Today, Brandon posted another update on Stormlight 4 on Reddit. In his last update 2 months ago, Brandon announced that he had finished the entirety of Part One, with the book 28% complete. Today, Brandon has officially hit the halfway point, with 200k words written out of a planned 400k. For reference, Words of Radiance was just shy of 400k words. Here are the highlights of this update:
Potential Flashback Character Changes
The most unexpected news in this update was the announcement that we may see a change of flashback characters! Eshonai has looooong been Brandon's plan as the book 4 flashback character, even after he decided to kill her off in the opening interludes of Oathbringer. While he was looking forward to writing more from Eshonai's PoV, Brandon is now concerned that her flashbacks will "feel like fluff" and not add much to the story. Venli on the other hand knows more of what's going on behind the scenes with the listeners, and is in a position to explore more cosmere mysteries and provide answers to some burning questions.
The flashbacks aren't written yet, and Brandon hasn't officially decided. So we'll have to wait and see where things go from here. What do you think? Are you itching for some more Eshonai or does the phrase "cosmere mysteries" (Brandon's words) have you like, "Yes, please?"
To accompany this update, Brandon included a visual outline of book 4, breaking the story down by parts and plot arcs:
In Brandon's third update, he mentioned that the book was outlined as three primary story arcs which develop in separate locations: the Primary Arc featuring four characters, the Secondary Arc featuring three more, and the Tertiary Arc featuring two others. It appears that things shifted around slightly as the "Primary Plot" includes five characters with the "Secondary Plot" only listing two, though Brandon also mentioned that Group One would focus on three characters in particular (with the 5th potentially having no viewpoint chapters aside from an interlude). This outline also gives us a sense of where these plot arcs fit into the five-part structure of Stormlight Archive books. It looks like we'll see the Primary Plot running throughout the book while the Secondary and Tertiary Plots will swap in and out. The flashback sequence for book 4 appears to be concentrated in the final three parts, which is a bit different from what we've seen before.There's a lot we don't know about how this fits together, but when has that ever stopped us from speculating?! Let us know in the comments what your theories are for which characters belong to which group and where you think their story will play out!
Brandon is still 30k words behind schedule, which equates to about a month of writing. He's hoping for a productive September, but some touring in October (France & Israel) might hold him back. We'll have to wait and see whether Brandon is able to hit his January deadline. If not, we may be looking at a Spring 2021 release. Brandon did emphasize that if it comes down to hitting a deadline or finishing the book right, he WILL delay the book until he's happy with it.
So that's where he is. As usual, we must say how fortunate we are as a fandom to follow an author who is so up-front about his process. Even if Brandon doesn't hit 2020 as a release, I'm sure it'll be because he wants to make the book as good as possible.
Edited by Jofwu