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The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#2 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Wayne's Backstory

This was the final piece of figuring out who Wayne was. When I'd toyed with him as a character in the original short story, I'd intended for there to be something like this in his past. In the case of this book, however, I didn't decide upon it until I was quite a ways into the story.

I've mentioned that when it comes to characters, I often "discovery write" who they are. Meaning, I work my way into them as I write. With plots and settings, I tend to do a lot of planning and know pretty much where I'm going from the beginning. But with characters, I do a lot of exploring. If a book isn't going well for me, it's often because I can't get the characters down the right way.

That stated, one might wonder why I don't just plan them out like I do my plots and settings. It's because it doesn't really work for me to do it that way—the characters don't stick to the plan in the same way that plots do. I've found that I need this element of improvisation in my writing to give it authenticity. The characters have to breathe in a way that the plots don't need to, for me. I have to let them be more real, in a way, though I'm not certain if it's possible to explain this process.

Anyway, my instincts said there had to be something in Wayne's past like this, and I had felt for a few chapters it had to do with why he didn't use guns. But until I wrote this chapter, I hadn't settled on how it was actually going to have played out.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

I personally love Wayne, the character. <Explain to me> what that inspiration was.

Brandon Sanderson

I wanted-- I started with a character who changed personalities when *inaudible*. And I kind of built out from that.

*interruption*

 

Questioner

Was there a personal... Was there a person who like-- that might have reminded you.

Brandon Sanderson

No. *inaudible* It was just that I wanted to write somebody who was a little more goofy. A little more interesting. A colorful character who would be a *inaudible*. Who could just be a representation that this is a little of a lighter world than we were in before.

General Twitter 2015 ()
#4 Copy

iBooks

Your book, Shadows of Self, just released today. What do you think will shock fans the most?

Brandon Sanderson

I have a feeling that the ending will be the most shocking part, followed closely by how magnificently Wayne butchers our language.

iBooks

No spoilers now! Why did you decide to focus on Waxillium Ladrian in this book?

Brandon Sanderson

Wax is the heart of these books, though it has been tough to get past his rough exterior. I wanted to really dig into who he is.

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#5 Copy

Mason Wheeler

How do you write Wayne? The guy is a little bit crazy, but when you see things from his perspective it makes sense. How do you get in that headspace to write that?

Brandon Sanderson

I put on his hat. Well it’s--characters are so hard for me to define how I do them. Everything else I can define, right? I can talk about it. With character I write their viewpoint and see if I get to know them, and if I do I’ve just got it. That’s all I can say.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Wayne shows up

Another aspect of the Mistborn books is the humor. I plan the humor in each of my novels specifically. In Warbreaker, the humor is all about wordplay and lofty back-and-forths. In the Alcatraz books, it's about being audacious, whimsical, and . . . well, a little insane. In The Way of Kings, it's more character-specific, certain characters engaging in different types of humor to fit the scene.

The Mistborn books have always employed a type of humor I'll call grim banter. Friends who know each other making jokes back and forth amid sometimes terrible situations. There's usually an edge to the banter, much how Kelsier would speak in the original trilogy. I wanted to maintain that feel, and so for this series to work, it needed to be founded on at least two characters who knew one another well and who were comfortable with insulting one another in the name of levity.

It was actually hard not to get to Wayne sooner in the book—even though this is only chapter two, he's a big part of the heart and soul of this story. I wanted to get him in quickly, as quickly as possible. This was the right place, I'm confident—he'd have distracted from Lessie in the prologue.

I'm pleased with how he turned out, by the way. He's vibrant enough as a person, with a good soul and a lot of quirks, that he quite often steals the show. That was a balance I had to work on in the book to make sure he didn't steal it too much. (Or, at least, too often.)

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#7 Copy

Questioner

Who's your favorite character to write?

Brandon Sanderson

Usually the characters I look more-- forward to the most are the ones that are goofy.

Questioner

Wayne?

