Do you have any particular new territories in mind for the next traveler's gates?
Do you have any particular new territories in mind for the next traveler's gates?
Did you ever expect such a positive response to your Kickstarter, and does it encourage you to do more of them?
I covered that a little bit already; 'did I expect such positive response to your Kickstarter?' ... (of) 'course not, 'and does it encourage you to do more of them?' ..., yes! Of course, I mean it was a huge thing, and one of the reasons I've always wanted to do a Kickstarter like I mentioned before, is that I just love Kickstarters, but the part that I love about them is interacting with other fans, feeling like I'm getting in on the ground floor of something. 'so does it encourage you to do more of them?' well I mean obviously we're going to do more for the rest of the Cradle series, because we're not going to leave you hangin', but does it encourage me to kickstart other things? ... Yes, but I also just like people ask me about having a Patreon all the time, I dont want to do it just for the sake of doing it, because that feeks like... Why? I want to have a reason for doing it, but if there is though if there's stuff to kickstart well I mean it worked and if people enjoyed it and I enjoyed it then why not?
Do you plan on doing something like the collectors editions for the rest of the books?
... So presumably, yes for the rest of the books in Cradle, we're, like I said we're not going to leave you on book 3, presumably for the other books I write, .... Yes? Maybe? That's a thing that's possible, I'm not going to commit to that right now, but yeah, that's a, a possibility, for real.
When will the writing Livestream happen?
(asking his team) When is the writing Livestream going to happen? Do we have a date for that? What is that? Do we know? ... In the next month or so, we don't have a date selected yet, so there you go.
Strictly for research, how long does it take to sign a few thousand books?
Heh, we determined this, and I think we determined it was what, I think 20 hours? 21 hours? Is that right? Something like that. Yeah, we calculated it and I think that's what we came up with. It's something like that, a solid signing. I think that's right. I'd have to you know uh I think we wrote it down somewhere. You know, uh, not that bad, haha just gotta do it all, just gotta sit down for 20 hours and (scribbling motion with hand).
How many times were you kicked over the course of the Kickstarter?
that's not, that's uh, that's a good question, but it's not the best question. The best question is how many times was I started over the course of the Kickstarter?; and that answer is 11 times.
What's the release date for Lindondies?(Lindon Dies)
Uh, we don't know yet, that's not announced.
When do you next plan to break your foot?
So I, I regularly, I've been going out to a quarry, I've been kicking rocks every Thursday; and I think that, over time it's going to make it so that my foot is less resistant to breaking, but in the short term, I'm just shattering it over and over and over.
Love seeing the sibling dynamic with you all
(...) Love seeing the sibling dynamic with you all, says Cody. Yeah, the sibling, heh, it's funny because we, (Rebecca slides into camera with two thumbs up), haha there she is, I knew that was gonna attract a sibling. Yeah, they are great. They are really cool, I like them a lot. They are way cooler than me, I know you guys only know me, but they are, they're the cool ones, I'm the loser-y one. (Rebecca slides back into camera and nods) So, it's really fun, we've always been friends. It's fun hanging out, one of my earliest memories is we used to run a lawn business together. It's one of my memories of them that I still have fondly, is, I'm with them and we're weeding, a garden, a yard for free. So we're weeding for free, I mean, it's not for free. For money; and as we're weeding the garden, we are talking and I am making up stories. I'm telling them stories, and some of them, were proto-drafts of a story that would end up becoming Cradle. So, they were some of my first audience members, they were just, you know the weeding is boring, so they were just sitting there, listening to me and I was telling them stories and they were responding, so it was cool. It was really neat.
What was the name of the lawn business?
That's a good question, and it was Starving Student Lawn Care; and that was how I payed for college. That's not a joke, that's for real.
Was Eithan's goal always to push both Yerin and Lindon toward early Sage, and did he know the blood shadow would allow her to advance as she did?
Well it says Yerin and London but my phone does that all the time too, even though I write Lindon way more often than I write London. (...) Okay, so obviously Eithan understood what a blood shadow was on conceptual level very well, he clearly understood the theoretical, how.. how that's all going to work; but no, he didn't have that specific goal in mind, what he was doing was working with the tools that he had, and he was kind of going hmm, what can I do with these raw materials, a lot of things! So he was sort of, his idea was sort of, to continue moving them in the right direction, and that's another thing that I've said about people when they've asked about pushing him, pushing Lindon toward BlackFlame, what if he had picked another path? There's actually a blooper about this in BlackFlame, we uh haven't released the bloopers yet. Yeah there's a blooper about this in BlackFlame now, we're adding it, but there are people who ask what he would have done if lindon had picked a path other than BlackFlame, and the answer is he really, he would have gone with it. So he, he does that a lot, its kind of how he plans throughout the series, is he sets up stuff that is going to work, kind of, no matter how, as long as you're heading in the right direction, it's going to work. So in terms of the specifics of how it was going to play out, he was like yeah so riff it, it's like jazz, except with advancement and lazer fists. (Takes a sip)
What Sage would have trained Lindon had he become an Uncrowned?
I had an answer to this, I had charted all of this out, uh, shoot, I don't remember the, ... I don't remember. Dang it, that's a good question. Uh, I had a real answer to this, and I'm trying to, mmm I'll have to come back to that. I'll have to see if I can, well there's a, I'm just going to speculate on what I may have been thinking, I really did chart this out, I had, because, so I had actually made tournament brackets for the Uncrowned, and I had charted it out, based on who would win. Right? Like who would get the people, and either one was a possibility so the sage's had discussed that, and I really had, had this in an Excel spreadsheet, no joke, uh, but, yeah, so there's a, there is a sage that hasn't shown up much, that I think he has a cameo in Dreadgod actually?; but it's a fire, a fire sage, so he probably would have done it. Yeah, probably. That's my guess, on my, I'm speculating on my past intentions. (Takes sip)
Ozriel disappeared without notice, how did his presence and mantle end up in Abidan lockdown?
He had to leave those behind. So, he, left them when he disappeared. So he had to leave those, there's no, he can't take them with him, so there's, he can't hide them, he can't hide those, I mean he can, he did, but you can't hide those permanently, because of course he had one particular method for hiding himself, and they're tracking him down, so they're going to find his presence and mantle, and scythe. So. The scythe, of course, remains hidden, but the presence and the mantle did not.
Are they still fun to write?
So, is the Cradle series still fun to write? This is a very interesting question, because people ask variants of this question all the time, which is very understandable, and yes and no? Uh, the No is, nothing is fun to write to completion, like there's no, there's nothing, theres no book thats fun the entire time. Like, so there's always aspects of writing and rewriting, and it's just a grind. It's hard. You just gotta, you gotta produce the book, right? So, you can't like every part of the process, and you can't like everything you put in the book, you have to, a lot of it is just work. So, in that, to that degree, its like, yeah keeping up with a popular series for a long time is a lot of work. So, do I like those parts? ... Yes, I like the results of them, I like the ideas, I like the, and I certainly wouldn't trade it for anything, but is it fun the whole time? No. It's not, this whole saying that if you love what you do, you'll never work a day of your life, is nonsense. Uh, but! The, on the other hand, in terms of the, are the Cradle books still fun, is Cradle still a fun world to be in, is it still fun to come up with Cradle ideas? Do I still like the characters, yes! I wouldn't write something that I didn't enjoy, I would just write something that I did enjoy. ... So if Cradle wasn't fun to write, I would write it so that it was, fun to write. It's not, yeah, I always have fun. Coming up with stuff that is, I just like coming up with ideas. I like coming up with stories, I like being in the characters heads, I like, I like it when the stuff, the ideas come together and I think this, ooooh, this is a cool little moment, I can do, so I read the Reddit thread this week, it was really fun, it was your top three moments in Cradle, and, and that was fun. Especially because most of those were intentional, they were stuff that I was like 'aw yes!', 'this is going to be a big fun moment, I'm going to enjoy this!' and that was most of what people wrote. Some of them, they wrote that they thought were great moments and I was like, I, I did not put any thought into that, that just kind of came out. Sort of an organic thing that emerged, and that was even cooler. That was neat; but anyway, yeah, so the point is, yes they're fun, no they're not fun all the way, just because, what, how would that work? That would be a hobby, not a job.
