Do you plan on having any more mistborns in the Wax & Wayne series?
Read and Find Out.
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Do you plan on having any more mistborns in the Wax & Wayne series?
Read and Find Out.
Is The Lost Metal planned to be the actual conclusion of the Wax & Wayne story then, or more of an epilogue to it and/or transition to [Era 3]?
It is an actual conclusion.
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.
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?
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.
Aradel doesn’t sound like he is from Scadrial, seems out of place with his dark - well, tanned, - skin.
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.
Main Book Projects
And speaking of Mistborn, how is Scadrial doing? My current plan is still to have the Mistborn books stretch throughout my career, establishing stories in different eras of time with different sets of characters.
The original pitch was for three trilogies. The Wax and Wayne books expanded this to four series. (You can imagine Wax and Wayne as series 1.5, if you want.) This means there will still be a contemporary trilogy, and a science fiction trilogy, in the future.
I have one more book to do in the Wax and Wayne series, and I'm planning to write it sometime between Stormlight books three and four. Until then, Wax and Wayne three—The Bands of Mourning—comes out in January!
Status: Era 1.5 book three done; book four coming soonish
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?
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.
I just had a question about the broadsheets, do you write all the content for those?
I wrote all the first one. And the second and third one's I'm like "I don't want this all to be in my voice I want it to feel like a newspaper" so I wrote a couple. Isaac wrote a bunch, Ben wrote some of them--
Ben didn't write any.
So it was you who wrote the rest of them?
Did you do the layouts?
Yeah I do the layouts and then I give them to Ben to do some of the illustrations.
The really fun thing is Isaac wrote the Nicki Savage one in this one [The Bands of Mourning].
It was really fun, I'm glad Brandon let me.
Will we see another book with Waxillium Ladrian? His story doesn't appear to end with The Alloy of Law. And will his story be directly related to the next Mistborn trilogy? This has been eating away at me since finishing that book.
Wax's story was indeed directly related to the second trilogy, but I was intrigued enough with his time period that I find myself wanting to do more with him. I probably will.
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.
I already started laying the groundwork, if you look in the Era 2 books.
The light-hearted banter in your recent standalone Mistborn book, The Alloy of Law, is an unexpected yet delightful change from the more serious tone of the original trilogy. Why did you decide to make such an abrupt shift? Will we get to read more about Waxillium and Wayne?
This was quite conscious on my part. One of the reasons I ended up writing The Alloy of Law as I did is because I personally wanted something to balance The Stormlight Archive, which is going to be more serious and have a tone more like the original Mistborn trilogy. I'm planning a five-book sequence to start off The Stormlight Archive, so I wanted something to go between those books that was faster paced, a little more lighthearted, and more focused.
I love The Stormlight Archive—it's what I think will be the defining work of my career, but that said, sometimes you want a bag of potato chips instead of a steak. Sometimes you want to write that, and sometimes you want to read that. I knew not all readers would want to go along with me at the start on such a big, long series; they may want to wait until it's finished. So I wanted to be releasing smaller, more focused and more simply fun books in between, both for my own interest and for my readers. And I will keep doing this; there will be more Wax and Wayne books in the future, spaced among my bigger epics.
How has The Alloy of Law impacted your overall plans for events on Scadrial? Is it part of the original set of trilogies you had mapped out?
To worldbuild the urban fantasy trilogy coming up, I need to know everything that happened in the intervening centuries. Some stories popped up in there that I knew would happen, that would be referenced in the second trilogy. So I thought, why don't I tell some of these stories, to cement them in my mind and to keep the series going.
My understanding is that The Alloy of Law is intended to be more or less a stand-alone book. However, without giving too much away, it feels like there is a whole lot more of Wax's story to be told. When's the sequel coming?
I will most likely write a sequel. However, what you've got to remember is that I will be writing that future trilogy, the urban fantasy trilogy. The events in this book are of relation to what's happening in the future, so you will find out eventually the answers to the questions this book gives you, even if a sequel to this book never comes. But I more than likely will write more of these books over the next few years. The Stormlight Archive is my main focus following the Wheel of Time; I don't want to leave people hanging too much where that's concerned. But between books I will probably write more about these characters.
How long before [The Way of Kings] is Alloy of Law? I heard somewhere that it's a hundred years, but I don't think that's right.
I intended them to be happening roughly close to one another, with [The Way of Kings] slightly before.