Brandon Sanderson

So like Wayne and Lift. Like, but not up to like-- Wit I-- is hard to write, right? It's the kind of wacky but don't have to be too clever characters that are most fun to write.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#8 Copy

unknown

One Wayne and Wax question left in me that I can't get out of my head. What exactly made you decide upon their combination of abilities? Did you focus on the abilities and what they can do, or did you want to give those two characters specific sets of weaknesses and then went from there?

Brandon Sanderson

I built them like I built the original Mistborn thieving crew, actually. I decided their roles, then picked powers to compliment them. This is opposite of the Stormlight archive, where I have the orders, and I fit people to them.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

For the Wax and Wayne series, how do you come up with all of Wayne's little wisecracks?

Brandon Sanderson

How do I come up with Wayne’s wisecracks. Here's the deal, it’s kind of hard to write people who are more clever than you are, but it's one of the tricks you have to learn as a writer. The big difference is, they make it off the cuff in the moment, and you can spend like a week or two trying to find the perfect thing to say in that moment. And that's really how it does. Often the characters who are more humorous, or something, that are more-- Like Wayne's a great example, it's very natural for him how he says things, it can take me weeks to come up with a couple of lines of dialogue for Wayne. Where other things get written very quickly. My favorite Wayne-isms are when I can have him use a word that looks, when you're reading along, you just assume it's a word but if you go back you go "Wait a minute, did he actually say 'defecation of character'?" or something like that. So you don't even notice it on the first read through. The things where a copy-editor is "Oh, you used the wrong word here" those are my favorite Wayne-isms. Those take forever.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eight

Wayne imitates a constable

Writing this Wayne chapter was a pure delight. It was here that I was finally certain that I had his character down, following the misstarts before changing to this version of the story. Here is also where I made the decision that I'd chosen right in expanding the short story to a novel. For me, a single viewpoint character often isn't enough to carry a novel. (Unless I'm doing a first-person narrative.)

Wayne, as a character, really grew into himself here. It is interesting to me how quickly he came together as I started working on this book. That first false start was awful—yet, once I started writing about him as a counterpoint to Wax, he just popped out fully formed, Athena-like, brimming with personality and strength.

I do worry that he'll overshadow Wax a bit—which is one reason why it's good to wait until chapter eight to give him a viewpoint. However, I think it is a matter of appeal. The two of them will appeal to different readers. I really like how the two play off one another and have different strengths.

By the way, I realize the cover has a problem with Wayne holding a gun. It wasn't worth complaining about, as I felt that there needed to be a gun on the cover to indicate the shift in the Mistborn setting. However, Wax's hands are both down low, so the gun really does need to be in Wayne's hand. Just pretend he's holding it for Wax.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Waxillium gets pushed to the brink, watching the robbery

I realize it's amusing for people to think of the process of this book, which began as a "short" story. Perhaps I'll post my original attempts at writing the book. As a matter of note, Wayne was the first person I imagined for this series. In very early notes I scribbled down, he was actually going to be a hatmaker. (If you can believe that.) He developed a long way from there.

Many of you may know that I wrote this book during my "time off" between finishing Towers of Midnight and starting A Memory of Light. However, the ideas for this story had been around for some time longer, perhaps a year or two. I decided I wanted to do some shorter stories between the first two larger-scale Mistborn trilogies, and . . . well, this is what "short" means to me, I guess.

Anyway, the first scene with Wayne I dabbled in (this was before the break) was him out in the Roughs riding into town on a kandra that had the body of a horse. It was a nice spin on a typical Western motif—instead of being the quiet gunman of Western cliché, he was a screwball hatmaker. And his horse was sentient and grumbling about having to carry him around; she wanted to get back into a human body as soon as possible.

The scene didn't work, though. I didn't get far into it. Wayne wasn't working for me as a main viewpoint character at that time, and I hadn't gotten around to filling out his character with the things he eventually became. (His "borrowing," his love of accents, his good nature despite a dark past. Things like this grew as his character became more deep.)

The other thing that didn't work in those original scenes was the fact that there was no Wax. Wayne needed someone to play off, someone to be dry and more solemn—but still make for good banter. And Wayne just wasn't a leading man. The story was wrong when it was just about him. I needed to tell a story about someone else and fit him into it.