Several times in the early books, Eithan mentions having grown up in BlackFlame city, was he just completely lying or was there any truth to what he was saying?
No, there was some truth to what he was saying, that's real, BlackFlame city is really old, this is, he was obviously saying it in such a way in order to, he was trying to hide from both the Arelius family and BlackFlame people, so he was playing some verbal shell games with his backstory, but yeah he did, he really did go kinda, he was really kind of here and there. So when he actually grew up, travel between BlackFlame city and the Arelius home land was a lot easier and faster and less restricted, so he'd kind of pop up, he was, he grew up in several places. So yes, that was something you could accurately describe him as having grown up in BlackFlame city and yeah growing up in the rosegold continent. (Takes sip)
If Orthos were to obtain the dragon icon, could Lindon use dragon authority through their bond?
Uh, no. That would not, it would not work. That way, and vice versa it wouldn't work. So, Lindon wouldn't be able to, to use dragon, if he, if Lindon obtained dragon icon Orthos wouldn't be able to tap into it, having said that, what would happen is that, it would make it easier for the other to manifest the dragon icon. So, that is what would really happen. Is because, of the connection between them, they would both become more attuned to the dragon icon.
Would you continue the Cradle series but as a continuation series, once Lindon and friends ascend outside of Cradle?
Mat asks, and I assume it's Mat Cauthon asking on this form, (...), You know, maybe? Possibly, yeah I might continue Cradle past, ascension. That's one of those things that I'm, kinda, I'm like, yeah I'm gonna complete, the series is called Cradle, I'm going to complete their journey in Cradle; and then of course they're going to ride off into the sunset. Is there more adventure in the sunset? Yeah, of course there is. Should I, am I going to write it? Maybe. Yeah. I'm not against it. (Will's brother calls from off screen 'please write it, please!') Sam's begging, Sam's put his vote in
Do either Reigan Shen or Lindon fully count as a dreadgod yet? If so, which?
They do not.
How far ahead did you plan this series, was Eithan always Ozriel? I appreciate how well everything seems planned out.
This is an interesting, this is the question, so, was Eithan always Ozriel? Yes, and even more yes, because it was before I even came up with Cradle. So, he really was, Eithan was the character, that kind of this whole thing was built around, and not really, not because of his journey. It's lindon's journey, but in terms of, uh the setting, was really designed around Eithan being Ozriel. So... Yeah, that whole thing, the whole universe doesn't work anymore if that's not true; but, I was still building it so I was like, well... If I need to change my mind in the future, I can so I was still being cagey about it, in case I got to a point where I need it to change direction, but I didn't. So then, and how far ahead did you plan the series? (Takes sip) That, way way way in advance; but everything else, there are monuments that I, theyre landmarks that I can, that I set up. So I'm headed to these things, and there are concepts that I'm, that I've embedded in, and planned for, it's there it's in the background, it's done; and there are themes that come and go throughout the whole series that I'm setting up. So a lot of people go back to Unsouled and they go 'Oh man, there are, all these bits of foreshadowing for later books', Yes and no, some of them are just absolutely, yes they're foreshadowing. Others are, they are themes that echo throughout the whole thing. Things that Elder Whisper, the first elder, or whatever, tell Lindon about the sacred arts, and certainly what Suriel says, they are themes that echo throughout the series. So, yes they do come back, later, because that's, those are the ideas that the whole series is wrestling with. So its less foreshadowing, more, yeah I have a consistent thematic element throughout the whole thing; and then the other thing is, I often go back to my previous books and I see what I've established, and I think about okay how would people take this, what are they going to expect? Then I use that to make my future plans. It's kind of a mix of planning way way way in advance and, planning each book out, and sort of improvising. So a lot of things I leave open to future me to figure out. So I leave these elements that I, I leave myself tools in the future that I can use to play with, and then I figure out what I'm going to do with them when I get there. So, that is kind of how I work. You, we talked about Eithan's plans earlier, that's kind of how in this case I'm doing things, I'm sort of setting things up and then figuring it out later; but I set pieces up so that I can figure out how I can use them later. That's kind of the idea. So one of the infamous examples of that going wrong, is in, Ghostwater, when everything in Lindon's pack is destroyed and you have this, scripting stones he got in book 2, yeah it's because I intended Lindon to have a whole subplot with him scripting, and then I realized that would take way took much page space and focus away from soulsmithing, so I did away with it, and then the scripting stones had no purpose, so I was like 'crap'. (Takes sip)
Who is canonically the strongest monarch?
It's a lot softer than you'd think, because, they're good at different things, in different ways. So they're all kinda sort of balanced, the, Sesh was the strongest in like an all out fight, but he's gone now so, there you go. In terms of they all have their own tricks, their own specialties, they all have their whatever. Right now Reigan Shen probably has the most cards to play, it really is almost a rock paper scissors sort of thing.
Is there a path you really wanted to work into the main story but couldn't?
Yes. The path of the broken star, the one, one of the ones Lindon gets offered in BlackFlame instead of black flame. That was one that I had come up with a long time before because it's honestly based on, it's got a really uncool backstory, but there was in MegaMan Battle Network, (...) Bass is one of the enemies, and he in that series has a really cool power set, and I really liked it. Aesthetically. So I've been trying to look and work it into a magic system ever since, and so I worked it into Cradle, and sort of translated it, into Cradle, and then that became the foundation of that path, and I didnt get to use it. Its still unused. (Takes sip)
When writing this series did you have a plan in place for where you wanted to go, or was everything thought up as you went further and further
I covered that a minute ago (refer to entry #18)
If Lindon and Yerin lived in our world, what would their professions be?
Ooh, that's, uh let's see. I feel like Lindon would end up teaching something, or like academic in some way. That's probably, that's how I kind of how I picture Lindon is he would end up, like getting his PHD in a really obscure subject; and then Yerin probably, I can't imagine Yerin doing anything but fighting. So I'm thinking like, MMA fighter or something. That's her, she's scrappy.
Have you taken any inspiration from fighting games for the different paths you've created?
Hmm, yes and no. I don't go to any fighting games specifically, so it's not, I can't think of a, fighting game that is specifically inspiring a specific path or ability or whatever. It's hard for me to say, 'yeah, this is based on Guilty Gear', or whatever; but, the aesthetic of a fighting game, I really like, and here's why. So the fighting games are these really colorful larger than life characters that really pop on screen, and they have consistent thematic designs, and their moves come out fluidly, and they play against one another. The kind of concept of a fighting game, if you sort of pull back from a broad perspective, is that you have all of these amazing champions that are, happen to be balanced against one another in single combat. They are all in the setting at the same time, but they are all very different colorful people, and I love that concept. That is exactly what I like in a setting, that is I just love the fact that all these people are kind of, out there somewhere moving and shaking, and yet they're, you stick them in an arena and go 'FIGHT!'. Either one could win, it's pretty cool. So, the concept of a fighting game I think is really neat, and I would love to write a series that has more direct inspiration from fighting games, because, aesthetically, color wise, theme wise, I think that's pretty cool.