I was surprised when I learned just how much more Mistborn you're planning on writing, and was even more surprised when I heard that the Wax and Wayne quadrilogy was only a spin-off and not part of your major plans for the series. But now I've found out you've decided to include those books as a major part of the larger series and instead do 4 different stories within it. Will this mean the next part (which I understood was going to take place in the more or less present) will be further into the future so as to space out each story? And what was the reasoning behind including Wax and Wayne in the main series?
I changed my opinions on Wax and Wayne after writing the first book, then outlining books 2-4 (which are a kind of "Trilogy" with these characters, when the first book was an experiment.)
I realized that the next era (which is still 1980's level technology) would work way better with some foundations in the W&W era. I'm very pleased what this did to Era Three, as it now is (1980s), because of the foundations in Era Two.
And yes, the next series will each go further into the future.
Would you consider writing a short story about Wayne's origins?
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.
How many of the Mistborn do you plan on writing still?
Mistborn, when I pitched it to my editor, I pitched it as a spectrum running from an epic fantasy series eventually arriving at a space opera, with Allomancers on spaceships. So we have several hundred more years of history. So right now I'm doing a few more Wax and Wayne books, the Alloy of Law era. Then we will jump forward, I've got a modern trilogy that's going to be like 1980's level technology. And then maybe near-future and then full-blown science fiction space opera.
In Mistborn Era 2 Marsh has a pouch with some atium leftovers. If he burns a bead occasionally (and hereby burns a part of Ruin's body) does this weaken the Ruin part of Harmony/Sazed somehow?
Technically yes, but it's too little atium to make any difference.
If Wax/Marasi had worked out, he'd probably have been okay with it, for example.
Was there ever a chance this was going to be the case?
Yes, there was a slight chance. It wasn't what I had planned, but even an outline writer like myself must be willing to change plans as a story adapts. So until a book is published, there's a chance things will change.
However, in this case, the more I wrote, the more confident I was that this path was the right one.
As I was developing the Cosmere, I knew I wanted a few threads to span the entire mega-sequence, which was going to cover thousands of years. For this reason, I built into the outline a couple of "core" series.
One of these is the Stormlight Archive, where we have the Heralds who span ages, and which I eventually decided to break into two distinct arcs. Other series touch on the idea of long-standing characters. Dragonsteel, for example, will be kind of a bookend series. We'll get novels on Hoid's origins, then jump all the way to the end and get novels from his viewpoint late in the entire Cosmere sequence.
With Mistborn, I wanted to do something different. For aesthetic reasons, I wanted a fantasy world that changed, that grew updated and modernized. One of my personal mandates as a lover of the epic fantasy genre is to try to take what has been done before and push the stories in directions I think the genre hasn't looked at often enough.
I pitched Mistorn as a series of trilogies, which many of you probably already know. Each series was to cover a different era in the world (Scadrial), and each was to be about different characters—starting with an epic fantasy trilogy, expanding eventually into a space opera science fiction series. The magic would be the common thread here, rather than specific characters.
There was a greater purpose to this, more than just wanting a fantasy world that modernized. The point was to actually show the passage of time in the universe, and to make you, the reader, feel the weight of that passage.
Some of the Cosmere characters, like Hoid, are functionally immortal—in that, at least, they don't age and are rather difficult to kill. I felt that when readers approached a grand epic where none of the characters changed, the experience would be lacking something. I could tell you things were changing, but if there were always the same characters, it wouldn't feel like the universe was aging.
I think you get this problem already in some big epic series. (More on that below.) Here, I wanted the Cosmere to evoke a sense of moving through eras. There will be some continuing threads. (A few characters from Mistborn will be weaved through the entire thing.) However, to make this all work, I decided I needed to do something daring—I needed to reboot the Mistborn world periodically with new characters and new settings.
So how does Shadows of Self fit into this entire framework? Well, The Alloy of Law was (kind of) an accident. It wasn't planned to be part of the original sequence of Mistborn sub-series, but it's also an excellent example of why you shouldn't feel too married to an outline.
As I was working on Stormlight, I realized that it was going to be a long time (perhaps ten years) between The Hero of Ages and my ability to get back to the Mistborn world to do the first of the "second" series. I sat down to write a short story as a means of offering a stop-gap, but was disappointed with it.
That's when I took a step back and asked myself how I really wanted to approach all of this. What I decided upon was that I wanted a new Mistborn series that acted as a counterpoint to Stormlight. Something for Mistborn fans that pulled out some of the core concepts of the series (Allomantic action, heist stories) and mashed them with another genre—as opposed to epic fantasy—to produce something that would be faster-paced than Stormlight, and also tighter in focus.
