Who has the biggest butt in the entire Willverse?
The Wandering Titan, the humanoid Dreadgod. He's kinda got a shell. So, I think that's probably my answer.
Who has the biggest butt in the entire Willverse?
The Wandering Titan, the humanoid Dreadgod. He's kinda got a shell. So, I think that's probably my answer.
Any creatures on Cradle inspired by creatures from Subnautica or other games?
Yes. Ghostwater's whole aesthetic was, you know 'cause I love the underwater theme in general. The leviathans he went out and fought in the water were 100% modeled on Subnautica characters.
Will we see Eithan x Lindon's mom?
Probably not, I mean, you know, I could twist myself, I guess.
If Orthos was in Subnautica would he have sea turtle legs?
Is it possible for you to sell signed books on the will wight store?
At some point I'm gonna be selling signed books, yeah.
Which character would like Subnautica most?
Lindon, 'cause you build stuff and progress.
Have you ever tried to figure out how the Cradle/Cultivation system would work in a tabletop game?
Yes, I have. Usually, the funny thing is what I've been doing recently is I've just been running through a bunch of new concepts for new stuff and I've all been working it out like a tabletop game and tabletop setting. So, I've thought of that about Cradle. The problem is you kinda want the customizability of paths and I don't really see how to do that except unless it's extremely granular, like a GURPS kinda thing, which I don't particularly like. I don't like there being 25 books for all the abilities you can have. So, I don't see any real way to get the customizability of paths in so, you would have to be choosing between set paths with set progression abilities as you progress and I don't know how the progression would work. I would love to write a book that worked perfectly as a TTRPG that would be a lot of fun. It would also help me to keep track of everybody's stuff, 'cause I would actually make character sheets more.
I would love to see any notes you might have on RPGs
I think it'd be a lot easier to do Traveler's Gate as a TTRPG. The problem is balance of course, 'cause half the classes are garbage.
What do you think is the coolest thing you have been able to do due to the success of your books?
There's a couple answers to that. What is the coolest thing I have been able to do due to the success of my books? There's, because I have money now, because I actually make money, because I didn't make any money before I wrote any books. So, I am single and I have a good income so, I can do things, which is pretty cool, so, therefore I get to write on cruise ships. Now I get cheap cruises, 'cause there's a cruise port near my house. So that's the coolest thing I can do, because I can afford it. So, I get to write on cruise ships, which is a great environment for writing, to be honest. So that's pretty cool, but the coolest thing honestly that I do about the job is interacting with fans that's really cool and getting to make up stories, which is just the best.
When are we getting a harem @willwight
I mean if you wanna go back in time as like a pharaoh of some kind. That's probably I think your best bet.
Mercy gets her harem when?
I mean, when she succeeds her mother - you know, if she wants one, she can have one.
Can you give us any hints into the traveler's blade trilogy?
I don't like giving a lot of information on upcoming things mainly because I change my mind a lot. I don't wanna walk myself in and then have people disappointed 'cause what I say doesn't match what they wanted or what they eventually get but I can illustrate my thought process for Traveler's Blade. Traveler's Blade, the problem with it in my mind is I'm not quite sure how to strike the right balance between I want it to be a continuation of the story for people who have read the trilogy. I want it to be like a book 4, not like a complete new triology, but at the same time I want new readers to be able to pick it up without having to read 1 - 3. So, it's hard to strike that right balance. So that's the problem, I got a lot of ideas, I got a lot of things I want to explore but I don't want to leave Simon, 'cause I don't think I'm done with his character, yet and I don't want to isolate people, I don't want people to have to go back and read the original trilogy. I can if I want but I don't want that to be necessary. One of the things I really have considered is starting it off with Simon as an older adult.
Lil' Blue, please speak in only angry bell noises.
You can speak in bell noises of any emotional range you would like, Blue. As long as they're all bell noises, it's consistent.
Is there a post somewhere on books you recommend?
Not really, I find that the books I usually - I like to know people before I recommend books to them. The only books I usually universally recommend are typically the one's that everbody else universally recommends, so, there's nothing new, like if it was written by Brandon Sanderson, you can't go wrong. Just go ahead and read that. I don't have a whole lot of pocket picks. People ask me for my recommendations a lot and I don't know.
Will's EE swag
So I keep this hat, I got a ninja painting when I did Elder Empire, and I hang this pirate hat up next to it. And, fun fact, somebody asked me about maximum nerd level - fun fact, I'm hanging them up on iron hooks I forged myself at a smithy. That's actually true. I took a weekend-long blacksmithing course and so you forge a mound of railroad spikes - it wasn't hard at all, it was pretty cool.
What chinese or korean novels were the most inspirational towards the Cradle series?
It's hard to pick out just one. 'Against the Gods', 'Coiling Dragon', people always assume 'I Shall Seal the Heavens', I did not like 'I Shall Seal the Heavens', I just didn't enjoy it very much. So that was not the best to me but 'A Will Eternal' is really good but it wasn't really an inspiration, 'cause it came out after I started writing 'Cradle', but that was one of them. There were some korean novels, some korean cultivation stuff, too, like 'Gosu'. So, 'Gosu' is a big deal, 'Veritas' was an influence on the magic system, 'The Breaker' that was a big one. 'The Turorial Is Too Hard' was not an influence on 'Cradle', I didn't start reading that until after I had started writing 'Cradle'. It's good, I like it. I wish 'Veritas' had gotten a sequel or continuation, 'cause I thought it was really great. I thought 'The Breaker' had a lot of potential and some of it it lived up to and some of it it didn't, but I didn't really like it and then it didn't conclude, so, I hope the artist is doing great. These are korean kind of martial arts comics that had some impact and influence on 'Cradle'.
Who is your favorite cradle character, as a writer?
I have a lot of favorite characters, I don't know, I mean I like the characters. I don't know what to say. It's hard for me to pick a favorite. People say it's like picking your favorite kid, but not really, 'cause if I did have a favorite I would definitely just pick it, but I don't know.
Who is your LEAST favorite?
Again, if I had a character I didn't enjoy writing, I just probably wouldn't write them. So, Dross is hard, he's not my least favorite character, but he's hard to write. I usually do an entire pass on the book that's just Dross dialogue, I do that for Dros and Yerin. I don't do that for anybody else. So that's difficult, he causes me a lot of work, but I like him.
Who is your favorite character in all your books?
Look, I really like Eithan, I think that's pretty obvious from the way I have fun writing him, mainly just 'cause writing a character like Eithan allows you to do a lot of really fun stuff. So, when I'm writing characters, the number one thing I usually do is I go "ok, i have a general idea of what the story is gonna be about" and so, the first thing I do is, I name them after their role in the plot. So, Alin initially was 'rival', 'cause I didn't wanna come up with a name for him so, I named him after his role in the plot and his role in the relationship to Simon pursuing his goal was 'rival'. Then I started coming up with names for people. Then I go "ok, what kind of person would fill that role in this circumstance?" - That's when I fill in their personality, so, I make sure that their personality feeds into what role they have in the story. That's usually how I do it, but Eithan was a character I really just wanted to have in one of my books, he's actually one of the earliest characters I ever created, because I loved the idea of somebody, who could just see and hear every single thing going on around him and so, he used that to just pop up out of nowhere.
In the original draft of what would eventually become 'Cradle', it looks very different now, so, these are not at all spoilers because this is almost completely unrelated to modern 'Cradle', except with the words, but it was originally an Abidan series called 'The Ghost and the Spider'. This was gonna be the name of book one. 'The Ghost and the Spider' was following the Abidan, these people training to be Abidan and 'The Ghost' was Mercy. It was actually a very different version of Mercy, she was very quite and withdrawn, kind of an emotionless sort of character, so, basically the opposite of Mercy now. 'The Spider' was gonna be Eithan, because he has detection powers. So, Eithan was 'The Spider' and so, he had these powers like Eithan has in the real books and so, he would use 'em to pop up and so, Mercy was 'The Ghost' and she had inherent similar powers of 'she couldn't be detected at all', so, the only one who could detect her was Eithan and so, they had this really neat dynamic, where nobody noticed her and everybody noticed Eithan, except for him, who noticed her, so, they were both popping up and neither of them were the main character and so, they would all like pop up out of nowhere. Anyway I liked that dynamic, I had a lot of fun and so, Eithan survived into 'Cradle'.