Who is Mercy's father?
That's, a common question, that I get a lot. I don't remem.. I think I, I think I covered that a little bit in Dreadgod. I don't think I explicitly said who it was in Dreadgod. So I'm going to continue to not do that.
If you could go back to the start of Cradle, and make one change, just one, what would that be and why?
I was asked this recently, and I don't have a great answer, to that question because; anything I would want to change would be more of an approach, or a style, or a structural difference or a way I would write differently, more than changing one specific thing. So the actual answer would be, I would want to make Unsouled and Soulsmith more indicative of the experience of the rest of the series. So in my experience or in my view and in lot of it certainly what a lot of people say, BlackFlame is where it starts feeling like the later books feel, and I agree with that. I think, Unsouled and Soulsmith do a lot and have a lot of great parts, and set up the characters and all that, it starts feeling like, 'Oh, this is what Cradle feels like!' around BlackFlame. So if I could find a way to bring that to book 1, especially the quick and easy humor, and the crew dynamic. So I don't know, the problem with, the easiest way to do that would be, to bring Eithan to Sacred Valley, right?; but that changes so much in the story, that it's, that would be hard for me to say I'd want to do that, that's just such a huge directional change for the series. It again makes the series, it already struggles as it is, being, between being Eithan's story and being Lindon's story. It's clearly Lindon's story, because we focus on him, it's his journey and he does all that stuff. We start with him, where as if Eithan comes into Sacred Valley and recruits him, and becomes, he kind of fulfills plot wise, Yerin's role, of taking and teaching him about the outside world. Then, that is another thing that Eithan is taking control of that Lindon is not, so I don't know, yeah. I don't know how I would do that, so it's probably not a change I would make.
Who would win, Monarchs or the most powerful Greek gods
Any single Monarch Solos the entire Greek pantheon. I don't, yeah. Just, annihilates them. So, the feats that Greek gods perform in myth, are not that strong, on a Cradle scale. They don't, do anything like that. So, it's just, you could reasonably expect 'Oh Zeus could conjure a planet wide lightning storm', but he doesn't, so, going with the feats they actually perform, yeah, any single Monarch Solos the whole setting. So, yup; but if you then assume we're talking about the Greek gods as they are portrayed in modern fiction, at a similar power scale to the Monarchs, then, sure, it depends on how strong you draw all the characters.
It seems like dreadbeasts have their spirits fused into their material flesh as they grow more powerful, is this meant to be diametrically opposed to how the heralds do it?
Yeah, so the end result is kind of similar, of dreadbeasts and Heralds, the point is that Heralds do it when both are stable and ascended, successfully I mean they're merging their spirit and body correctly, and dreadbeasts and dreadgods are doing it incorrectly. Now the dreadgods do it incorrectly, but they do it so synergistically that it ends up being correct, like loops around in on itself. It's, it's like doing it wrong so much that it becomes right, but dreadbeasts have done it wrong and they suffer for it.
At the end of Reaper, who wins in a fight, Lindon or Yerin.
The end of Reaper. Lindon. Lindon does, yeah. That's, at the end of Reaper, Lindon is, I think is definitively ahead of Yerin, it's not a stomp, but he does win.
When you first came up with the idea of Cradle, who's character arc was the first one you had thought of, was there a character that inspired the story initially?
Obviously I said it earlier that Eithan and his true identity were fundamental to the setting, but this was always Lindon's character story, so Lindon's character arc was the one that I had really come up with, so in terms of Eithan, I had thought, ...yeah, I knew that there was going to be something for him to learn, but I didn't exactly know what that was, before I had written Cradle; but Lindon I was going 'This was all about Lindon', this was about Lindon going from weak to strong, and what kind of person does that and what kind of change that makes in your self and your life and your heart. So that's Lindon.
What is everyone on the teams favorite Cradle scenes?
You know, it's, ok let's do that real quick. Rebecca what's your favorite Cradle scene?
The end of Ghostwater, when it gets revealed that Dross is a presence, because, that was one of the only things, in the major moments and twists in the series that Will hadn't told us ahead of time. So I knew about Eithan being Ozriel, I knew about a lot of the other major moments, but I had no idea that Dross was going to be a presence, and I lost my freakin' mind, reading the beta draft and was like, screaming, and it was like midnight and wasn't sure if he was awake, and I was going to wake him up, and, yeah so yeah.
It turns out I was playing a game of League of Legends, and she had to wait for me to stop, so that she could freak out. Yeah, she had to wait for the game to be over, because I'm not gonna leave a game.
Rebecca selfishly took my answer as well, because I have died on this hill that that is the best scene in all of media, in recorded history; but since she took that one, my favorite scene is, is in Dreadgod.
So there you go, that's your answer.
I feel like Rebecca and Will look more alike, compared to Sam. Sam is an imposter, confirmed?
I saw a couple of questions as I was, taking a break, I did notice the sibling resemblance question, Sam is definitely one of our siblings, I feel like the reason why I, we don't look like him is because he's just a lot better looking than us, it's the beard, it's the power of the beard. If I were able to grow a beard like that, then I would be, my power level would be too great, and I couldn't be contained. So I have to stay clean shaven, in order to give everyone else a chance.
Are you Michael Manning, the author? Or borrowed name
So I also saw Amp asking are you the real Michael Manning? Now I know you were actually addressing that to Michael Manning in chat, and I would like to say, that I am not the real Michael Manning, if you were expecting me to be the real Michael G. Manning, you're in the wrong stream.
First things first, I know one of the things that people ask a lot, and of course, the first couple of questions are about this. Is about the...
Are you the real Will Wight?
Yes I am. (continuing previous thought) Did you use the method of writing that you did with Wintersteel with this one? I knew this would be about the method of writing, that's what YBD asked. I had been prepared to talk about my method of writing Dreadgod, so let me just, for just one second this is probably going to answer some of the questions that are coming up. So I'm just going to briefly outline how I wrote Dreadgod. Almost a year ago now? Maybe, maybe a year ago, I say down with a friend of mine, and we worked on the last 3 books in Cradle, and we kind of speculated and talked about the last 3 books and we sort of planned them like they were a trilogy. Now they are not structured like a trilogy, just, If you're going out there writing a trilogy don't structure it, it's like they're written like the last three books in a long series, but we planned them like they were a trilogy. So we planned Reaper, Dreadgod, and unnamed book 12, we'll call it Lindon Dies. As, we planned it like they were a trilogy, we plotted them together, so that they had a story that went through the 3 books. The one we were most worried about was Reaper, that was the one I was very concerned about, because of the ending, obviously recontextualizing a lot of the series I didn't know how people would respond to that. I was very nervous about that. So, then Dreadgod kind of comes off that so last September I think is when I started plotting Dreadgod, er started working on Dreadgod specifically. So I sat down and plotted that book specifically, based on the broader plan I had. I started plotting Dreadgod specifically, and I started writing it, and then around November, I had it to beta readers, so I had gone through an alpha draft, and I had taken it to now beta readers around November. They said, yeah, you know it's good, we need to do a little more work on it, but the base of it is there. So I paused it. Put it into the fridge for awhile, and I started working on book 12. So around the end of November and December January and into February I think? I was working on 12, so that then I could go back to Dreadgod, and insert some things that would set up events in 12 a little better. So I just I had planned them together and so I kinda knew where we were going, but I wanted to make sure that I could set them up appropriately a book ahead of time. So that was kind of the, and then I went back of course and finished off Dreadgod, and then we got the manuscript to Travis so he could read it and now it's coming out. Right. So that was the process for Dreadgod, also during that is when we were deciding whether this was going to be 12 books or 13 books. That was the whole debate, the whole process. We did end up deciding I could do it in 12 books, mainly because I don't have a character limit in book 12. If this one needs to be 200,00 words, significantly longer than Wintersteel it can be, that's not a big deal. If that needs to end up happening, I will, I'm not committing to that. Please don't hold me to that, I'm just going, it's going to be long and I'm gonna wrap up everything that I can. In book 12, that's the idea.