That way, I could alternate big epics and tight, action character stories. I could keep Mistborn alive in people's minds while I labored on Stormlight.
The Alloy of Law was the result, an experiment in a second-era Mistborn series between the first two planned trilogies. The first book wasn't truly accidental, then, nor did it come from a short story. (I've seen both reported, and have tacitly perpetuated the idea, as it's easier than explaining the entire process.) I chose early 20th century because it's a time period I find fascinating, and was intrigued by the idea of the little-city lawman pulled into big-city politics.
Alloy wasn't an accident, but it was an experiment. I wasn't certain how readers would respond to not only a soft reboot like this, but also one that changed tone (from epic to focused). Was it too much?
The results have been fantastic, I'm happy to report. The Alloy of Law is consistently the bestselling book in my backlists, barring the original trilogy or Stormlight books. Fan reaction in person was enthusiastic.
So I sat down and plotted a proper trilogy with Wax and Wayne. That trilogy starts with Shadows of Self. It connects to The Alloy of Law directly, but is more intentional in where it is taking the characters, pointed toward a three-book arc.
You can see why this is sometimes hard to explain. What is Shadows of Self? It's the start of a trilogy within a series that comes after a one-off with the same characters that was in turn a sequel to an original trilogy with different characters.
So is the Wax and Wayne trilogy the second trilogy in the Mistborn trilogy of trilogies?
No, it's actually not. I'm going to need better terminology…
I was reading Shadows of Self and i think his name is Douglas Venture, how does that work out. I'm not quite sure. I know, so, Elend is not around anymore and I know his dad wasn't the nicest of people, so is he like a direct descendant?
He is not a direct descendant of Elend. The Ventures were an entire house, so there would have been dozens and dozens of them.
When are we gonna get more books in Wax & Wayne?
There will be one more, and it will be my next book I'm writing next year. Once I finish Apocalypse Guard, I'll write it next year. So just watch a percentage bar on my website, it will tell you when it's gonna come out.
When does the Wax and Wayne series take place compared to The Stormlight Archive?
Thank you! So after Stormlight 10, then comes The Alloy of Law? I have noticed a change in Hoid in these books since.
Alloy is somewhere after Stormlight 5.
I just wanted to say ... I like how the main characters are named Wax and Wayne.
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.
So you initially said that you had started the first third [of Shadows of Self] and then you took a break for two years.
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--
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.
The Lost Metal, Wax and Wayne Four, will be my next non-YA novel project. I still intend to write it so that it can come out in 2018. You should see a progress bar for it pop up sometime in the fall of 2017.
This will be the last Wax and Wayne book. Because of fan outcry, we're just going to call the Wax and Wayne books "Era Two" of Mistborn from here out, and I'm sorry for the "Era 1.5 fiasco" of last year. That would have worked if I'd started calling it that from the get-go, but it's too late now.
Once Era Two is done, we'll let Mistborn lie fallow for a few years while I move on to Elantris/Warbreaker sequels. (See below.)
Status: Book Seven (W&W 4) being outlined.
Does Marsh know much about what Kelsier's doing during Arcanum Unbounded?
Okay. Anything else on that, or just a yes until further--
Yes. He knows. He's aware.
I'll read into it. It's probably on 17th Shard or something.
That's just me, that's not in there anywhere. He's aware, but he's - yeah, yeah. He wasn't aware of all the stuff like he is by now, though, that's what I'll say.
Are we ever gonna see more names for specific types of Twinborns?
Yes, I intend to do more of those as the Eras progress. There are so many to name that I don't know that I'll ever release a chart of all of them, and partially I don't want to canonize names because I might decide something sounds cooler for when I actually use that person's powers in a book.
The initial plan for Mistborn was three trilogies, with Alloy of Law being a spin off. With Alloy getting a sequel, has the Waxillium portion become the second trilogy?
No. The second trilogy will still happen. (As will more Wax books.)
So I'm curious, what is your favorite historical time period?
1880’s to 1920’s.
I definitely look forward to that in the next Mistborn section.
Well this is where the Wax and Wayne books are, in that Era.
Alloy of Law leatherbounds? Have you made any decisions?
Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self will come together. They will be separate leatherbound books, but they will be packaged together, not in a slip case. They will probably be, together, around $150 as a package.
