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YA Buzz Book Club Q&A ()
#2 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Have you ever received inspiration from dreams you had, and then wrote a storybook about it?

Will Wight [PENDING REVIEW]

Hmm.  That’s interesting.  So, I have very much received inspiration from dreams.  That absolutely, totally, happens.  So every once in a while I’ll dream something and I’ll have this vivid… not that I… of course I have this vivid memory of the dream, I generally don’t write down the whole dream, maybe just whatever part of the dream I thought was cool, if it’s an image or a character or a setting, or even a feel, and I write that down in the notes I mentioned earlier, but I don’t write down which ones came from dreams, I just kinda throw it into the pile with all the other ideas I have.  I do use those ideas later in stories.  I can’t think of anything I did that was explicitly from a dream.  I can think of ideas I wrote down that are from dreams, but I can’t think if any of them made it into books.  I’m sure they did.  I’m sure at some point I did, because I’ll dream about something, I’ll put it in the notebook, and then I start a new book and the notebook comes out.  I wish I had a specific example for you, but I don’t.

Indie Fantasy Addicts Facebook Q&A ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

First, just want to say your books are amazing. I started with House of Blades, another favorite of mine. I wanted to ask; if you had to give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be based on your experience as a professional writer?

Will Wight

Finish the book. Here’s some advice I gave someone on Reddit not long ago when they said that the advice to “keep writing” wasn’t working for them: That is very common, and I think most of us have been there. I think I’ve identified the cause, though: “just write” isn’t a strategy, it’s a mantra. “I realized it was bad and stopped writing,” wrong, keep writing. “I had no idea where to go next,” then you’re going to be very surprised at what comes out of your fingers when you keep writing. “You don’t understand; I sat down to just write and the result was an exact clone of Harry Potter as crapped out by Satan. I’m going to get both sued for copyright and exorcised by the Pope.” There is no good writing, only good rewriting.
YA Buzz Book Club Q&A ()
#4 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I do a bit of writing too, but whenever I get to a part of the plot where I get stuck, I start thinking ”Oh, my characters actions don’t make sense, they don’t correspond with where the story is going.”  How do I get my characters and plot to make sense?  I don’t know how to describe it.  Does that make sense?

Will Wight [PENDING REVIEW]

Oh yeah, that totally makes sense to me.  That’s one of the main things you have to work on in editing, is make sure your characters actions are consistent.  So, this a bit off topic, and I’m going to come back and answer this question directly, but readers expect consistency with the real world, except where noted, people expect consistency with the genre, and people expect consistency with the world.  So, what that means, is unless you have magic or aliens or something, people expect the world to act like the world does.  So, they don’t expect people to be like, “Yeah, and then I just walked on the walls for a while and then walked away.”  And people will be like, people don’t walk on walls.  So, they expect that.  Unless you note it.  If you give this person the power to walk on walls, and then they walk on walls, no problem.  Then people expect consistency within the genre.  So, people expect a sci fi book to have aliens and not magic, and they expect a fantasy book to have magic and not aliens.  And then, people expect consistency within the work, which means when you establish something within the book or the movie or the story, then that shouldn’t be violated later. 

So, a lot of times, what you’re talking about is called character consistency, and so, when a character does something or acts something that is contrary to their previously established desires, motivation or skill set, that is probably what you are talking about., I would think.  And the great part about this is, the solution to this is the same as the solution to almost any other part of the story, which is finish the manuscript.  So the funny thing is, that sounds flippant, but I’m actually very serious.  That is the solution.  The solution is you don’t fix it in the moment.  You go, “Crap, I’ve got a problem,” and let’s say your at the end of chapter 10, and you realize at the end of chapter 10, your illiterate sea captain is reading a book.  So you write that down, and you leave a note for yourself at the end of the chapter, and you go “Crap, this guy can’t read.”  And you make a little note, and you say from here on out, I’m going to say he wasn’t reading.  I’m going to forget about that; I’m going to say the book is gone.  So now you start chapter 11 and he doesn’t have a book anymore.  But later, you have a little note there.  Later, when you’re done with the book, go back with your editing, and then you’ve only got one scene to fix and not an entire book.

