September 2019-December 2019

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Name September 2019-December 2019
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Date Sept. 30, 2019
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#1 Copy

P_Tigras

According to the second sentence of Underlord, Sector 99 like Sector 100 has been abandoned:

Pariana was the last Abidan stationed in this nameless world. Sectors Ninety-Nine and One Hundred had been completely abandoned, but they still clung to Sector Ninety-Eight.

But....according to the second sentence of the same book's epilogue, while Sector 100 had been lost, Sector 99 was under attack, but not lost, at least not yet:

The Abidan were under attack all across their border worlds, from Sectors Ninety through Ninety-Nine. Sector One Hundred had already been lost, and the others were soon to follow.

So was Sector 99 temporarily retaken without comment by the Abidan during the events of Underlord? Or do we chalk this up as another number-related oops?

Will Wight

My intention there, which I obviously didn’t communicate clearly, was to show that the situation was different between the prologue and the epilogue. In between, people like Suriel are going around to reclaim lost territory and contest Iterations that are up for grabs.

#2 Copy

Will Wight

Will on Magic Systems

Questioner

Hardness is generally held to be a measure of how detailed and strict the magic of a world is, most often it's a way of knowing just how scientific the understanding of "magic" in a universe is. I've never seen it viewed as being able to predict how a character will utilize their skills.

Will Wight

Actually, that is exactly what a “hard” magic system is (according to Brandon Sanderson, who popularized the concept). It’s how clearly the reader understands the limits of the characters’ supernatural abilities and how they can be used to solve problems, not how scientifically understood magic is in the universe.

If you haven’t read Sanderson’s articles about his Three Laws of Magic, they’re a fascinating read.

I personally would put Cradle toward the harder end of the scale, but there definitely are soft elements (at least as the system has been presented thus far). E.g. what can a Monarch not do?

As for LitRPG, there’s nothing wrong with there being soft LitRPG magic systems. That’s okay! You can have a soft system with numbers, and there’s nothing wrong with softer systems. LotR and ASoIaF both have soft systems. But a lot of times people expect LitRPG to scratch the itch for hard, consistent, numerically calculated systems, and they often don’t. Even some of the really good ones!

Questioner

I don’t follow that.

Will Wight

I highly recommend Brandon Sanderson’s essays on the difference between hard and soft magic systems; he makes it very clear!

Questioner

Sanderson certainly doesn’t write anything of the sort.

Will Wight

From his First Law essay:

“We generally know exactly which powers Spider-man has and what they do. He 1) Can Sense danger 2) has superhuman strength and endurance 3) Can shoot webs from his hands and 4) Can cling to walls. While in the comics, he does sometimes gain other strange powers (making the system softer), he does generally stick to these abilities in the movies. Therefore, we’re not surprised when Spider-man shoots a web in a bad guy’s face. We’ve established that he can do that, and it makes sense to us when he does it. It is narratively a Hard Magic system, rather than a Soft Magic system.”

Since we know Spider-Man can shoot webs, we can predict that he will solve problems by shooting webs. Whereas Gandalf might do anything with magic. We can’t predict what he can or can’t or will or won’t do magically.

That’s all that “predict” means in this context.

I do agree with you that what OP is describing is a story flaw more than a soft magic system. The author making up a solution to a plot problem without introducing that solution earlier or defining its limitations is bad writing, it’s not a hallmark of a well-written soft magic system.

But that was effectively his point, wasn’t it? “I enjoy Cradle more than most LitRPG because Cradle is more consistent with the way its magic is used in combat.”

Also, when I said what I did about it being okay for LitRPGs to have soft magic systems, I was really trying to be polite to LitRPG as a whole and not say “Yeah, a lot of LitRPG magic systems are just really poorly constructed.”

And now I’ve said it anyway. Look what we’ve done.

Totally agree. One of the reasons I keep reading LitRPG despite it not being to my personal taste is that I feel like it should be. I love video games and I love progressive magic systems, so it should be a perfect match, so I feel like there's probably that LitRPG out there that I'll just fall in love with one day.

#5 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

"Naru Huan is described as having given up some chances for his personal advancement so that he could better lead & govern the BFE. If Saeya & Huan had swapped ages and Saeya was the Empress instead, would she have made the same sacrifices?" 

Will Wight (paraphrased)

Will's answer was "Yes, but not at first" and from there talked about how he's got a decent amount planned for Saeya (including the character arc he implied in that answer), and while she's going to be more directly relevant in Uncrowned, she's going to be even bigger in the next books because there simply wasn't enough room in Uncrowned to tell her story.

Footnote: From the 2019 DragonCon meetup
#12 Copy

Decadakon

The Akura family tree must be very confusing.

