threnody novel. (An expedition back to confront the Evil that destroyed the old world.)
- Aether of Night. (Still in the Cosmere, and you can see the odd remnant of an Aether popping up here and there. Bound to be drastically different from the unpublished novel, which I allow the 17th Shard to give out to people who request it on their forums. Basically, the only thing from it that is canon is the magic system.)
- Silence Divine. (Disease magic novella set on Ashyn.)
Mistborn and Stormlight Films
These rights are held by DMG Entertainment, and they’ve been very good at working with me and showing me things. They have scripts for both Mistborn and The Way of Kings, which they are actively trying to make happen in Hollywood.
One way they’re approaching this is to do a Stormlight VR experience, which we’ve talked about before. This is less about making a video game, and more about making something to show off to studios to kind of immerse them in the setting of the books. As I determined early on, this is an interesting but weird world, and having visuals (like the art in the books themselves) helps a lot with bringing people around to understanding.
They do plan to release the VR experience to fans on Steam, for those with VR headsets. It’s not intended to be a full game, as I said, more a demo of the Shattered Plains—you’ll get to personally experience the Shattered Plains from the novels and interact with the characters and creatures that inhabit them. We’ll do some posts on it in coming months as it gears up to be released, and I’ve invited the developers to do some guest posts on my blog.
Regardless of what happens on the film and television front here, at the very least you have that to look forward to!
Still held by Fox, with 21 Laps producing. They renewed their option this summer, so they are still interested in the property, though I haven’t had any specific updates in a while. I have no idea how the Disney acquisition might affect things.
If you missed my weird, cyberpunkish detective story, you can now get a copy of it in our Dragonsteel Edition bundled with another of my stories. The ebook is still around too. MGM snatched this up almost before it was published—it was very hot in Hollywood in the months leading up to publication.
The screenwriter they attached to it had another project delaying him for the bulk of this year, but they’ve said he’ll turn his full attention to it staring sometime just after the holidays.
Legion and Dark One are currently in negotiations. The rest of the Cosmere is covered by the DMG deal, as we want one company working on that at a time. We have a small deal for Defending Elysium that has it under option with a screenwriter, and the first draft screenplay is good. That leaves Alcatraz, The Rithmatist, and a couple of shorts (Dreamer, Perfect State, Firstborn) with no options right now.
There we go—everything I’ve talked about should be on that list. I have a few other little stories bouncing around in my head that I haven’t talked about yet. (Well, probably there are hundreds, but only a few that are relatively close to seeing the light of day.) We’ll see what happens.
My projected publication schedule looking forward swaps The Apocalypse Guard out for Skyward and moves the Legion collection into the place of Wax and Wayne 4, reflecting what I actually wrote this year. (Note, these are always very speculative. And Peter is probably already worried about Stormlight 4.)
September 2018: Stephen Leeds/Legion Collection
November 2018: Skyward
Fall 2019: Wax and Wayne 4
Sometime 2019: Skyward 2
Sometime 2020: Stormlight 4
Sometime 2020: Skyward 3
Last year, I tried out something where—in response to people asking me if they could send me birthday gifts—I suggested sending me a magic card from a specific set, with a signature and note on the back.
This was a little experiment that people had a lot of fun with, and this year I want to post the results! That means a lot of photos, as I wanted to show the notes people wrote on the cards. Many of you included touching letters to me as well, which I read and appreciate—though those tended to be a little more personal in nature, so I’m not going to post them.
Some of you will be completely uninterested in this, so we’ve collected the images in a gallery rather than posting them all here. Have fun browsing through them! And thank you so much to everyone. It was a lot of fun to see the little notes that you’d all sent in.
I’m forty-two today, which is an auspicious number in science fiction fandom. It’s going to be tough to top these last few months and the reception to Oathbringer.
The fact that I get to do this crazy thing for a living continues to be the best gift of them all.