Underlord Release Q&A

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Name
Name Underlord Release Q&A
Date
Date Feb. 28, 2019
Location
Location Discord
Tour
Tour Underlord Release
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Entries 105
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#1 Copy

Wodan

What is the official path of Arelius clan? And what are its basic principles?

Will Wight

That's an interesting question. So, the official path of the Arelius clan.

The Arelius family in the Blackflame Empire does not have an official path. They don't have one; the elders are all on different paths. I mean they really do a lot of different stuff. They usually use their different paths to create links and bonds--kind of like arranged marriages between the different sects and schools of the empire. The path that Cassius is on, the Path of Silver Grace, the School of Silver Grace is actually an influential and prestigious school in the Blackflame Empire. Therefore, they send qualified people there from the Arelius Family in order to create bonds. So, really, it's their people in different sects and schools all over the empire.

However, as has been alluded to for the last few books, there is a homeland continent the Arelius family come from and they have a main clan there. That clan does indeed have an official path but I'm not going to share it with you yet because I think it's going to come into play in book seven. Books seven and eight, so it's at least going to be featured in it. I don't know how prominent it's going to be so that's not as much of a spoiler as it sounds like.

#6 Copy

MountainKing

Are there any iron bodies that can affect the soul?

Will Wight

Yes, there absolutely are. So there will be iron bodies that will be more resistant to spiritual attacks. So an attack of madra will do more than an aura technique, and there will be some that would interact with aura differently, that's a potential iron body. There could be iron bodies that effect the processing of madra, but that gets kind of weird, because at that point it overlaps with a change in your cycling. So that's really the domain of the Jade cycling technique.

#7 Copy

A_Moniker

Who is the highest ranking non-combat focused Sacred Artist on Cradle?

Will Wight

One of the seven monarchs right now is Emriss Silentborn, and she is a monarch, who was a remnant for a long time. and it is largely thanks to her that most of the people on Cradle speak the same language or a variant of the same language. So what she does, she goes around- she is a dream artist- and she goes around spontaneously educating people. She wanders around, primarily one continent and she really does go around giving people the gift of language and making sure language doesn't drift too far. And also giving people educations so that people who are in isolated areas don't stay isolated for long. Cradle is very big so often by the time she gets back to an area the culture and language have drifted again, and she really goes around giving people the gift of language, and making sure that language doesn't drift to far. Also just giving people educations, so that people who are in isolated areas don't stay isolated for long. Cradle's really big, so by the time she gets back to an area, often, the language and culture drifted again.

#9 Copy

Lil' Blue

How would Gadrael kill someone, because he sucks at everything but barriers?

Will Wight

So, what he could do is he could isolate them from air. Or from whatever force they need to live and keep them there. He could probably cut them in half with a barrier depending on their power set and where they are. 

Lil' Blue

Like that Waygate guy from Wheel of Time?

Will Wight

Ya. Exactly. Or he could just, you know, seal them deep into the bowels of the earth and its like, well, I can't kill em, but they can't affect me ever again and now they're gonna go insane.

Dheginsea

Can I just say that Gadrael is my favorite Abidan because he's good at exactly one thing, but he's the best ever at it. The kind of crippling overspecialization that loops right back around to being perfectly usable because its just that ridiculously specialized. 

Will Wight

Yep. That's exactly him. I'm glad. Ya, he was a lot more prominent in a, there's a series, a series that I originally planned to use the Abidan for, which was an Abidan focused series, before I ever thought of Cradle. He was a lot more prominent. He was kind of the antagonist in book 1. So, he was sort of the guy who is all about the rules and all about what it means to be an Abidan and all about the code and all about all of this stuff. And then the main characters are, of course, breaking the rules left and right, and so he's all against them and he's trying to them kicked out, he's trying to get them whatever. And at the end, he's in a position where he has to decide. Where the main characters are like 'who's in charge of our case? Oh crap, it's Gadrael, he's gonna kick us out. He hates us.' He instead completely takes their side, defends them, beats the crap out of the other guys using only his seals and everything. And he totally takes their side and they're like 'why the heck would you do that?' and he was like "I don't know. What are you saying? You upheld the rules at the end. You did this, you upheld the spirit of the rules and protected us and you protected people and that's what I'm all about. I still hate you." And I like that character, of somebody who is just absolutely obsessed with his one thing he is good at. And that informs his philosophy, and it informs his personality and it informs his loyalties and it informs all that. I like him as a character and I'd like to get to use him more in the future. But, previously the series I had originally intended was just like entirely a judge series.

#10 Copy

Questioner

Do you think you'd be interested in making a series about that once you are finished with one of your other projects? Or is like not really a thing anymore and you are planning on focusing on the single iterations with greater Way level conflict being more of an overarching plot instead of, like, a specific series.

Will Wight

I could still do an Abidan series. Its gonna be a long time before I do though and so its hard for me to say what I'm gonna do because it gonna be a while.

Questioner

Its far enough in the future?

Will Wight

Ya. It's just difficult for me. Who knows ideas I'll have in the next few years. Maybe I'll want to do an Avengers type series where it all comes together. But, maybe I won't.

#11 Copy

Decadakon

After learning a path, could you work backwards and get a new iron body and, like, purify your core?

Will Wight

Technically, you could. That is something that absolutely could happen. It would be incredibly inefficient and expensive. More expensive if its less, you know, one or the other. But, ya, you could definitely do that. You can undo the effects of an iron body, it's just difficult and expensive. You can definitely purify your core, it's just difficult and expensive. And you can retrain, it's just difficult and expensive.

#12 Copy

TransEmo

What is the madra type of the Wei testing bowl?

Will Wight

Pure. It's pure madra scripted to behave in a certain way. But, it's really just scripted to enhance the normal reactions that pure madra would have to their spirits. 

Questioner 2

Where would they get that much pure madra?

Will Wight

Kids.

#13 Copy

Arch

Remnants. They grow in intelligence and insight when they rank up, don't they?

Will Wight

They often do. Yes.

Arch

And is it possible for a Remnant to touch the Way and become a Monarch or ascend or anything like that?

Will Wight

Yes, it is possible, so Remnants can cultivate, basically. They can advance to the point where they can develop their body--their bodies become more and more real as well as more and more intelligent and advanced. Therefore, by the higher levels they're almost no different from sacred artists. There actually is one Monarch alive on Cradle right now who was a Remnant.

#14 Copy

Questioner

In one of the short stories you had Northstrider fighting Alin. And one of the thoughts that we read from Northstrider was mentioning about how weak one of the Abidan was that contacted him. Does that mean, I guess theoretically, that Northstrider would be able to kill them if he fought them. 

Will Wight

Yeah. Northstrider could beat some of the weaker or less combat focused lower level Abidan. Absolutely. Suriel would, you know juggle him like a ball.

#16 Copy

Lil' Blue

How prevalent is illiteracy on Cradle?

Will Wight

That just depends very wildly on where you are. So, in the Ninecloud court everyone is literate. Out in the back end of nowhere, in the desolate wilds of the Blackflame empire, lots of illiteracy.

#17 Copy

Questioner

Has it been cleared up why Lindon didn't take more water from the Life Well, I believe is the deaging one, because apparently he had extra empty vials.

Will Wight

That's referenced in Underlord a little bit. So, I go into that a little. But, the bottom line is that he just didn't see an application for advancement so he didn't think of it as very important, so he just didn't prioritize it. And then, he also didn't expect the fight with Harmony to culminate in the destruction of the world, because he wasn't aware that he was in a book. So, he thought he was going to have time to go back.

#18 Copy

Reality Spasm

We've seen a couple different techniques involving shadow, but what kind of alterations does shadow madra cause in other aspects?