At what rank would someone be able to A)dodge a normal bullet and b) essentially ignore the damage a normal bullet would do?
Prior to Underlord, you are reliant on your techniques to do that. So, if you have techniques that would allow you to dodge a bullet - you don't have the reaction speed for it, so you couldn't see the bullet coming and then dodge it, but you might have a technique that improved your defense to the point that you could take a bullet, or one that moved you out of the way of a bullet as soon as you saw someone, like, pointing a gun at you. So, yeah, there could be techniques.
At Underlord, then it depends on your Iron body, it depends on your Path, but at Underlord you start having the level of reaction time to do something like that. Later on - Sages, for instance, can basically just ignore bullets and the speed of bullets except under very specific circumstances. I'm going to leave that there because it gets into spoilers about the higher-level magic systems.
What would happen if a person was in a void key when it closed?
so if you're in a void key when it closes, you're fine, i know that sounds weird, theres actually nothing unusual about that, its a seperate space. The problem is, theres a limited amound of air in most void keys, so you will eventualy suffocate. But there's no spacial isolation, you're not lost in time or space, you're not cut off from reality
Hey Will, If you suddenly teleported to Cradle and gained the ability to practice the sacred arts. What path would you choose and why?
So here's an interesting fact about me, what I do with every one of my books, is I make sure I'm prepared for the eventuality that I am magically transported into the world. Because so many people have not prepared for that, and it's too likely to avoid. So I therefore include a stash in all of my books, where there are things for me, that I know where they are, and nobody else does. So if I get sucked into the world, I'll be fine. So the Path I have chosen is the Path of the Cloud Hammer, from the Blackflame Empire, which I know I didnt get into, but its a cloud and force path, so its very versatile, its also something I can use to get along normally in the world, and i've included a lot of different artifacts and elixirs and stuff, to get me up to code, as well as some training things, so that I dont completely suck. So i've done that.
In Elder Empire, I left one file at the Consultants Guild, in all the major cities I've left a bunch of invested items and Awakened items under my name, that will help protect me, keep me alive, and protect me from Elders, so that I can just live out my life, and a bunch of money, because they have paper money in Elder Empire, so I just left myself a bunch of cash.
Then in Traveler's Gate I buried in a bunch of key locations, I have buried a lot of artifacts from Territories, that will allow me to get along and basically able to live a comfortable life in Damasca and not get murdered by Travelers. So basically what I did was I made sure that I could live as a normal person in these inhospitable worlds that I was in. In Traveler's Gate I didn't find a way to make myself a Traveler or anything, I think probably I would rather just live as a regular person.
Hi Will, interested in hearing a bit about your writing process. Maybe this sort of thing is proprietary/confidential for authors, so apologies if overstepping.How do you go about structuring the actual writing of your books? Do you write linearly, one chapter at a time, or do you jump around, writing scenes from future places in the book before filling in the gaps? (or, none of the above).How often do you change what you've originally written? I'm sure there is a lot of editing that goes on, but do you often read back over sentences/paragraphs/chapters and change everything that's there? I guess I'm wondering what % of your writing you end up keeping after it's first put down on paper.
It changes. what they tell you a lot is they tell you to sit down and write a certain amount per day, write 2 hours a day, write 1500 words per day, write from 8 to 10 am and make sure you....whatever whatever whatever. I can't do that, I'm not very good a writing to a schedule, so instead of trying that, is I write in blocks of time, so I isolate myself for 3 or 5 days or a week, as much time as I can and I just write all day. So I write all day, I sprint rather than marathon basically. For me, that helps me to stay more productive, and helps me keep more focussed, because as I'm writing for those 3 days, I am completely in that world, I'm in Cradle, I'm not thinking of anything else, I don't take phone calls, I don't do anything else, I just write. So that's the way I actually write.
So what I normally do, is a write a brief idea of what the book is going to be about first. So I try to come up with enough minimum information that I can start working, so I try to start working as soon as possible in the process. When its a series it's a lot easier because I don't have to, for instance, outline who Lindon is and where he was up 'til this point, because I know who Lindon is and I know exactly where he's been up 'til this point because I've written six books about it. So that part gets easier as the series progresses. So I write that basic idea, I write down any ideas of what I think is going to be cool, what do I want to include in the book, and so on and so forth, but not a real detailed like chapter by chapter break down of what's going to happen. Then I try to start writing ASAP. I get to start writing and I usually write sequentially, so I start at the beginning and I continue. However, what I tried this last time, and I'm probably going to do something like this moving forward, was I knew there were certain key scenes, and in this case they were the rounds of the tournament, but there were key scenes that I was definitely going to be including, and I knew how they would go and I knew all that stuff. So I decided to write those first. I went through an wrote all Lindon's rounds, and I wrote those one at a time, I wrote the first round and then the second round but I skipped all the stuff in between the rounds. That allowed me to really nail down the bigger structure of the book so it doesn't change, because a lot of times as I'm writing the book I get halfway through and I'm like "oh man I have this cool idea, and it'd be so neat", and then I start changing what I'd originally planned, and that's what ends up taking a lot longer in the books. Then I afterwards went in and I was like "okay so I know now what needs to go between rounds".
So that's what I did this last time. I'm probably going to do that again. The reason I did that is so that I don't start changing my mind halfway through and end up taking too long.
How much of my writing do I [Will] keep?
I usually keep most of it, now, but I used to write basically two words for every word I kept. Less that I was going through and cutting things and more that I would write something and I would just toy with it. Over the course of developing a scene, I would end up writing twice as much. It would take me a thousand words to write a five hundred word scene.
Who was the last person from cradle to join the Abidan, and which faction did they join?
I dont know the answer to that off the top of my head. some of these things i'm going to have either say read and find out or I dont know off the top of my head 'cos some of this stuff comes from notes, and I dont really have time to consult my notes, so I am gonna just have to say...sorry.
Will, Can you name and describe a sword path we have not seen yet in the books, Thank you, big fan
I dunno if i can name a sword path, because I wanna make sure that, naming is one of the things I spend the most time on and its very difficult, and so there could be some that I have named and theyre in my notes and there could be some that I know about but i havent named yet, so naming it is harder than describing it.
But, i actually was thinking today about some of the things that we haven't seen in the books, and some of the things we haven't seen are some weird sword paths, because there are some! There are sword and life paths, where there is this like laser thin green light that cuts through your life line and severs you, and that kind of thing. There are sword and fire paths where you fight with kind of like lightsabers. There would be alot of really neat fun flexible sword paths.
Now of course the most common thing are sword and blood paths, so plain sword paths are common, sword and blood paths are common. There are sword and earth paths, which I think was what Kiro was on, he might have been force, I don't remember off the top of my head, but they're similar, thats why I get those confused.
So those are some of the kinda things that you can do with a sword path. There are also of course sword and wind paths that kind of duplicate what you see in anime where the wind user sends the razor sharp gust of wind at his opponent, the "kamaitachi" kind of thing, thats a path. So there are definitely things like that, pretty much any combination. I wanted to do a sword and dream path, because I just thought that would be fun, just to kind of see what it did, like does it cut your mind and your memories? But I haven't developed that out yet.
Have you ever considered partnering with an artist to make a graphic novel of one or more of your books?
Yes I have considered that. So as a matter of fact yesterday I was at Ringling which is primarily an art university, and so I was talking to some of the professors there about what it would take to get as graphic novel or a comic produced. One of the things they suggested which I thought was very interesting that some other authors do, is instead of a full length graphic novel, something like a 20 or 30 page comic, that could come out more frequently and not require a novel length script. Because a graphic novel requires a novel's worth of development, and a shorter comic doesn't. Thats something i'd be very interested in, and they said they had some students who were interested in that. I know there are alot of artists you could hire on a commission basis, and that would be something that I would definitely look into.
But writing a comic script is a seperate skill set that i have never developed because i have never written a comic before. So I would either have to learn how to do that or work with somebody else who was really good at that particular... (Will gets cut off by a tea delivery in a fancy mug, available on willwight.com!!) So something like the deathmatches would make a great comic, Maybe! maybe! that would be a really cool....I would love to be able to see that stuff visually.