We're gonna try to keep elements of the design from the Mistborn books, so that they look good in a line, but have something that is a little bit different about them.
Because of our contracts, we will not sell them separately.
Any more Mistborn stories in the works?
Yes. For those who aren't aware, when I pitched the Mistborn series to my editor originally, way back when, I pitched it as a trilogy of trilogies—a past-present-future—where I would do an epic fantasy trilogy and then I would jump forward hundreds of years and explore what happens with the magic in a modern-day technology level setting, and then I would jump forward hundreds more years and allow the magic to then become the primary means by which FTL—faster-than-light space travel—is able to happen. And so, the three metallurgic magic systems actually have FTL built into them. And so there will be a space-opera series set in the future, because I was able to plan all this stuff out finally knowing what I would be publishing. One thing that I ran into doing that was, when I delved into The Way of Kings and The Stormlight Archive, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to get to that second Mistborn trilogy any time soon, so I didn't want to have two big epics going on at the same time—I wanted, you know, one epic, and then other things—and so what I did is I said, well I'm going to try writing a short story in the Mistborn world, and this will be something exciting for people that, you know-- I kind of sort of do some of these things to keep Mistborn going.
And, I tried writing a short story and it flopped horribly. It was a terrible story. Wayne was in it, but otherwise it was awful. It just didn't work...
Okay. Anyway, so back to your story. I tried to write this short story, and it was awful. And I said, well, it's just not working, but there's some ideas here that I want to expand on. Maybe I'll write something bigger. And I started working on it, and I got about three chapters in, and said, okay, this is a novel.
Fortunately, I'd built into—this was a time where I'd built in myself a couple of months between Wheel of Time books to just do whatever I wanted. You can go back to my blogs at the time, and I said, people, I need a couple months to do something else to refresh myself. And so, I went in my outline to a full short novel that became Alloy of Law, and this is an interim book meant to be kind of more fast-paced, only focused on a couple characters, to deal with, you know-- I describe it as, sometimes you want to go have a big steak dinner, but sometimes you really just want to have a hamburger, and Alloy of Law is a hamburger. *laughter* It's faster. It's fun. It's meant to be a cool character interaction story, and with a mystery, as opposed to something that big.
And so I plan to do some more of those; I actually got about halfway through a sequel during moments of free time that unfortunately I can't continue because the Wheel of Time project went-- I would do it when I'd like send a revision to Harriet, and it would be, she'd be like, "I'll get back to you in three days," and I'm like, alright, I'll work on this. And then when the revision comes back, I don't keep going on this; I have to work on The Wheel of Time. It's not something I can put off. And right now with Stormlight 2—I have to do Stormlight 2; deadlines are so tight—but I will eventually get back to Shadows of Self, the second Wax and Wayne book, and you will get some more of those, to have some things going on in the Mistborn world until I get to the second epic trilogy, which will happen eventually.
Marasi is an Allomancer
One of my big goals in these post-epic Mistborn books is to give a chance for more limited-power people (Mistings and their Feruchemical cousins, Ferrings) a chance to shine. In the previous trilogy, the focus really was on the Mistborn. Vin and Kelsier fit the epic fantasy mindset I wanted, powerful in an epic sort of way, broadly capable with abilities in a lot of areas.
For these books, I wanted to show people who had one or two powers, instead of sixteen, and show how specialization can achieve some incredible results. Because of that, I intentionally held back in the first trilogy in letting Vin do a few things. (Note how much better Zane was with minute steelpushes and ironpulls than she was.) Vin was incredibly skilled, but because she had so many powers to work with, she didn't home in as much on any one of them. Things like Wax's steel bubble are tricks I wanted to save for people like Wax. (He's what we’d call in the Mistborn world a steel savant, so capable with his metal—and having burned it so long, for so many years—that he's got an instinctive ability with it that lets him be very precise.)
And so we come to Marasi, who has the power opposite—but paired with—Wayne's ability. Both she and Wayne have powers I wanted to delve into. Indeed, I kind of promised that the last metals would get highlighted in these newer books. Matching that, I've given Miles the same power the Lord Ruler used to heal himself from so many incredible wounds. I wanted to explore more of what this skill was capable of when not overshadowed by so many other powers and abilities.
There isn't anything story specific I'd want to ask, I wish to discover by reading. I was wondering if Stormlight Archive books are going to get a special edition limited prints from Subterranean Press, like some of your other work?
