'Stormlight Archive' Book 4 Complete After Brandon Sanderson's 19,000 Word Marathon

Author Brandon Sanderson completed a rough draft of The Stormlight Archive Book 4 early Tuesday morning, meeting his goal to finish the book by 2020 after a marathon 13-hour, 19,000-word writing session.

On Monday, Sanderson announced he would be making a "final push" to finish Stormlight Book 4. "Today is the day," Sanderson tweeted. "I want to have the book done by the new year, so the family is on board for me spending the next 10 to 12 hours writing. I'll post updates to let you know how it's going!"

All right, folks. Today is the day. I'm going to make a final push to finish Stormlight Four. I want to have the book done by the new year, so the family is on board for me spending the next ten to twelve hours writing. I'll post updates to let you know how it's going!

— Brandon Sanderson (@BrandSanderson) December 30, 2019

Unlike authors who can take unspecified years between entries, the prolific Sanderson is known for tracking his progress in the public eye, prominently featuring progress bars on his website and providing frequent updates to prospective readers.

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The cover for Brandon Sanderson's "Way of Kings," first book in "The Stormlight Archive" series.

After beginning Book 4 in April, Sanderson was able to make periodic progress around a grueling international book tour schedule. By August, the author announced the fourth book in The Stormlight Archive series had reached its halfway point.

Confident with his progress, its publishers at Tor Books announced a November 17, 2020 release date for The Stormlight Archive Book 4 in early December.

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An announcement cover for "The Stormlight Archive" Book 4. Tor Books

While Book 4 doesn't yet have an official title, Sanderson is currently calling the novel Rhythm of War.

"The tentative title for the book is still Rhythm of War, but because of the way Stormlight books work (where each book title is an in-world book title as well), I can't 100 percent say that will be the title in this case until the book is finished," the author said in a recent blog post.

When beginning his marathon on Monday, Sanderson still had approximately 20 scenes left to write in the novel's climactic sequence. Over the subsequent 13 hours, he provided numerous updates on his progress as he wrote through the night. After completing his first 780 words, Sanderson also shared his writing soundtrack for the landmark session:

Update one: first scene of the climactic sequence done at 780 words. Ten more will get me to the halfway point. (Though most will be shorter than this one.) If you're curious and want to listen along, here is my playlist for today: https://t.co/Yb5Q8J6w0J

— Brandon Sanderson (@BrandSanderson) December 30, 2019

With his parrot Magellan perched on his seatback, Sanderson continued for hours, breaking only for dinner and to pray with his kids before their bedtime. At around midnight his time (Sanderson lives in Utah), Sanderson had completed 13,300 words and written 21 separate scenes.

Update/Hour ten: 13,300 words and 21 scenes written. (Several quick ones this hour.) Puts me solidly into denouement. A quick count says seven scenes left to write, and the book is done*. (*Except for six months of editing, and a couple interludes I'll do during said editing.)

— Brandon Sanderson (@BrandSanderson) December 31, 2019

Three hours later, at 5:35 a.m. EST, Sanderson announced he was done, after typing "The End." His rough draft for The Stormlight Archive Book 4 totalled 424,000 words, with 19,000 written during his marathon push to completion.

"I'm extremely proud of this ending," Sanderson said, promising to provide a more detailed update on the Stormlight subreddit. "I hope you all enjoy it when you finally get to read it in 11 months or so."

And...done! "The End" has been typed and Stormlight Book Four is finished. (Rough Draft, at least.) 19k words today, 424k words total. I'm extremely proud of this ending; I hope you all enjoy it when you finally get to read it in eleven months or so. (1 of 2)

— Brandon Sanderson (@BrandSanderson) December 31, 2019

Thank you to everyone who was cheering me on--I read most all your replies, even if I couldn't respond. Now, everyone who has been waiting up for this post, go get some sleep! I'll post a longer update on the stormlight subreddit soon. Happy New Year to you all! (2 of 2)

— Brandon Sanderson (@BrandSanderson) December 31, 2019

Begun in 2010's The Way of Kings, Sanderson plans for his Stormlight Archive series to span 10 novels. Set in his Cosmere universe, The Stormlight Archive is also the backbone to other Sanderson books, including the Mistborn series. Taking place on the planet Roshar, Book 4 follows the events of Oathbreaker and builds toward the concluding fifth entry, which will close what Sanderson describes as "the first Stormlight sequence."

"As I've been saying for years, Book Five is one of the major end points of the series," Sanderson wrote in a December blog update. "I anticipate writing that in 2022, for a 2023 release."

Newsweek has reached out to Sanderson to ask how he feels after his marathon writing session and if the drafting process for The Stormlight Archive Book 4 took him in any unexpected directions. The author did not respond in time for publication. We suspect he's taking a well-deserved rest.