Will Wight

Shadow Madra is difficult to detect. It's kind of subtle, so it's got kind of a veiling effect, so it hides things like you would expect shadow to. And shadow also affects the spirit more than a lot other aspects do. It's kind of insidious, it seeps into you. And so, it's not real great for dealing physical damage, to use a video game term. So, it doesn't really hurt you that much; it's not good for breaking boulders. But, it is pretty good for shredding peoples souls and scripts and whatever.

#19 Copy

Puppet Master

Hey! Why'd you name yourself UwU?

Will Wight

I did not. That did not happen. However, the name Uru came from--a lot of people thought it came from the Myst games because one of the Mist games is Uru, and it actually didn't. I mean I played Myst but I'm not a huge Mist fan. It was really I was looking for a short, simple, easy-to-spell username that I could use, and it was in middle school I think. And what I liked about Uru was all three of the letters in it are words. So you are you. That said, it has no meaning. I didn't intend that as a statement: you are you. But it just you know--its all three letters are words and it's easy to spell, spelled the same forwards and backwards, and I thought it sounded kinda cool. So, there it is.

Fun fact about the username is I actually wrote a brief scene kinda like an almost-fanfiction thing, but it's about an original character Uru who, in a polytheistic pantheon, was this wizard who was kind of a go-between between the gods because the gods can't act directly. So he was sort of a mercenary wizard that got hired by the different gods in order to work for one god against another just for hire. So, I thought that was a neat concept. I might revisit it someday. I've still got the scene.

#20 Copy

Bamfious

Who has ascended to Monarch fastest without inheriting the power? How long did it take them and what’s their story?

Will Wight

yeah see that's still a great question, its just its another one of those things that its hard for me to answer, i really should do the research on this question and actually answer you cos you've asked me several times. So who ascended to monarch the fastest... that's a difficult question for me to answer, because i actually went back and looked over, this is kinda cool, i went back and did a timeline of all the living monarchs now, the 8 monarchs who are currently on - 7 monarchs who are still currently on Cradle. And so I have a good timeline for Northstrider, and Akura Malice and people like that, but i don't have, yeah i'd have to look it up, i'd have to partially look it up partially make it up. So i could make it an answer right now, but i'm afraid that it its going to contradict something else i'll say later. So that's why its tricky for me, so i apologise i really do wanna answer this question, I will eventually, I'm gonna make it happen. Its actually seven, seven are left.

#21 Copy

ReSpenDlent

Do you ever write profiles and interviews of your characters before writing them into your stories? 

Will Wight

That's a technique that I've heard people....wow the word really is ReSpenDlent, oh cool okay. So I ever write profiles and interviews with my characters. I don't anymore, I used to do that, that was before i wrote a real book. See I did it for short stories, so i did because that's kinda a common writing exercise, i'm sure that why you mentioned it. And that is a good way to create characters, but i found to me, i was doing that more to stall for time and not write than i was to allow me to write. so i spent a lot of time interviewing my characters and having them explain what was in their pockets and doing all those other character development exercises, which i have nothing against, if they work for you great, but for me i realised i was doing that instead of writing them. So the one thing i have found that is a little helpful, is, I thought of doing this not to long ago, is for character dynamics, character interaction. So like Lindon and Yerin, so they know each other well, they've been interacting a lot. So one thing i do occasionally, very briefly, is i sort of think about or write down how they would interact in a certain scenario. I have them talking to each other and talking with other people together, in order to get an idea of their interactive dynamic, so they feel like they've had a lot of conversations and they talk back and forth. That's something that I think I'm probably going to do more. I've recently started thinking of character dynamics as something that i can play with a lot more than I do, and that's something that I'll probably be using that tool for.But for me, that exercise initially took the place of actually writing, so I stopped doing it.

#22 Copy

Cash4Golda

Was the icy location where Northstrider killed the huge dragon at the end of GW on the Iceflower Continent? What kind of dragon and level was it? 

Will Wight

It was on the ice flower continent if i recall correctly, and what level was it? I am not at liberty to discuss that, because it may or may not come up.

#23 Copy

Ira

How did they make it to the island on the ship without crashing.

Will Wight

When they were making it to the island on the ship-I assume you're referring to the chapter one of Underlord-they made it to the island on the ship. They had enough fuel and cloud aura and cloud madra to make it there no problem. And then they were making it back and none of them had any cloud aura, which Renfei did. So they didn't have a reserve of cloud scales or anything, she just powered it herself. So therefore, they're flying black without Renfei, they only have pure madra, blackflame madra, sword madra, and shadow madra on board. And none of that powers [the ship? buckshit?]. There you go.

#25 Copy

Scholar Warrior

Could you explain some about how the business is working and adapted over time? I think you mentioned you now have a full-time team?

Will Wight

Yes, I can, and I would like to do that. So, the team now consists of quite a few people. I'm gonna miss somebody--and they're on here listening, too--so I'm gonna miss somebody and then they're gonna be mad. 

Lil' Blue

All caps TEAM.

Will Wight

Yeah, the TEAM!

So, I started off with House of Blades. It was me; my family helped a lot; my friends helped a lot; and we had a family contact with a guy who was a graphic designer who had done some work with my dad fifteen years before. And so I had a contact with him and he helped me develop the covers, and so he thought, like I did, that House of Blades wasn't going to make any money. So he helped me work out a deal with some student graphic designers of his, and I would pay them half of a fair value of a cover upfront and then they would have the first ten percent of profits until they got paid the other half. And we all kind of knew--we were going into this eye's wide open--we all kinda knew that I probably would never make that much money. So, you know, joke's on us. That was great for me; it was a cool experience for them, and then, again, they got paid so it was a real job. And so that was it. That was the team.

Over time we have evolved that. We've just continued to bring people on board--especially this last year. One of the big reasons we were able to hire Travis and that we were able to do the audiobooks at all is because I hired an assistant. I hired a few more people part time to do things like manage my social media, Facebook page, and a woman to optimize our meeting time and kind of administrate the team. There was a woman we brought on, not long ago, that does our bookkeeping and interfaces with our accountant. We have my business manager--the one who's always kind of whipping me to write, and he's the one who always wants the books to cost more and for us to make more money so that we can, therefore, serve the readers better--that's his whole thing. He's like, "The more money we have, the more we can do for people and produce more books," and I'm always like, "But I want the books to be cheaper; and I want to spend longer on them; and all I care about is the story and the art." So he's like the devil to the angel that I am. That's how I think of it in my head. He probably has the exact opposite picture.

Look, this developed over time. This is year six. Only this year has our team really been this organized. So we have major quarterly meetings in which we plan out kind of the schedule for the year. We take a look at where we are, where we can go. But that's the only reason we were organized enough to make these audiobooks happen. We had people on it. And so that's why we were able to get the audiobooks out. Now, the audiobooks have provided such steady income that now--ebooks are very spikey, you get one big spike and then it drips down--we've been in just a much steadier financial position and that's helped--we have a lot more overhead now because, again, I hired a lot of people. But we also have much steadier income as a direct result of bringing them on. So it's actually pretty cool to see the baseline of the business go up as we spend more money and hire more people. So it's actually been really cool.

#27 Copy

TheLostReader

What would be an effective death madra path?

Will Wight

The weirdest thing about death madra is that it's kind of like blackflame madra in that it's not really healthy to interact with. Like pure destruction madra, which everybody of course thinks is gonna be the best cause it sounds awesome, it doesn't do well on it's own, so it usually needs like a physical medium. So therefore you would see a lot of destruction fire, destruction wind, death wind, death fire something. Something that has a physical form. Cause otherwise it's kind of like you're projecting radiation at your enemy, and their just like waiting until they die. So an example of an effective death madra path would be off the top of my head like a death sword path so that you could really focus it and it would be very focused and then you could like, try and cut off somebodies life with a slice. Now, would that be necessarily any more effective than actually just straight up sword madra? Not necessarily, because one of the things that we're gonna get into, I mentioned this mechanic a little bit earlier, but everybody's got life madra in them, everybody's got life force in them, they all generate cause you're alive. So you generate life force, so you've got kind of a life line, so you've got a life line. So therefore death madra has to sever or erode away that life line in order to kill someone. So it's not as completely overpowered as it seems.