Can we hear the back cover description?
I don't, am I allowed to do that? (Looking at Rebecca) Oh, I am! Oh great, so that's why I have, great. So, we have an early printing of Dreadgod, this is the not for resale. (...) This goes live Tuesday, so therefore this will go up on Tuesday as well, this is the book, this is roughly the exact same size as Reaper. If you were satisfied with Reaper's length, that's where this is. I then I am going to now, try to read the back cover, but unfortunately there is a 'Not For Resale' over one of the paragraphs. I'm going to do my best to interpret the words here, we will, I might just be making it up. If I start talking about velociraptors at any point that means I'm making it up. Okay alright.
"The battle in the heavens has left a target on Lindon's back. His most reliable ally, gone. The Monarchs see him as a threat, and he has inherited one of the most valuable facilities in the world."
'Not For Resale'. I'm gonna need to wait for another copy. Dub dub dub dub, something about his enemies, yadda yadda yadda, his enemies are working together to kill him. I think is what that line says. Now we're going to move on. We'll post the whole thing after the stream, I'm just going to decode this as best as I can. Something something something, his enemies band together to kill him is the gist of that line, and then it is
"If it weren't for the dreadgods. All four are empowered and unleashed, rampaging through Cradle. Grudges old and new must be set aside. The Monarchs need every capable fighter to help them defend their territory, and Lindon needs time. While he fights, he sends his friends off to train, they'll need to advance impossibly fast if they want to join him in the battle against the kings and queens of Cradle. Together, they will need power enough to rival a dreadgod."
There you go, the back cover copy. So, the idea there, here's one thing, I've never talked about this before actually, I don't like writing back cover copies. Heres why. I don't use it to make my decisions in a book when I'm reading, so when I'm reading a book I don't use the back cover copy to decide, I only use it to determine what is the content of this book. So for me, a list of tags, is just as good and a one line description of the premise is just as good as a, you know a multi paragraph thing. So when I'm writing these, I am trying to go 'What would I get excited about in the book?' So I'm trying to go, but it's book 11 right? I basically really want every back of the book to be like 'Did you like book 10? If so read this! If you did not, don't read this.' Right?; but as I was writing this, I have his most reliable ally is gone, so I obviously want to elude to the fact that Eithan is not around, but I don't want to say on the back 'Eithan's gone', because if someone is just reading through the Amazon pages in order, they're going 'Oh what happened to Eithan in Reaper? Hmm' So there's that, and then I have he's inherited one of the most valuable facilities in the world, I originally had that as one of the most valuable properties in the world, and then i was going, well first of all that sounds like a Monopoly board, and second of all, is that clear enough that I'm referring to the Labyrinth? Again, I can't say the Labyrinth, because some people haven't read the previous book. So, then we're talking about all that, so it's hard to elude to the plot of this book accurately and tease you a little bit without giving stuff away from previous books. It's just an interesting word puzzle, but that part I enjoy. It's fun, you get to kinda like figure out how to fit these things into a trailer like format. So that's fun. (...) So the general plot of the book is Lindon is well ahead of his friends, and he is coming up with a plan to help train them up to his level. So that they can work together against the dreadgods and the Monarchs.
Say you received a world seed, what would you do with it?
I would make a world. So what world seeds do, they can be repurposed for other things, but they effectively are little drops of creation left over, and you can make kind of whatever. It's, it tended to bloom into what effectively would be a territory, then it's own world. So they're effectively the only ways left of creating new iterations; but you can also use them to make things, make unique things or people, beings, you can make sentient beings with them. So you can kind of make anything you want. It's kind of like having access to my notebook, where you can write whatever you want to into the setting. In a way, I do have access to a world seed.
Why did the judges not wipe the memory of the inhabitants of Cradle of the Mad King?
They do go into that a little bit in Dreadgod, but I can answer that now. The judges didn't wipe the memory because they wipe memory or don't depending on what is going to cause further instability and chaos. So, when they determine that not wiping memory is more stable, they don't. Right? Because somethings leave such a imprint on the world, that not remembering them is weirder than remembering. In this particular case it was, there's so much, it would be so difficult to wipe the world, and it would be such a, it's such a significant event in the plot that it's just like, well let's just let it run it's course; and then when the elements that are causing instability are then removed, so in this particular case it's just like what Makiel did a few books ago, where he accelerated the timeline of the Phoenix, because that gets the, Lindon and company out of the world quicker. So now it's, if everybody remembers it, they're going to be forced out of the world quicker, and they're going to have less of an impact on Cradle's ultimate fate, and therefore more stable. So that's the idea, and they refer to that and down the road they explicitly explain it.
What's the hardest part of writing Dreadgod?
(microphone starts to cut in and out here so some text is lost) Oh boy. Uh, yikes. Oh man. I have (...) to that question. It happens Every time. Reaper. So, it's hard to (...). There's some cool things in Dreadgod, but I don't have any spanning explanations, to reveal. So coming off, you have to, there's a lot of detail to explain without slowing the pacing down too much. So things like, show off all the stuff that happens with Ozriel, and the Abidan story line, but then the Abidan story line would be super long, and nobody wants to read that; and then so I go to Cradle and it's like I said, they're all going off training and he's sending them off but he's also doing stuff on his own. So I want them to explore the labyrinth, to have them go off and do all their training, I want to have Lindon explore his new powers, but again I don't want to spend too much time on it, because then those branch and diverge a lot more. So I want them all to be linked into one adventure. So it's hard to just balance all of that, is sort of the juggling act. Its probably the hardest.
Is Dreadgod a Dross book?
Well I used Dross' name I think more in this book than any other book so far. So, yes.
So, no map?
Gabe, I'm watching you. I've got my eye on you Gabe.
Are you going to kill a character off in this one? That would suck so much.
Alright, so let me talk in general about my feelings on killing characters. In general, I think, killing characters does a couple of things. One, and more prominently that people talk about it so much is that it amps up the stakes, because if major characters can die, in stressful situations, then when you threaten their lives later, that feels more impactful; because they might actually die. So when you're watching, in game of thrones characters being in mortal danger, you're a lot more on the edge of your seat than you are in, idk Spy x Family. Airing now on Crunchyroll. You know they're not really going to die, because they're, and by the way that's what plot armor is. The plot cannot continue without the character. You know they're not going to die, so they've got plot armor. People talk about plot armor in incorrect ways all the time. Like, this ability he has that keeps him alive is plot armor, no. That's just a device. A plot device. Plot armor, is if they're necessary to the plot, therefore they cannot die, or be removed from the plot or the story would stop. So Lindon for instance has plot armor, because until the end, that's where plot armor leaves by the way, at the end of a series the people who had plot armor up until this point don't need it anymore because they could die, because the series is over. So, (Takes a sip), the other thing that killing a character does is, tone, killing a major character of course. It impacts tone, and I am of the opinion, that not every series needs a lot of major character death, of even any, not every series needs that, not every series is improved by that. I think for instance, Harry Potter, you needed Cedric Diggory's death, you needed Sirius' death, I'm spoiling Harry Potter by the way. I don't give a crap, it's been out forever. Uh, I think Sirius' death is important and then I think probably, you know those kind of things, 4 5 and 6 the major character deaths at the end, and then 7 probably one or two characters needed to die, but a lot of characters died in 7, and I think that impacted it negatively. I think that, because of that, none of the individual deaths felt as impactful as they would have otherwise. Then I think in a lot of series you don't need major characters to die. So I don't believe that this is, and I don't think Cradle is one of those series where I need to kill a bunch of characters to show that I'm serious, but, on the other hand... It is also a series where I could. So, I feel like it's, it's kind of in the middle there. Where I think, some character death is probably appropriate, but I don't necessarily need it. It would be fine if they did all ascend and they all lived well, but I'm not necessarily saying that I have to do that or indeed intend to. It's one of those things where again I could go either way. Cradle. (Takes a sip).
