December 2020 - December 2021

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Name December 2020 - December 2021
Date
Date Jan. 1, 2021
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#1 Copy

AbnormalAverage

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? 

Will Wight

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!

#2 Copy

AbnormalAverage

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?

Will Wight

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.

#3 Copy

AbnormalAverage

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? 

Will Wight

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.

#4 Copy

AbnormalAverage

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)? 

Will Wight

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.

#5 Copy

AbnormalAverage

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?

Will Wight

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.

#7 Copy

AbnormalAverage

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?

Will Wight

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.

#8 Copy

bloodyraven

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?

Will Wight

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.

#9 Copy

Soronir

Mercy never officially advanced to Overlord. She was boosting it temporarily with her book. Her advancement is never mentioned or commented on, and she never had time. Had she a spare moment, she had other things on her mind.

The book tends to forget this and makes multiple distinct mentions of her OL body. Maybe Will cut the scene or forgot?

Will Wight

Yeah; I never had a scene showing her advancing, but I had lines explaining what was going on with her. Then those scenes got cut and I didn’t realize I had thrown out the explanation. I’ll go into it in the next book.

#10 Copy

u/Umbrith

What Makes a Good Cover?  

I’m guessing I’m a common demographic on here - novice writer wanting to dip toes into progression. But also like the rest of us, a cover budget would be small at best.

What do you guys think is most important to focus on for a cover? Something like Cradle, with a simple design on a monochrome background, a full fantasy shot, landscape, characters, or some combination? For authors on here, do you have any insight you could give on your own process?

Will Wight

Other commenters have covered “get a professional cover,” which is 100% true and the most important thing.

Otherwise, it’s about function.

Does the cover look good at thumbnail size? Because that’s how big your readers are going to see it. If it looks fantastic blown up and is just a blur when it’s tiny, it’s not a great cover for Amazon.

Does it look distinct from the other covers in your category? If someone scans your category on Amazon with their eye, as they do, does your cover pop up or blend in? You want them to see yours.

Lastly, does it reflect your book? If your book is a Lovecraftian Cowboy fantasy, your cover should scream “LOVECRAFTIAN COWBOYS.” If you have a cover that shows off a massive battle between a mech and a giant zombie, that might happen in your book, but it doesn’t advertise your hook, while a cowboy hip-firing his pistol at a tentacle beast probably would.

That’s why Cradle is an icon on a mono-colored background. It’s completely readable at thumbnail size and when you skim the category with your eye it pops out.

#11 Copy

RedHavoc1021

It always throws me when I remember Lindon is supposed to be this mass of muscle. I think it’s because he’s so meek, but my mental image always defaults to a relatively small, wimpy looking kid.

Will Wight

Lindon is a W I D E B O I

Honestly, when I was first designing his character, it just appealed to me to have a protagonist whose appearance was so at odds with his personality.

I didn’t realize how much people’s understanding of his character would form their mental image, even when it contradicts the actual physical description.

I learned something!

Brightbane

Wait a second, was it intentional that Lindon was suppose to be jacked because of his core deficiency?

I just saw this comment a few minutes ago and it clicked in my head that normally even children make it to copper so they can cycle madra to their limbs on the journey to iron and that is what helps them battle gravity.

Since Lindon couldn't do that he had to rely on pure muscle to move around so his whole life was like resistance training. There's so much detail that goes into how books are put together that it blows my mind.

Will Wight

Yeah, that was a big part of the original idea. He has to keep up in physical training with people who are supernaturally stronger than he is.

#12 Copy

Badrack

In Ghostwater, Eithan stated that the Sage of Red Faith was not the type to take the loss of half-dozen Underlords lightly but we now know he is exactly that type. He doesn't care in the slightest for the cult as he offered to destroy them just to get Yerin's memories of her merge. He only cares about his research proving Eithan wrong once again.

Will Wight

Well, the way I see it, I’d say that the Sage of Red Faith isn’t the type to take the loss of a half-dozen Underlords lightly.

Not that he cares about them at all. He absolutely does not.

He cares only about his research. If losing six Underlords slows his research down, he’ll be driven mad with vengeance, which is how Eithan saw the situation. That guy would swear undying vengeance over a stolen sandwich if he thought it slowed his research down.