Will Wight

Yeah, the age dynamic is indirectly addressed in Underlord. And I think I have a line in Uncrowned about Fury and Mercy being half-siblings.   Also yes, I did draw an Akura family tree and it is really weird.

#13 Copy

TheWanderingBeard

Does the Arelius bloodline power become obsolete after monarch?

Or will Eithan be able to see/hear even further than other monarchs if/when he makes it that far?

Will Wight

Spiritual perception and the Arelius bloodline power work differently. Spiritual perception is able to feel spirits, madra, and aura; basically spiritual powers. The Arelius bloodline power extends your physical senses.

#14 Copy

caffeine-overclock

A few days ago, I asked how bindings are powered/recharged here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Iteration110Cradle/comments/d95b8u/how_are_bindings_recharged/

The consensus was that bindings work as they are described in Soulsmith, where Lindon creates his own water: his core is basically drained from the effort of "activating the binding," where that madra is converted to water madra.

The critical detail being that Lindon's own madra is drained from him into the weapon to activate the binding.

So far, so good.

Then, in Uncrowned, we see Yerin activate an Archlord weapon. The explanation we're given is that her new diamond channels kept her from being destroyed by using it two stages too soon. I guess if it's an enormous amount of Yerin's madra being ripped out of her into the weapon, this explanation makes sense, except...

Where did Yerin get all that Madra?

It's described as consuming the enormous arena stage, and being so much that Lindon's arm was ripping at the seams trying to control it all.

Has Yerin been using the HEPW? I can't imagine her having all that madra in her cores, especially after a long fight with Lindon.

Will Wight

The madra can come from the substance of the construct or from the madra forming the binding itself, which is how independent constructs work and why they cannibalize themselves over time.

Since Yerin can’t afford to subsidize an entire Archlord technique with her own madra, she puts as much as she can into activating and controlling it, and the rest of the power comes from the sword itself.

Which will cut down on the sword’s lifespan unless it receives serious maintenance.

caffeine-overclock

Yessss thank you!

So if Eithan wanted to activate an Archlord binding, and hypothetically also had diamond channels, he could do so without damaging it?

Will Wight

He could! Technically any Underlord can, if they have some way to handle the stress it puts on their spirit. It’s just usually better to have a weapon you can control and activate consistently with no risk.

#15 Copy

SeNoyerSoublier

I had a slight tinge of disappointment we didn't get an orthos epilogue, but damn book 8 can't come soon enough

Will Wight

Yeah, I wanted to do an Orthos epilogue. The problem was that the training for the tournament and the tournament took up the better part of a year, so the Orthos epilogue would have had to take place basically a year after the prologue. Which means I would have had to go into detail about what had happened to them over the intervening year.

It was just a lot to end on, so ultimately I decided not to include it in this book. I was sad about it, though.

#16 Copy

Brynovc

I guess we won't see anymore "how did a bunch of jades kill a sage" posts. And I loved the blooper about this!

SeNoyerSoublier

Am I hallucinating or did we also learn tim is named Adama?

Will Wight

You can’t know how TIMpted I was to put the letters T-I-M in his name somewhere. Like Atima. Problem is, I couldn’t come up with anything I thought sounded cool...and also I assigned him a name a while ago, and I felt weird about changing it for a fan meme.

But I was very tempted.

#17 Copy

jacktrowell

I still think that it was a narrative error to not have any character in the story mention the question earlier than that.

Not revealing the reason, just somebody asking the obvious question "how did a bunch of jades manage to kill a sage ?" (plus the similar question about Yerin managing to handle a Sage Remnant while only at Jade level at the time), even if followed immediatly by something like "I suppose they used some kind of rare poison ?"

Anyway the matter is now settled until we get more information.

That said, I really enjoyed the book and it's only one small flaw in a very good serie, please continue the good work, we are legions awaiting for Wintersteel now. ;)

Will Wight

Yeah, one of my big regrets was not having Yerin say something about it in Soulsmith.

Ragnrok

I actually thought that was intentional, and I liked it.

Yerin is a very focused and direct character. If Lindon had a larger knowledge base at that point then it would be in character for him to spend months wondering how the heck a bunch of Jades killed a Sage, but Yerin isn't one to waste her time questioning reality. A bunch of Jades poisoned and then killed the Sword Sage, so it must be possible, because it happened, so why waste time dwelling on it?

Will Wight

That was my thinking at the time; I thought it was consistent with her character not to question it, because they did it and it happened and now the question is what to do next.

I wish I had made her question it just because it would have saved me headache since then.

#18 Copy

Tourni-quet

Can someone explain why Lindon was all worked up at the end of the book and had to rush off to tell his friends that Sha Miara is actually a monarch?

Like he literally mentions her name in skysworn, when he says about northstrider, the 8 man empire and luminous queen sha miara.