Our plan is to do tenth anniversary books of all of the cosmere novels, though right now I plan to put the four Wax and Wayne books into two volumes. (So, sell them as two-in-one.) Likewise, it's possible that the Stormlight books will be better as two volumes each, sold in a slip case together, so that you don't risk ruining bindings by reading them.
When you were writing Steris were kind of imagining somewhere on the autistic spectrum, because that's how she reads?
Yes. Yes. I know a number of people with autism, and so I was looking at... maybe all the way to Asperger's, but I'm not sure.
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?
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.
Will The Alloy of Law be a trilogy of its own or is it just going to be the one book you read from tonight?
Well, the 1st one was The Alloy of Law, the one I read from tonight is the sequel, so there's at least two. I signed a contract with, well, I haven'’t signed anything yet. I offered Tor two more beyond The Alloy of Law; so, Shadows of Self and one more. So, I have promised Tor three of them.
So, there could be more?
I have not plotted this one. It does not have the same sort of interconnected arc as the others. It could go further. I think I would cautiously most likely do three or four and stop and if I wanted more short books like that, I'd pick different characters in a different location.
On the tv show front the Wax and Wayne series would especially interest me. The mix of western and industrial age mixed with the feruchal and metal powers is just amazing.
Getting W&W to the screen is one of my main goals. That series is the one I believe in the least out of them all (when starting it.) I began it on a lark, and then, it ended up being one of the biggest surprises (even for me) in how it turned out.
So in one of your State of the Sanderson posts you said that the "Wax and Wayne" series was going to come out in late 2019, but then you decided to write another trilogy that lasted two years, so--
So Wax & Wayne 4. Abandoning Apocalypse Guard has put me a little on the rocks for when I'm going to do that. Right now I'm planning Wax & Wayne 4 to be a book I use as a break from doing revisions on Stormlight 4. Stormlight 4 I have to start in January if I'm going to meet my stated goal of having them come out every three years, which I realize is a long time between books, but remember that they're four times longer than a normal book! *laughter*. You're laughing, but Oathbringer was 450,000 words, Skyward is 110,000. So Oathbringer is longer than four Skywards. I do have Skyward 2 done, and am going through the editing process right now. *applause* So Wax & Wayne 4 is very much on my radar-- I wrote the first one taking a break from Towers of Midnight, so the chances are good I'll need a break from Stormlight 4 and write it there. I don't know if it'll be out next year or the following summer. Stormlight 4 we're shooting for the fall of 2020, and I should be able to get it right around that time if I start in January, so that's the plan.
Steris and Marasi. Did you plan the love interest to be [Steris] from the very beginning?
I did... Very beginning is a weird thing as an author to explain. Because the very beginning of that story, Wax didn't exist, it was only Wayne. Then I built Wax in, then I started building Wax's back history. Then I started building Marasi. Then I started building -- right? By the time that the outline for the four books was done, but even before that, when I was only writing the first one, I knew what I was doing, there.
So I listen to your podcast, Writing Excuses, and you've been, this year, breaking down stories into different parts. Was Bands of Mourning an attempt, for you, to write a pulp novel?
The question is on Writing Excuses we've been breaking story down into different parts. Was Bands of Mourning an attempt to write a pulp novel? Actually all of the Wax and Wayne books are a hearkening back to classic serials and pulp novels. So yes, it was me looking at that-- I kind of pitched those books to myself as "Mistborn: the television show. The action serial" if that makes sense. Where the other ones were the Mistborn epic fantasies, these are the action serials. And I did try to kind of vary the genre, the first one is kind of more straight-up detective novel, the second one is psychological thriller, and then the third one is kind of a classic serial adventure story. So yeah, that was very intentional, it's me trying to take different tones and mash them up with different stories and see what comes out.
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]?
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.)
Stormlight Archive is before The Alloy of Law.
So, there will be a total of four Wax and Wayne era Mistborn novels. Alloy of Law, plus a Trilogy I plotted after finishing it.
so this 5 and 6 are not the end of this era, there is one more we should wait for, right?
Yes. The last of this era is tentatively called The Lost Metal.
Are we going to see anything in the Elantris universe anytime soon?
