In a world of George R.R. Martins and Patrick Rothfusses it’s hard not to appreciate the quiet work-ethic of Brandon Sanderson. Fantasy fans have become accustomed to standing vigil for years, parched for the next drip of information about the next book from their favourite authors. A quick glance at Sanderson’s website shows immediately all 4 projects he is working on and his current progression. Where other top level authors take years to produce their tomes, Sanderson produces fantasy scripture at an unholy pace. Coupled with his completion of The Wheel of Time Series and his dedication to teaching others the craft of writing there’s a lot to be admired.
Elantris, Sanderson‘s first novel, was published in 2005, and since then he has produced at least book a year, (except for 2012 in which he wrote two novellas) along with a short story collection, several novellas and most recently, a graphic novel. If you include the novellas, Sanderson has released and incredible 28 stories in 12 years. These vary from fantasy epics, science fictions and young adult superhero tales in an incredible range of imagination and creativity.
Chances are if you’ve heard of Sanderson prior to this it’s likely from his work on finishing Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, a job he was specifically chosen for by Jordan’s widow, or from either his Mistborn or Stormlight Archive series’. All of these are fantastic fantasy books and well worth your time. A common tread in his writings is fantastically intricate magic system and extremely in-depth world building. In Stormlight Archives for example, the world is constantly battered by great high storms, and thus the flora and fauna have adapted accordingly. Grass recedes into the ground for shelter and eels soar on currents.
Go to his website and take in the breadth of his work. Check out the depressingly refreshing progress bar. Take a look at his sample chapters, deleted scenes, short stories or the entirety of his book Warbreaker, all free on his website. There’s a transparency here that’s a splash of cold water compared to the usual “I’m working on it” reply most authors give when quizzed on the progress of a novel that’s half a decade in the works.
Though what is most admirable about Sanderson is his commitment to teaching others the craft of writing. Together with several of his author friends he hosts the podcast Writing Excuses, each episode taking 15 minutes to speak on a facet of writing. With 11 seasons thus far at around 30 episodes each that is a lot of advice. Prefer something a bit longer? Check his writing course, which he teaches every year, with the entirety of each class posted on Youtube. What about the time he wrote 4 hours straight for charity and so that others could get a look at his writing process. He’s put together an extensive list of resources for beginner writers that is entirely available through the internet.
Maybe he isn’t as popular as Martin or as verbose as Rothfuss, but Sanderson‘s tireless output and dedication to teaching others should earn him a mention in with the best fantasy authors of this era.