On the other hand, he’d spend Underlord lives like pennies if it advanced his research.

That’s how I see the character, anyway, but of course it’s subjective.

#13 Copy

Questioner

So ok with getting constantly poisoned by the Heavens glory school? While he's running away in the Labyrinth he comments that all his soulfire has run out and his body is weak because he can get tired while running. So why on earth would he think that he would remain safe from poison while in the valley? Sounds incredibly stupid.

Will Wight

Let me be clear about this: the poison did absolutely nothing.

Yerin thought it did because she was young and weak at the time. Tim was 100% correct about the effect the poison would have on his body. It was none.

#14 Copy

SESender

that's so cool! being a cradle/WW novice (started last year and have devoured everything 2x!) have you written about your process? or what goes into your process that keeps you so prolific (I'm reminded of Brando Sando with your consistency, and delight)

Will Wight

I’ve written about my process here and there, but in short my unofficial motto is “I’m writing the best six-month book I can.”

I prefer reading books that come out regularly to longer books that come out irregularly, so that’s what I write. Plus they tend to be more visible on Amazon and readers engage with them more, thanks to frequent releases refreshing fan engagement and visibility.

It’s kind of a win-win, except for the people who want me to write one eight hundred page book every year or two. For those people it’s a win-lose.

#15 Copy

alexportman

Hey Will! I'm just finishing a writing contest where I had to write faster than I ever had before. It got me wondering what the pros do. Do you have a daily word count goal, or hours, or some other kind of goal?

Will Wight

I usually isolate myself for blocks of time. From about three days to up to two weeks. During that time, when I’m writing a draft, I aim for 5-10k per day, depending on what I’m writing and where I am in the process.

After that block, I take a break for a couple days and then block out some more time. Rinse and repeat until I have a draft I can work on.

#16 Copy

PurplePudding

Are you at least enjoying writing this one a bit more this time around? I know you were quite stressed the past couple books

Will Wight

I wish!

I’m really not enjoying it more, and it’s no easier. However, I’ve been able to recover a lot faster. After slamming out words for a few days in a row, I start acting human again after only a few hours, and it used to take days.

I admit I’m a little disappointed, though. I thought getting rest and taking the extra pressure off would make the process of writing feel significantly easier, and it turns out it’s just hard whether you’re burned out or not.

#17 Copy

PlaceboJesus

Here's an odd question for you:

You've written some pretty great books and they stand wonderfully on their own.

But here comes this Travis dude with his funny voices and he elevates your books to a different level of enjoyability.

Did you ever experience an irrational micro-moment of curmudgeonliness thinking about someone else improving your hard work? Like "what do you mean better!?"

Just curious, cause pride and possessiveness can hit creative types differently and those first kneejerk reactions don't always make sense.

Will Wight

Honestly, I really don’t.

I know it sounds more honest to say “Yeah, I know it’s irrational, but I do feel that sometimes…” but I actually don’t feel that way.

What I feel is guilt for not giving Travis better words.

#18 Copy

Skeletickles

Pride vs Harmony?

Will Wight

Pride and Harmony have definitely fought before. As kids, Harmony won. He’s older than Pride, and he really was skilled.

As they got older and Pride earned his Book and learned to use it, he would win competitions, but they didn’t directly fight much if at all. Harmony would avoid that.

#19 Copy

the_insevitable

I [doubt] there is an icon for every weapon out there.

Will Wight

Every iconic one, yeah! You could absolutely become a representation of an iconic spearman, or archer, or Stabby Daggerman(tm).

the_insevitable

Or what about those people who do not use sword aura but still become renowned swordsmen can they summon the sword icon?

Will Wight

Yes.

The way Cradle—and different individuals within Cradle—refers to Icons is colored by their experience, but there’s not this Master List of Icons that you can summon.

It’s a lot more about embodying an archetypal concept that the Way then recognizes with a visible manifestation. If you became the archetypal representative of all spearmen you would definitely manifest the Spear Icon.

