Let’s do a quick (okay, it’s me, so it won’t be quick) update to let everyone know what’s going on here at Dragonsteel Entertainment HQ. (Also known as me sitting on a chair in my bedroom while my eight-month-old son throws half-eaten graham crackers at me.)
Warning, this is another of my trademarked long and rambling blog posts. So, I’ve put in some arbitrary headings to help break things up and keep it focused. At the bottom, there’s a quick timeline of books I’m working on or plan to work on soon.
PART ONE: WHEEL OF TIME BOOKS PUBLICATION TIMELINE
I posted earlier that Towers of Midnight is done, turned in, and ready for a November second release. I’m feeling pretty good (though a little frazzled) at managing to get it in on deadline, by the promised date I gave you all in the blog post I made regarding splitting the novels. I stand by what I said there. I’m not expanding the outline left to me; I’m telling the same story I would have, even if the book hadn’t been split. The order of chapters will be different in some cases, but nothing will be deleted or added.
Current projections are for the final book, A Memory of Light, to be about the length of the other two. (Around three hundred thousand words, or eight hundred pages in hardcover.) There are some who are hoping for it to be huge, the biggest in the series, but I will write it at the length it needs to be. I’ve finished two books, and have done two-thirds of the outline. So that gives a good indication that the final chunk will be the same length as the other two.
However, I do have to acknowledge that this is going to be the hardest chunk, for several reasons. The number of plots to be dealt with, the number of characters that need to be balanced, the sheer tactics and logistics of the Last Battle . . . there is a lot going on in this book, and it will be orders of magnitude more difficult than the previous two novels.
PART TWO: BUFFERS AND MY WRITING SPEED
Because of this, and because of my writing style, I need a little bit of a break before I tackle it. I pushed myself very hard to get both Towers of Midnight and The Way of Kings ready for publication this year. Even then, it was only possible because I had written a sizable chunk of Towers of Midnight while working on The Gathering Storm AND because I’d already finished an early version of The Way of Kings.
People have mentioned before that I am somewhat prolific. Some of this is an illusion. For a while now, I’ve been warning people that we’ve been chewing through my buffer at a frightening rate. Once upon a time, I would turn in a book three years before it was scheduled to come out. This gave me a lot of wiggle room. If a book wasn’t working, I could shelve it and think about it, then get back to it. Working that far ahead prevents most big crunches.
However, the books I’ve been working on lately were a little more high profile than previous ones—and high-profile books get released when they get turned in, not three years later. So, though I took eighteen months finishing The Gathering Storm, it looked like I finished it very quickly. (I turned it in during the summer of 2009, and it came out in the fall of 2009. Warbreaker came out that same year, though I’d turned it in back in 2006.) The very long write of that book was invisible to a lot of readers because books I’d written years before continued to come out while I was working on it.
The buffer is gone now. I’ll talk more about that later. However, I want to mention something else that helps me be productive—and that’s allowing myself deviations to keep myself interested. I’ve told people before that I wrote the Alcatraz books to give me a break between Mistborn novels. If I’m able to refresh myself on other projects, I don’t get burned out on the big epics. (Which are my true love, but can be very demanding on me mentally.)
PART THREE: WARNINGS
And so, we’re entering the “refresh and work on side projects” stage of the writing process. I did this after The Gathering Storm, and I really need it now. I am therefore taking time off between now and January first. I get to write anything I want. It will probably be bizarre and unexpected; things that keep me fresh, things I haven’t tried before.
I ask your forbearance. I do believe that as a writer who has begun series, it is my responsibility to see that the other pieces of the story are written in a timely manner. However—and it may seem odd—I need to work on these other things to keep my next Wheel of Time and Stormlight installments good. It’s how my process works.
So, that’s the first warning. I’m taking a break for three months. The second warning is that I can’t promise I’ll hit the final deadline on the Wheel of Time series. (The last one was supposed to be out in November 2011.) The problem is this: starting January, it will have been three years since I read the Wheel of Time series start to finish. That’s too long. I’m starting to forget things. I won’t feel comfortable starting the final book until I’ve done another re-read, and this is going to slow me down by three or four months. It’s an unexpected delay I didn’t fit into my original projections of how long it would take me to write the books.
If I miss the deadline (which is more likely than not) it won’t be by much. A few months, likely the same amount of time it takes me to do the re-read. But it is what must be done. So, I’d suggest that we set MARCH 2012 as the expected date of A Memory of Light. I suspect there will be some grumbling about this, but I feel I should let you know now, rather than later. It won’t be an enormous delay, however. If my previous track record earns me anything, I hope it is the benefit of the doubt when it comes to me promising the release dates of books. I won’t leave you hanging too long.
