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17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#51 Copy


What's up at the south end of the world (during the 'closer to the sun' phase)? Life there? Cultures? Allomancers? Assuming that there is some life down there, can we assume that we'll have some interesting 'culture clashes' in future books?

Brandon Sanderson

They will be known by the modern trilogy, so it's safe to assume that a discovery will happen soon. Either during the Alloy of Law era or soon after.

Holiday signing ()
#52 Copy


So you initially said that you had started the first third [of Shadows of Self] and then you took a break for two years.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, mmhmm


I kind of get the feeling that in the first third The Set was supposed to be the Big Bad villain of the second book and then you massaged it into the kandra.  Is that the case or--

Brandon Sanderson

No the kandra was always planned as the second book villain. When I sat down to do the outline of the three, that is when I decided-- So yeah it was the kandra. The big change is that Marasi wasn't working at all, that's probably one of the reasons I stopped it. I had to rebuild her from the get go in that one, and she works much better in the revision. I was pushing her in the first draft more toward lawyer/attorney stuff and it just wasn't working, it's not where she wanted to go.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#53 Copy


Are the Wax and Wayne stories going to always be in stand-alone, or are they ever going to tie in to the main Mistborn and stuff?

Brandon Sanderson

They will tie in, in fact I intended the first one to foreshadow stuff for the next trilogy, so you will find things tying in with what's going on, but I kind of wanted them to also just be more independent, so we'll see. It'll be a little of both.

Brandon's Blog 2013 ()
#54 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

On my tour, I frequently read from the first chapter of a new novel in the Mistborn world, a sequel to The Alloy of Law. (In fact, you can watch my entire presentation right here. This reading comes at the 45:45 mark.) Tor, understandably, wanted to know when they could publish this book.

Well, it's far from finished, but I do need to be thinking about what comes next. I know that many of you hope that it would be the third Stormlight book, as there has been such a long delay between the first and second. I do promise I'll be more speedy with Stormlight novels in the future—this long delay should, hopefully, be the exception and not the rule. However, my process being what it is, I probably can't move straight into Stormlight Three.

I've spoken about this concept a lot, so I might be repeating myself for some of you. One of the things that excites me about being a writer is the constant energy that comes from switching projects. I'm not one of those writers who can pick a series and write on it exclusively for years and years. Though I will frequently have one main project, I do other things between those larger books. Usually, these other books are small, quick, and the means by which I refresh myself and keep myself from getting burned out on the large project.

While writing the original Mistborn series, I wrote books in the Alcatraz series. While working on The Wheel of Time, I wrote a number of novellas—and The Alloy of Law itself. Now that I'm turning my attention to the Stormlight books as my main project, I'm going to need some things to squeeze between books in order to refresh myself.

For now, that's going to be Alloy-era Mistborn novels. The second and third books in that series will include the same protagonists from the first, and will—if I'm doing it correctly—be exciting, fun, and deep, but not require you to keep track of a lot of characters or plots between novels. This way, I can balance the large, in-depth sequence of the Stormlight Archive with something lighter and more standalone in nature.

As many of you know, the Mistborn series was pitched to my editor way back when as a trilogy of trilogies, with an epic fantasy trilogy, followed by an urban fantasy trilogy with the same magic in the same world, followed finally by a science fiction trilogy in which the magic had become the means by which space travel was possible. The Alloy books aren't part of this original plan, but in them you will find foreshadowing toward the second trilogy.

In the teen book realm, I'll be bouncing between doing the The Rithmatist sequel and the sequels to Steelheart. I realize I have a lot on my plate, and I appreciate you putting up with me as I explore the stories I want to tell. My goal for the next five-year span is to finish up a number of these series, rather than starting anything new.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#55 Copy


So, because we have Worldhoppers like Hoid, Khriss, and Nazh, and I think that I've heard that era 4 will be more science fiction.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, era 4 is science fiction.


So, will we ever have a chance to see characters from one world in the cosmere go to another world in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

So, there's a couple of things that I need to explain to you guys in this one. First is that Mistborn, I pitched to my editor, way at the beginning, as a series where a fantasy world slowly became a science fiction world. So we would pass through a modern era, where things are like our world, and then we pass on to a science fiction era, because I'd never seen that done before. I'd never seen someone take epic fantasy and then build from the events in the epic fantasy, like religions and philosophies, and then tell another story set in a more modern and contemporary world. And then in the science fiction one, the magic will become the means by which space travel is possible. So we're in the middle of that. Wax and Wayne is an interim, I'm calling it era 2. There's an era 3 which is 1980s, cold war, spy thriller Mistborn. Then there is an era four, which is science fiction, unless I slip in a cyberpunk, near-future science fiction, which I might do. So there might be five, we'll see. I've warned people of that. The last Mistborn series, whichever era it ends up being, is the last thing of the cosmere chronologically. So, it's a long ways off. All the other series have to finish before I can do that.