It’s related to Ozriel being the first person to become a Judge of Destruction. There were eight recognized archetypal properties of absolute order, seven of which were manifested by the Judges (the eighth being lost Creation).

Destruction was never considered a property of order, but rather a property of chaos, until Ozriel manifested it in the Way.

Footnote: dualt=doubt? maybe?
Sources: Reddit
#20 Copy

broxgall

In cultivation novels, one of the common tropes is the "icy beauty" - an impossibly beautiful female character with a cold hearted and emotionless persona.

Enter the Winter Sage, who is litterally an ice artist, but also the exact oposite of the usual icy beauty trope. She is the most emotional character in Cradle. She has no control over her outward emotions and as a result often abandons the decorum expected of her rank. It is such a clear reversal of the trope I cant believe it is anything but intentional.

Will Wight

It is 100% intentional.

I never had a problem with any given character practicing ice powers and then being frozen-hearted, but it came up AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN until I was like “Okay, why is it a law that every single ice practitioner has to be emotionless? Wind-users aren’t flighty. The main character is always a fire-user who can keep his emotions under control just fine.”

So anyway, I flipped it.

#21 Copy

sporkboy

I couldn’t believe how rarely she repeats herself, and just how many there were. You really outdid yourself with Yerin.

Will Wight

It was really hard at first. I had to do a specific dialogue pass for Yerin every time.

The further I got, the more I internalized the rules for her, but it’s still hard. That said, part of me feels like she should repeat herself more often. More than just “cheers and celebration,” “bet my soul against X,” and “bleed and bury me.”

It’s more realistic than having a new saying every time, you know?

#22 Copy

Crotean

This does raise a question, how much of the end game of cradles plot did you already have in mind when you started? It definitely seems like you had a pretty good outline based on how tight this series plotwise has been.

Will Wight

The main thing I didn’t know was how many volumes there would be in the series. I had no idea Cradle would be such a success, so I didn’t know how many books I was going to be allowed.

Thought I might run out of money and have to stop writing.

I knew who Ozriel was from the beginning, and I was disappointed I couldn’t fit Eithan into Book 1. I knew several of the landmark events and types of books I wanted to hit on the way, like I wanted to do a pocket dimension training book (Ghostwater), a tournament arc, a return to Sacred Valley, etc.

I knew where I wanted the major characters to end up and how I wanted to end things in the world of Cradle, so that was all there. And I knew a lot of the themes and the general gist of who Lindon was and his journey of growth throughout the series.

But if I had known from the beginning that I had exactly twelve books, I could have paced some things out better.

#23 Copy

DontLikeCertainThing

I think the advancement to archlord was a bit... cheap. I

Will Wight

This was probably my only regret about the book.

I like the moment in a vacuum, but I didn’t sufficiently establish that he was peak Overlord before that. He had plenty of time and the means to do it, but I didn’t make it clear enough that he had done it. That’s on me.

#24 Copy

Business-Worry-5731

Jai Daishou never should have pulled that trick. I refuse to believe a JUDGE made that mistake and believe it's more likely Will wrote himself in a corner and didn't have a choice.

Will Wight

There’s a lot of argument going on, but I see where you’re coming from. Even in Blackflame, I was worried people might think this, so I tried to set up for it.

What I was going for is that this is the sort of mistake an imprisoned ultra-powerful death god figure might make. He’s not used to being so weak.

That’s why I had the exchange with Naru Huan afterwards, where Eithan thinks back to the last time he was mortal and realizes he’s never made this mistake even then. Ozmanthus was used to operating on this lower level of power and his techniques were more lethal.

Now Eithan’s using a less-lethal Path—intentionally, but it’s still inconvenient when he has to kill someone—and it’s been thousands of years since he’s fought like a mortal. Plus he doesn’t have access to his full memories or mental capacity.

And his character flaw is, and has always been, arrogance. Even at his full power, he was trying to solve problems himself.

I could have written it so that he fails to kill JD because pure madra isn’t lethal enough, and JD escapes. I chose not to because I wanted to show him making a mistake I thought was reasonable for his character.

But I understand feeling the way you do! If he had his full measure of skill and understanding, him making any mistake at all is suspect.