#29 Copy

Felix

I wanted to inquire as to how a combination of let's say life and death madra would occur in a path.

Will Wight

Most of the people on Cradle consider death madra a variant of life madra because they share a lot of the same properties, and if you combined death madra with life madra you would basically just have death madra. So that's basically just what it would be; it would just be death madra. You've taken life and combined it with the form of death and that really is just death. That's all you'd have. However, there is at least one character that exists that I have outlined that uses both life and death madra. And they use two different paths.

#30 Copy

Questioner

Do pills contain toxins?

Will Wight

Not exactly. The more I developed refining, I understood why wuxia made pills have toxins. In Cradle they follow some of the same rules, such as elixirs and pills having less effect the more you use them. 

#33 Copy

Dheginsea

When are we getting that Dross-written "smut" fanfiction that you promised us?

Will Wight

That's not going to happen. I'm not going to write it because I could never do it justice. The complex eroticism that Dross has planned for it would just be beyond me.

#34 Copy

Aru

You mentioned you're working to increase your productivity. What are some tricks you've figured out that are really helpful to that end? 

Will Wight

One of the big tricks I've learned is...its really all about long periods of focus, so there're two ways in which i have long period of focus, one is panic, when i panic its very easy to focus for long periods of time, and a second one is when i'm in an isolated environment with accountability. So i'm in an isolated environment but not exactly by myself or left completely to my own devices, because when i'm in an isolated place left completely to my own devices, honestly I still write, but I do like the fun non productive parts of writing, so I make up a lot of stuff, and its fun, but it doesn't do anything.

So cruises have been what I've been doing the last couple of months, and those have really worked out. I live near two cruise ports, and so a lot of times I can get really cheap cruises. I'll take somebody with me, a family member gets a free cruise, and I get a working vaca...i get to work. So i stay isolated, people cant get me on the phone and I just write. Its a lot easier in that environment, because nothing else comes up to to distract me and I cant distract myself, because i'm writing, and i know I need to write, and then I go "ah...alright let me check reddit real quick, i just finished that scene, oh i cant do that on this cruise ship, cos i'm gone" so then i go "oh no, cant check reddit, better keep writing!" and I don't buy the wifi, I just don't do that.

#35 Copy

Zane

What was the name of the Li clan's path, and what sort of madra do they use?

Will Wight

Ah.. I have the answer for that, I don't remember. I think they're a venom path because they use snakes. That sounds right. I don't remember I have to look that up, but I think so. I think it's venom.

#37 Copy

Wolfy12

From the Sage of the Endless Sword's Remnant, are the rings in his form similar to the Akura armor?

Will Wight

No, they are not. The rings in his spirit are more similar to the Akura books that they use. So it's like the thing Mercy carries around.

#38 Copy

Whump

Is the sword wielding monarch that fought the sage of the endless sword still alive?

Will Wight

I believe the answer is no, but I'll have to look that up. I know who it was but I may have changed my mind somewhere along the line. The person I had doing it was someone who is now dead. But I may have changed my mind to someone who is alive, so you'll have to read and find out on that one!

#39 Copy

fscada

Are there offensive paths that use traditionally non-offensive madra (Like life madra?)

Will Wight

Yes, definitely. There are a lot of paths like water or life (that do that). Although it isn't presented like this in the books, around the world blood madra is considered a non-offensive path because mostly people use it for therapy and medicine. The only ones who use it for combat are bloodthirsty crazy people. So (in cradle) you don't think typically of blood as a combat path, unless you're reading the books because then you see it all the time.

#40 Copy

D rk M tter

Can we get Valinhall sword and/or Yerin's sword letter openers in the merch store?

Will Wight

That's a good question because it allows me to address the merchandise in the store. There's a lot of things that would be cool to have as merch (path badges, banners) lots of stuff  that would be fun. But people don't buy the merchandise. That's OK, I don't need the merchandise to be self-sustaining. But the merch doesn't make any money and the more things that we add to it the more complex it becomes so it's not worth putting the energy into because nobody buys what we've already got. So there's no way to do it without taking a lot of time and energy away from the team, so it's not worth our time right now.

#41 Copy

Fable

Why can't life madra be forged into a solid object?

Will Wight

Life madra can not be forged into a solid object because, there's a few reasons, one is it flows through very.....fluidly? I don't know how to put this, i don't know any terms here, because I didn't make terms for the physics of madra. Its just not rigid, it flows in a constant movement pattern through living things, so therefore it's always in motion, it's never static, that's why its not in a solid form.  Meta answer: I needed different physical properties for different types of madra because that creates challenges in soulsmithing, and it sorta made sense that they'd have different properties, so that's how that happened.

#42 Copy

Chat

Is the new Subnautica worth buying?

Will Wight

Yes, absolutely. It's worth everyone buying. I sound like i'm joking, i'm not really. It's great, it's really good. It's a lot more story focused than the first Subnautica. This is a story game with a survival game in the background. You actually have a character and you interact with other characters. Your primary reason for being on the planet is a personal character goal, not "you're crash landed and you have to be on the planet." It's an interesting direction, I'm surprised they took that direction but i like it, i'm cool with it. Right now it's only like 2-3 hours of story content. I played through it, I loved it, and then you can wait for the developments to come out.

#43 Copy

GarlicBandit

What was the goldsign for the path of the Broken Star (or at least one of the common goldsigns when it was around)?

Will Wight

If I recall correctly I think it was a purple star on the forehead. Like on the crown of the head, at the hairline. A glowing star not like a Harry Potter lightning bolt. An actual glowing thing.

#44 Copy

Everath

After hearing your Dross voice, I now believe Dross is a gnome. Is this true?

Will Wight

Haha. Yes this is 100% accurate, Dross is only 30% through his transition to full gnome hood. He's currently like a Mike Wazowski looking floating purple thing, but he's going to develop a second eye and a whole little body and a beard and denim overalls and a peaked red hat, yes.

#46 Copy

mdrewt

If you were able to complete the full preparation for more than one type of Iron body, would you get the benefits of both? Would it be a hybrid? Did Lindon kind of do this, for example, because his legs were also broken when he ascended?

Will Wight

So what Lindon kinda did, in the case of his Iron body, is he did take the Bloodforged Iron body but he took it to a real extreme. And so that's why he gets the extra regeneration that he normally may not have. Because, normally, that's just the basic function of that Iron body just exaggerated. If you fulfilled the parameters for multiple Iron bodies at the same time, you would not get both. You would get a hybrid or it would just fail entirely, and you would get a really crappy Iron body or not a perfect Iron body at all; you'd just advance to Iron. Because the ways to get Iron bodies are typically figured out over generations. So, if you mixed two together it would either not work or, occasionally, you'll get kind of a crappy version of two.

#47 Copy

EnryuRedTower

What Iron body would be perfect for the Wei clan?

Will Wight

Iron body perfect for the Wei clan... I feel like I had an answer for this a long time ago. Like I had a perfect Iron body that was set up for this. I'm trying to figure out what it was. Something stealth related; something where they can either make less noise or sneak more easily.

#50 Copy

Hjorth

Why are the Akura named the way they are?