That brings us to this sequence. When I planned the original short story, this sequence at the party was going to be the end of it. The Vanishers weren't in the book—it was just a simple gang of thieves taking a hostage. The prologue didn't exist, as I've spoken of earlier. It was a more simple story of a man coming into his own and deciding to fight again after losing someone dear to him.

For that reason, this sequence here—this chapter with the next—may feel like a climactic sequence to you, of the sort you often find at the end of my books. Originally, this was going to be the ending. (Though by the time I reached this chapter in the writing, I'd already decided I was going to make the story much longer, and had greatly expanded my outline. Hints of the story's origins can still be found, however. Note that we don't get a Wayne or a Marasi viewpoint until after this sequence when we hit the expanded outline material.)

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#15 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Book's Title

It's from this chapter that we get the title of the book. The Alloy of Law. I realize it's an odd title. However, something about it strikes me. I don't think everyone is going to like it; it's certainly not as immediately powerful as something like The Way of Kings. But then, it's also a little more unique. It does, in my mind, encapsulate the theme of the novel. The idea is that these two men—Wax and Miles—are both taking their own interpretations of what it means to follow the law, and mixing it up and making something new of it. This book is a confrontation between their two different ideals.

The working book title was simply Wax and Wayne. (As I was writing the early chapters, that was how they were titled.) I knew this title wouldn't stick, however, as it's a pretty lame pun. Now, I happen to be fond of lame puns. But they don't belong in book titles unless you happen to be writing Xanth or Bob Asprin-type novels.

I can't honestly remember which name—Wax or Wayne—I came up with first. I had Wayne as a character first, but he had a different name. Wax's name came from the Mistborn ideal, where the characters frequently had strange fantasy names that abbreviated to fun terms. (Like Hammond becoming Ham or Dockson becoming Dox.) Wax just fit well with those. Wayne, on the other hand, is a name that feels Western to me, for obvious reasons. As soon as I began thinking of the character by that name, he started to become complete to me—and so I had to keep it, even though the "Wax and Wayne" pun will probably make people groan.

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

Questioner

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.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#21 Copy

Questioner

Did you have like-- I love Wayne because to me he has a little British background.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. *brief interruption* Yes, Wayne-- If you heard Wayne he would sound... I mean, he's not straight up cockney, but you're gonna be like, "Oh, that's one of my mates."

Questioner

Cause there's a lot of, like, words in there. I'm like, "He knows, he knows.."

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yep, yeah. I get a lot of that touring in the UK. Heading over there. I'm like, "Oh, they use this word all the time. Oh, they use this word. Oh...Okay. Things are 'brilliant.'"

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#23 Copy

Questioner

Does Wayne ever get married? Does he ever feel redeemed?

Brandon Sanderson

...I'm not gonna answer that one for you. That's a definite RAFO. Boy, it-- You'll have to see. Getting Wayne into a committed relationship with someone else who wants to be in that relationship would be a big first step. And let's just hope he can someday do that.

Steelheart Portland signing ()
#25 Copy

komekoro

Wayne mentions a nervous habit that gets cut off, can you tell us what that nervous habit is?

lunarubato

Please.

Brandon Sanderson

Alright, give me the full context of this please...

lunarubato

It was after the battle on the train, and Wax basically… Wax basically says "There's worse things than being genuine. Why, before blah blah blah, before Wayne would, Wayne used to basically get so nervous that he'd start…" And then Wayne cuts him off.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, okay. Yeah, Wayne had a really, really, deep stutter when he was younger, and that, I believe, is what I was referencing.

lunarubato

Yay.

Kogiopsis

That's adorable.

Brandon Sanderson

So if you can imagine poor Wayne and his poor stutter.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#27 Copy

Questioner

*referring to his personalization request* Just that one. Wayne is a wise man, wrapped up inside of a sad man, wrapped up inside of a silly man.

