Friday 9 December 2016

Brandon Sanderson completes first draft of new STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE novel

Brandon Sanderson has completed the first draft of Oathbringer, the third novel in The Stormlight Archive sequence, following on from The Way of Kings (2010) and Words of Radiance (2014).

The novel will require extensive rewrites and editing before publication, which is currently scheduled for November 2017. The novel currently clocks in at 461,223 words, which is actually too large to be published in one volume. Sanderson anticipates the word count to come down in the edits, so the novel is reduced to something more easily publishable.

If the current word count stood, it would make Oathbringer one of the longest fantasy novels ever written, behind To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams (520,000 words), Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle (493,000) and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (473,000) but ahead of A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (424,000) and Sanderson's own Words of Radiance (just over 400,000).

Oathbringer is the third of ten planned novels in The Stormlight Archive sequence. Sanderson's original plan was to release the books at 18-month intervals, but the actual release dates are working out at between three and four years per book. If Sanderson is able to release each future book at precisely three-year intervals, that means that the series will not completed until 2038, or twenty-two years from now. However, it would be considerably longer than this since Sanderson plans to take a long break between Books 5 and 6 to write the Mistborn II trilogy, pushing the completion of the Stormlight series comfortably back into the 2040s.

It'll be interesting to see if Sanderson (who turns 41 next week) starts making the books shorter or reduces his other projects to get Stormlight done faster, or if he accepts that this is just how long the books are going to take.

The writing time of the Stormlight books may also become problematic if DMG Entertainment's planned film adaptation of Sanderson's Cosmere mega-series (which Stormlight is just one part of) is a big success and they want to start cranking the films out faster. But we'll see how that goes.


Mike Bonsiero said...

He does a 10% trim on every novel he writes so that cuts 46,000 right there. But still, long....

Unknown said...

Let me start by saying that I don't shy away from big stories...WoT, ASOIAF, etc.

But doesn't it border on unfairness to start telling a story that you know will not be finished for at least 20 yrs ?

For the first time in my life I'm taking this into account whether I decide to continue or not.

Believe me, I'm not complaining about the quality or pace of his novels. He is obviously prolific as it is. Just more of a curiosity kind of question as a fan and avid reader in general.

Alex said...

Has publishing technology really degraded to the point where my hardback of To Green Angel Tower would be impossible to print today? Or is impossible a way of saying, "won't"?

Either way, after the rather shocking ending to volume 2, I'm looking forward to this :D

Adam Whitehead said...

I own a second-hand one-volume hardback of TO GREEN ANGEL TOWER. It survived one read (just about) and when I read it I had to be very, very careful not to pull pages out by accident.

So yeah, at that size keeping the book readable is quite difficult.

thomas conneely said...

Yes, the physical size pushes the spine to the limit - esp if you actually read it on something other than a lectern. My hb copy of Hamilton's Reality Dysfunction is a loose paged mess, despite fairly careful handling. Almost worth paying more for a deluxe ed by Sub Press or similar, which holds together better.

Unknown said...

To the best of my understanding Sanderson has described these 10 books as 2 standalone 5 book series so I think the concern about the completion date being so far out is mitigated by that.

Joshua said...

There are plenty of things For could do if they wanted to. Look at a first edition of The Shadow Rising. Narrow margins, small type, tons of words and it's still readable, elegant, and durable. Compare it to either of the Stormlight books and you'll see what I mean.

Alex said...

I'm a bit obsessive with book care, read my To Green Angel Tower hardback about four or 5 times now :D