Will Wight

That's actually something that goes back to Malice. Because of Malice's name, people are like, "Oh, they're named after virtues and vices." Not really. They're named after--they're all named after virtues. So, in their estimation, malice is a virtue. So it's sort of a limitation of the English language that they're not using. But it's kinda like the desire to, the will to, defeat your enemies, or whatever. But they're named the way they are because in Malice's--Malice created the Akura clan but she's from an Akura clan that was just a very simple family a long time ago. And so you earned a name. So your parents earned a name for you as a kid. So your name became the wish for who you would be when you grew up. And so their wish for her was that she had the will to defeat her enemies, and that's what malice means in that context. So, Fury; yeah, fury's considered a virtue. That is where that tradition came from, so she continued it. Not everybody in the Akura family is named after a virtue; only really the head people or their children. Some people even give them a regular family name, and then if they distinguish themselves and are, therefore, considered a true descendant of Malice, then they get a better name.

#51 Copy

CalderMarten

In Of Dawn and Darkness, the two champions that capture Urzaia refer to themselves as numbers eight and nine. Is this their personal rankings among the champions, or does it have some other meaning?

Will Wight

It's not their rankings among the champions, like among the Champion's Guild. But it would be their ranking number among their--it's a cultural thing; not a guild thing.

#52 Copy

SomeWhoCallMe...Tim

Any plans on Traveler's Blade in the near future? 

Will Wight

No...but caveat. So the no comes from, I have got to get get OKAK finished, so that's why no. But after Kings and Killers, I have one more cradle book, and then something else. That's when my next open slot is, Kings - Killers, Cradle 7 and then something else. And that something else spot, could very well be Travelers Blade, I really don't now

#53 Copy

LuminisPatrim

This might be a world builder but oh well. I think we can assume that the Way isn't madra. So does becoming part of the Abidan force you to change you path, or does it simply enhance the path you are currently on?

Will Wight

You wouldn't have to change your path when you went up to the Abidan. Your understanding of your path would certainly change. But the Way can be integrated into what you already do.

#54 Copy

Goldenroot

Are there common Iron bodies or Jade spirits [Remnants], or are they just incredibly variable? If there are, could we get a few examples?

Will Wight

Absolutely, yeah. Hundred percent there are. It depends on where you are, so it'd be a geographical/cultural thing. So in some places they would value one thing over another, or they would know how to do this so everybody does it. It's just very different all over Cradle.

#55 Copy

Droid-997

What kind of Goldsign would a White Fox Gold have? What would it do?

Will Wight

I actually don't have an answer for that weirdly enough. I should. Maybe I did. Maybe I do, and I just don't remember what it is. So, a tail would be an obvious one, that could be it. But I would think it would be more something like a hovering cloud or something vague and insubstantial or like a sort of almost like a streaming cloak behind them of images and dreams. Something like that. Maybe even dancing foxfire.

#56 Copy

Sage of the Sleepless Night

Northstrider has a fairly unique name. Is it a nickname or does he come from a land filled with people named Southjogger, Westhopper, and Eaststaggerer or the like?

Will Wight

He became known as the Northstrider because he was named by the people who, hundreds of years ago, saw him come from the ocean to the north, and he didn't really have a personal name so that became his title. And so then it infected the culture in other places so now there are names similar to his.

#57 Copy

Fotia Kyrios

Would the Path of the White Fox be considered a strong path if the people practicing it could get to a higher advancement?

Will Wight

It may be. It may get developed to that degree. Right now, in most places, it would be considered a fairly standard illusion path.

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Questioner

Are Ziel's scripts a part of his path or a workaround around his core injury?

Will Wight

That is part of his path. That's kind of like the Path of the Last Oath that was briefly shown in Blackflame. He's forging scripts. So, therefore, that allows him to do certain specific things with his madra really well.

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Arch

Is necromancy a thing on Cradle?

Will Wight

Not in the traditional sense, so not in the sense that like death madra allows you to resurrect skeletons. What they do have is they make corpse puppets. In that case, yeah you can reanimate corpses, but they can really be made out of anything. So you could also make yourself a little metal battle-droid, and that would probably be better than an actual corpse.

Addendum

Will popped into the discord during a conversation referencing this WoW entry, and had this to add to clarify...

Will Wight

I say above that death madra cannot be used to resurrect skeletons. In the following sentence, I say that “they” can make corpse puppets. “They” in this case refers to the sacred artists of Cradle in general, not specifically death artists.  

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Chimeric

You mentioned earlier that all your books are connected in the same universe. In Skysworn, the Sage of a Thousand Eyes was mentioned. Is that Sage anyway connected to the Elder Empire Overseer, who also has the nickname Lord of a Thousand Eyes.

Will Wight

That's actually a really good question, but she is not related to him at all, Ach Magut i think it the one.

Chimeric

Is the path related?

Will Wight

No its more of a colloquial nickname, in both cases. So the sage of thousand eyes is not on the path of a thousand eyes, i don't think, i'll have to look that up, maybe they are. Most of the sage of "whatever whatever", so sages have two names, so there's the "sword sage" and "the sage of the endless sword". so there's two names for sages, the "whatever" sage, and the sage of "whatever", so usually the sage of "whatever whatever" is their path, but in the case of the Sage of a Thousand Eyes, unless i changed this, so take all this with a grain of salt, shes not actually on the path of a thousand eyes, shes a member of the Arelius family. Therefore her ability is to see everything, like she can see all over the place, so therefore her most defining feature is her command over her bloodline ability. Whereas Ach Magut, the Lord of a thousand eyes, just kind of has eyes everywhere, and he has like a thousand eyes. I know there's a lot of overlap there and i'm sorry about that, i probably should have called him like lord of a million eyes or something cos he has a million eyes, i dunno. I just though a thousand eyes sounded better, really is kinda the crux there. But I apologise, and I hate telling people that the connections don't exist, but I am sorry, that's just an overlap in the naming conventions.

Footnote: This isn't finished
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Lil' Blue

Is Seth the Cradle take on the 1000 year old dragon loli?

Will Wight

Sort of. No joke. The existence of that trope definitely played into his existence. Because I am aware in most anime and manga he would be a prepubescent girl, which just have weird undertones. So now he's a young boy, because that just doesn't get done very often. The main reason was because it emphasizes a couple things, one is he intentionally took this form to walk among humans. He doesn't hate humans, he has no opinion on humans, strong humans are cool; weak humans suck. So therefore he takes a form that is nonthreatening, when he veiled himself and goes among humans, and also it is a nice contrast to his dragon form which is huge and monstrous and threatening. So you have this [Can't tell what Will says here] regular twelve year old dude, when actually he is this 12 bazillion year old dragon.

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Lil' Blue

What color is Seth and would he have cared with the Blackflame ruling the continent?

Will Wight

He is a gold dragon. He is the original gold dragon. His human form, unless I changed this, and I very well might, is a black kid. Someone sent me a picture of art of him as a little white 12 year old. I didn't think that image fit. I thought it seem like he should be a different ethnicity than the main characters, because he is from a long way away, kind of like Eithan. The whole reason he's white instead of Asian, which is the primary ethnicity of he continent, is to serve the purpose to say hey he's from a long way away. So that's his human form, but that really changes a lot. He actually can alter his skin color however he wants to. That's just kind of the form he chosen to take because that's the form humans take where he grew up. They can change little details like that very easily at his level.

Would he cared if the the Blackflames ruled the continent? His thing is he is all about the survival of the fittest, that's because dragons are the fittest. So when you do this survival of the fittest ideology, he always wins, so he and his people are the best. He feels like that the whole magic of Cradle and the whole sacred arts should be very pure and real, The strongest people directly win and they get what they need and that's the best for everybody and that's how Cradle works. That all this civilization stuff that the Akura clan love so much is just design to make naturally weaker people comfortable which does nothing but makes everything worse. So that's where all the problems come from. His main problem with the Black dragons ruling is that they are ruling and setting up a civilization, and not just holding territory. So that will be his main ideology difference with the black dragons.

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Questioner

Does Eithan have any other cycling techniques and if he does, then, is that information addressed in Underlord? Because it was mentioned that the purification wheel was terrible for refilling your core. So, does he use external means, or is it just a different type of cycling technique?