One of the reasons i've considered a comic is I know in the action/visual heavy series; with a lot of magic and a lot of action, they fit well in comic form. So that would be something I think my books would be suited for, but obviously I cant do it on my own, and thus far since i'm the only content producer, other than Travis Baldree who's fantastic, anything we do, it has to be within my abilities and I dont know how to write a comic. So I could do my best and I could learn how or I could learn from someone else who's good at it, but thats definitely something we're absolutely considering.
we need an anime
When I looked into how much it cost to develop an anime series, it takes 1.5 to 2 million dollars for one season of anime and I don't have 1.5 to 2 million dollars, but over time, potentially, we could generate that, 'cause I do put most of the money that I make back into hidden gnome. I pay myself a salary out of the money that goes into the business. What we do with the money is when we get the check at the end of the month what happens is amazon cuts us a check two months after the royalties come in. When we get the money, we immediatly put 10 to 15 percent into an account to giveaway, or no, the minimum we do is I think 12 percent. We range it between 12 and 20 depending where the check comes from. That's the first thing we do and after that we pay taxes. Of course, the whole amount, I'm not cheating anybody out of taxes. We also save and pay expenses and employees and that kind of thing. I'm one of the employees we pay, so, I get my salary. Then, after that most of it goes into the business account - we save it or we invest it in the business. So, we're saving up quite a bit of money. My personal preference would be that someday we have enough stocked up that we could someday do an anime. That'd be amazing. Those are my nerd dreams.
How much does an audiobook cost to produce?
That question varies wildly and is difficult for me to answer. It doesn't cost me very much in terms of the amount it generates, but that's because I'm comparing it to audiobooks in successful series that I know are gonna generate a lot of money. So therefore to me, they make a lot more than they cost. But if you're just trying to get your own audiobook made, it may be relatively expensive. That's probably a question better suited for Travis Baldree.
Many xianxia books feature notable similarities - development of the dantian as a source of power, sudden enlightenment leading to huge breakthroughs, people yelling "you are courting death!" before getting stomped, and so forth. What are some of your most liked and most disliked themes and similarities found across xianxia novels?
That's a good question. The interesting thing is, you can probably answer this for me. The reason why, is Cradle is my version of that genre with the stuff I dislike cut out and the stuff I like included, with one notable exception. The notable exception being, I really do like the deep roots and Taoist mythology and the themes of intellectual and spiritual self improvement. I've basically stuck with kind of magical martial self improvement, I think I could have done more character development. So I like those things, and I didn't include those mainly because they're not really included in those books, they're more culturally included. So the author often doesn't develop them at all, the reader just understands, the reader in the native culture that these stories are intended for, kind of understands the cultural context there. So Western readers often don't, I know I didn't, didn't get any of this Taoist immortal cultivation stuff. So I like that stuff, and I left it out of Cradle, so that's the only exception to that.
What I did with Cradle primarily was, I was reading these Chinese cultivation novels, and as well Korean and martial cultivation novels, there's some Japanese stuff in there and other nationalities and cultures that they came from. So I was reading these stories and I really liked a lot of the concepts, I loved progression, I loved the tie between magic and the universe, I loved all this stuff, the problem is when I recommended them to other people, my friends, they were turned off by the hasty writing. Often they are written in haste, because they're written one page or one chapter at a time every day, and so you can't spend a whole lot of time on each chapter.
Or they're turned off by the translations. The translations are done by fans who I think typically do a fantastic job, but they are fan translators and so they often don't read like they're written in English, they read like they're written in another language and then translated which is perfectly appropriate, but some people don't enjoy that.
They were tuned off by some other cultural differences, and one of the main cultural differences that turns people off is they way Chinese novels treat women. The treatment of female characters in Chinese cultivation novels is often very unfortunate, so I'm not going to go too much into that 'cos that's the sure fire way to get myself clubbed over the back of the head, but it is not good. For one thing, on the lowest level, women are treated as weaker than men, even though there's no like in universe magic system reason why that should be true, 'cos all of your strength comes from your cultivation and your advancement and your magic so therefore why should your physical body have any impact on that whatsoever.
So it's always weird that why in this culture would there be a hierarchy between sexes because at no point in this cultures development were men actually stronger than women. So that's always kinda weird, but then also there tends to be a lot of over sexualization/sexual abuse, there's high level of chivalry that ends up kinda being condescending and patronizing in, I'm not naming any specifics here but that tends to be the trend in a lot of the genre. So I was very much not a big fan of that.
So that was one of the things I really I didn't like, and another thing I didn't like, this is something I liked and didn't like, was the ruthless pursuit of power, because on the one hand, if you live in a world where you can learn to do anything, including fly and be immortal, yeah everybody is gonna be ruthless in they're pursuit of power, because that makes sense, why wouldn't you be?
So obviously I kept that to a degree in Cradle, but what I didn't really like was that the main character was very amoral. So what I've tried to do was that I've tried to take Lindon as more toward that side and make him less like that as he's grown and progressed as a character. So I've tried to make him, not more moral, but more sympathetic or more compassionate.
Those were some of the things I that liked and didn't like, what I loved is the action focus, the progression focus, the fast pace, a lot of times even though they're telling the same story over and over and over and that does kind of wear on you, because basically every single cultivation novel is the same story, 90% of them I guess. There's always some difference, and the other thing is there's really an infinite amount of ways a story can play out, because it's all about progress, and it's all about personal development, and it's all about getting your universe. So seeing the same story play out in dozens of different ways is honestly pretty cool, I kinda liked that. I started off seeing that as a detriment, and now I almost see it as a pro rather than a con.
All the stuff I thought was really good about cultivation novels, the pacing, the progression, the way magic is influenced into the culture and the way that there is no highest level, where the ladder never ends, all that stuff was worked into Cradle. The stuff I didn't like, the treatment of women, the way that it relied on cultural assumptions to deliver the magic system and the general kinda relationship to the reader, and then some of the repetition that I also didn't like, so I cut that stuff. The stuff I liked but then couldn't include was the cultural background which is very rich and amazing and one of the reasons I encourage you to check out the originals, because the original cultural background is really cool.
How are new methods for creating iron bodies discovered?
That very much depends, there are some Monarchs and Sages and high-level people that just understand how this works, and they'll develop it. There are also some sects that have figured out - they spend a lot of time trying to develop new Iron bodies. People understand the principles behind them, so a lot of people who really understand how it works can guess or develop new ones. And some people can guess at what it might take to develop an Iron body and they can try to execute it. And after that it becomes trial and error.
And the trial and error is really where the awkward part comes in because trial and error often involves people ruining their bodies or dying or going through horrific pain.
How many books do you think Cradle will have?
I think 12. I said that recently on the subreddit. Which I fully understand, not everyone looks at the subreddit, so why would you know that? But I recently decided there is going to 12 for a couple of reasons. One is cradle is not structured in trilogies, but that's four trilogies. That's enough content. Secondly, it's a good length and I think that's about when I want them to reach an endpoint. That feels right to me, I think I can do the stuff I want to do in five more novels. After that there might be a spin-off or a continuation. Who knows? I would like to do some new stuff, because I just love doing new stuff. One of the things I like the most is coming up with new ideas, I just love doing that, and I don't get to do that a lot when I'm working on one series. That is something I'm looking forward to, and I also would like to go back to Traveler's Gate, it's been a long time. But of course, Elder Empire first.
Where did the name come from for the territory Lirial?
Yikes. That's a great question because obviously most of the other territories are named after mythical afterlives. Lirial is one of the ones that I just made up. One of the things I do sometimes is I think of words that would just sound cool and I turn them into names. And that's really where Lirial came from. I wanted it to sound cool and ethereal because of course it's the moon territory.
Are any there any characters whose personality is based off of a real person, in your life or otherwise?
Cash for Gold now! So, I don't really do that. That's a common question I get and I understand why, but I actually don't really base characters off of the personalities of people I know. I don't find that to be helpful. For one thing, and I know this sounds bad, I find it difficult to reduce people I know's personality to a character that I am comfortable working with. So, it would be a caricature of them and I don't feel very comfortable...I know a lot of people get a lot of inspiration from that and they are cool with that. Also, all of my friends and family reads my books, so they would immediately know who this was. So, I guess I can take mannerisms from people sometimes, I can take character details and cool names from people, but I don't really do that.
Are you worried at all that as Lindon and Co.'s advancement continues into the heavens, are you worried at all about being able to maintain interest in fights as they escalate to ever more ridiculous levels? After all, Naruto struggled with that towards the end.