When you started writing Cradle, I assume you had a general idea of where the characters and world would end up, has the story up through Dreadgod met or exceeded your expectations?
Exceeded, of course. My, people talk about getting your view, your vision on paper. It I indeed very difficult, when you're doing anything artistic you're trying to get what's on your brain onto paper, and it never works exactly as you intended it. In a lot of ways I find out that's a good thing, I have, a lot of times you find I have a vision in my head of what kind of an emotional impact this is going to have, so I have, so I'm imagining this being a really cool thing; but then I have to actually make it a really cool thing, in your head, and that's hard. What happens is, it then becomes more real, as it gets on the page. So, I think it improves, when you get it on, when you make it real. When you get it to the page. Now there are things you can't do, or things that don't work out as well as you thought; but you've got to make it real.
If each Dreadgod released a flavor of Oreo, what would they be?
Rebecca! (Points at Rebecca) Answer, here we go.
So first of all, a lot of questions were submitted you guys are awesome, Sam and I were pre-selecting the questions, but I saw this yesterday, and I was like this will be a good one for Will to answer, and then I spent so much time thinking about it that I have answers and I wouldn't let Will do it. Okay. So, first, Bleeding Phoenix. There is, horrifyingly, there is a hot and spicy cinnamon Oreo. Perfect for Bleeding Phoenix, you would never want to eat it, it would be terrible. Then we've got, the Weeping Dragon. Okay so we've got lightning, so the fireworks Oreos that have poprocks in them that go pew pew pew pew pew in your mouth, it's great. Then, I really kind of struggled with the Silent King, but then! There's these white, fudge covered Oreos, so it's like an illusion because it's not a real Oreo looking thing, and it's covered in white frosting. So that's perfect. (Will Wight cuts in saying 'That's a great answer, I was just going to say vanilla regular, the white Oreos') No, no, I spent too much time on this when I should have been sleeping; and then the last one, wait, who have I not done? (Will: The Wandering Titan) The Wandering Titan! (They say it together) The Wandering Titan is a Mega Stuf Oreo, he's a big boi, that's it. Done. Definitive answer. Okay I'm out.
Wow. Man, those were great answers, she said she thought about that a lot and yeah, when we got to this question she wanted to be the one to answer it, she was excited, she invested a lot in this. I'm impressed.
How much is the dream tablet of Naru Huan kicking Eithan going to be valued at, now that Eithan is known to be the not so grim reaper?
It's going to make Naru Huan a very rich interdimensional tycoon. Now he's going to be, he's going to have influence comparable to judges. Just because, he has this memory; and this is something that can't be replicated. No matter where he goes, he's going to be a celebrity. He's going to be welcome in vroshir worlds. He's going to be an interdimensional diplomat. I'm just kidding, or am I?
With the release of Dreadgod closing in and without going into spoilers, what is the thing you're most excited for the fans to read?
Without going into spoilers... (Sam says how Lindon dies from off camera) Yeah, how Lindon dies. There it is, that's the answer. I don't know how to do this without going into spoilers. What are you talking about? You ask me what my favorite part is, of Dreadgod, but don't spoil me. Ah.... I don't know. I don't know. I can't think of a non-spoiler answer. It's the, Sam's favorite part. That's what I want you guys to see, I'm excited for you guys to read Sam's favorite part.
Did you expect Dross to have such a fanbase?
Does Dreadgod have Makiel X Ozriel (blushing_emoji)?
No. They hate each other. They absolutely hate, I could not have definitively said that any more. Absolutely not.
the training montages?
The training montage? There's a lot of training montage. I guess there's actually only one montage, a lot of training scenes.
Will you ever top "I'm here to punch a hole in the sky." As the most badass line ever?
Hahaha, okay. Funny story about that. So I had that set up line, in the beta draft of Wintersteel; and a friend of mine, Devon, was reading through it and was like, I thought for sure, later when he comes back and sees Mercy again, and says like 'Im back', or whatever, and then he has conjured a hole in the sky, why doesn't he say 'I'm here to punch a hole in the sky'? I thought for sure he was going to say that, and then he doesn't, and I was like... Oh yeah, I guess that is a good line. So I looked it over and I was like, yeah, that definitely makes sense. So then I put it in there, so it was like yeah that looks like I set it up and designed it real well, but he was like 'Yeah I thought for sure that you were going to do that', and I was like. Nooope. So I just didn't think of the response or the punch line. I didn't think of it. So, the set up, great; but the, in terms of where I was going with it, I don't know. I had no intentions of that, so that was like one of the few punch lines where it really wasn't my doing, I had written everything around that except for the actual line. (Takes sip).
Will we ever see Adriel or hints of him in Cradle?
Yeah, I think definitely hints of him, some of them were already there or were indirect references, but in terms of whether or not you'll see him? No, probably not, certainly not in Cradle. Probably not. Probably just one of those myths, but references, yes.
Was Lindon always intended to manifest a Void Icon? When was he originally slated to become a Sage, considering he'd have become a herald first?
Uhh, yeah, I had always intended him to manifest the Void Icon, yes, 100%. Yeah, that was planned a long time in advance, that's right around with where I talked about Eithan, in a previous series. The protagonist in that series had, it's prototype magic system had access to a Void Icon, and kind of an Order Icon. So, yeah. (Takes sip).
Can you explain why Adriel looks like Idris Elba in my imagination?
I can not explain that, I can just say that Idris Elba is my casting choice for, Makiel.
Idris Elba is my casting choice for like every role.
What are your casting choices for all the main characters if we ever get a live action Cradle?
Animation; but if I had to do live action, Danny Devito, all the parts.
You had said previously that Audible wasn't interested in rerecording Traveller's Gate, what changed?