Will Wight

So, it's not addressed in Underlord. It might be addressed in book 7, I'm not sure. So, he does have other cycling methods, but you only have one Jade cycling technique so that's his, like, core..

Questioner

That's like his bread and butter.

Will Wight

Ya. Right. So he definitely emphasizes quantity over quality.

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Green0Photon

Can you explain what's going on with Madra being pure, dense, deeper, etc.? What does Madra quality/density mean? For example, low gold Yerin was better than random Sandvipers (besides skill), or the parasite ring did *something* to improve Lindon's quality. I don't understand what that is. Just a short off hand explanation is fine, we can get something deeper later, not on voice chat.

Will Wight

So the idea of density is really what you are asking about. So really, your madra is kind of like water but you can make it have the consistency of honey, for instance. So, there's purity, there's how dense and potent it is. So, how much one drop...using the liquid analogy, how strongly flavored it is. So what that does, is a little bit of madra goes a longer way than somebody else's a lot of madra. So that's sort of the idea. I kind of mixed answers there. I did both the texture and the effect. But, basically what it's talking about is when you convert aura to madra its kind of loose, it's not very potent, and then you concentrate it. And so, the density of madra has to with the concentration; how concentrated it is.

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JohnnyBrew

How much of society is super dedicated to cultivation advancement? Are there swaths of society who live in protected cities and just get by or there ones who are more dedicated to decadence and leisure, or to commerce than to cultivation.

Will Wight

Yes. Absolutely there are. The rough number I work with in my head is, like, 10% of the people really focus on advancement, like really sacred artists, that's what they want. So, that's my rough number.

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DJflopdog

Can an advanced enough sacred beast, who has transitioned to human form, change back into beast form at will? The dragon monarch Seth for example.

Will Wight

Somebody advanced enough can. Seth definitely can. He can do whatever he wants. But, it's somebody like Sophara from Ghostwater, the Underlady, she doesn't have a dragon form. She does, but she would have to spend soulfire and time slowly making herself back into a dragon. And, that would be an inefficient use of time and soulfire. So, it would be difficult. Even and Archlord, it's not easy. But a herald, or above, so a monarch, a herald or monarch, those can shift all the time. And shift. And shift.

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joe2222

Is it possible to kill a sage with poison or did something else happen to Yerin's Master?

Will Wight

It is a very good question, its just that this a question that has become a meme among the subreddit. It is indeed possible for them to have killed the sage, but only under very specific circumstances that I have not yet explained. So, it's going to be a read and find out.

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Questioner

How do you cycle force aura so you can make your own force madra?

Will Wight

So, sword aura it just an application of force aura. Ya, its just a derivative of force aura. It builds up in things that do exert great force. Not things that could, which of course anything can, anything physical. But, things that do. So, things that really do bash up against other things on a daily basis. So, like a machine or manufacturing plant would generate a lot of force aura. A rushing river does too. But you tend to not sense that. Its a lot easier to sense sword aura than it is to sense force aura until you become kind of attuned to it and you sort of cycle it some a little bit. So, the more advanced you get on a force path the easier it is to feel that, see that. One of the things I've kind of referenced a little bit, but its sort of subtle and I probably need to draw it out more explicitly, is as you get more advanced on a certain path it becomes easier for you to pick up aura of that path. So, Lindon had to learn to see destruction aura even in a place where its very prevalent. So later, its a lot easier for him to see than other people to see. 

Questioner

Like when he was cycling for blackflame during Ghostwater, he sees or at least senses destruction aura in the fire. 

Will Wight

Right. So, I mentioned that force aura would be in a rushing river. It certainly would and it would be there for anybody. But, when Lindon looked at a river he would basically just see water aura. If Renfei, who is on cloud and force, she might se, basically, the force of the white water crashing against the rocks and she would see the water aura as it interacted with the air as a big cloud. So, her vision if she opened her copper sight, her vision of the river would look very different than Lindon's.

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Human Number 678

What is the weirdest drug on Cradle?

Will Wight

Weirdest drug on Cradle. So again it's a world building question, so I can make up questions for this, that will actually be easy to make up an answer to, but I don't have a ready made answer to it and I'm afraid that if say something it will contradict something in my notes. It's hard to live-answer world building questions and I don't have the time to make up a cool answer, so I gotta pass on that one. I'm sorry.

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Fable

At some point would you be willing to add a table describing how to cycle the basics of Madra? As well as some of the properties that certain Madra's possess? I am wondering this because I am trying to make mechanics for a Cradle Quest. (Quest meaning something like a DnD game that is run online.) If you do not have an answer at this time then I have a simpler question. What exactly is force madra, how do you cycle it, and how does it work? 

Will Wight

So I definitely need to do that, this is something i probably need to bring up to the team, although they're certainly hearing this and are gonna hold me to this whether I want to do it or not. That's something I definitely need to do, i really probably need to do some sort of index or whatever for every series.....appendix that was the word i was looking for. The problem is it kind of changes based on the book, so you learn something new every book. So i either have to post just the very basics, so the very basics that you would learn in Unsouled, or the stuff that everybody knows, or I'd have to update it every book. So of course, before ebooks, you'd have all this at the back of the book, now i can create a page on my site and just link to it, so i could just have kind of a constant explanation encyclopaedia sorta thing up there. Its a lot more work that it sounds like, unless i do just the bare minimum and just put like a description up there of just kind of generally how the the madra system works. But i know i need to do something and i'm fully willing to do it, its one of those things that i feel like always is on my priority list, but never high enough to actually do, so it never gets to the top, so I'm sorry about that.

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Questioner

What's your stance on fanficton and would you mind if people posted fanfiction on third party sites?

Will Wight

No, I don't mind that. I like fanfiction a lot, you know, as a concept. I have no problem with that. The only thing is make sure it's fanfiction, don't claim is your idea not mine, and don't sell it.

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Questioner

How does madra regenerate? How does a technique that would increase regeneration work?

Will Wight

It's the interaction between life aura, blood aura, and dream aura in humans. It's really like human aura. Humans have a unique relationship to it, so it comes back as they exist and live and are healthy and alive. It comes from your body and mind. A regenerative cycling technique would improve the efficiency of that process or increase the speed of that process.

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Revan

What is your favorite type of madra? Is there a sort of madra that can do psychic things, such as telekenisis or telepathy?

Will Wight

Telepathy yeah, 100%. Dream madra does that. That's basically what it does. Telekinesis... not reeeally. There's a lot of madra that lets you pick stuff up without touching it but not really telekinesis so much. Favorite kind of madra... If I were in Cradle I would probably want force madra or wind madra because the aura is everywhere and it's very useful, it's handy. And then you get the telekinesis kind of stuff so that's basically the telekinesis powers. My favorite to write is actually dream madra because you can do so many cool things with it, like you can share thoughts, communicate over distance, read minds and all that stuff.

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Keytar

Now that you seem to have an entire publishing company working for you, have you considered doing publishing for other self-pub authors? Do you do that already?

Will Wight

Yes I have considered that. No I do not do it already.

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SofaKing

Thanks for sharing your crazy stories with us. As for my question do you have any plans for D&D like handbooks to come out for your universe? Also do you plan on ever coming to the Pacific North West for a book signing? 

Will Wight

D&D like handbooks... maybe. The coolest thing about D&D handbooks is the art and I would have to buy that, so it would be expensive. But it would be fun. I really like those. I just really love D&D handbooks, they're great. Will I do a signing? I mean I guess. I've done a couple. I don't do them regularly and I probably won't ever do them regularly, but I can't say that I won't ever do one. I do them at Dragon Con, if you want to come to Dragon Con in the fall.