I am worried about my ability to convey the scale of the fights. I'm not worried about the fights scaling beyond interest. I think I'm going to design the fights well but am I going to execute them well? I'll try my best I can promise that. One of the big problems I've had with the serious so far is because Lindon and company are always competing against people who are roughly on their level, you never get enough of a sense of how strong they really are. So that's what I'm worried about - not conveying scale because I continue to escalate everything up with the characters.
The Sword Sage could cut a single page of closed book. Could Eithan read a page of a closed book?
That's a good question! Ah...no, he could not as a matter of fact, that's actually something he could not do.....right now. So it could be that once he advances further, he could end up developing that ability, but for now, no he could not do that
What were the earlier designs of Lindon's path?
So, in Blackflame, when you see Lindon choose from those other Paths, those were all things I considered for his path at one point. Though by that point I'd already decided he'd end up with Blackflame. In the Megaman Battle games there's a character called Bass. He's this rogue/virus kind of thing with a cool purple laser sword and powers. Anyway, I always thought that look was a really neat. So I took that aesthetic for a Path in Cradle and that's the Path of the Broken Star.
That was one of the one's I originally intended for Lindon, but I intended a lot of stuff for Lindon. There was at one point a plan to have him learn just a million different paths. I ended up straying away from that (though I'm not saying he won't split his core at least once more, maybe, potentially, could happen, who knows). But he's not going to be master of a thousand Paths because that's too many powers and the problem with giving someone too many powers is less that the reader can't remember it and more that if you don't know what a character can't do they can effectively do anything.
I thought about giving him all sorts of this stuff. But if he does split his core again there's going to be a limited number of things he can do. The reason why I went with Blackflame as his power was first of all because it was kind of in contrast to what you'd expect from Lindon - you wouldn't expect him to have this hyper aggressive Path that does allow him to fight on the level of people he probably shouldn't be able to fight; and it's cool to see in action and it contradicts who Lindon usually is so there's some interesting stuff you could do with that.
Hey Will, is Lindon's Bloodforged Iron Body and a typical Sandviper's both considered "Perfect Iron" in terms of advancement potential? I've always been a little uncertain, since "perfect" is kind of a binary term but we see with Lindon that the same specialization can have a large degree of difference
Yeah so that's a problem. I regret that terminology. What I should have done was call them 'Advanced Iron Bodies' or something; because I say perfect and that suggests that there are not any grades of quality (which of course there are). So I've created this implication that both Lindon's Iron Body and this other person's Iron body are both equally perfect when of course that is not so. So there are actually grades of Perfect Iron Body so of course they're not all perfect. The terminology I reget on that but I'm stuck with it now.
What is the Cradle equivalent to Hershey's? Do they even have chocolate?
They do have chocolate.
In the Traveler's Gate books, both the ice dagger and diamond are powers that are said to be earned from a room called the winter garden. I was wondering if this was a mistake on your part, or if it is an example of a room holding more than one power?
Yes. So there's a couple of things in play there. For one thing, the power earned from a room can change - like the guardian and trial, that all can change. So there are examples of that happening. There's also examples of there being two powers because in some of these rooms, just beating the room once is enough to progress through it, and then you've got to really show mastery in order to get the power. But then in other rooms maybe there's one power and then a second power. Now, I don't remember about that room specifically because it's been a really long time since I wrote those books, but it could have changed or it could be, instead, that you just earn two powers from that room. That's absolutely something that could happen.
Suriel v. Beerus
I don't know how that would go. The problem with Suriel v. Beerus, for one thing, I don't know how Beerus's powers work. I don't know how [inaudible] destruction energy works, I don't know how any of that works. I don't think anybody does. I don't think there's really an answer to that, I think they just kinda work. But I think that, if I assume Beerus's powers to work on the same level as Suriel's, he has no authority to erase her, but she can still restore herself, so he would be probably stronger in a fight and she would be able to just restore herself. So I think it would probably be a stalemate, because she would just kind of not die.
Let it Go or Baby Shark? You have to listen to one for the rest of your life or else you cant read ever again
Its probably Let it Go. If i had to listen to something on loop for the rest of my life, probably be Let it Go.....thats a more interesting song, and there's more to it.
Since we know the Iteration is called Cradle ... what do the inhabitants of Cradle call their world? Is it rutabaga? or do all humans call the main planet terra or earth?
My thought on that is that almost always unless people are aware of a larger universe they just have a word that means the world, so we'd just translate it to Earth. That's usually my answer to that, because there's all these fantasy worlds where the inhabitants call their Earth "Kren", or whatever. And it's like - that's cool, that's really neat, that makes sense, they call it "Narnia" or whatever. I like knowing the name but would the inhabitants of their world really call it that, or just call it the world? So that's always my thought process on that. Depending on the language, they have different words - so that's just the world for Earth in their language.
If Lindon had known more scripting or Soulsmithing, could he have converted the water binding into a near-unlimited canteen?
Yes, and that's commonly done. You can drain water from the atmosphere and you pick up water. That is something he absolutely could've done. It's not unlimited because the binding still would run out at some point, but it would be effectively, as long as it lasted, an unlimited canteen.
Does orthos have a normal turtle head or the chinese dragonish head?
More like a nornal turtle, its less like the actual chinese dragon turtle creature, which is really a form of dragon in that case. So its more like a turtle.
How often do you read LitRPG books? Opinions on the future of the genre or of the progression fantasy genre as a whole? This includes Xianxia and Wuxia as well as LitRPG and some Manga iseka stuff. Just a fad or here to stay?
So the overlap, that people have noticed, between these Chinese cultivation novels and LitRPG is that they are more systematized, supposably they have a more harder magic system, but in reality they just have more rules and they have more specific things to know, a lot of times their magic systems are not hard at all. They have a focus on progression, on leveling up, they have that fantasy of getting stronger as part of the system, as part of the story. That's the overlap.
So what progression fantasy is, is what Andrew Rowe and I started calling, mostly Andrew Rowe, full credit to Andrew, he came up with this term, which is a good term, but what we started calling what we write, which has that progression built in, and it has those systems of progression, but its not LitRPG 'cos its not in a video game and it's not exactly cultivation, it's kind of an in between. So its more of a blanket term for fantasy that focuses on cultivation as a primary method of advancement. Wheel of Time for instance shows a lot of progression in the main characters...like he grows stronger as a channeler and he grows better at doing what he does, but its not really a progression fantasy, because that's not the focus of the series, that's just something that happens. Main characters often get better and stronger and whatever, but its not focussed on his progression, it's really focussed on how he relates to the world, and how he grows into the person the world needs him to be. That is less of a progression fantasy.
So I have read a lot of LitRPG, I wouldn't say I frequently read a lot for LitRPG, because its not my cup of tea, I've never enjoyed it much, and there's a good reason for that. I'm not sure what it is, but im sure its a good reason. I read LitRPG and I just can't get into it much, either it takes place inside an actual game, or a VR game, in which case, if it's takes place inside a game, why am I not just playing a game...I would rather just go and...I don't feel like the stakes are real, because they're just playing a game, and I don't really care cos I'd just rather go play a game. If its not inside a game, if its inside a world that works like a game, usually it's just the character running around playing the game, that is usually what a good rpg does, is it gets you really involved in the character just running around playing the game, and that's not compelling to me, I don't enjoy that, its... I don't know, I want there to be some significance to it, I want there to feel like there's a story playing out, I don't want to see him go on his quest, kill fifteen wolves and take their pelts back. When I'm playing a MMO and I'm doing a quest, I'm not fantasising about doing a quest, I'm fantasizing about being an awesome warrior or wizard or whatever, and part of what I do is go around and I do these things because there's an important reason and I'm going get something out of it, so therefore reading a book about someone going around doing these fetch quests is not my favourite thing in the world.