Well, there's a lot of journey to that, a lot I can't really get into, story would take a long time; but the bottom line is, I always wanted to change it, and we ended up getting to the point where because Cradle was so popular I was like, we'll get more people interested in this, we wanted to do it, Travis wanted to do it. So, I wanted to do it the whole time. We ended up being able to rerecord it, it was one of those things where we really wanted the quality of Traveller's Gate to reflect the rest of the series, the rest of the books I mean. While Rebecca is busy making changes to my keyboard I can go ahead and tell you stories. So when we started off, I was reading the books myself, we were recording in a closet in my parents house. We had pinned a bunch of foam material and afghans and rugs and stuff to the walls in order to muffle the sound. We had bought our own equipment, we had a friend of ours who could do audio engineering, he came in and helped us out. We invested $2-3,000 into this, and that was a huuuge investment for us at the time. That was not easy, we were, that was a lot of book money. So we were going, yikes, we wanted an audiobook out there because, people want audiobooks. We want to record this, and we want to do as good of a job as we can, but we can't afford to do a really great, we can do the best job we can afford to do. So we did all that, and it was only because of you guys the fans sharing this with your friends, sharing it with your, recommending it, enjoying it, that we had enough money to do even that; and then we had the audiobooks out to people, and people enjoyed those, some people enjoyed the new books, obviously people really responded to Cradle. The more fan engagement we get, the more you guys are spreading the word, and this kind of thing, we are able to just do a better job. Without you guys we'd never be able to hire Travis; and so now Travis is part of the team, really he's the voice of Cradle, but more than that he's the voice of my books right now. I mean, Emily Woo Zeller did a fantastic job with the Shadow side of Elder Empire; but every other book is read by Travis. I think he is just, he does such an amazing job, with everybodies books, not just mine. With me in particular, I really think he does a fantastic job of bringing out my intentions for the text, how I want it to be delivered. I obviously write it with a certain delivery in mind, because that's just how I'm writing. He's just so great to work with, just a great guy. He delivers these things so we'll, that its just greater than the sum of its parts. I think Travis our audiobook narrator is, so great at this that I wanted to, take Traveller's Gate to the next level, and we really wanted it to happen. (...audio starts to cut out a bit...) We could go on about it for a long time, the reviews for House of Blades crossed 1000 this week, because we asked. We've never asked for reviews before, we don't ask for reviews. (A lot more dialogue is lost)(...) We don't want to ask for reviews, but on the other hand if I was a fan, I would want to know if reviews were deleted, and I would just go leave a review. Right? I would want to know. So we were going, people are going to want to know, but if we tell them it's going to be the same as asking for a review, so we realize, it took us a long time to draft out a... (...) We had a post about the reviews letting you know that they were down, and now we're over 1000. Also, this week, we heard from Audible that House of Blades was #8 on their most listened to books in fantasy, right? (Asking Rebecca off camera) For the week? Oh wow, for all of fiction? I thought it was, so yeah #8 in all of fiction, listened to this week was House of Blades. It's funny because there was a typo, they made a typo in the email where they sent it to us, where they said City of Blades was #8 and I was like, oh cool I'll let Robert Jackson Bennett know. That his book is at #8, but it was, it was House of Blades; and then we, look there's just so much stuff you guys, so I had to, just by the way this is the art that Rebecca got available and it's hanging behind me, it's going to be the new cover for the Travelling Gate collection. I love that art, (...) He was great to work with, he does great art and I think the quality shows through, and I think it's great, and it's like I'm thinking wow, I'm working with fans, right?; and then I think the trilogy cover is like, I love it so much. The detail on the dolls, right? He actually went through and drew the dolls appropriately. Some of them are dolls from the books, but a lot of them aren't, if you have a doll that you're looking for in the books it's up there in the shelves. So I love that, I think it's really cool. It's really neat, it's just neat to get to work with fans, to be able to work with Ari Ibarra so much, it's cool.
Will have you played One Step From Eden? It's a MMBN roguelite.
Yeah I have, and I was like, I didn't like it.
Has either of your siblings written a book?
The answer is, I think they probably will. You should keep an eye out for that. (Will and siblings laugh).
Will the Amazon books be updated with the new versions that have bloopers and extra scenes?
Yes, they will. We will be updating those, however if you have the ebook on your device, you should know as anyone who has experience with these Kindle books should know, you have to kind of manually update the books. So, if you have the old version, it's gonna stick with the old version on your device unless you manually update, and sometimes even then it's kind of a headache, there's nothing we can do to force an update your device, so it's up to you.
Will this stream be rewatchable later today?
Yes, when, not sure. Should be later today, soon as we end it should automatically upload to YouTube. Who knows.
What was the reasoning/thought process for making the Valinhall blades so large and unwieldy? Was it to force the Valinhall Traveller's to use their gifts?
Alright, a couple of reasons. One is, large swords are cool. Second is, they have super strength, so they can. That's it.
About what level of Cradle advancement would various travelers be at? The obvious examples would be the incarnations Alin, Zakarath, and Simon.
Uh, again. Mapping other magic systems onto Cradle advancement system is a little harder than it sounds, because Cradle advancement system is relative to itself. So, you don't map them exactly; but in general they'd be about gold level, and then, would Simon or the higher level incarnations would be like Underlord level. So... They would just get absolutely trashed in Cradle, where as then the, so the, but they can do other things right. So it's a more flexible magic system, so you have things like ragnarus things being able to curse people, or give them commands, or having stuff that Cradle would have to do manually they can do kind of automatically.
Do you think that you may be making new content for Traveller's Gate in the near future, or do you think you may do something new?
So I'm going to do something new first, because it has been 6 years since I've written a new book. The new thing was Cradle, and I love writing new stories, and I don't do it very often. So I like it, I want to do it, I will now do it. So I'm going to do a new thing next, and then after that, ....probably the next thing is going to be Traveller's Blade; but I can't guarantee that, but probably, but who knows?; but yeah.
Are the Travellers comparable to the Sages of Cradle? They both can bend reality to their Will, open gates, portals and pocket worlds, both can become stronger by exercising their Will power.
Jamie D. Woods, which I'm going to assume is James Woods the actor, (...), Sage is more equivalent to like, the Founder of a Territory. So, Simon of course being the honorary Founder of Valinhall, but not the real one, Valin being the real Founder of Valinhall, but not like someone who is fully in control of their powers. If Valin had been able to create Valinhall and control it completely, he would have been like a Sage. That would have been like where he's at; but because he can't, because he was sort of using material that was already there, and was kind of a, they had similar abilities but not as well controlled.
What would happen if a person who had two Territories pulled on both hard enough to incarnate at the exact same time, would they die a gruesome death, or would the territories be linked? Also how does someone ascend from this world?
Would they die a gruesome death? Probably. Would the two Territories be linked? No, they would not get linked, they would, they might become an incarnation of both, that would be a weirdo hybrid thing, that could happen; but most likely they would just die. How does one ascend from this world? It's in between Territories, so Territory, obviously spacial travel, there's a lot of weird spacial stuff happening in Amalgam, which is the Traveller's Gate world. So there are a lot of ways where you could go from a Territory and be like a back way out, where you would get lost between worlds. That's the kind of thing where you would do, it's less ascending like it is in Cradle in terms of you have transcended this plane of existence, more or getting lost and stumbling out. In terms of if you were to ascend from Amalgam, in terms of becoming that great, you would basically just have to become the greatest Traveller of all time.
You said it on some podcast that it was twice as many books from more than double the amount of work. If you could do the series over again, would you approach it differently?
Yeah, so one thing I would do is, we think the main deal with Elder Empire is, the concept is not super clear. So, I would clarify that. I think one thing that hurts that is, the titles, which I think are super fun, but they don't communicate the concept really that well; and they're hard to remember. So, it's, there's a lot of presentation things that we would change, I probably would, the thing is I probably wouldn't do, I would probably do a different concept; but it's hard to say that because I'm glad I did it, once, it was cool, it was a good experience. I grew as a writer, I learned a lot. Now I would do that, but I would only do that now with the benefit of hind sight, so if I really went back in time I would probably do the same thing. So... It's really the dual book structure thats not clear.
What's not clear about pirates vs ninjas...?