The other thing that people have to understand is that all of these worlds are connected in something we call the cosmere. It is mostly, right now, just easter eggs. It's important to me that people don't go, "I can't read Mistborn until I've read Elantris," or whatever. No, each series is about that series. There's easter eggs connecting them but you don't need to know it. It's just fun to find out; you can find it all out after the fact.

Are we going to see people traveling between the planets? Yes, you will see space travel between the planets. You have seen it already. One of the stories in the anthology comes from that era, but it's on a planet that doesn't yet have space travel. Sixth of the Dusk takes place chronologically near-end of the cosmere sequence. So yes, you have seen it, and you will see more of it. In Sixth of the Dusk, there are ones they call the Ones Above who have visited and these are people from a planet that you have seen, I won't tell you who, who are visiting.

Firefight release party ()
#56 Copy


I've been trying to brainstorm what Stormlight characters would have jumped into the other books so far. You told me they had at one point.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they have but you've got to remember that The Stormlight Archive you are seeing right now, what's happening in it is like late cosmere era, does that make sense? So there are lots of people from the world that have been to other worlds but the people you know--this is happening just before Alloy of Law era-- So does that make sense? That's the first time you'd be able to see anyone here and by that era the bleed over is a lot less because we have the whole Odium trapped and things like that. There's a lot less-- There are a lot fewer people traveling in and out of Roshar than there once were.

/r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A ()
#57 Copy


I just wanted to say ... I like how the main characters are named Wax and Wayne.

Brandon Sanderson

Thanks. In all honesty, I was hesitant about the pun. I liked it, on one hand, but also worried that it was too goofy. By the time I tried changing the character names, however, they were too strongly cemented in my head, so changing them proved too difficult and I just left them as-is.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#58 Copy


So, there's not a lot a lot of Western books coming out these days. Is there anything in particular that made you decide to set Alloy of Law and the other books in that time period; and any challenges moving into that time period?

Brandon Sanderson

...It's hard to say, you know, to reach back into my "cultural archive," so to speak, in my head. I did watch a lot of spaghetti westerns during that era. I think they're cool. But I really think it was more wanting to deal with something in the early 1900s. Because, I love that era. That era, in our world, was, like, this era of scientific discoveries-- there was this revolution that happened, right around that time, with the coming of electric lights and the coming of motorcars where, for the first time, science is a thing for everybody. Like, before, science was a thing that somebody rich got to do, and then it became something-- like, I remember reading an essay that was written in, like, 1910, about a scientist who had gone and studied ditch-digging, and gone in there with the ditch-diggers. And he taught them, he figured out the science of what makes ditch-digging easier on their bodies and on their health and faster, and basically he 'scienced' ditch-digging for the ditch-diggers. And they loved that. It made their jobs much easier. It was a time where science was like that, it was the first time that science was like that... That time period really fascinates me, because you've got this whole-- my career is based around taking cool things and superstition, and to have, like, one foot over there and one foot in science, and kind of bringing those two things together. And that fascinates me, and that was a time period where we were transitioning from superstition toward science. That's really cool to me. So, I wanted to do something in that time period, and the Western aspect was just a fun part of it. The whole pitch of "Clint Eastwood has to move to big-city New York and take over his house politics" was really interesting to me.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#60 Copy


If the Olympic Games existed in the Mistborn universe, what would some of the events be? This is assuming, of course, that magic is allowed and isn't seen as a form of cheating.


I'm fully expecting to find out in Era 3. Will be very disappointed if sports are never mentioned.

Brandon Sanderson

I already started laying the groundwork, if you look in the Era 2 books.

YouTube Livestream 29 ()
#62 Copy


Would you consider writing a short story about Wayne's origins?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't generally do this. The reason being that I construct stories, generally, in such a way, particularly a story like Wayne's story that starts a little in media res, and he's already had quite a bit of life experience and foundational things... I construct a story knowing that I'm going to give you touchstone moments for that character's narrative in a way that indicate to you what happened in the past. And with Wayne, I feel like I've done a pretty good job of that. There's still a little bit more for the next book, but I feel like if I were to go back and tell this story, it would be like going back and telling Rashek's story or Alendi's story from the Mistborn series. Where the epigraphs are there to give you the story, and if I wrote it out, it would just be really repetitive to things I've already done.