So what you do, if you notice your characters are acting inconsistently, you notice your characters have done something that, “Oh crap, that ruins the plot,” you then go “OK, what should they have done here?” and you make a quick little note, and from here on out, you proceed as if they have done that.  So, he shouldn’t have killed this girl here.  So now I’m going to proceed as if she’s alive, even though I have already written the scene in which he murders this person.  So then for the rest of the book, you are proceeding as if this girl is alive.  Later, you have to go back and change it so that he doesn’t kill the girl.  Or, a couple of chapters later, you go “Nope, he should have killed her,” so then you do it again.  You make another note.  And you go yup, he killed her after all.

(responding to a comment in chat) Yes, it is violent.  I’m sorry.  This is a murder mystery and she was alive the whole time.

But yeah, that is the idea.  Leave a note for yourself, and fix it when you are done.

September 2018 - December 2018 ()
#5 Copy

Lil' Blue

Lindon and Yerin go to an "educational dream tablet viewing" a.k.a a date.

Tievel

If we ever get a scene or story about those two going on a date, I definitely want it to be Yerin who plans the outing. Because I imagine that would be hilarious.

OrgnlDave

How would Lindon be any less hilarious? he knows nothing about the world or women?

Will Wight

I know I’ve said this a lot, but it bears repeating: the main reason there hasn’t been overt romantic development in Cradle thus far is because it’s hard to find space. Not my unwillingness to write it. There just aren’t many purely character/relational scenes in the whole series. So I need to either make room for those, thus potentially altering the fundamental formula of the series thus far, or find a way to work the same level of relational development into plot scenes. I’m trying the second one, but it’s hard.

September 2018 - December 2018 ()
#6 Copy

Lil' Blue

You should definitely address romance in your books. ;)

Will Wight

Shshshshshshshshsssssssshhhhh. Hush now.

Lil' Blue

I need an awkward Will protagonist date in my life.

Will Wight

Jk, I know you’re right, and it’s going in. I have to practice to learn how to use it effectively, and the only way I practice is through LIVE-FIRE EXERCISE.   Everything that happens to Lindon and/or Simon results in awkwardness.

Lil' Blue

"Lindon: So uh...you like swords, right Yerin?"   "Simon: I like my eyes and having both of them."

Will Wight

^ Thats now my favorite. I’m going to try and work that in.

September 2018 - December 2018 ()
#7 Copy

OrgnlDave

Actually Will, that's the perfect way to introduce it, Yerin x Lindon kissed between books, but when we get to Underlord, she's pulled back because her blood shadow tried to kill him or something and now she's struggling with it or SOMETHING LIKE THAT totally works it into the plot, see?

Will Wight

I would love to do that, but my challenge is doing more character/relational development in scene. Have to step up.

September 2018 - December 2018 ()
#8 Copy

Tower

My 2 cents is to just leave rape out of books altogether. It's a problem worldwide. We don't need to read about it in a source of ENTERTAINMENT.

Will Wight

Eh. It depends on the tone and intent of the work of entertainment in question. Sometimes it’s perfectly appropriate to deal with a heavy subject in a drama designed for entertainment. That said, it’s too heavy for my stuff. I’m not going to give sexual abuse the gravity it deserves, so I’m leaving it out.

Lil' Blue

And that's a perfectly acceptable reason, Will. Better to not address it than address it poorly.

Will Wight

That’s basically my position. And not every work of fiction can or should deal with every subject, so...

September 2018 - December 2018 ()
#9 Copy

Lil' Blue

Will, I like when you use easily searchable words for the archive.