It's the dual novel structure that's not clear, why is it two novels? What is the structure, what are the flash backs? It's not clear. So I would clarify that more; but I did say before it is twice as many books for more than double the amount of work, yeah it, it look. Writing two books would be easier than writing two books in parallel; because two books in parallel you have to be extremely clear and exacting on where everything is at each time. Plus, they both have to be structured in relation to one another and also independently. So they have to work on a structural level, as themselves, and in relation to the other story. As you can imagine, that's hard; because you have to have characters, both characters pushing their story line forward in a way that interacts with the other, but in a way that's also satisfying on its own. It's very very difficult to do. So, that was a challenge that I took on. Some people have in the past been like, 'ah, yeah, you did that so you could get two pieces of income, for essentially the same book.' Uh, no. That, that's kind of the opposite of what happened; and it is really, I would have made way more money had I just written six books 1 2 3 4 5 6, instead of two at a time. So yeah. It would have been way easier.
Does Elder Empire take place before, or after Cradle?
We get that question a lot; and I'm still not going to answer it.
What rank is Bass.exe?
Probably no rank because he's a program, so there would be nothing for him to interact with now.
I love Shera, as a woman I resonated with her, what is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
It's fan response, it's reviewer response. People have certain ideas about what it means to be writing in a characters head based on their gender. So in general, speaking very candidly, when you are a man writing in the head of a woman, really even if you're a woman writing a woman character, it is, people have these assumptions that what you're doing is a statement on women in general. Where as when you do a male character, it's not taken that way. So, when you, so I can write a male character doing anything, and it isn't taken as a judgement or a statement on who men are, but whatever I have a woman do it is taken as, it can be taken as a statement on what women are like or what I think about women. So that is really the hardest thing, it's not really writing the characters, so there's a lot of good reasons for that, I'm really not attacking that, it's just what it is. So because of that I have to keep in mind what people are going to expect or how they're going to read this. I don't really have to do that for male characters, so that's the hardest part. That's the, I have to go, however the way I prefer to write characters is, and the way that I usually do is I write them just as the people that they are in the scenario, and then I kind of assign gender later. So I sort of have them in their role and their personality and their backstory, and then I figure out who they are as a human. So because of that, gender kind of comes along later in the process. So I write them the same, I write them the exact same ways, the same process. It doesnt change. Except that then, I have to determine, afterwards, okay is this, what can I? Am I allowed to do this? Are people going to take this, is this going to offend any body? Is this something that is going to, is there a problem here? You know, I've got to check, right? A lot of my beta readers are women, so I get to have that checked for me, they get to tell me what they think about it. That is primarily how I write characters, the same. That is how I would prefer to do it the entire time, I would prefer to write them exactly the same way. You have to keep reader expectations in mind, I certainly don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. That's the hardest thing, in terms of how you'd write people, look, you write people as authentically as you can. theres this idea that there's a gendered voice in a pov, and I have not found that to be true. It all comes down to how authentically you are writing the character, and if you're writing the character authentically then I think it comes across as an authentic voice and if you are not then I think it doesn't. There you go.
I'm glad Yerin is female.
Okay so Yerin is one of those characters that I had as a woman from the beginning, and the reason by that is, she is the character who is the protagonist, who would be protagonist if Lindon wasn't around. She's got the sword powers, she's got the blood powers, main characters in these cultivation stories always have either sword, darkness, blood or fire powers or often all of them. Therefore Lindon got the fire and darkness and magic powers, and she got the sword and blood powers. So, I had her just be the, she's kind of the protagonist, and that's why she's the one who wants to fight all the time. Thats the typical cultivation protagonist. So her being gender flipped was intentional on my part, because she's the other side of the coin. Of a normal cultivation protagonist. Thats the backstory of Yerin's design there.
If they weren't stuck with the class 1 fiends would the readers and other people with powers of Elder Empire be able to ascend? Has anyone ascended from the world of Elder Empire?
(...class 1 fiends...?) Yes. (...has anyone ascended...?) No, after they were locked there, it was locked down. No one has ascended from that iteration.
Bro, Cathel is cool.
I do not understand that, and I'm going to move on.
Why and how did you decide to try doing such an ambitious work of two parallel trilogies? Hats off to you, structurally it must have been difficult, how did you figure it out?
Brute force, I figured it out by brute force. Doing two parallel trilogies, I always really liked that idea. Oh actually wait I'm going to back up. (...) Structurally it's difficult for Elder Empire, yes it was very difficult. I figured it out kind of one step at a time. It was hard to, hard to do. Something that was just, I had to do it, I had a great time doing it, I don't recommend it. (...dialogue lost to lag...) The flashback storylines were major storylines. (...more lost...) I then had to get the flashback storylines to work complimentary with the main storylines.
People always ask who is Will Wight, but we want to know how is Will Wight? :D How are you doing?
Aw, 'how are you doing?' I'm doing alright, not too bad. One of the things that we're continually trying to figure out is how I take time off better. So I give myself time off, but it's hard to kind of turn my brain off. So I've been trying to figure out how do I channel that into projects that make me restore...
Turn Will off and on again. That might reset him.
(...) Yeah, yeah that's actually what I'm talking about, how do I turn myself off and on again and rest. I know you were joking about the lag.
Does your upcoming series Plasma Bolts have plasma swords?
When does Lindon show up in Plasma Bolts?
How fast does Plasma Bolts?
How fast does Plasma Bolt?(presumably?) Quickly, anytime anything happens, he's just ready to bolt. Plasma is just out of there.
How do you name your characters?
Uh, I've said this before, kind of any way. All the ways. There's only really a couple of rules I go with, one is if you want people to, who are named by a certain culture to have something in common with other people named by that culture, and then other ways are, you don't want main characters with rhyming names or names that start with the same letter; because that becomes confusing. So, you kind of, your main character names have to be distinct. Dresden Files is my big example of that, we have Murphy, Michael, Mouse, all these people who begin with M, and it's like, it looks confusing on the page. So it's not terrible, it's just one of those things where, avoid those things if you can.
Yeah, Elden Ring names.
Character names shouldn't start with the same letter? Someone tell Elden Ring.
Oh yeah, Elden Ring, that's another good, Elden Ring yeah. All the Elden Ring, Godfried, Godrick, Godwhatever, it's okay sure. Godwin, Godbolt.
How do you start with conceptualizing a new series or world, and how do you transition that into a story or series?
Alright so I start with some kind of, some kind of concept, that is just the seed for whatever I think is interesting about that idea. Then I build out from there, and then I have to link it to a plotline and characters and all that kind of stuff. Whatever my initial thought process is, so for Cradle I was going look I want to do a cultivation series, that is more designed for western audiences; because a lot of the cultivation series that are written in China and Japan and Korea, they assume a level of cultural familiarity that a lot of people here don't have, and they're translated. So I was trying to go, okay let's use English words, let's use western tropes, and let's try to write it for a western audience. So I take those things and I go, what do I want to see?; and then I go out from there. That's generally how I start; but it goes back and forth. Everything I figure out about the world informs the characters, everything I figure out about the characters informs the plot, everything I figure out about the plot informs the world. So on and so forth.
What's your favorite game in the Legend of Zelda franchise?
Breath of the Wild, no question. I think Breath of the Wild is just amazing, what an awesome step forward for the franchise and for open world games in general. I like a lot of the other, I mean Link's Awakening is really good, a Link to the Past. I know Ocarina of Time was everybody's big, and it's a great game, but it was one of those things where I played it as a kid and it didn't make that much of an impact on me. So... It's, it's a good game, but it wasn't anything that informed me. (Takes sip.)
Is the MFA program at the UCF worth enrolling in?
