In reviews found on reddit and other websites, it is commonly stated that the beginning of unsouled is hard to get through, but the rest of the series is quite worth it. Why would you say they think this, and how has your writing changed since that first book?
The beginning of Unsouled is very different from the rest of the series, and I made that decision intentionally at the time.
I knew I needed to ground Lindon’s character in the world he came from, and that I was going to kick the story into gear for the reader at the same time that Lindon’s normal life was upended. And that happens about halfway through the book.
Since then, I’ve gotten better at virtually everything, so if I were to do it over again I’m sure I’d execute the story differently at the beginning. But I think I’d go in with a similar strategy!
The website interviewed Mr. Andrew K. Rowe earlier, and he stated that you helped him pick out the term “Progression Fantasy” to better describe your sub-genre. How did the conversation happen and what insights did it bring to your own authorial abilities?
Andrew and I were sitting on the hood of his space helicopter, sipping cocktails made of distilled dreams, when he mentioned to me that none of our readers really knew what to call the sub-genre we were writing in.
It’s next door to LitRPG, but isn’t really that, and yet it has a distinctly different flavor from a lot of traditional fantasy.
I agreed with him, but I said it was an impossible task to come up with a new term for a whole sub-genre of fantasy. He called me a coward, smashed his cocktail glass against my face, and marched off into the Dream Realm on a quest to prove me wrong.
Naturally, I assumed he was dead. But a week later, he came back with “Progression Fantasy” tucked under his arm, so it’s a label we’ve been using ever since.
There are stories that abound within Dragoncon as well as those who state, having met you, that you’re one of the nicest authors they’ve met. What kind of reaction does this bring from you, and have you met any authors that inspire a similar reaction?
That’s actually just part of the contract I make everyone sign. You’ll notice that when people talk about how nice I am, their jaws are clenched and they’re intensely sweating.
The penalties for violating the contract are…severe.
In your Cradle series, Lindon is a weaker character who consistently pushes himself to grow stronger, even when he’s one of the strongest to be found within the region. What made you want to write a character this way, and how do you deal with the “power rangers” problem (the progressively stronger character has to constantly gain strength to fight progressively stronger antagonists)?
I know that part of what draws people to this series is their desire to see the character grow more powerful, so I wanted my main character to be someone who would actively want the same thing the audience does.
As for the Power Ranger problem, I don’t really see it as a problem.
If I want to see a character gain more power, I want to see them fight a more powerful antagonist too.
If I were to ask you what scenes would you feel are obligatory in detective stories, you’d likely respond with a death, a detective on the chase, red herrings, and a showdown at the end. What would you say are the obligatory scenes found within progression fantasy, or are we not there yet?
A scene showing how weak the main character is starting off, some scenes with them figuring out the magic system, a bunch of magic fights, and the infamous Clown in a Bottle scene.
Not sure how many more scenes I can write with clowns in bottles, but it’s tradition at this point.
If you had a sentence to describe your next book within the Cradle series, what would you say?
Lindon goes back home.
I have a mini-series I’m writing on the connection between making a private wiki and worldbuilding, and how it can better help me organize my writing and world so I don’t run into plothole issues later on, What organizational system do you use to write your book, and has tracking all of the information held within your series been difficult?
You know, a private wiki has always seemed like the best solution to me, but I don’t use anything like that.
I have piles and piles of notes. I just write everything down in a note file and save it in the folder with the main book manuscript.
It’s like having to shovel through a small mountain of notebooks every time I want to look up a character’s age. Not efficient; do not recommend.
Hey /u/Will_Wight, did you enjoy writing Bloodline? You mentioned having to think about the book whilst in holiday. Did you improve it for the better?
I didn’t improve it, I just wanted to. I want that for all of my books.
And did I enjoy it...no, I’ll be honest with you, I’d say I didn’t. But I didn’t enjoy writing Wintersteel or Kings/Killers or Uncrowned either.
That’s why I needed a break.