And Eithan, Mercy and Yerin are all like yep they’re strong.

Is this a continuity error? Bc it seems like lindon believes this is some big secret that he has to divulge, that he already has years previously. And I checked she’s not under a fake name in the tournament, northstrider announces her name in the revealing of the fight schedule so our other MCs are aware of the name

Will Wight

Yeah, I can actually answer that one! My take on that, which I probably could have retroactively explained in this book when it became relevant, was that anyone with knowledge of the world knows who the Luminous Queen is. But at this point, the Ninecloud Court are keeping it secret that the previous queen has died and her daughter has succeeded her.

Also, she's participating in the tournament, so of course she's an Underlady.

Lindon's urgency at the end comes from the fact that, at previous points in the book, he doesn't want to say anything lest he get in trouble with a Monarch. But after the Abidan have come down, there's enough at stake now for him to risk it.

That's the idea, though obviously I could have communicated it more clearly.

morgf

Yup, it is a continuity error. Unfortunately, the book is riddled with them.

Lindon, Yerin, Eithan, and Mercy all know that Sha Miara is a Monarch. As the commenter I was responding to said, she was in the tournament under the name Sha Miara. There was no reason for Lindon to run to tell the others since they already knew, as the commenter said. He told the story to Yerin multiple times. He probably mentioned the Monarch names every time, but he definitely mentioned Sha Miara to them by name at least once. Didn't you read Skysworn?  

Travis Baldree

I read it out loud :) But I don't remember him mentioning her by name.

But even if he did, I guess I'm not sure it would ruin the book for me. The world is huuuuge. The distances are vast. The people almost mythical.

Will Wight

Jumping in here: I was aware of this scene in Skysworn when I wrote Uncrowned, but I didn't see the need to clarify that Yerin and company didn't make the connection to Lindon's story from years earlier. They're thinking he saw a vision of the Luminous Queen, who this girl competing in the tournament obviously isn't.

I thought that came across in the story, but obviously not clearly enough.

I knew when I wrote Skysworn that it wasn't common knowledge that Sha Miara led the Ninecloud Court, but since it wasn't relevant to that book or the next book, I didn't want to bring it up at the time. In Uncrowned, I thought the situation was clear enough to go without further explanation, but apparently I was wrong.

Footnote: Reddit: uncrowned megathread
#19 Copy

morgf

So explain this to me. Eithan and Mercy, if not Yerin, know a lot about the world. Lindon lists two Monarch powers, and Luminous Queen Sha Miara. If they have never heard of Sha Miara, why didn't they say anything? Are there lots of Luminous Queens in the Ninecloud Court? If they did not say anything, why did it not stick in their minds? Certainly Eithan would remember every word that Lindon told him from a heavenly messenger.

Will Wight

No joke, there was actually a point when I was writing that scene in Skysworn where I had Mercy frown and say “Sha Miara?” like she heard wrong, and then the conversation moves on. It’s in one of the rough drafts.

Ultimately I waffled on it and then, as I revised the scene, that line ended up not making it back in because it didn’t have any connection to the events of Skysworn or my plans for Ghostwater, so I thought it would feel out of place for at least one more book.

Then when I was writing Uncrowned, I looked back at that scene and felt like it was a sufficiently minor connection to not warrant an explicit explanation. I didn’t feel like I as a reader would need an explanation for why Yerin, Eithan, and Mercy didn’t immediately connect the dots based on an offhand comment from Lindon so long ago.

morgf

A message from a heavenly messenger, and talking about the most powerful people in the world? And they just dismiss it like talking about the weather?

Will Wight

I’m really not trying to persuade you of anything here, I was just telling you what my thought process was since you asked. If it didn’t work for you, it didn’t work for you. That’s okay!

If I had expected this to trip people up, I would have included a line of explanation.

Footnote: Reddit: Uncrowned megathread
#20 Copy

cleanflea

Noooo!!!!! I demand a Yerin book. Co-starring Little Blue and Shera. If you do not acknowledge my demands, I will form a coalition to threaten you properly. You have been warned. Act accordingly.

Will Wight

I wondered one time if I could do a non-canon short story or novella in which I split my various main characters up into random teams like this one. Like Lindon, Simon, and Shuffles having to do one quest and Calder, Leah, and Little Blue doing another while Yerin, Shera, and Caela are doing a third thing.

It’s gimmicky, but I think it could be fun.

#21 Copy

Will Wight

Aw, thanks! There are certainly ups and downs, but thus far my positive experiences have far outweighed the negative.

If I’m upset about anything right now, it’s that I haven’t finished EE yet. Which is on me, and is the reason why I so desperately need to finish.

Also, I love your username.