Brandon Sanderson

He likes a hat to be nice and stiff. To mean something. And a fedora is going to be too weak for him. Too... too floppy. It's not a hat you have to commit to, in Wayne's opinion.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#28 Copy

Questioner

Does the name [Wax & Wayne] foreshadow anything that's gonna happen?

Brandon Sanderson

No. I named them that because the pun made me crack up. It's not meant to be foreshadowing. The fun thing about that pun is, Scadrial not having a moon, means that those words exist in their language, it's not part of the common parlance like it is here, so they don't get the pun.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#30 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

So, I don't know how much I've talked about this, but there are two things going on with Wayne in regard to Steris.

The first is that Wayne is a highly instinctive person. He DOES think, and more than people give him credit for, but he judges a lot of what he does by what his gut says. I've known people like this and they can be extremely charming, but have more trouble articulating why they might make a certain decision--or why they don't like a particular person.

Wayne doesn't like Steris. She feels off to him, and his instincts say she's hiding something. Trouble is, his gut is misleading him in this case. Steris doesn't think and react like Wayne does, but it's not because she's hiding something--it's because she doesn't pick up on the same social cues that someone highly sociable like Wayne sees.

There's a second issue here, and that's Wayne's over-protectiveness. Wayne tends to lump people in his head into "my mates" and "those other folks." Once you're "in" with him, he'll do basically anything for you. You'll never find a more loyal friend. At the same time, it's hard to get "in" with him--and if he perceives someone as "stealing" someone from him, he gets very defensive, even mean.

He doesn't realize it, but his subconscious sees Steris as taking Wax away from him and--even more importantly--away from Lessie. He'd be belligerent toward anyone Wax started dating, but the fact that he gets lots of false positives off of Steris doesn't help one bit. If Wax/Marasi had worked out, he'd probably have been okay with it, for example.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#32 Copy

Argent

Have we seen the Resonances of either Wax or Wayne?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, well, Wax is really good at sculpting bullets and things away from him.

Argent

The bubble.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah and things like this. This is playing with the fact that he is-- Let's just say that the abilities make this happen, and I’ll let you theorize on why, but it's just an enhancement to what he can do.

Argent

I might be wrong, but I thought you said it was because he was becoming a steel savant.

Brandon Sanderson

A savant, yeah, definitely, but this is what this is coming from.

Argent

But being a savant has to do with being really good with one power--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

--and Resonances--

Brandon Sanderson

Being a savant has to do with using Investiture a lot, and it's starting to permeate your soul. Like we've ta--

Argent

So he's more a savant with both of--

Brandon Sanderson

He's used them a lot, and they are changing his soul, and so the powers are morphing and changing. Just in slight, little ways. You're not gonna see a whole bunch. But you can imagine these two separate powers are kind of becoming one to him.

Argent

Yeah I can see that. And Wayne?

Brandon Sanderson

So Wayne's is not as obvious. I'll go ahead and RAFO that right now.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#34 Copy

bcGrimm

Did you write Wayne as a sociopath? Or just troubled?

Brandon Sanderson

As usual, I prefer not to interfere with theories that people are making, to confirm or deny them. I WILL say this, however.

The scenes where he interacts with Ranette and Allriandre are supposed to be uncomfortable, though I don't anticipate the average reader being able to pick out why. Anyone with any sort of experience with similar situations, however, will identify that something is deeply wrong with the way Wayne sees the world. His inability to understand boundaries, and his almost pathological need to PROVE that he's not a bad person any more, lead to him far, far overstepping. (His treatment of Steris is another example.)

Wayne is trying. This is all what makes him work for me as a real character, not as just a goofy sidekick, but you shouldn't just laugh it off and say, "Oh, that Wayne." He is deeply troubled, and isolation in the roughs--with someone who just kind of let him do his thing--did not help.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#35 Copy

Questioner

In Secret History we learned a little about how the Cognitive Realm...could bleed into the Physical if the person was slightly broken.

Brandon Sanderson

Broken as Kelsier’s term is not right, and he realizes that over the course of the book, but yeah.

