Sanderson took to Reddit earlier today to give us his latest update on Skyward 3!
This is his second update on the book, following the first in mid-September. The book is still tentatively titled "Nowhere", though Brandon has mentioned several times that the publisher isn't keen on this title, so we will have to wait and see if it sticks. The publisher, Delacorte, has agreed to publish the book around Christmas of next year, so long as Brandon is able to meet a fairly aggressive timeline. If initial feedback reveals unforeseen problems, there's a chance that the release will slide back to Spring 2022.
The initial draft is currently marked at 62% complete on his website, and Brandon seems pleased with the steady, weekly progress he has been making. That's 62,000 words written of a planned 90-100k. While Dawnshard took more time than planned, Brandon commented that his strong outline for the book has enabled him to jump right into the story without any hangups. He appears to be on target to complete the first draft in January, allowing about two months for revisions before the book will need to be turned in for the December 2021 release. The initial status update for Skyward 3 came in early October, just over two months ago. With the book 62% complete, Brandon does indeed seem to be on track to finish in early January.
Skyward 3 Info
Note that some may consider some of the following details to be minor spoilers.
Aside from these general status updates, Brandon also gave us a few details about the new book and how it fits into the series. Skyward was originally plotted as a trilogy, but as Brandon began work on the second book he realized that he would need a fourth book to tell the story he wanted. It appears that additional motivation for this decision came when Brandon realized he would be writing book 3 after Rhythm of War. Reworking the outline for the series has allowed Skyward 3 to be "more of an isolated fun adventure", to give Brandon a bit more variety in his writing. He had more to say about this aspect of Skyward 3 in the Tor Instagram Livestream in late November. He also noted that this third book has lower stakes and may not feel as "connected to the rest of the series". Though he has plans to mitigate this somewhat, it sounds like we can expect something a bit different in the third book.
Brandon released an early draft of the first chapters of Skyward 3 in his November 17th newsletter. If you aren't subscribed to his newsletter you can do so here, and you should receive the sample chapters. Note that some email apps may require you to open the newsletter in your browser to read the full excerpt! Given Brandon's comments in his Reddit update, it seems likely that the bulk of Skyward 3 will be a continuation of the story set out in these initial chapters. Back during a livestream in February, Brandon described Skyward 3 as a "dual viewpoint book". While many of us initially theorized that Jorgen might be the second PoV, the latest commentary about the nature and focus of the book has us wondering if M-Bot might take that role. The Reddit update also mentioned a set of interludes, though Brandon didn't specify which character they would be written for.
We know that Sanderson plans to write Lost Metal (Wax & Wayne book 4) next, followed by Skyward 4, and the Reddit update seems to confirm that these plans are still in place. Brandon mentioned his plans to write Skyward 4 in the second half of 2021, leaving the first half open for the Mistborn book. (following Skyward 3 revisions at the start of the year) Brandon says he anticipates the final book will come out in Spring/Summer 2022, though I have to note that this seems unlikely for a book written in late 2021, especially given the explanation that the 10-month turnaround for Skyward 3 would be a challenge. A Spring 2022 release for Lost Metal does seem promising however, as long as everything continues smoothly!