Akura_Fury

As for the username, I made a reddit account just so I could comment on your subreddit. The name choice was obvious, since Fury was by far the best and funniest secondary character in the book! Although secondary might be a bit too generous in his case (more Fury please <3).

Will Wight

I loved writing him more than I expected I would, and he was always involved in the main Monarch conflict, so 90% chance he’s around for the long haul.

When I originally drafted his character back before Blackflame, he was this stern military instructor type that was entirely controlled and militaristic. Then when I started to write him in this book, I realized that he overlapped too much with too many other characters...and also wasn’t much fun to write.

Thus, the true Akura Fury was born.

#23 Copy

AlexandertheDrake

Has anyone one else noticed that Yerin knew the symbol for Unsouled in book one?

Will Wight

She is! This is addressed in Blackflame, I believe. She recognizes some of the old symbols, like the one used to indicate Unsouled, which are separate from the script used in everyday writing. The reason being that those symbols are often used in training manuals.

Also, since Unsouled is a concept unique to Sacred Valley, she learned about that symbol and its meaning since arriving there with her master.

#24 Copy

Questioner

Why aren't the books longer?

Will Wight

If I could still release 2 books a year and have them be 20k-30k words longer than they are now, but make no extra profit, I’d do it in a heartbeat. (I wouldn’t literally double the size of the books in the middle of a series, that would be jarring, but I could imagine a substantial increase of ~25%.)

But it’s like you said: if I take that whole year to write one double-sized book and release it, I’ll have fewer people reading it. So I’ve done two books’ worth of work for less than one regular book’s worth of visibility and engagement.

I can’t maintain momentum at that pace, so I’ll slowly lose visibility until I vanish in the sea of Kindle Unlimited.

Also, I have people emailing me angrily every time about having to wait six months. I can’t even imagine the response if I said I was adjusting my pace to one book per year.

There are a lot of reasons, but they mostly relate back to momentum.

I’m reliant on Amazon for all of my marketing, which includes letting anyone who isn’t subscribed to my social media accounts know that the book is released. Most of my readers are not following me for releases, they simply notice that a new Cradle book is out and go buy it.

Amazon is geared toward a structure of pushing the leaders, i.e. the more you sell, the more visibility you get on the site, and the more you sell. As long as you keep pushing that wheel of releases, you stay highly ranked on the site.

And I am dependent on that rank to reach most of my readers. The MOST efficient release schedule would be a book every 1-3 months, but they would take a...significant drop...in quality if I tried to write them in that amount of time.

I’ve stuck to a schedule of 2 books per year, which I’ve been able to do because I’m already established and have a large fan base, but I do see a huge dip in reader engagement and awareness between those two releases. I’ve been told by many other authors that this schedule is not frequent enough or maintainable...except that I’ve been able to do it.

High-profile published authors can do otherwise because their publishers handle the job of getting the word out to readers, but since I’m dependent on Amazon, the name of the game is momentum.

So...given that I have a finite time frame within which to write and produce a book, I have a finite word count, and trial and error has taught me that the sweet spot for that word count is about 90-100k words.

There are many other reasons, such as consistency within a series, but this is the main one. If I only release one book a year, people forget about me, sales and visibility drop, more people forget about me, and then instead of topping the Amazon charts I’m no longer able to write full-time. And then the books take even longer.

That’s the partial answer. TL;DR - It’s about how Amazon works.

However, this answer is complex and always evolving. Any part of it could change as my situation and Amazon’s policies change, which they both often do.

#31 Copy

Donraj

I liked the bit after the fight with Naian Blackflame where Lindon reflects that he hasn't really done much to make him a good person and that it was nice to do something charitable for a stranger for a change.

Will Wight

I felt like Lindon needed to at least acknowledge the fact that he’s usually driven by selfish motivations.

#33 Copy

TemerityInc

Out of curiosity, has anything in the plot or world building changed from your original ideas because of a fan idea?

Will Wight

Not yet! I have often changed my presentation of an idea based on fan feedback, like bringing in a concept earlier or differently than I planned, but I haven’t changed the plan based on fan ideas.

As George RR Martin likes to say, if you set up the book so that the butler did it, and then you read online than everyone guessed the butler did it, you can’t now change it to the maid doing it. The foreshadowing and thematic setup won’t make any sense.

So I can’t imagine changing direction dramatically based on fans guessing correctly or coming up with a new idea, but I could imagine someday adopting a smaller idea. Like “It would be cool to see Lindon do X,” and I read that and think “Hmmm, it WOULD be cool to see Lindon do X.”

But most of the time, either fan ideas make no sense with what’s been established in the books or I’ve already considered them.

Event details
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Name September 2019-December 2019
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Date Sept. 30, 2019
Entries
Entries 33
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