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Conman#8457

After reading the Cradle series I became quite interested in Chinese XianXia genre anime and noticed more than a few similarities between your books and these anime. Have you watched (or read the base material) of anime like Yao Shen Ji, Mo Dao Zu Shi, and Wangu Xian Qiong? How much of an impact do you think external material had on the Cradle series?

Will Wight

Uh yes, I've seen... that. I don't know how to refer to those in English. But yeah, I did all the research. I've read it all, seen it all, but mainly just because I'm into it. It mostly wasn't a research thing. How much of an impact did external material have on the Cradle series? Infinite. I really like the genre, I really like the conventions, and I thought, "Hey I can a story in that genre." And so then I did.

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Chat

Did you give rough ages for the Monarchs?

Will Wight

I did not. I think Malice is about four hundred years old. So we're not talking forty thousand. We're talking four hundred, one thousand, twelve hundred. They tend to die. They don't age but they tend to die. Or ascend. Old Man Lo actually is not related to the Akura clan so he's just a... guy.

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AngryEdgelord

Is Wei Shi Seisha (Lindon's Mom) related to the Kazan clan by blood? Where does her brown hair come from?

Will Wight

She is descended from another clan. From an outside clan. She is a Wei clan member but at a certain point in her ancestry her father or great grandfather was from the Kazan clan. That's just a thing that happens in Sacred Valley.

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Tim the Sword Sage

What was your favorite scene to write in the story thus far?

Will Wight

Definitely the Dross scene at the end of Ghostwater. That was fun to write in a sense because I knew that was a really cool punch line to the book so I spent a lot of effort trying to set that up in the exact right way. So that was just difficult and then seeing it pay off was really cool. What was hard about it was balancing the rapport and him speaking as a presence for the first time and them finishing the Ghostwater project AND beating Harmony. So I had to have all of the happen and I really had to have all of that happen at the same moment and I had to set all that up so that it made sense when it happened and that was just very difficult but a lot of fun planning. Therefore seeing it pay off felt really good.

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Xektalon

If Lindon made a drudge look like a gold dragon (since they used to be a servant line to the blacks) ... How long would it last before said dragons destroyed it and tried to kill him? And would Orhtos pass out laughing at seeing the drudge?

Will Wight

Orthos might! He might really enjoy that. But the gold dragons wouldn't have it out for Lindon any more than they already do because a lot of gold dragons are selfish and whatever. They're going around stealing stuff and raiding places. As much as I said about Sesh's law-of-the-jungle mentality, his descendants really like the good life. They're rich and they're powerful and they really like it. And so they don't settle down places; they don't do very civilized stuff, but they do go take things from people who are civilized. Civilized is a weird word. I really mean settled; people who live in settlements. And so they see a lot of stuff. But they wouldn't care really--I mean if they ran across him they would definitely be mad, but that would be kind of they already kinda hate him like because Sophara hates him, and she's kind of their leader of their generation. So an older gold dragon would just completely not care--would just try to breath fire to kill him and that's it. But the people who are going to be swayed by that, they already hate him because he murdered somebody, so he's already on their list.

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Questioner

How did the preorder sales compare to everything else? 

Will Wight

The preorder has sold a little over 6000 copies, and I would expect about that much in the first week, and its been up for three weeks, which is not bad considering the fact that there have been no kindle unlimited sales, and i would count those into a first week, so for just regular sales alone and no kindle unlimited that is actually really good, that's sold very well. The question is will I spike up in ranking? If the book spikes up in ranking then it's more visible and it will stay visible for longer and all that stuff.

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Bowyrd

When starting a new series what is one of the first things you develop. Like the power/magic systems or maybe the world settings/ characters you want write about? Followed by UL releasing madness! 

Will Wight

Great Question, that depends, so what that depends on is, there's some core thing.....if i want to write something then i have some kind of idea, and sometimes that idea is a scene or a magic system related fact, or some cool thing i'd like to do, maybe its a cool plot idea i have. What I do is I drill into what makes me like that idea the most. So for Cradle, i really like these xian xia fantasy Chinese web novels, and i knew what i liked about them, so i went down there and drilled into what i like about this, what do i want and i developed it from there; what do i want in the magic system, what do i want in the characters, what do i want in the plot, and that's how I began developing cradle. Travellers gate it was, i had an idea for a thing about... so this is dates back to playing Kingdom Hearts 1, so a kajillion years ago, and Riku is really the hero of the story, Sora inherits all his power and is never challenged and then just wins. Riku is actually really trying to do something, he's working towards a goal. What i realised from that, was its kinda cool to be the friend of a hero who grows up in the same place, and the other guy inherits his power and you actually save the day by working on it.

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Lil' Blue

What's it like being a beta reader? 

Will Wight

It is actually super awesome, there are no demands of you at all, its really just fun and games. So yeah, people ask for beta reading all the time of course, cos they want the book early, which i understand. The beta readers see the book in the rougher state, so a lot of time that will affect your experience, a lot of people who ask for beta access don't really want beta access, they really just want an advance copy of the book, and that's not what you're getting; you're getting to see it rough, you're getting to see behind the scenes and that affects your experience of the book.

 

What i'm really doing is i'm looking for people to help me, i'm looking for people to read it...and a lot of people thing beta readers means proof readers, it doesn't entirely. So if you catch and error in the book you go "ah i need to beta read so i can proof read it for you." That's not typically true, typos don't get in there because of a lack of proof reading, its more usually a lack of time, because people catch errors. So really what it is, is the beta readers give me their feedback on the development of the book, and that helps go "ok now i can see how readers are taking this" and that helps me steer the book and tweak it and polish it. So its work, its a job, its a service i need to be done, more than it is....its not a reward for the beta readers.

Andrew Rowe

Beta readers can also slow us down, the more we have the more people we have to go through, the more feedback we have to sift through, and personally that has slowed me down significantly.

Will Wight

That's true too, that is definitely true. That's one of the reasons why I don't open it to just anybody, because if I had the time to do that, I would have the time to take it through more drafts. There's a saturation point, there can be too many, I cant wait for everybody's feedback, and all that stuff.

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Questioner

Earlier you mentioned about the dragon monarch being able to shape shift. are all monarchs able to shape shift fluidly or is that specifically between the sacred beast and human forms?

Will Wight

That's specifically to him, like the sacred beasts with they're beast for and human form or whatever other form they've developed, it doesn't have to be human it just usually is. So the other monarchs can change their bodies, and they could change their bodies in many different ways, but it would be difficult. Like I think you posted earlier in chat, could she (Akura Malice) be 12 feet tall or a man for a day, and that would not be a casual amount of effort, that would be a lot of research and practise and difficulty, so she probably wouldn't do that, but there are certain ways she could change her body that are specific to her, and she could just shape shift in and out of that.

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Questioner

On the force thing, did you say that force aura is gathered via all kinetic energy or is it consistent? would a falling axe or a falling hammer generate enough force aura to use?

Will Wight

The intensity of aura changes depending on where you are, so that is going to affect whether something generates enough aura for you to use. Also so you, as you advance on your path need better and better sources of aura, so something that would be plenty for a copper would be like nothing for a truegold, they'd be like "this is useless to me". Its like black flame, one match vs an erupting volcano.

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Questioner

 Will we see more about refining? 

Will Wight

Maybe, I think probably not, simply for the reason that Lindon is not a refiner, so probably not. I think probably i'll just go deeper into Soulsmithing. I just don't know that i'll have the space for it. I have some rules and mechanics for it, I actually had drafted up a pretty extensive refining scene in Blackflame, and there was a whole refiner character, and he actually...that's neither here nor there, but anyway, I ended up deleting that and I gave basically his role in the plot to Cassius and a couple of other people, so I ended up not doing the refining scene. So probably not, but maybe , I'm not closed off to it.

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Questioner

Don't take this the wrong way, I really would like to buy some merch.