#25 Copy

C9_Tom_Hanks

I've been reflecting on the book. It dawned on me that the black flame emperor and his fleet of cloud ships arrive in the desolate wild about a week after the events of bloodline. But it takes months just to get back to serpents grave.

Will Wight

I’d have to go back and check my timeline document to be sure, but off the top of my head, I’m pretty sure they left well earlier than the end of Bloodline AND didn’t have to constantly stop to re-fuel on the way there like Lindon and the gang did the first time.

#26 Copy

Mestewart

The character development we have seen from Eithan was him opening up and learning to be more honest and transparent. Except that now we know that basically all of that honesty and transparency was carefully engineered to be a mix of misdirection and lies.

Will Wight

In my view, at several points of the series Eithan IS being as honest as he can be without revealing his identity, but I can understand reading that differently. That’s one of the things Eithan’s afraid of at the end of this book: that Lindon and Yerin will see him as having never been sincere to any degree all along.

#27 Copy

mozz-pout

Just realised. Daruman could have destroyed every single star in the universe of Cradle and no one on the planet should have seen it before months if not centuries.

This book about humans punching with the force of a Tsar Bomba is now ruined.

Will Wight

Hilariously enough, there is an actual explanation for this. It’s not that the stars are being erased, that just looks like what’s happening from the perspective of people on the central planet on Cradle. The Iteration is actually crumbling from the outside in, the uninhabited parts of the universe vanishing first because of their weaker connection to the Way.

Fluffy McMelon

I don't think that's an actual explanation. Light exists everywhere along the path it takes. For example the moment before I see a star the starlight is, say, a foot in front of my eye. All that light in the night sky literally exists in the sky before you see it. That's why if you turn off the sun earthlings wouldn't notice for 8 minutes. The light pre-8 minutes is already in transit and moving. Deleting the universe outside in doesn't turn off the distant lights first because their light is just as close as all the other light you're about to see.

Will Wight

I realize we’re talking about magical physics here, so any explanation is as good as any other, but no joke I did consider this when writing the scene.

The idea is that anything removed from the Way is removed from causality. It’s not that the rest of the Iteration was destroyed as we usually think of destruction—i.e. reduced to its constituent components—but that it ceases to exist. It’s not real anymore.

So it’s not that those stars WERE giving out light that is now in transit to us, it’s that those stars were reduced from real to not real and therefore never gave off any light.

I’m aware that this is a nonsense concept and we’re talking made-up rules here, but that is the ruleset I’m working with!

#28 Copy

Elsecaller

Confirmation that Orthos kills and replaces the current titan?

Will Wight

Fun fact: the Titan emblem is a clenched, gauntleted fist that kind of looks like a turtle hiding in its shell. Since they’re also the barrier/shield users, they are sometimes informally known as the Turtles. That’s a real setting detail established 10+ years ago.

#31 Copy

rocksoffjagger

I would have assumed Eithan would be hard to write because coming up with wit that feels real and genuine requires you to repeatedly create unique, context-dependent inventions of language, rather than just falling back on cookie-cutter patterns and stock phrases.

P.S. I really hope this won't be the last we see of Eithan as an important character in the series. I really want to see him being a smart-ass in his trial and his interactions with the other judges.

P.P.S. I'm forgetting the exact line, but my favorite Eithan moment was during the uncrowned tournament (I believe the fight for the crowns in the second stage) where he says something like "I really must insist that we go back to murdering each other in the spirit of the competition." (Heavily paraphrasing).

Will Wight

I have a (relatively) professional demeanor when dealing with fans, but as a person, almost everything I say is a joke. Responding to things seriously is out of character for me.

So part of what makes writing Eithan easier is that I’m more comfortable writing jokes than serious dialogue.

Another part is that I’ve been sitting on the character since I was in college, so I have a great understanding of his personality and can write in-character for him without thinking.

P.S. Minor spoilers for Dreadgod: Currently, the prologue of Book 11 is the Trial of Ozriel.

P.P.S. That’s one of my favorite one-off Eithan lines too. Probably my favorite joke, and the one I was looking forward to the most, is him throwing the match against Yan Shoumei in Wintersteel.