I've read what everybody recommended to me, I've read what people considered the best in the genre, I read them fairly regularly, I just don't like them that much. However, having said all that, I play a lot of video games, I really like their stories and I really like the experience of playing them. Obviously what I'm writing in Cradle, if you put numbers on the powers and the abilities, and you said Burning Cloak takes 5% hp per second but it increases your attack by whatever, and you put numbers on it it would basically be a LitRPG, so I'm not against that in theory, so I think there's probably a LitRPG that I'd enjoy writing, I just don't know what it is. I've spend a lot of time running at that and trying to figure out what is the LitRPG that I would want to write, what's Will Wight's favourite dream LitRPG that I can make happen. I don't know yet, I don't know what that is. There's also some adjacent genres like the dungeon novels like for instance, Dakota Krout write in the Dungeon Born Series, which I enjoyed those. So those LitRPG adjacent are considered LitRPG, I don't consider them LitRPG but they're similar, like Isekai and that kind of thing. Those I like, and I could easily see writing something like that, but it would have to be an idea that really struck me, that carried me.
I think a version of the genre is always going to be here, and has always been here, because these are... I mean Conan the Barbarian, it's not progression but its somebody going around fighting a bunch of stuff ad-infinitum. He goes around, he fights, he wins, he gets loot, he goes home and rinse and repeats in the morning. So I think that this kind of genre is going to take different forms, its fashion, a lot of literature stuff is literally movements or fashion and they come and go like anything else. I think some from of this is going to be here to stay.
What nobody asked and I'm going to answer anyway, is 'What is the new thing I wanna write and develop?' I want to develop something that is kind of in that world, in the isekai-isekai, by the way, is a Japanese genre, it's from another world. It's like people in our world being sent to another world. I don't really wanna write that particularly, like somebody that's literally from this world that we inhabit right now because I don't want to incorporate Earth slang or Earth words, that kind of breaks me out of it a lot. But what they do is they get teleported basically into a fantasy world, and then they have to learn to survive and adapt in that world. So I don't mind the idea of an outsider having to learn to survive and adapt in a world he's not familiar with and it is kind of a standard fantasy world. He's going around doing standard fantasy things, like adventuring. Kinda like if you got pulled into a D&D game. Something like that, some mix of that and dungeon novels and LitRPG, something in there is something I'd like to write. Kind of a light novel concept. I've been developing a lot of those. Attempting to develop a lot of those, I have not gotten very far. I want to have a good vision for what it is before I begin writing it, and I don't, so I have not.
I've tried a bunch of stuff, one of the things I've tried most recently is a world kinda based on the magic system of 5th Edition but more of the worldbuilding of 4th Edition [D&D] because 4th edition has better worldbuilding than 5th edition does because 5th edition is kind of designed to do whatever game you wanna run. Therefore they don't tell you what goes on in the world, you decide as the DM. So I have tried to do some stuff like that, and I didn't really like it. It didn't work for me. Maybe I'll continue developing that and that will eventually ring my bells, but so far not.
One of the things I've tried often is 'What if I just sat down and I just put very little planning and thought into it, and I just wrote one of these isekai or web novels, or if I just wrote a character just running around a fantasy world. I can't do it. I don't work that way. I sit down and I start writing and I have no interest in this person or place. I have to have some development in the world in order to want to explore it so I just don't enjoy it. I tried to write it off the top of my head, and I couldn't do it.
Is there a decision/scene/event which wasn't pre-planned (i.e. you decided on something while writing a book that wasn't part of the vision for the series) which has greatly impacted the story's direction? What is that decision/event/scene?
Alright. Yes. Absolutely there is. There's a lot of them. I don't even know where to begin answering that question. Not because its a bad question, it's a great question, but because there's so many answers to that...So, when I'm writing, one of the reasons why I wrote Uncrowned the way I did in terms of writing the major rounds first and then going in and filling in the gaps is because I needed to lock down the story line because if I don't lock down the story line I change my mind constantly and I'm always like 'aw, I've got a better idea' and 'aw, this would be an awesome thing I could explore.' So, I have to lock that down so I don't, so the story doesn't run away with me. There were a few, mostly, I'll create characters or concepts or powers or places just because..So if you've read Traveler's Gate, there is a scene in the second book that is everybody's favorite room in the house, in Valinhall, and its these water cats that are made of water and they...there's rain in the room and its an enclosed room in a magical house, but it basically is like this open garden because magic and its raining and there are gaps in the rain that form the basis of perfect movement that you have to fight your way through the rain and if you touch the raindrops, the rain stops and the raindrops coalesce into these cats made of water that then attack you. And I loved the visual design of that room and that took me absolutely no time at all to come up with because I just came up with that off the top of my head. That entire concept was completely random. I was just like 'Hmm, I need this room to be cool,' tap, tap, tap, 'what's coming out of my fingers? There it is.' So that was one of my ideas that I was like 'Huh, that was cool.' And, yep, that was a surprise to all of us when that happened and so then I thought it was really great and so I came back to the room and I knew that in this room which I didn't know the details of, but I knew that in this room this was gonna be something that Simon was going to attempt multiple times, this was kind of going to be his growth over the course of the book, and it was and that was very cool. So, I really liked that. That's one thing that was completely of the top of my head. What about in Cradle? What was something in Cradle that I didn't plan? I don't know. There's definitely some, I don't know. Let me think back to Underlord, there's gotta be something there. For one thing, its hard for me to remember where each idea came from sometimes but its very often I'm writing the book and....but anyway, that happens all of the time. It doesn't usually affect the whole shape of the book. For instance, I had already plotted out that Simon goes to a room and he ends up learning and growing over the course, and he gets mentored. So, what happens in the plot, I had already determined and it didn't change that. But the actual execution of what the room looks like that and how that all worked out was all pure improv.
Who are Orthos’s parents? And which one is dragon?
Neither of them are dragons. He comes from a line of dragon turtles. So one of his distant ancestors was a dragon in the shape of a turtle
What stage was Li Markuth at when he invaded Sacred Valley?
So in terms of advancement, he would be like a Sage, that would be the area he'd be at. But he was gone for a long time, so he also learned some of the magic beyond cradle, so he would therefore be more powerful than any sage in the world, which is why a long time ago when people asked me what level he was at, and I said Archlord, but I also said similar level to the Blackflame emperor... well the reason I did is because in an early draft, the Blackflame emperor was originally intended to be an Archlord. So that's what I was thinking, is Archlord, Sage and then Li Markuth. But I new even then that he was using magic beyond cradle, because he'd gone beyond cradle so I knew that was true, its not a retcon, I was aware of that, but its just hard to talk about things that are coming up without spoilers.
There's another thing that a lot of Cradle kinda looks like i'm making up the power levels as i go, and every once in a while i am...like i'll make up something, like there'll be something I didn't know the answer to, and I knew I'd need to figure out at some point but usually that's terminology or exact specific function, because i had the general idea of how all these ranks worked way back in Unsouled. I came up with most of this pretty early but i didn't know exactly the terms i was gonna use cos i didn't know how it'd work and what i liked and how it fit. It looks like i'm coming up with it as i go mainly because im trying not to overload the reader, I'malready overloading the reader with way too many terms they don't understand. The more ranks i throw at people earlier the more confusing that gets, so i try to not deal with it until it actually comes up in the plot, so as a result it feels like it just came out of nowhere like "wait a second now everybody know what an Underlord is", they're also moving to more advanced areas of the world where they do know what an Underlord is. But its really more about trying to control the release of information to the reader for the sake of confusion, and for the sake of what makes sense in the world.
Herald is the level just below monarch but in skysworn it is shown that the gatekeepers of akura castle are remnants matching herald in power and it makes it seem like herald is not a big deal since herald level powered remnants are used to just guard gates was it because at the time you intended to be a few more levels between herald and monarch or some other reasoning?
Good question. I admit that that was more of a presentation problem than anything else. The reason why I did that is just to show that the resource reach of the Akura family and also to show that even the most advanced remnants still do, remnants do weird things, so that's kind of part of what I was trying to show there. I did intend them to be Heralds because what I intended was the Akura have virtually unstoppable guards at their gates. The reason why they are doing mundane guard duty despite being as powerful in combat as heralds is...so, that's kind of why I had them be Heralds, but its also, remnant behavior is really simplistic, they're almost like, not robots because robots make it seem like they follow a specific set of programming. It's really more like there are only certain aspects of a person where you remove the rest of the aspects and then you kind of stitch the remaining aspects together, so they are not full people. They are not fully what we would call sentient, aware, or intelligent in most cases. So, therefore, its difficult to say that they are aware, these particular remnants, just by being as powerful as Heralds are also, they just guard things. That's what they do. So, they are compulsive about guarding things. They will just stand there and guard it as the world crumbles around them. So that's what I was trying to illustrate about remnants, but I didn't go into that at all so, you didn't even miss anything, I just didn't convey it.