PART FOUR: STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE PUBLICATION SCHEDULE
Now on to Stormlight Two. (The title was originally Highprince of War, but I’m feeling in my outlining that this book needs to be weighted more toward Shallan, so a different title is likely). I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place here on this one. Writing a Stormlight book, like writing a Wheel of Time book, is a huge undertaking. Getting one of each out in the same year required fourteen-hour days, six days a week, for a good year and a half. I can’t ask my family to go through that again. Beyond that, the buffer is gone. (I still had a little bit of it when working on Towers of Midnight—not to mention the first version of The Way of Kings that I’d written in 2002. I threw it away and started over, but having written it once before sped the process a great deal.)
So . . . what do I do? I’m feeling right now that I will go straight into Stormlight Two after A Memory of Light. But that means (at very best) it won’t be out until the fall of 2012. I don’t really have a choice, however. The Wheel of Time fans have waited too long for their ending already. I need to do AMoL, and I need to do it right, no matter how long it takes. So I can’t make any promises about Stormlight Two except that I won’t take a break after AMoL, but will go right into it and try to have it done in time for the fall 2012 season.
That means, by a quirk of the publishing business, that I have two epics this year, none next year, and two the following year. (If I meet my Stormlight deadline, which may or may not happen.) Still, this is what I’m planning to do. Barring something unexpected, this is what you should anticipate. I don’t think there will be a book at all from me next year, which punches me in the gut. But that’s what we get for pushing to have two books out last year and two books this year.
So, here’s my official future status, as I sometimes post.
BOOKS YOU WILL SEE SOON
- Towers of Midnight (November 2.)
- Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens (December 2010.)
—A note on Alcatraz. This is the fourth and final of the Alcatraz books in my contract. I do plan there to be more in this series, but I don’t have time for them right now. And so, for now, this is going to stand as the ending of the series. I’ll do Alcatraz Five eventually, I promise.
- Scribbler (Early 2012)
—A note on Scribbler. This is a shorter steampunk book I wrote in 2007, just before I got the call about The Wheel of Time. It’s quite good, and Tor has decided to purchase it. It involves chalk-based magic and a boy who is the son of the cleaning lady at a school for people who learn the chalk magic. I haven’t had time to give it a revision, but will likely use some of the time in my free months between now and January to do a draft of it. If I turn it in January or February, you won’t see it until a year after that, due to scheduling.
BOOKS YOU WILL SEE SOMEWHAT SOON
- A Memory of Light (March 2012.)
- Stormlight Archive Book Two (Late 2012 or early 2013.)
- Stormlight Archive Book Three (One year after Book Two.)
- Alcatraz Five (Indefinite hiatus.)
- Elantris Two (Planned to be written after Stormlight Three.)
- Second Mistborn trilogy (It’s coming someday, I promise.)
- Nightblood: Book two of Warbreaker (Coming someday.)
—Some notes here. Elantris has three books in the series, but they are loose sequels of each other. This means that side characters in one become main characters in the next. So while you’ll see Raoden and Sarene in the second book, they won’t be main characters. (Kiin’s children will be.) Warbreaker is two books. Mistborn is a trilogy of trilogies, with the second trilogy in an urban (20th-century-level technology) setting. For Stormlight, I’m planning a pattern of two every three years, with a different epic—a standalone, or one of the sequels mentioned above—in between. Thus the Elantris sequel is next in line after Stormlight Three, which would be followed by Stormlight Four and Five.
MAYBE COMING SOMEDAY BUT ONLY PARTIALLY WRITTEN
- Dark One (YA dark fantasy.)
- Steelheart (Superhero apocalypse.)
- The King’s Necromancer
- The Silence Divine (Shardworld novel, standalone.)
- White Sand (Shardworld trilogy.)
- The Liar of Partinel (Shardworld novel, one of two.)
- Dragonsteel (Major Shardworld epic. Won’t be written until Stormlight is done.)
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR MY TIME OFF
- Mistborn short story (Looking likely.)
- Unnamed urban fantasy (This is what I’m working on right now. Watch Twitter/Facebook for updates on this story. It involves a necromancer pizza deliveryman as a protagonist.)
- Scribbler revisions (Will almost certainly be done.)
- Finishing one of the unfinished novels mentioned above (Not likely, but you never know.)
Who knows when/if anything written during my side-project time will get published. Sometimes, these stories are too unformed (as I like to be very free and loose when I write them) to make it. On other occasions, there isn’t time to do revisions on them. (I write initial books very quickly, but spend many months in revision.) For instance, Alcatraz books were my deviations for 2005 and 2006, and the first of those came out very quickly. Scribbler was the one for 2007, and it won’t be published for a year or so yet. I didn’t have time for much in the way of deviations in 2008 or 2009, just the unfinished projects I mentioned above.
We shall see. As always, thank you for reading and supporting me in this compulsive writing addiction of mine.