Will Wight

Hahaha gotcha, I should say other easily searchable words.   Rutabaga I am committed to developing my characters romantically.   Aardvark if I can figure out how to write stories more efficiently, I hope to scale up my production to a consistent 3 books a year so that I can try more new things

Uncrowned Release Stream ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

How much of my writing do I [Will] keep?

Will Wight

I usually keep most of it, now, but I used to write basically two words for every word I kept. Less that I was going through and cutting things and more that I would write something and I would just toy with it. Over the course of developing a scene, I would end up writing twice as much. It would take me a thousand words to write a five hundred word scene.

September 2019-December 2019 ()
#12 Copy

atlantean0208

 

What is the point writing a Xuanhuan novel where the hero is weak and not winning the tournament and always weak among his peer. Most Xuanhuan novel, the hero if not powerful to fight cross level, they mostly unbeaten on the same level. Can you just stop writing Lindon like he some kind of Batman wannabe who always have to fight using scheme and plot instead of like a true Blackflame warrior who keep advance while just killing everybody in his path. You let blackflame as his path, but Lindon is more like a weak ants, so what is the point?

Will Wight

If I’m understanding your comment correctly, you want Lindon to win all the time because that’s what usually happens in the genre.

I agree, that does usually happen! But I don’t like that, and here’s why: usually in these web novels, the author pretends like the hero has been through a lot of adversity, but they haven’t. They win all the time, and they never lose, and they are always the best forever.

They never fight someone who is their equal because no one is their equal.

I don’t find that very interesting or engaging, to be honest. It’s pretty one-dimensional. I also don’t respect what the character has done if they only did it because they were the best of all time from the first chapter.

I would rather read about someone who becomes the best, not someone who is the best, so that’s where I intend to go with Cradle.

Is Lindon going to lose all the time? No, of course not! He lost here, and he’s as frustrated about it as you are.

But he’s going to buckle down and continue to push forward anyway, because that’s who he is.

Uncrowned Release Stream ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

How many books do you think Cradle will have?

Will Wight

I think 12. I said that recently on the subreddit. Which I fully understand, not everyone looks at the subreddit, so why would you know that? But I recently decided there is going to 12 for a couple of reasons. One is cradle is not structured in trilogies, but that's four trilogies. That's enough content. Secondly, it's a good length and I think that's about when I want them to reach an endpoint. That feels right to me, I think I can do the stuff I want to do in five more novels. After that there might be a spin-off or a continuation. Who knows? I would like to do some new stuff, because I just love doing new stuff. One of the things I like the most is coming up with new ideas, I just love doing that, and I don't get to do that a lot when I'm working on one series. That is something I'm looking forward to, and I also would like to go back to Traveler's Gate, it's been a long time. But of course, Elder Empire first.

YA Buzz Book Club Q&A ()
#14 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I have a quick questions about your childhood (inaudible).  Did you always want to be a writer, or did you want to be something else when you were younger?

Will Wight [PENDING REVIEW]

I… it’s hard to say, right?  ‘Cause on the one hand, I have always, always, always been into reading.  I was into reading, I was into books, that was my whole thing.  I just read books all the time.  I got into trouble constantly for reading books.  My parents would have to come into my room and make sure I wasn’t reading books under the covers.  So books were always something I was really interested in.  But I didn’t necessarily… what I remember is in middle school, really starting to think, “People write these.  Maybe I could write these.” 

I was in the national spelling bee as a kid, so in 7th and 8th grade I earned my way to the national spelling bee.  So, I was really good at spelling and grammar and words and just English in general, so I was just always good at that.  I generally, I just write clean first drafts; a lot of writers don’t but I generally do.  So, I knew I had that skill set, then in middle school I started thinking maybe I wanted to write some books.  And I wrote a few little stories, for class and stuff like that, and I liked that, but it was embarrassing, and I didn’t want anyone to read it.  And then in high school, that’s when I really started saying, “Yeah, I want to be a writer,” but I didn’t… I was just really scared of letting anyone read anything I’d written.  That was just something, I didn’t want anyone to read it, because I knew it was bad.  So, it wasn’t until college that I was really faced with the reality of, I have got to actually write something if I want to do this for a living. 