Is there such a thing as Gravity Aura, or is it just Force Aura? If there is: are there gravity paths? If it's force aura: do any force paths cycle it?
I actually had a real difficulty about that! When I initially came up with the Fishers, they were using gravity aura, they were using attractive force aura so it was effectively the power of gravity. That's what they were doing because gravity was a constant power....so I ended up saying no, what they call connection madra or whatever was just directional force madra. So I ended up saying no on that, sometime in development that's what earth power was going to be, was just gravity, kind of like the dresden files where earth magic is gravity magic, but I steered away from that.
How much was Ravnica an influence on Asylum's guilds?
Absolutely zero, despite what you would think, I realise I ended up in a similar place. But I had not actually played a Ravnica block at the time I came up with that system, so I really missed out, because there's some great, really colourful, fleshed out guilds there. One of the things I would have taken from that is the distinct visual styles between the guilds, also the nature of the guilds, they way the interact with one another, the way they think of one another, the alliances that form between guilds, all of that stuff I could have learned from and maybe enriched the guilds a little more, maybe made the world even more interesting than it is. All of that I could have learned from Ravnica, but I didn't! Because I didn't really know anything about how Ravnica's guilds worked. I knew that like, for instance, the red/white combo was called Boros, because I did play Magic, but I didn't know anything about the guild it was named after.
So that was not something that has anything...yeah really, it's also Magic the Gathering, the Plains Walkers didn't have any impact on the territories either. I fully understand why people thought they did, but they didn't really. Really it's just the themed power coming from them, that's an overlap, but I didn't think "oh man Magic does this what can I do to develop....", I maybe should have again, but I never really got into, until after I started writing, I never got into Magic for the lore reasons, I was always playing it for the mechanics, I just enjoyed the games. So I didn't do anything with that.
One of the things I regret is that in Magic time travel, time magic is called Clockworking, which is the greatest name for time magic ever conceived of by man, and I really wish I had thought of that.....but I didn't.
Are there aspects of madra aligned with emotions? Like anger or happiness madra, or would those be derivatives of dream madra?
They would be derivatives of dream madra. So one of the things I did not do a great job of conveying at the beginning was how the world works, like what aura is, and I wish I had. So I initially didn't want to limit the types of madra because I didn't want to limit myself, I wanted to be able to use any cool powers I thought of. But what I wished later, because what I've effectively done is I have created an elemental system, so wish I had just names the ten or twelve elements that there are on Cradle, and the ten or twelve common aspects of madra. I didn't because its environmental, so maybe in some places...like again, sword madra is effectively just force madra, but it's so distinct and so concentrated that people can cultivate with it, and make sword paths and so on and so forth.
So I liked the idea of it being mutable like that and being culturally different and different people having different paths based on where they've come from and what they've learned, and they're environment and all that stuff. But what I wish I'd done was have a certain number of static elements, because you can mix and match. I think that's the more compelling part of the magic system, is you go "what would a sword/dream path do? what would a sword/storm path do?", and that's cool to think about, that's cool the picture. Where as when your trying to figure out, is there emotion madra? is there leaf madra? is there metal madra? that becomes confusing, because you're like " so okay, my path is not sword and....eyeballs..." and it's like, "thats...play...well, that's not a thing", but it makes you think it might be, and I didn't give a reason why not. So that's one of the regrets I have about developing the system, was I wish there had just been twelve elements, or whatever.
Is it possible to eat a remnant before or after Jade? If so, does one get a goldsign?
It is possible to absorb the power of a remnant before or after Jade, but not in the same way. So no, it is not a goldsign. It is a different relationship between you and the remnant so it's less of a part of your advancement going forward. But you can use it for power, there are other ways to bond with remnants, some people do do that. Other people who don't get a goldsign can get a goldsign later, that's a thing that you can sorta do kinda, but it's never quite the same as if you did it as a gold.
Will we ever see how a Drudge is normally made? It's clear Dross will serve as Lindon's Drudge, but I'm extremely curious how even an Iron Soulsmith can make such a complex and multifunctional construc?
Potentially. I had intended for you to, it's just that Dross kinda works that way. It wasn't intentional that he would work that way, it was intentional that he would have those powers, but I didn't realize until after doing it, I was like 'Huh. He kinda just negates the need for a drudge.' I didn't realize that until after I already gave him to Lindon. I intended for him to do everything he did, I just did not realize that that would do that. So maybe you'll get to see the way a Druge works? I would like to, it's kinda cool.
Are there any cool places/creatures/magic systems you've thought of that you haven't had a chance to share with us in the books, but can talk about here?
Yes there are cool places/creatures/magic systems.
In Cradle, one on the things that I was originally intending, was I wanted ziel to have another sacred beast contract. Just like Lindon does, because we don't see a lot of that, mainly because I don't want to introduce two characters, so it's not something you see anybody but lindon do very much. There are other sacred artists out there that work with sacred beasts. What I really wanted to do was show off somebody else that did that.
Now what his original design called for, instead of a giant hammer and a script based path, he had a void key and he kept creatures in it, and he was kinda like a Pokemon trainer if I'm being honest. So he had a core that allowed him to share and connect with madra from a bunch of different creatures, but he formed a contract in a different way. What he would do, is he would then release these less advanced Sacred Beasts that he had a bond with, and use them according to the situation.
To be honest it was too complex of a power set, it's more suited to a protagonists than a secondary character. Mainly because you have to introduce every single little creature he's fighting with, and you have to describe it, and you have to name it, and because they're sacred beasts they're mostly intelligent, so you have to give them a personality, so instead of creating one character you're creating half a dozen characters.
So I had a mantis that used sword madra, but he didn't grow any bigger, so was literally like the size of a mantis, so he would like go and attack....there was some cool stuff that I did with him, that was neat. Then I could have him really understand Sacred Beasts and talk about the difference between sacred beasts and humans, and how they viewed the world, and there's just a lot of things I wanted to do with that, and that was a cool thing that never made it into the books.
One of the things I developed recently, I spent some time just going through making up some magic systems for fun. One of the ones I worked on was the idea that spells, it's a world I'm envisioning kinda wizards, casting spells, so of course when you think of the traditional fantasy setting, wizards casting spells, it's a very intellectual thing, but there becomes kind of a problem where the spread of information, like so if you have wizards that work like they do in D&D, where its all knowledge and education, and then you have the internet, every wizard is gonna have access to every spell. Not that I was intending to give the internet, but there's a perfectly efficient was to learn these spells.
So therefore I thought, okay what is a way to keep the intellectual nerdy side of it but also it'd be a very personal thing that you really do have to explore in kind of an arcane way. So I thought of, each spell you have to really describe in a personal, interactive way, and by describe I mean write down in a book, or you could do sculptures, you can do songs, you could do poems. What you're doing is you're describing a concept, and this whole whatever, alter or whatever you're building that becomes the structure of the spell, it suggest the nature of what the spell does, so if you're sculpting a really big buff dude, and then you're writing all this poetry about how strength was the most important value, and then you wrote a thesis in your own blood on how only strength matters, maybe you'd get a strength buff, maybe you wouldn't anything because you didn't put enough passion into it. You're subjectively describing the effect you want, rather than objectively describing it like a programmer would to a computer, because its not literally interpreting your commands, its is interpretively and artistically manifesting your ideas.
That feels more magical to me, instead of a scientific mathematical sort of magic system, is more of an artistic, expressive magic system. I thought that would be a cool way of doing it, and it could take years to craft the perfect spell for you, but then once you do, the spells are very flexible and they have a lot of power to them, its not just a spell that sets things on fire, its a spell that is fire, is a living flame or is a spirit of fire or creates a fiery house I don't know, I didn't flesh it out too far. That's something that I really liked, that concept, and that's something I might work on further developing some day.
You mentioned you were recently coming up with some magic systems. How do you start coming up with magic system ideas?