You should see-- I mean "anytime soon" is a very sub-- difficult to answer. Like the next thing I'm doing are the Mistborn books, I actually wrote two of those instead of one because two for the price of one, right? Did you guys know this? I sent them to my publisher because the book was due and I sent the book off and I attached a sequel to it *laughter* in the email and said nothing about it except "Here's your book" and then went to bed 'cause I was sending this at like 4AM because I stay up really late. And so I got up the next morning to mass panic from my publisher and agent and they're like "You put two books in here!?!" and I'm like "Yeah I wrote two on accident" *laughter* And so I did that, and yeah. And then they threw a party because an extra Sanderson book, unsurprisingly, is a pretty big deal at the publisher and then they decided to publish them very quickly. So what I'm doing is I'm writing Calamity, third of The Reckoners, and final of The Reckoners, right now. So our next sequence of books will be two Mistborn, then Calamity, and then the third Stormlight book.
Is the Allow of Law actually a part of the next trilogy?
It is not. It is a book I wrote because I didn't want to be leaving Mistborn for too long untouched.
On about Wayne from The Alloy of Law, so reading the first book everyone's smiling because he's a rascal. But he's not really a rascal in the first book. You slowly turned him into a rascal in book 2, filling in what he's done in his past. Book three just a downright rascal... I wanted to know your progression of that character mirrors your progression of that world because the Alloy of Law isn't particularly gritty, but in book three you've got a bit more grittiness.
See, I would argue that two is the grittiest of the three, personally. It's hard for me to talk about this one just because I wrote Alloy of Law as an experiment to see if I liked it, and then I sat down and built a trilogy about those characters, so you could almost imagine that Alloy of Law is a standalone, and the next three are a trilogy about those characters. I don't know that I made any specific decisions in any way, I just said "what is the story I want to tell about these characters with these three books", and then I took them and I dug into them and I felt like I hadn't dug into them deeply enough in Alloy of Law, to really who they were. It was done, again, kind of more as a free writing experiment than an intentional novel, even though I did have an outline and things for it.
The books two, three, and four--which form a trilogy--have a distinct outline. Any changes are changes kind of focused on that idea. That I took something that was kind of like a seed for a trilogy and then built a trilogy around it. I didn't make any specific determination that I would be more gritty; I think the second book is grittier because of the difference between hunting a group of bank robbers vs. a serial killer. That's gonna have some natural move towards that, but it's not any specific event. That said, reader response is kind of how you decide on these things. I just kind of write the books as I feel they need to be and what you get out of them is certainly valid.
Can I ask what defines a "trilogy's worth of arcs"? I always thought that roughly corresponded to wordcount, but your wordcount-per-trilogy has halved from ~650k (Elantris, Mistborn 1, Warbreaker) to ~325k (Mistborn 1.5, Stormlight-without-interludes, Reckoners) so I must have that wrong... but I'm not sure why that's wrong.
I plot these like a trilogy each. The entire [Reckoners] trilogy, for example, is shorter than the way of kings. I plot a book of Stormlight using similar (though not exactly the same) methods as I use in building a series of other books.
What does "like a trilogy" mean? Or is there somewhere you'd recommend I go to learn more? From my uneducated perspective, "like a trilogy" means "long, lots of stuff happens, three books".
Well, what makes a book for me is usually an arc for a character mixed with a plot arc. Often multiple plot arcs and character arcs. It is less "stuff happens" and more "stuff happens for a reason, building to pivotal moments or discoveries." My YouTube writing lectures might help explain better. Look for the ones on plotting.
I think I understand...maybe...
Do I have that right?
Yup. You've got it. Though often, the difference in a longer book is the number of arcs. For example, in Mistborn, Vin has multiple arcs. (Learning to be part of a crew, training to use the magic, practicing to join high society, falling in love, and learning to trust again.) Those are mixed with a large number of plot arcs. A shorter book might have a character with a more straightforward, single or double arc.
My first encounter with the term "story arc" was from J Michael Straczynski talking about Babylon 5 in explaining how it was plotted.
The term to me invokes a visual of tracing an arc across the sky from left to right, symbolizing the journey of an overarching plot or narrative to its conclusion.
Brandon was using trilogy with respect to the Mistborn series until Shadows of Self got away from him and became two books bumping the total to four :-).
That's almost right. I wrote Alloy of Law as a stand alone test of the new era. I liked it, so I plotted a trilogy to go alongside it. I ended up writing Bands of Mourning before Shadows of Self for various reasons, but it isn't that Shadows of Self got turned into two books. Those were always two very different books in the outline.
The point where things expanded was after I tried out Alloy of Law, liked it, and decided to do more books with the characters.
Will there still be Hemalurgy in the Alloy of Law series?