So, what I was doing until then, even in high school, is I was mowing lawns.  I started, initially I borrowed my dad’s lawn mower and I went door to door in my neighborhood and looked for lawn mowing jobs, and then I ended up borrowing money and buying a better lawn mower, so I ended up having a real lawn mowing business that I paid for college with.  So, I didn’t take out any loans for college.  I mowed my way through college; cut some grass.  And so, I was doing that for money, and just to support myself.  I didn’t have any passion about lawn mowing (I don’t know who does really) so that was just hard work to get myself through college.  So, the whole time I became, I just learned on my own more and more about writing and what it takes to become a writer.  And then in college that’s what they talked about, and the more I learned, I thought yeah, this is what I want.  I’m passionate about stories and I’m passionate about words.  That’s where I want to be. 

So, I kinda just sorta… slipped into it I guess?  It wasn’t, it was always my area of giftedness and it was always my area of interest, but it’s not like as kid I was like, “I’m definitely going to write a book.”  I was still just very scared to show anybody anything I had written, so I could always not quite picture giving it, handing a manuscript to somebody and seeing “read this” because I knew it was going to suck because I wrote, so of course it’s going to suck.  So that was always my feeling, until eventually I did take the plunge, and write some stuff for school.  So that was my journey.

September 2018 - December 2018 ()
#15 Copy

OrgnlDave

What's a fanfic you'd write?

Will Wight

No joke, I seriously considered writing a real DBZ-inspired fantasy series. Some of the elements could work wonders in a novel series. Yeah, 90% filler and 9% powering up. The magic system isn’t necessarily too simple, it just isn’t developed. If it were, and given actual rules, it could work. The same fights become tactical and more dramatic when you understand the interplay of the magic system. But the main thing that got me interested was the constant tension they keep the reader in. The false climactic fights, the ramp-up of tension, the continued escalation of stakes... DBZ doesn’t have real rules. Or rather, they do in individual chapters/episodes, but the rules change so frequently and arbitrarily that it might as well not. So people making fan charts and speculating on power levels from Super might as well not bother, because there is no real answer. I vividly remember my collection of DBZ tapes.

Cradle ()
#16 Copy

Will Wight

What do you want to see in Skysworn

Questioner

Maybe adding some romantic relationships? I know he has a one track mind of "getting stronger" but he is still a 15 year old boy, he should be thinking about girls at least sometimes.

In most fiction works it is either "one fated love" or "A huge harem", I would love to see a more realistic approach in your work which mean Lindon having 4-5 different relationships during the course of the series.(not at the same time, of course).

Will Wight

You know, I understand and feel the same way, but I'm not sure this is the series for it.

It's not like I spend much time on Lindon's day-to-day life. I've been trimming away basically everything except progression and exploration, so anything focused purely on relationship development would be taking time away from either the story or the world.

It's the reason why so many series default to either a single, fated relationship or a harem: time.

For a harem, you just have one love interest per arc. It's part of the story formula, and you repeat it over and over. It takes no extra time because it's part of the story, and because the girls only get shallow development and have no real lives of their own.

And a single relationship is either gotten out of the way early or is someone intimately involved in the plot, just like the main character is, so their development together can be folded into plot development.

Basically, that's two ways to bake romance into a story without it taking up too much word count.

As it is now, an ongoing series of romantic relationships would mean 20-30k more words per novel. Which means either 20-30k fewer words spent on the meat and potatoes of the story, or a lot more time to develop and write each book.

Plus, writing engaging and organic character relationships is far more challenging than writing fights or cool magical doohickeys. So...it comes down to having a limited amount of time, and having to choose where I spend it.

However, despite everything I just said, I'm not entirely ruling it out. I'm spending some time over the next few days just trying to figure out how much of my books should be spent on plot progression, and how much room I have for other things. This will be part of that discussion.