I have a little form I fill out when I'm making a magic system; what are the limitations of the system, what are the actual powers of the system, which sometimes when people are designing magic systems, they forget to have what the system can do, because they've talked about what the system can't do. I have what kinda what makes it work, what are the costs and limitations, what the history of it is, and I have all these little things that I fill in. Usually what happens, what I have to do is narrow down, because of course a generic magic system can do anything right? its magic. So I'm usually picking one narrow theme or set of abilities that it can do. Which means I'm really choosing a set of things it can't do, so usually when I'm working on a magic system I then am thinking about all the things it can't do which then suggests another magic system. That's how I actually did it when I came up with a bunch of magic systems in a row. It normally gives me inspiration for what any other magic system could do.
one of the other things I do, interestingly enough, I come back to D&D because there's a lot of stuff you can think about in D&D, like wizards are just better than non spellcasters in D&D, so the problem that some people refer to is, linear fighter and quadratic wizards, so wizards improve exponentially and fighters improve linearly, because of course wizards can stop time and fighters can swing they're sword a little harder. There's kind of an inherent issue with having magic users and non magic users, that issue being, one of them can use magic, and the other one is inherently bound by the rules of physics, and I don't like that. So I've tried to develop a lot of magic systems, kinda like in Cradle, but in Cradle, everyone is a magic user, and that's the obvious answer right? you have everything be an extension of the magic system, that's the easiest way to solve that.
One of the things I've thought of, is I've been trying to do different expressions of a D&D system, even one that would fit in a real table-top RPG, where the martial characters are not inherently outclassed by the arcane characters, because they can do such supernaturally amazing stuff thats its effectively magic but it's just martial magic. It becomes magical. I've done various approaches to that, there's a lot of ways to solve that problem, so I have that problem in my head, and that set of criteria, so then I try to design systems that have the things I want and dont have the things I don't want, so I've approached that many different times.
Is that process how you came up with a whole bunch of magic systems along side each other in the Traveler's Gate series?
Actually, no. The Traveler's Gate series really is one magic system. The gates work the same way, every territory requires the key, something to open the gate. But then I just added another set of restrictions onto each one. So this is a unique thing. So yeah, Tarturus travelers open gates quicker, Endross travelers, their gates slowly grow and grow and grow but they also get harder to control, Helgard travelers have to know the names of things they summon, so on and so forth. And I did that just to kind of-each one is a little unique, in addition to being thematically unique. And that was just a way of distinguishing each Territory from one another. I did not really design 12 magic systems. I designed 1 magic system with 12 different expressions.
Is this a Cloud Nine reference?
It is not a Cloud Nine reference. I'm sorry. It's really not. Ninecloud Court is just a cool sounding name.
My question relates to your reading habits. I've read a lot of Japanese light novels, but I haven't really read any Chinese novels or Wuxia, so I was wondering which, if any, Wuxia stories you would recommend?
So its less true Wuxia, that's really more like, if you've seen Hero or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, those are good examples of...so, it more they're cultivation fantasy novels. So, there definitely are some that I recommend, again, with a lot of the caveats I stated earlier. That's the reason I started writing Cradle, because its hard to recommend them some of these to the typical western reader with no caveats. But I do recommend them because I really enjoy them, so Against the Gods, A Will Eternal, Nine Soul Hegemon I guess is one that they say is pretty good, its not my favorite but, so on and so forth. Basically go to wuxiaworld.com and just kind of go nuts. There is gonna be something there to suit your taste because there is something there for everybody, there's a million things there and they do a fantastic job of keeping everything organized and translated.
What was your favourite line of dialogue to write? (My favourite line at the moment is “I don't have any love for the Jai clan, but as for you, if I saw you on fire I'd hold an umbrella for you so the rain didn't put you out.”
That was actually a really fun line to write, and by fun I mean agonizing. That tends to be the case because when I spend a lot of time on something-
I like those. I liked Northstrider saying "No." In Ghostwater, that was a lot of fun because I really set it up so that you really think the villain of the book is going to survive, because of course he's gonna survive! He's a character that's been built up too much, he can't go away, and yeah, he does. So that was a lot of fun to write. I spend a lot of time on that one, where it's the 'I'd hold an umbrella to put you out' because I knew what sentiment I wanted to express but I was thinking 'What's a creative way I can say that?' and that took a while. A lot of times there's lines of dialogue that I didn't really think too much about and then I come back and read and later and I'm like 'that's pretty good dialogue, pretty good.' There's other times when I come back and I go 'Oh, OK, an ape wrote this, an illiterate monkey. I hate this person, past Will, and I want him to go away for ever.' That doesn't always happen, but it sometimes happens.
Harmony (peak true gold) vs Kiro. Who wins?
I mean, if they are both at peak truegold, that's real contention, that's a real fight. But of course Kiro wasn't at peak truegold in Underlord, he was an Underlord. So probably Harmony, I would say, if they are at an equal advancement level, I would say Harmony probably wins. Mainly because he is ruthless and he would do anything to win and Kiro wouldn't necessarily despite how he comes across in the book, he is kind of the most level headed of all the characters introduced in that book.
How many oreos can you fit in your mouth?
As many as it takes.
What is the biggest jump from a single advancement? Ex: Copper to Iron
Copper to Iron is big because there is not a whole lot of difference because you didn't have a lot of abilities at Copper and then you get a lot more at Iron. I would say the biggest jump is from Truegold to Underlord, if I'm being honest. Truegold to Underlord is a huge jump and Archlord to Sage is a huge jump, Archlord to Herald is a huge jump, Herald to Monarch is a big jump. Either Archlord to Sage or Truegold to Underlord I think would be the bigger jumps. I think, probably Archlord to Sage because that's a whole extra thing.
Can you tell us what some of your favorite books are? So we know what to read when we're done with Uncrowned and wish to fill in the void it left behind.
I have a lot of favorites books, it's difficult to narrow it down. But, like I said earlier, I usually like to know what the person enjoys reading before I recommend things because there's very few things that I recommend without caveats. So, there's always something that I'm like 'if you like this, then you will like this, if you don't you're not going to, pretty much.' That is a common occurrence. So, my favorite books; I love the Wheel of Time series, I love the Dresden Files series, I love a lot of these web novels I've mentioned many times tonight. All of those, I stand by those. Funny enough, a lot of what I read, I read comics. Someone mentioned Solo Leveling earlier, that's absolutely one of my favorite ongoing comics right now. Solo Leveling, really good stuff, its a Korean webtoon, the art is maximum hype. So, Brent Weeks Night Angel trilogy, that used to be one of my favorites, its still probably up there, its close. I really like it. It's got some problems that have become more important to me as I've gotten, I don't know, older, or whatever but it still has place in my heart. That's a very great action magic series which I really enjoy, as you know.
Anything by Brandon Sanderson is a solid bet. My favorite of his, I love Mistborn, the first book is just one of my favorites, the rest of the series is good too, but the first book is like a fantasy heist novel and I just love that. I would love to write one someday, that'd be amazing. Mistborn does it so well, it's hard to try and compete with that. The Stormlight Archives are fantastic and, of course, he wrote the later editions of Wheel of Time, so, Brandon Sanderson, great stuff. And, that's it off the top of my head. There's a lot of other comics I read, but, I don't know, there's way too many of those to list.
Oh! Spy x Family, if anybody is interested in what comics to read, man, Japanese Manga Spy x Family, it is fantastic. The idea is that is a fantasy East Germany/West Germany kind of thing, so they are not real countries, but its basically East Germany, West Germany and one of them, the man, is a spy, and he, as a cover, needs to have a family, so he gets a woman to act as his wife. Secretly, unbeknownst to him, she's an assassin and she also needed a cover, so she was also looking for a fake family, which is why it worked out so well. And together, they adopt a daughter, who unbeknownst to either of them, is psychic and can read both of their minds and they are both keeping a secret from each other. And its a Mr. and Mrs. Smith kind of setup, except the daughter can read both of their minds and knows all their secrets and thinks its awesome because they are basically like characters from a TV Show. So, it is hilarious and heartwarming and it's adorable. I really really like it. Spy x Family, that's the name. It's like Hunter x Hunter; There's an x in the middle, but you don't say it.
Who was the hardest Monarch to create?