#32 Copy

rocksoffjagger

Thanks for the thoughtful response! I just discovered Cradle a little under 3 weeks ago and just caught up, and I'm seriously impressed. Not totally related to the questions I just asked, but one thing I'm really curious to know is what made you decide to self publish in ebook form rather than going with either a traditional publisher or else posting as a web novel? Obviously it seems like it's been a great decision for you based on what an active community you have around your work, but it does seem like a less conventional route.

Will Wight

It was a less conventional route when I started! Not so much now.

Two main reasons: there’s no middleman between me and my readers, and I have complete control over the book.

1.) Middleman

I get to interact with fans directly, which is cool. Now we’re WAY above the level at which I started, so it’s a little different now, but the idea was that I could release the books directly, much faster, and even change them if necessary.

Which is possible because…

2.) I have complete control.

I can change the covers if I want, I get to decide what to write, and the only one I split the money with is Amazon.

(Theoretically. In point of fact I have now hired several people full-time and more as contractors, but it started out as just me.)

Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend any writer pursue a traditional publisher anymore.

Self-publish and if it goes well, great! If it goes okay, try to parlay that into a better publishing deal! If it goes badly, hey, at least you have finished books to work with!

#33 Copy

Sarill01

I’m really glad there was no…nonsense [with regard to E=O].

Will Wight

I went back and forth on changing Ozriel’s identity. Almost changed my mind out of nerves.

Less because people guessed it, and more because I thought they’d be upset.

I chose to stick with it because I’ve been setting it up for so long and I didn’t have a more satisfying alternative, but I was nervous.

Bloodyraven

What was a good alternative for Ozriel?

Will Wight

Didn’t have one, that’s why I didn’t change it.

What I really would have done was have Ozriel either in hiding or actually dead, and the trick he pulled was allowing Eithan to inherit some of his powers and memories.

Then the conflict you see from Eithan throughout the series was him coming to terms with the new memories and powers inside him as he initially admired Ozriel but more and more resists becoming like him.

I could have made it work, though I would have had to execute and explain things differently in this book of course.

But in the end, I thought that was cool for Eithan but less cool for Ozriel.

#34 Copy

SirMisterGuyMan

Lindon seemed like he screwed up but somehow Malice and NS accept this as a victory.

Will Wight

That’s why Northstrider is initially furious. Lindon ruined their chance to fight and helped Shen run away.

The Monarchs treat it like a victory when they realize that teleporting RS away means Lindon has permanent control of the labyrinth, and since Malice and NS consider him a loyal asset, that means THEY have control of an ancient globe-spanning repository of power and knowledge.

Until the end of the book, when they realize Lindon’s not quite as under control as they thought.

#35 Copy

PLangdon84

How does the hollow domain not disrupt enforcer techniques? Didn’t it disrupt Daji’s and Sophara’s in Wintersteel?

From Wintersteel, battle report against brother Aekin:

Lindon dashes up with the Soul Cloak, carrying the Hollow Domain in an orb around him. When he gets close enough, even Aekin’s Enforcer technique falters.

Will Wight

Yeah, it’s a lack of specificity in my writing. Sorry about that.

I intended it to take a lot more power to wipe out Enforcer techniques because they’re internal. Someone of approximately equal power to Lindon would have an easier time keeping their Enforcer technique active inside the Domain, but it still comes down to Lindon’s power against theirs.

I meant the scene with Brother Aekin to be an example illustrating Lindon pushing the Domain hard, which is why “even” his Enforcer technique fails, and with Yerin is a scenario where he’s just keeping it on at default strength so Enforcer techniques aren’t wiped out. (Unless they were significantly weaker than Lindon.)

With Aekin specifically, that technique does indeed have an external component as some people have pointed out. That part is true, but I still should have clarified.

But I phrased that inaccurately in this scene. My bad. 

magi1201

What about the barrier of body? Should that keep internal enforcement running?

Will Wight

That’s what makes it harder, but of course internal madra resistance is not impenetrable, or you could never hurt anyone directly with a Striker technique.

Event details
Name
Name December 2020 - December 2021
Date
Date Jan. 1, 2021
Entries
Entries 35
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