Questioner

My thoughts were on Wayne, so he seems to notice--and it might just be kleptomania--a connection between items that makes him feel as if he’s not stealing, just trading things for equal value.  And I’m wondering if he’s noticing something in the Cognitive-- in one of the other Realms that is actually noteworthy.

Brandon Sanderson

He’s just goofy.

Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016 ()
#36 Copy

Questioner

When I read Alloy of Law, in my head, Wayne was Simon Pegg... Was that intentional?

Brandon Sanderson

No, but when I was working on the newer books, I'm like. "Oh, Simon Pegg would be a great actor for this." The first times I wrote him, I didn't imagine Simon Pegg. But it was an after-the-fact-- kind of like Michael Fassbender [for Kelsier], I'm like, "This is the kind of actor I would like in this role."

Calamity release party ()
#39 Copy

Questioner

How much older is Wax than Wayne?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh... 17... 20 years... Something like that. No, no, no, not quite that much. It's more like 10 years isn't it?

Isaac Stewart

Which one?

Brandon Sanderson

Let's see, I'm trying to remember how-- Wax is 40s... Wayne... Yeah, it's about 10 years.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#40 Copy

Questioner

What happened to Wax's horse that Wayne did?

Brandon Sanderson

What happened to Wax's horse that what?

Questioner

That Wayne did, it's kind of referenced.

Brandon Sanderson

The reason the horse bit Wayne, is that what you're asking? The horse just has a nice sense of who deserves to be bit.

The AudioBookaneers interview ()
#42 Copy

Samuel Montgomery-Blinn

Wayne's ability to mimic and create accents is used to great effect in the book, and Michael Kramer really shines in bringing these accents to life in the audiobook. Did you have a sense when writing the book that these could be challenging—and rewarding—scenes when read?

Brandon Sanderson

I certainly did. The thing is, I'm not good with talking in accents myself—I can hear them in my head, but I'm atrocious at trying to do them. So while I was writing the book, I was thinking in the back of my mind, "I really hope that poor Michael can pull this off." It was a lot of fun to write Wayne's accents. I'm writing in a world that isn't our world, but the Mistborn world is a bit of an Earth analogue. I intentionally used themes that make it an Earth parallel, which is different from my other worlds. So you can have a character who kind of has a light Cockney accent or something like that, but it's not our world so it can't exactly mimic that accent. So it's already a challenge in that respect. I do think Michael did a fantastic job.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#44 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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. 

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#46 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Wayne's adoption of personalities

One thing that I wanted to be aware of when writing Wayne was how he saw himself during these excursions where he becomes someone else. My first instinct was to blend the personality completely, until he was thinking of himself directly as the person he was imitating.

That felt like it went too far. For one thing, it was confusing to have the narrative not refer to him as "Wayne" but as the persona. For another, I didn't want Wayne to go that far—in my mind, he always has control of these things. He's not losing himself in his part; he's always aware of who he really is and what he's doing.

So, in a way, he's a method actor. He reinforces who he is in his head, occasionally giving himself thoughts as the persona to remind himself to stay in character. He lets himself feel the emotions they do, and adopt their mannerisms. But it's a coat he can take off or put back on. It's not a psychosis. That was an important distinction for me to make as a writer.

He does, however, become more and more comfortable as he plays a role. One example of this is how Wayne still thinks of constables as being lazy partway through this, though he slowly loses his prejudice as he plays the role longer, shifting to thinking of them as "constables" instead of "conners" in the later part of the chapter.

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
#47 Copy

Questioner

Where'd you come up with Wayne's kleptomania where he steals things and replaces things he finds of value. I think that's the funniest part of his character, that he determines that "oh, this is worth more than this" and "that is a good trade".

Brandon Sanderson

I have no idea where that came from, I can take no responsibility for that man. He just kinda popped out fully formed. I started writing a short story about him, which was where I started, I was gonna do a little Mistborn novella in the wild west era with Wayne as the main character. He was a riot but he couldn't be a main character, he couldn't be the main character. He needed somebody to play off of, and so the Wayne and MeLaan story got shelved--eventually I'll show people, I only got about a thousand words into it--and instead we got Alloy of Law.