I don't really know how to answer that to be honest. The eight man empire probably because there are 8 of them. Oh! I went back and forth on Reigan Shen for a long time. That's probably it, that's probably the answer. I went back and forth on Reigan Shen for a long time; he's obviously an antagonist figure. So, who he was and what his powers were, that changed alot. I ended up on the Path of the King's Key, which I like as a Path and we are going to get to explore that a little bit at some point, but I had also had him be like a plague, toxic venom Path as well. There's a lot of things I went back and forth on him about. But also, I kind of had him as a character, he didn't look like this, but a character who's kind of like Gilgamesh from Fate/Stay Night, where he is this arrogant King where he believes everything belongs to him. So I had him do that, and that's again The Path of the King's Key, so that even fit, so it fit his powers, not his physical description. And that would have been cool, but it didn't really work for me, so I ended up coming up with a different personality and there also weren't enough sacred beasts on the Monarchs, so he's now a white lion. That's why he is the emperor of lions. He is an emperor who ascended as a rare white lion.
Do you ever play incremental/idle games? If you do, what's your favorite?
I have. I have probably put too much time into them. But, I don't play them ongoing, on an ongoing basis, I don't play them frequently, so I don't have a favorite. They're all kind of the same to me. The mobile game I've been playing is Fate/Grand Order, which I can't entirely recommend because it will sap your time and money. But, I love the Fate universe and I always have and Kinoko Nasu is one of my favorite writers of all time, so it was really cool to see that being executed and a lot of the different characters come to life, so that was really cool. So, that's what I've been playing, that's what I've been using to idle my time away, but it's not an idle game.
What resources have you used to help organize your thoughts? Do you just use bullet points/notes or do you have something more sophisticated like character sheets/diagrams/maps/etc...?
So I always have to sketch out a map. Those of you who have been around a long time know that I hate maps. There are many reasons why I hate maps, I think each is more compelling than the last. But, I can't stand maps, I don't like them, I really don't. But I do have to know where things are in relation to one another, so I always sketch out some kind of really rough map and so I do that and I keep that and that is something that I definitely do. Also, I have things that are like character sheets, so I definitely keep information. I have a document on my laptop, that's called "Powerful Figures of Cradle," and so I have all the Monarchs listed and all the Heralds and all the Sages and what continent they're on and what their allegiances and so I make sure I have all of that done. And, like I said, when I was working on magic systems, I did go through and put together a form for them. But, I don't really do that. Mostly, I just use bullet points and word documents and I just write my thoughts down. Bullet points, mostly, that's what I do. I list things, I keep things saved in different note files.
Can we get that Spotify playlist to listen to?
I intentionally made my playlist private because I named them after the books and so I was afraid somebody would search on Spotify and see what I'm listening to. I'm not afraid, just more like-well yes, afraid.
Cultivation stories are often written as serials. Have you given any thought to writing something in that format?
A lot of thought. I have given that a lot of that. As a matter of fact, I cannot stop that thought. I really want to do that. It's a unique challenge. But, part of the challenge is monetization. If you are not on a site with ads, that's kind of where money comes from for serials. So, I don't know how that would make any money. Its not a good thing to release on Amazon because you can't really do the chapters. I don't know what delivery method to use. So, that's kind of the practical concern. A less practical and more artistic concern, I don't know, like I was talking about earlier, I don't have that idea that I think is really compelling enough to do as a serial. When I sit down on my phone and I've tried to, let me just write a chapter and see what comes out. I don't like it, I don't enjoy it, it doesn't engage my imagination. It ends up just being some guy showing up and doing something and I don't know why, but not in a curious way, more like in a 'I don't know why and its not that important because this guys got no personality and no goal.' And also, writing a really good serial like Against the Gods, or any of these successful cultivation novels. Writing a really good serial is it's own skill because you want each chapter to kind of have an arc of it's own and you want it to begin with the resolution of the last chapter and end on a cliffhanger, basically, it's not really a cliffhanger, but a tease for the next chapter, so you open by answering the last chapter's question and close by asking a new question that's going to be answered in the next chapter. So that's kind of the general structure that most people use for serials and I have not mastered that because I have not practiced it because that's not how I structure my chapters. So, I don't really know how to, that's a skill I'd have to cultivate and in order to that I would need an idea that, a vision, for a thing that I really believed in.
Favorite MTG Color?
Not blue. Anything but blue. If I had to pick one, I'd probably pick green because playing big creatures is fun. But it's really not blue.
Where did the original Travellers gate pocket dimension based magic system idea come from?
That's a good question Arch! A couple of places. For one thing, I thought it would be cool to have a magic system based around, I thought the word "territories" lent itself well to a magic system, but what I had originally envisioned it as is you claimed your territory. So, your territory was the source of your power. So, kind of like a wizard's tower would be his territory, right? And that's kind of what I thought, is that that's where you draw your power from. I also thought that's how it would work out, but as I developed it, that's kind of not what it did. But another thing I thought of was, there's this fantasy, kind of, that I have that is it would be so cool if I could just step out of time into a comfortable room that existed just in another dimension, you just step into it. You just kind of have this cozy, camping place, this sort of like house that you can have. And that fantasy to me was always really cool, I'd love to be able to introvert out at any time and just kind of take a break in my little cozy space. And so I liked having a separate dimension for that. So those ideas kind of fused together, also, I knew I wanted a magic system with inherent progression.
Instead, he made murder house.
Ya, exactly. It's not fun to make your protagonist comfortable, it's way more fun to make them uncomfortable. So I also wanted a system of progression built in, so I thought exploring a place and becoming more of a master of that place and then drawing power from that location, I thought that was pretty cool. That was a neat concept that tied it well together, so that's how it came into being; those sort of disparate ideas coming together and going in the pot.
I've written a book on Amazon and it didn't do well at all but I wanted to know if you would recommend College writing classes or not if I should just push through and do the work?
Mr. Bean, I would highly recommend working on your writing craft. I know that for me, I learned that through college classes and I learned that through grad student classes and that was extremely valuable for me and that is a reason that a lot of my writing stands out is because I've mastered a lot of skills, not mastered, certainly not mastered, I am on the path to mastering skills that a lot of people don't bother to cultivate. There's a lot of advantages to... its kind of like you are putting a car together and you can just follow the instructions or you can go to school and become a mechanic and learn all of the principles and then you really understand how cars work. So, if you run into a problem, if I run into a problem I can figure out, basically, what caused the problem and how to fix it. So, there's a lot of advantages to that. I'm not necessarily telling you you have to go to college if you want to write, but it did help me.
What does a core being deep mean, that is, does it have extra-dimensional depth? Does this have anything to do with why spinning your core make it more dense?
They say deep just kind of as a word to explore that. It's not literally elongated in depth. That's just how the describe capacity; so a deep core can hold more madra. The dense madra is more effective with a little bit, so very concentrated madra is more powerful; not more powerful in terms of you throw an energy blast and it does more damage than somebody else's energy blast but more like your mana costs go down. So, if you've got dense madra you can use less madra to accomplish to the same goal. And if you have deep cores, then you have more maximum mana. So, that's basically the idea.
What would be the best strategy if a foundation sacred artist was suddenly dropped into the world of Subnautica?
If a foundation artist was dropped in the world of Subnautica and they did not have access to the technology that Riley here, my survivor, has access to, they would be in real trouble because while they have some superhuman powers, not nearly enough to keep up with the world of Subnautica. So, therefore, if there's aura here that they can cultivate then fantastic, they are in good shape. The better spend their days hunting for fish and getting water and now I don't know how you would do that without a fabricator but they'd find a way to get some water and food and then trying to make it to Copper ASAP. If it doesn't have aura and they don't have this technology, then they are going to be hunting fish and just hoping that they don't instantly die.
Have you thought about doing hardcover or leatherbound special editions of cradle?
Yes. Absolutely, I have thought about that, that is a very real possibility that might happen at some point. Maybe as part of a Kickstarter, maybe not. I don't really know how that's gonna work. I need more research in that before I give you an answer. Of course, I'm not commiting to anything right now, but I absolutely have considered it.
Are there different sacred beast Goldsigns besides the eye change?
Actually, see, the eye color thing is one of the hallmarks of being contracted to a sacred beast. To take on the eyes of a sacred beast. So, that's kind of the general shorthand for 'this person has a beast contract'. That is normally how it works. I'm sure there are some exceptions, but generally, that is the rule.
When is Cradle book 8?
Book 8 is after Elder Empire. So my current plan, and I want to emphasize that this is my current plan and is all subject to change, is that I am going to do Elder Empire, well I'm definitely doing Elder Empire, I'm already working on Elder Empire. Then after that, my intention is to do Cradle 8 and 9 and then something different. I'm not changing my mind on Elder Empire, that one's happening. After that one I can do 8 and 9.