The characters that I'm more likely to write short stories or novellas about are ones where there just isn't room in the narrative to dig into something deep about their character. Rock is an excellent example of this, from the Stormlight books. There's just not room. Which is why I plan to write a Rock novella. Be like, "All right, let's really dig into who Rock is, his past, and stuff like that." Because you just don't get those answers. With Wayne, I feel like I have given the answers in such a way that if I did more, it would be boring.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#63 Copy


With Alloy of Law, with Wayne, how do you come up with that character? *laughter* And those things that he says? 

Brandon Sanderson

So, yeah, Wayne's one of those characters. So, there are certain standards to which I hold almost all of my characters in my books. Wayne isn't one of them. He gets away with more.

So, where'd Wayne come from? The original concept for Wayne was, when I was working on the Mistborn books-- For those who don't know, I originally pitched Mistborn to my editor, Moshe, as a trilogy of trilogies: Past, Present, Future. Epic fantasy trilogy, urban fantasy trilogy, science fiction trilogy, set in the same world, with advancing technology in which the magic becomes the foundation for space travel. And the original idea that the epic fantasy trilogy becomes the foundation of myth and religion in the modern day trilogy. So, I told him all this, and he said, "Wow. You're ambitious." This was after he had read Elantris and was trying to figure out what else to buy from me.

And so, as I was working on The Stormlight Archive, I realized I wanted something from the Mistborn world to balance Stormlight, because Stormlight books are big and involved and take, like, years of writing to get done, and I didn't want to be alternating thick, long, books in two series, I kinda wanted to have a shorter, more fast-paced series to balance out the bigger, longer series. And so, the first thing I started doing, the first idea for Wayne, was a person whose personality changed based on hats he put on. And he was actually originally a hat maker. And I wrote, like, three pages of this, and he was just too kooky. He was great, but I was pouring too much into him. I needed: number one, to kinda pull back on the concept in that original; and number two, I needed multiple characters around him. By the way, he was riding around on a talking horse at that point, because he was a kandra.

Yeah, it was a really weird scene. It was wacky. And that's when I said, "All right, I'm gonna sit down and write an actual novel, not just exploratory scenes." And that's where I built Wax and Wayne, and kind of, the play off of each other, and things like that. So, they kind of grew out of each other, and out of that first scene that I wrote. 

Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
#64 Copy


Aradel doesn’t sound like he is from Scadrial, seems out of place with his dark - well, tanned, - skin.

Brandon Sanderson

Aradel is actually based off Goradel, he is a descendant of his. So he is local. The skin, there are streaks of dark skin in Scadrial, they don’t associate them 100% with ethnicities because of the small [gene] pool they were building from, and they are stronger in the Terris bloodlines. So if they see someone with darker skin they will likely think they are from Terris, but there’s so much intermixing so that you can’t really say. Wax would have a darker complexion, maybe like a tanned caucasian.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#66 Copy


At what point in your writing did the ending of [Shadows of Self] become a thing in your mind? Was is there from the beginning? Did it unfold naturally? Or was it something you saw before even writing [The Alloy of Law]?

Brandon Sanderson

I wrote Alloy of Law as kind of a free write. Once I finished it, and liked it a lot, I sat down and said, "Okay, if this is going to be Mistborn, it needs to have a tighter series outline." So I outlined three sequels, so I knew where Wax and the characters were going. Then I wrote the prologue of Alloy of Law. (It originally didn't include that scene with him and Lessie meeting Bloody Tan.) That scene was the first I wrote knowing the entire three book sequence, including the ending of SofS.

From there, I did a revision of Alloy of Law to match what was to come. The biggest change was adding in the trauma to Wax, which wasn't a piece of the initial story. (It was also something the book needed. Wax didn't have an arc in the original draft; he was kind of just "stoic sheriff." Building into him this longing to escape responsibility, and an underlying worry that his failures would break him, made it possible to create for him a four book arc.)

Fantasy Faction Q&A ()
#69 Copy


When is Emperor's Soul set chronologically in relation to Elantris? Because if its around the same time Teod and Arelon might not have to stand alone against the Fjordell Empire.

My other question is also a timeline one. (There are a lot of those tonight haha) I heard you had to move The Way of Kings a little bit due to some plot constraints. So does Warbreaker still fall around the same time as The Alloy of Law or has that shifted as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Thanks for the kind words! Emperor's Soul is after Elantris, but not too long after. It is before Mistborn.

Second question is that I've moved things so that The Way of Kings is around the same time as The Alloy of Law, forced by some behind-the-scenes events. Warbreaker now happens before The Alloy of Law.