Will Wight

I'm already taking it the wrong way

Questioner

But i don't think a lot of it looks great, so is there any future plans to maybe hire an illustrator/graphics artist to get a cohesive style or an overarching emblem or some graphics for the overarching series rather than just the book logos?

Will Wight

So again that comes into, i could spend more time developing the merchandise, but why? Is it worth the time and the effort, and thus far it doesn't seem to be.

Lil' Blue

I will say the mugs are really awesome, the mugs are very big and they fit soup, and you know, very few mugs can fit soup. 

Will Wight

Yeah actually I really like the mugs, I use the mugs, but that's more of a practicality thing. 

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Arch

As an author, how do you get your statistics on your books, do you go through Amazon and how comprehensive is that information?

Will Wight

Its not very comprehensive, that's the bottom line. Amazon gives us some information, Andrew can weigh in on this to. So i get to see how many sales I've gotten when from which region of the world, and that's basically it

Andrew Rowe

There's also author central for looking at our rankings and ranking change over time.

Will Wight

That's true.

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Questioner

Is purity and quality of madra only about aspects or mostly about aspects, because I was thinking if it is, then Lindon and Eithan's pure cores are more or less very similar, except that Eithan did something with the soulfire to make it more dense or something along those lines?

Will Wight

So Eithan and Lindon's cores are very similar in that they're using the same jade cycling technique, so therefore they're increasing quantity and using external means to increase quality. So yes they would be very similar.

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Valinora

What character do you most closely identify with?

Will Wight

I used to have an ready answer for this but I don't remember what it was, something from Travellers Gate I think.

Maybe Petal? the reclusive alchemist from Elder Empire. To be real, the character that has the most of me in them is probably Simon. What i tend to do in these action series, is the main characters are half normal action protagonists, so i'm gonna to the right thing cos its right, and I will fight if i have to and defend the weak and all that stuff. And then half the fleshed out person they would be in a more literary story, so they were more their own people. The half of Simon that was more unique and more distinct was mostly the way i feel all the time, he's sorta insecure, no matter how good he is at something he never feels like he is. Therefore there's a lot of times he feels like he should say something, but he's actually going to say nothing. Lindon has kinda a similar sorta thing, but it comes from a very different place and I think it ends up demonstrating differently, so they're sorta similar people but I don't think of them the same way as i'm writing them. I think they would make very different choices in a lot of ways.

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Will Wight

Yeah, that makes sense. That sounds like something I'd say. I don't remember half the things I say. That sounds about right. One of the big things is there's definitely some recreational alcohol-use, drug-use on Cradle just like there would be on most worlds but the difference is, in Cradle, there's a lot of--first of all, it's harder to affect a sacred artist's body because everybody on Cradle is superhuman, therefore, you have to get these really expensive, difficult elixirs and stuff in order to do this. The people who can afford those are often the best sacred artists, strongest sacred artists, and so they're a lot more about discipline and control. And so, typically, you just don't see a whole lot of that. Like, Monarchs aren't lounging around--most Monarchs aren't lounging around in their palaces, you know, smoking hookahs or whatever. I don't know what image I was trying to conjure there. Culturally, that's not what catches on. But, of course, there are some. I mean refining is a thing so, obviously, you'd have some really crazy weird substances.

The Lost Reader

The last time you were on the Discord chat, you said that people generally don't do drugs in Cradle because it would harm their advancement?

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Rahl

So you mentioned earlier you're on year 6, and you talked some about your team and the jobs they do, paint us a picture of what year 12 looks like? whats in the future?

Will Wight

Oh hey i like that question! I've never gotten that question before! So , year 12, i have difficulty projecting out very far at all. So we have some long goals, its hard to know where we're gonna be in 6 years, there has been a lot of explosive growth, over the last 6 years as the books have been trending well. I made as much last year with one book release, Ghostwater, as I did the year before that with two releases, Skysworn and Blackflame. A lot of that is a direct result of the team, audio books, that kind of thing. But its also because the fan base is growing, so people are finding the books. So I cant even imagine where we'll be in 6 years. It could be anything from we're operating as a small publishing company and we have other authors on board working together as a team, or it could be I've lost all income and i'm teaching English in middle school. So who knows, Amazon could collapse at any time...for me! Amazon's not going to collapse, but my income through Amazon could collapse at any time. They could make a change tomorrow that would really screw me on income and I'd have to figure out another way to sell books. So the longer term goals, i'm trying to do some other forms of story telling, we've talked about a visual novel or simple game or something like that, we've talked about a comic book, we've talked about little stuff like that. Could be other things like that, could be picking up other authors, could be a lot of things, i dunno, its a good question.

 

Cradle dating sim? yes 100%

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KingGoomba

How much do you plan ahead of the series? do you have the ending in mind? 

Will Wight

I knew a lot of the major beats from the beginning. So i knew a lot of the major twists and turns and where its going and kinda the general overview of the series and a few of the specific things that are going to happen. So that I've had in mind from the beginning and we've been always been heading in the same direction. 

 

And then i knew a few more general things that i wanted to do and i slotted them in whenever i could. For instance i knew i wanted to do a tournament arc, Andrew Rowe and I have talked about that quite a bit. I wanted to do a tournament arc, i wanted to do some other arcs, some other things. So Ghostwater was a  great example of something i wanted to do; a "pocket world" arc, but i didn't know what shape that was going to take r anything like that. So i knew that kind of thing, and then i knew specific things that are going to happen in the plot, like obviously the suriel/ozriel thing is going to go somewhere, obviously the destruction of sacred valley thing is going to go somewhere, i knew all that.

 

And then in terms of when the series will end, that's a bit of a sticky point, because i don't think its too much of a spoiler to say that Lindon is going to keep advancing, i don't think that's throwing anybody off here. So the question is do I end it with Cradle? do i end it when he gets too strong for cradle and then has to choose whether to advance. So do i end it when he has to make that decision, and he either stays there or goes off? Or do I end it after that? do i just keep it going? Because there's stuff he could do at the Abidan level, interacting with Suriel, all that kinda stuff. So i don't know how far i'm going to go on that, i don't know where i'm going to cut it off. I know kinda the direction those are all headed, but it depends on how the series it doing in 6 or 7 books.

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notacommittee

Which of your characters would you most like to be friends with in real life? 

Will Wight

That's a great question, I don't know, I feel like i'd get along fine with Eithan, despite the fact that he pushed me off a ledge in one of my short stories. Little Blue, that would be kind of awesome, I would love to have little blue around that'd be a lot of fun.  I really think i'd get along with Eithan, I think i'd get along with Dross. Any of those kinda quipy people i feel like I would just really enjoy talking to.

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hosoke

You said recently that you'd made some changes to your process so that you could write Elder Empire better and finish OKAK, what are those changes, what do they look like and how do they help?

Will Wight

The changes to my process, honestly iv'e been to work on and iterate on if you don't mind that word, my process basically constantly from the beginning, i'm always trying to write better. There are two parts of the process that i kind of separate it into and that "writing a better book" and "writing a book better". So writing a better book is sort of figuring out how to sit on the book i'm writing on and try to make that book as good as possible, and the other part of that is trying to make it so that the process of writing that book is superior.

So what I've been really working on is trying to front load a lot of the writing part, because i tend to lose a lot of time to rethinking and changing and tweaking and really thinking over these different parts of the book, and i tend to lose a lot of time doing that, it feels inefficient, it feels like l'm treading over the same ground. So a lot of things i think are very important as i'm developing the book end up not really mattering. I tend to rethink the ideas a lot, so what i'm trying to do now is not give myself to do that, to instead produce a book and then develop it from there. So I'm doing a lot more about what they teach you in writing class, which is you write the first draft, you don't think about it too much and then to go and develop it afterwards.     but its hard to do, because i'm not used to that

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Slogan

What is your general outlining process when preparing to write one of your novels? 

