Stormlight Five Update One
Hello, all! I know some of you may have been waiting for this. It’s time for the first in a series of updates about your book! I wanted to wait until I’d made good progress this month before I stopped to write one of these updates, and I do apologize for leaving you in the dark for so long. I probably should have written one of these back in January, but it’s been an odd year for me, full of unpredictable timing issues.
So, let’s get the obvious questions out of the way. Do I have a title yet? No. Still thinking. I’d like it to fit the format of KOWT or KOW, but I don’t like most of the options that have presented themselves. It requires more thought.
When will the book come out? I’m looking at fall 2024. I have tried to be very forthcoming about this one—warning people for a while that 2023 might be too optimistic. And, as I feared, I have been forced to let the date slide quite far into 2024 because of three issues. The first is that I set myself up for a TON of revisions this year, and they’ve been taking more time than expected. I still have two books to revise, though I’ve been spending all of August on Stormlight.
However, that isn’t the primary reason I’ve ended up pushing back the book. I’d planned for these revisions, and could have done those while working on Stormlight. The second reason I pushed the book back is that I knew this book, of all the ones in the sequence, deserved a little extra time and attention. It will likely be the longest of the series to date, and I have to be careful to juggle all the storylines properly. I didn’t want to be rushed on it, and—though it may shock you—an 18-month production cycle wasn’t going to cut it.
The third reason is one I haven’t been able to gauge as easily as the first two—something new to my life. Lately, I’ve needed to dedicated more and more of my time to running a company. I still reserve three days a week solely for writing, but that’s down from four days a week in previous years.
The meetings take two general forms. The first category is meetings with my team. Things like reviewing the production of the secret projects and leatherbounds to make sure things look and feel right. Others involve deep dives into concept art for characters and settings, so that when we create products like the upcoming Stormlight miniatures, they can fit with a canon version of the characters. This is something I resisted for a while, feeling like it was all right if different artists interpreted the singers (for example) differently. More and more, though, Isaac and I feel that we should have specific canon examples for continuity.
Other meetings are editorial related, or publicity related. Dragonsteel has kind of grown up the last few years, and I want to do it right. That means being involved, as long as it doesn’t impact my time TOO much. But all of that needs to be balanced with the numerous film and television meetings that have been happening lately. Again, I want to do this right—which means being deeply involved in the projects that are moving forward. (Announcements should be coming in the near future.) That takes time. So, the free time that I had during Covid to write secret projects is now being eaten up by a lot of these meetings.
I’m still finding the right balance, but this last month has seen a lot of good progress on Stormlight. I’m sitting at 65,000 words right now as of this writing. Roughly 16% if we assume a 400,000-word final book. (Though this one will, as I said, likely be longer than that—so that 16% might be more like 15%.)
Unfortunately, progress is going to slow again as I have a couple of other deadlines due. My goal right now is to do the last two revisions (Defiant and Secret Project Four) in rapid succession, in September and October, and be back to Stormlight in November.
For a teaser, though, here is what I’m working on: I’m going to write this book in phases, straight from beginning to end, through several character groupings. For example, the first sequence I’m writing is Szeth and Kaladin in Shinovar, including the Szeth flashbacks. I plan to write all of their plot, from start to finish, before moving on to the next sequence of characters.
All of that 65k so far, except the prologue, has been on this plotline—and I’m loving how it’s shaping up. I know the Szeth backstory has been a LONG time coming. I hope it lives up to your expectations. There are some interesting lore secrets here to reveal, and the climax is something I’ve been building to since book one—indeed, you’ll find death rattles from the first volume referencing the events here in this sequence.
I plotted this sequence at 100k. It’s looking a lot more like 150k now that I’m neck deep in it. The picture is related!
I know that four years is a long time to wait for a novel, and it’s been my goal in the past to keep that to 3 years. My intention is that once this is done, we’ll have another longer-than-normal gap as I turn my attention to Mistborn Era Three (and hopefully the Elantris sequels) before diving back in to do the back five Stormlight books. From there, I’m hoping to return to a 3-year gap between books until we push to the ending at book ten.
A long journey, I know! But you’ll almost certainly have television and film projects in the interim to keep you occupied alongside the other things I do. And I continue to feel that Stormlight works best in ultra-long-form novels, rather than the (far more profitable) option my publisher would prefer of one shorter 100k Stormlight book every year. The experience of the thick book full of interconnected plotlines and smaller interlude flourishes is part of what makes the artistic vision work for these volumes.
As always, thank you for your patience. My job is to make sure it’s all worth the wait, and I am striving each day to show respect for the trust you’ve put in me.
Next update should come around the end of the year, where I’ll let you know how my November/December went. With luck, I’ll have managed another 70k or so across the two months, and land us at around 130k, which MIGHT be the end of the first sequence.