Following that, Sanderson will write the second and third Stormlight Archive books, followed by the long-planned sequel to Elantris, which has now been prioritised over Nightblood, the planned sequel to Warbreaker.
So Sanderson's current hoped-for release schedule looks like this:
- Towers of Midnight: the penultimate Wheel of Time novel, due on 2 November 2010.
- Alcatraz vs the Shattered Lens: the fourth Alcatraz book, due in December 2010.
- Scribbler: a short, stand-alone steampunk novel, due in early 2012.
- A Memory of Light: the final Wheel of Time novel, due in March 2012.
- Stormlight Archive Book 2: due in late 2012 or early 2013.
Elsewhere, representatives of Bantam Books have commented on their plans for A Dance with Dragons, the fifth Song of Ice and Fire novel, at the New York Comic-Con, with George R.R. Martin's American editor Anne Groell revealing that only five chapters remained to be handed in for the book and these chapters already exist in draft form. Probably highly unwisely, Team Bantam suggested that the final manuscript could be handed in before Christmas, which would make a Spring or early Summer 2011 publication possible. Notably, GRRM has not commented on this directly (probably for reasons of raising expectations which might not be met, yet again).
Further information reveals that A Dance with Dragons is currently just short of 1,500 manuscript pages in length, not far off A Storm of Swords's 1,530. The five remaining chapters will likely carry the book past that page-count, which could lead to issues over length and the possibility of the book being split or more chapters being cut off into The Winds of Winter. However, with the HBO series around the corner and sales of A Game of Thrones in paperback in the USA alone passing 1 million (backing up recent guesstimates of worldwide series sales somewhere in the region of 7-8 million), it is probable that Bantam USA will publish the book in one volume even if it is slightly longer than Swords. The fate of the novel in the UK, where Voyager split Swords in paperback into two volumes and have since grown very split-happy on long books, is less certain if it gets to that length. As always in this ongoing saga, believe nothing until GRRM himself announces the book has finally been handed in, and possibly not until it's in your hands. But to summarise the status of the book based on this information:
- A Dance with Dragons is currently just short of 1,500 manuscript pages in length (almost half again the length of A Feast for Crows) and is five chapters away from completion.
- Those five chapters exist in partials, roughs and drafts and need to be finalised, not written from scratch.
- Martin's publishers have said, but the author himself has not confirmed, that they believe that the book could be completed before Christmas so they can announce a release date in January.
- Martin himself is in Ireland, the UK and Malta during October to attend meetings with his British publishers and watch some filming of the TV series (which is now halfway complete). He will return to Santa Fe in early November, giving him about six to seven weeks to round off the book to meet Bantam's suggested dates. Whether this is doable remains to be seen.
- Because of Martins exacting editing and rewriting process, the novel will not require months or years of rewriting and editing after submission (of the sort Patrick Rothfuss has been undertaking, for example). In fact, well over 90% of the book has been handed in, 'locked', copy-edited, typeset and is now ready to go. Both the new maps (ADWD will have the first canon map of the Free Cities) and the appendices are also reported to be complete and ready to go.
- As a result of the above, it has been suggested that ADWD could be on shelves three months after submission, an acceleration of the five-six months of their previous turn-around times. However, Voyager in the UK is still expected to get the book out a few weeks earlier due to the smaller print-runs they need.