YA Buzz Book Club Q&A ()
#17 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do you make original characters?  How do you design them?

Will Wight [PENDING REVIEW]

That’s a really good question.  I like questions about character design a lot, because that is one of the things people don’t talk about very often.  They talk about character development, but they don’t talk about character design.  So the distinction here, as I’m going to talk to everybody is character development is how the character grows and changes over the course of the story;  it’s how the story affects the character, whereas character design is how you decide how to create the character in the first place, so there’s a lot of aspects to that and I could talk about all afternoon.  The bottom line is there is a trick I picked up from an author called Jim Butcher, who wrote Dresden Files; he did a ___ journal years ago where he talked about some of his writing tips, and one of his writing tips were tags and traits.  What these are, are things about the character that they come back to throughout the story in order to make the characters memorable and vivid on the readers mind, both visually and in terms of their personality. 

So, tags are words that are used in association with the character, and traits are aspects about the character.  The best example of this is Harry Potter; J.K. Rowling is really good at this.  So, with Hermione brown frizzy hair is one of her tags.  Every time you hear about someone with brown frizzy hair it’s Hermione.  And one of her traits is bookishness, this teacher’s pet sort of thing. So, her trait is, so they don’t say ‘teacher’s pet’ every time Hermione is introduced, but she is always the teacher’s pet.  She always the one with her hand in the air, and she is always the one answering the questions.  So that is one of her tags and one of her traits.

So, in terms of Ron, the Weasley family is the only ones in the book ever described with red hair and freckles.  So, everyone in the books who is on the Weasley family, red hair and freckles.  So, whenever you see somebody in the books with red hair and freckles, it’s the Weasley family.  Whereas you know they are not the only ones in the world with red hair and freckles, but they’re the ones, that’s how you remember and recognize the Weasley family.  And one of their traits is they are poor, but they are happy and they get by.  I don’t know what to call that trait, but their poverty, or their lack of resources, especially in contrast to Harry, is how they stand out. So, they are making the best with what they have, because their finances are stretched and they have a bunch of kids, where as Harry is alone and has a ton of money. So, they are using hand-me-down wands, and patching up their stuff so these are all traits, …, these are very memorable traits and tags to attach to your characters.

So, what you are trying to do when you are creating a character, is come up with tags and traits that make them stand out from the other characters in your story, and that whenever you reference them, the reader remembers, “Oh right, that’s that guy.”  So, every time they talk about Ron’s red… every time you see red hair moving through the forest, you go “Oh, right, I remember what Ron looks like.”  And you don’t just remember the red hair, you remember your whole mental picture of Ron.  So, every time you refer back to one of these unique traits or tags, you remember the whole character.  It’s a really great tip.  So, I recommend looking that up.  Tags and traits.

September 2018 - December 2018 ()
#18 Copy

OrgnlDave

I think that the plot synopses of your novels could use some work.

Will Wight

Re:synopses, I know, I just hate writing them. And the synopses for sequels don’t matter to almost anyone, so it’s hard to take them seriously. Only the first book really matters, and even then apparently not much.

Indie Fantasy Addicts Facebook Q&A ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

Any advice on developing magic systems for a fledgling writer? The Cradle series is one of my favorites hands down b/c of how well the magic system is thought out. Looking forward to future works!

Will Wight

Hey! I like to start with a general concept (e.g. “magical martial arts”) and then include all the things I know I want the practitioners to be able to do. Throw fireballs, leap really high, whatever.   Then I try to make sure it’s restricted in enough ways. Does it take years of training to form a fireball? Can you throw as many fireballs as you want? Usually it takes some kind of resource to use magic, even if that resource is just your physical stamina.   After that, I start trying to push the magic system by thinking of crazy new ideas or coming up with weird implementations. Like, if you use a spell by writing it on a scroll, what happens if you use a material other than paper?   Thinking it through more thoroughly in that way helps me to flesh it out some more, make it more real, and identify areas where I might need another rule.