Will Wight

Okay, yeah good question. Like i said, i'm working on revamping that right now, so that's part of what i'm talking about when i say i'm trying to change to process, so what i'm trying to do cos...okay...so for Underlord, i wrote an outline of it and then i was going to sit on it and focus on Kings and Killers, so i wrote an outline for it last June, or something like that, like June or July. Then i went to work on King and Killers, and i was just going to sit on the outline. Then i came back to it and i felt that everything was wrong, like it was terrible. So then i wrote another outline, and i sat on it for a long time, then i got back to it and i was like okay, i could write this, i know that the cradle books take me a couple of months to write so i'll....its been a long time working on Kings and Killers, let me get back to Underlord, and i was actually trying to write the book, and i got back to it and i wrote the outline again. I'm redoing my ideas too much, i'm undoing my work too much, and the funny thing was, it turned out, the final thing I landed on was almost identical to my original outline. I'd taken it through 3 or 4 long extensive revisions, and I ended up just ending up at the first outline. With that in mind, when i really do an outline, especially a series i'm already familiar with, is i take the general concept of the book, so i've got something about this book that i like; so Ghostwater of course was, i knew i needed to get Lindon up to par with the really good people of his generation, like he needed to be able to fight alongside with Yerin. So therefore I needed to power him up, so i thought okay, whats a cool setting in which he could power up, and i really love underwater settings so i did a crumbling underwater world and then i was like okay so now who are the other people, and i thought other people there that are trying to power up!

So I just brainstormed on that for a while and thought of cool concepts. That's the fun part of the outline, so i get to think of all the cool stuff that i think could go in there, and originally when i designed Ghostwater it had nine different levels and nine different wells each of which had a different aspect, and each floor of the tower; it was a tower but still still in a separate world. It was a tower because you got deeper and deeper, you went down, and so each one was a different level of the ocean, and so they had different ocean biomes, so there was a coral one and a whatever. So each one had a different survival element too, as they went down, but that was way too much, i knew that that book would be a million words long. So i knew i'd have to condense that, it was way too much. So i therefore had to go now i have to get this into plot structure, i have to go okay so what is this that's going to be.....traditional plot structure, i'm not going to explain that here, you probably already know that, but you can also look it up. So i had to make sure that it fit into the three acts and all that jazz. So then i started trying to do that and i came up with the first draft of the story, and then i had to come up with the personalities for the other people, the enemies, the antagonists. I ended up going through a lot of possible people he could have been fighting in Ghostwater. Then I had to go do character arcs for, so Lindon, what did he learning, what does he learn at the end that he didn't know at the beginning, and Yerin and Mercy as well, all the main characters. At that point I've developed kind of an outline, and write from there.

 

The problem is, and this is the reason i started explaining my revision, what i'm learning first. The problem is that a lot of times i then dont stick with that outline, i use it as a jumping off point, and then kind of develop it on the fly as i go, and that i think, i think i end up working less efficiently that way. So that's my process.

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Kandra

The Eldest Nye mentions that before Kai lost his siblings and his sanity, he would have made a 'good' leader of Valinhall... Would you agree with the Eldest's assessment of young Kai, and what was Kai like back in the day? 

Will Wight

The eldest Nye has kind of a, has a particular set of criteria of what he thinks a good leader would be. This is not necessarily yours or mine. His definition is somebody who would be a strong leader and who would prioritise the advancement of Valinhall over anything. He believes that Kai would have done that basically because Kai had no friends and family outside Valinhall, and also Kai is a really good swordsman, so Kai's strong and he's resourceful and he has no connections that would prohibit him from doing all the stuff that the Eldest Nye wants Simon to do.

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Donorgyll

How much do you find yourself influenced by what you think the fans want to happen in your stories? Do you ever find yourself writing something that you think should happen based on how characters act and then rewriting because you don't think fans will be happy about it? 

Will Wight

No that does not happen. So i never write something that i think is in character for the characters and then say no cant do that cos fans wont like it. There are a few things that i know that i'm not allowed to do because the fans wouldn't like it, so for instance...ahhhh....no that's a little bit of a spoiler so... The point is I've got to be careful how i treat Yerin, for instance, because some people take the heroine of a series very seriously. So there's things I cant do with Yerin that i could do with a male character, even one who's in the exact same..yeah see..he he see I've got Andrew Rowe in there telling me not to harm Yerin. So I've got some restriction on the characters in that way, so there are story actions closed to me based on how the reader will perceive it.

 

Having said that, what i'm trying to do always, is i'm trying to create an experience for the reader. So one of the things we say a lot around the team is "purpose, target group, strategy", so I really say that a lot. So its "what is your purpose", "who is your target group" and "what is your strategy for reaching that target group for your purpose". That really kind of permeates everything i do. So when i'm writing these stories, I kind of have an idea of who my target audience is, and what i'm trying to do is i'm trying to give them a sort of experience, an emotional reaction, a journey, a something.  So that's always how i'm processing everything. So when I say that this action is in character for the characters, the reason why i want it to be in character for the characters is because i know that that improves the experience for the reader. So there's nothing i do without the reader in mind. I never do anything like "man I know what Lindon would really do but i gotta hold back cos the readers aren't gonna like it", that's... that never happens. But it is still, its the major factor, is what is the reader experience going to be, everything is about the story and about the reader experience.

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Conzerban

How do you get inspiration for characters? 

Will Wight

I described my outline process earlier, so when I go through the book, I realize kind of what people are, what roles they're going to play, so I then label them kind of that way. So somebody like Harmony I put as like "Akura young heir" kinda thing, and that's how I refer to him in my notes. Ziel was a specific character I was trying to develop so I called him Ziel, and then the other two were kind of "rival 1" and "rival 2" or whatever. So then I go through and I go "Okay, so now I know what their role is in the plot, and how they have to relate to Lindon". Then I go what would be a cool personality and arc and background to give them, and so I do that a number of ways. First of all I kinda know the sorta person they have to be because I know what sort of role they have to perform. So I know that Ekeri in Ghostwater had to be standing outside, had to really want to get to Lindon, and there's a few motivations she could have for that; she could really hate Lindon, she could be very curious, she could have been scorned by him in some way, or she could just be really greedy and want the treasure, and so I when I thought greedy treasure I thought dragons, and the dragons are one of the factions on the island, I already knew that. So I was like oh great they had gold dragons that makes sense, dragon greed, that all fits, and so I alter it from there, so that's where that comes from.

 

So that's how I do it, I do role and then I do sort of now I know kinda their traits, now I can build a personality around that, and then I can figure out based on the other people in the world, kinda what a cool other thing would be to do, like cool power sets to give them, and that kind of thing.

Somebody asked if I could talk about how I come up with names of the characters. Every way. All the ways. I spend so much freaking time naming characters....so much....its hurts....deep inside....I cry.....  No it really is one of the most difficult things for me, I don't know why that's the hardest thing for me, because I kinda just do baby name books, I do random names, I pick a word that kinda has a sort of feeling that I want for a character and a tweak it until it looks like a name. I try to give the the different clans and factions their own naming conventions, both for cohesion and to kinda build the world around them and just to give me a shortcut with the name, cos like I gotta give them a dragon type name, or an Akura type name. You like the Ziel name? I'm very glad, because Ziel was one of the few names where I was like, i really like this name, Ziel spelled this way, and then so I was just looking for a character to attach it to, so I was like I'm definitely using this freakin' character name because I don't want to make up another one.

 

So whenever I do think of a name, I have a name document on my phone, its one of the ones I use the most, so I hear a unique name or I think of a variation of another name, I write it down in my notes and come back to it later when I'm looking for a name.

Event details
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Name Underlord Release Q&A
Date
Date Feb. 28, 2019
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Location Discord
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Tour Underlord Release
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