It was worth it for me, but I can't say it would be worth it for everybody. As I've said before, it was worth it for me because it was worth reading, being forced to write, read other people's writing. Learn how to give and receive feedback. All that kind of thing. Become familiar with myself as a writer; but everything you learn from an MFA program you can learn from, on your own, or from a writers group. From getting mentors. You can do that online for free, if you're going to, but I wouldn't have, I dont have the discipline for that. I wouldn't have done it. The MFA made me do it, so it was worth it for me.
Other than regular flavor, what is you favorite type of Oreo?
Birthday Cake. It's funny because I try all these different kinds of Oreos, and I really enjoy that and it's really fun; but you always come back to the double stuf is the best. Then I think of the fancy ones, Birthday Cake man. It's great.
What is the next type of series you are planning to work on?
Alright, so I've teased this, and I've talked about it. I'll tell you now, the next thing I'm planning on working on is space fantasy. So, it's not exactly scifi, it's a very soft sci-fi it's kind of a wizards in space with dragons. So you've got star ships, you've got wands, you've got dragons hatching from stars. Fun stuff.
Under what sort of circumstances would Plasma Bolts ring like a bell?
Alright man, I only used ring like a bell because I used it as a tag for Yerin's major ability, I didn't, I've used it other times in Traveller's Gate and other series; but, (Sam says 'A lot!' from off screen), I know, I know dang it, I use it a lot. I used it,I rely on it, I only over use it because of Cradle. Dang it. (Takes sip.)
Has working on your non Cradle story helped your overall productivity?
I guess. It's hard to tell, I know that I feel better. Going, working on other things. I like having a break, working on other ideas. I like stretching myself I like trying new things. In terms of hopping back and forth, does it help my over all productivity? I don't know. I mean, that's, I was pretty productive before, I'm pretty productive now.
What are the relationships that you find most difficult to explore as a writer, and how do you incorporate them into your stories?
So, obviously I've been open about the fact that romance is hard for me to write. There's a lot of reasons for that, but one of the major ones is. I'm writing these action focused fantasy, action stories; and I don't like shallow romances. I find it annoying and distracting. So, in most action focused fantasy, it is, the characters just fell in love because they're both attractive and sort of in the same general zip code; and that's not; I would prefer it not to be there than to be that, that adds nothing for me. That is common, so I know how to write those, those are easy to write; but a real fleshed out relationship between two characters develops over the course of a series. It's a lot harder to write, it's difficult, it requires a lot of page space. Obviously I'm a big fan of pacing very quickly, and you slow down the pacing to develop romance stories. So it is hard to do both, so because of that it is hard for me to write. Now, a lot of people go, 'I dont like romance at all'. That's not really true, a lot of series I read, Manga mostly, are romantic comedies. When its an emotional story line, and it's an emotional conflict, primarily it's the way it progresses. Then romance fits in that quite well. I can easily imagine myself going, yeah, if I were writing a series that was all about the emotional ups and downs of relationships of the characters, it would be very easy for there to be romance in that, as a dimension; because primarily what we're dealing with is the characters who have emotions and relationships between one another while going out and killing Lazer Monsters. It's hard to work that in, kind of like how it's hard to work in a human story line while you've got, in a Godzilla movie. So, it's just like... It doesn't mesh well. So because of that, because I'm not willing to just say, just have romance for the sake of romance, that's the hardest thing for me to write. (Takes sip.)
On a scale of 1-10, what is your favorite color of the Alphabet?
Will you marry me?
I'm sorry Carson, I think we ought to just be friends.
When you inevitably write Traveller's Blade, as an Akura Harmony, an Amalgam spin off series, how many Oreos will you eat during the production of the first chapter?
You're in my mind. Let's see, I would say about a quarter of a package.
What's the most obscure place you've drawn inspiration from?
I was thinking about this earlier and I, it's very hard for me to, say, because I kind of, everything goes in the hopper. You know what I mean? Everything, you pop everything into your brain. So it's hard for me to say where I get, most things don't have a specific, easily identifiable inspiration for them. It's hard for me to say what the most obscure place I've drawn inspiration from, because I draw inspiration from everything. So, yeah, that's just hard for me to, I don't know if I have a good answer for that question.
Will you be attending any conventions in the coming year?
Yeah, I'll be at DragonCon this August, like always. So, DragonCon. I'll be there.
How fixed is time in the Willverse? Seems there's an emphasis on fate.
Okay, actually, good question. So, time, in the multiverse, is kind of fixed; but it's flexible. So, there is one central time that the Way maintains, it keeps time from being 'too' relative. Which I'm not going into that; but it keeps time sort of relevant to one another, but worlds swing one way or the other. So, it is...
Will is heavily inspired by Saya No Uta.
... No, I am not. (...) Anyway, but time, in the different worlds, flex, a large way, but if you flex to one way either something else has to flex the other way or you yourself would have to go on a cycle. Typically if you're in a world, that is doing that, you don't notice; because you're not paying attention to the time of other worlds, right? So, one of the people that do notice are Amalgam. So the Territories have different relationships to time, but that changes over long spans of time. The Territories flex and change and their relationship to Amalgam. So one Territory might have certain time dilation now, and then it change gradually.
What's a good way to make a magic system have a wide variety, without still not being overly complicated?
So what you're looking for is of course, is the holy grail of a magic system. Is, easy to learn, hard to master. Just like a game, it's easy to understand in a conceptual level, but there's a lot of flexibility in it. Man, I have a lot of thoughts on magic systems. So the broad strokes are, you want to decide what kind of thing you want, so what sort of idea or aesthetic you want for the magic system. So do they look like, cultivation, you know martial artists throwing fire balls? Do they look like wizards? Do they look like high tech mad science technicians? What is the general concept, right? Then after that, you go into what can it do? So that defines what kind of features you do want it to have; and then, kind of what can't it do? What are it's restrictions? How does it actually work in real life? Implement it. So if you are really doing this, give me some practical way of how you're doing it. It doesn't just happen. So then how does that work? That implies other restrictions and limitations; and then you kind of go back and forth as you refine it into something specific that people can really work on.
Favorite magic system?
My favorite magic system is probably Hunter x Hunter. So, that's the nen system of the Hunter x Hunter anime and manga, I think it's great. I think it's a great way of developing individual powers so it's kind of like they took their normal shonen anime thing where everyone has their own specific highly detailed power, and then they created a system for making, super detailed shonen powers. I think that's super cool. (Takes sip.)
Do you have any personal writing goals, what do you want to accomplish as a writer?
You know I was asked this recently, what I really want to accomplish as a writer is to tell stories. I like telling stories, I like doing it. I like telling a lot of stories, I just enjoy it. So, kind of what I'm doing now, is sort of my writing goal. I guess what I want to keep doing is getting more efficient, more effective, and maybe not taking such an emotional beating during the writing process. Every time I write a book, it's kind of an emotional roller coaster for me. I sort of, it's kind of like a crushing huge disappointment followed by a peak of 'oh my gosh, this is amazing' and everybody saying I'm great, and then, but I'm not, I'm terrible; and its just this emotional wringer that really sucks, and I crash from every time. I'm trying to kind of maybe minimize that, maybe I can keep the enjoyable parts and all that.
Would you ever consider streaming a DnD one shot?
No, but Rebecca is very excited by that idea. Look, (Rebecca from off camera, 'Come on! a Cradle DnD 1 shot...) Alright, I mean I could, streaming it is hard. Look, for one thing I'm, I don't, I do these things to have fun with the other people at the table or that are in the game. So it's less about being performative and also I don't really care about the rules. So I know the DnD rules pretty well, but I don't care about them very much. It's one of those things where I'm like, the rule of cool is supreme and if people are having a good time it's working.
Haha, Hannah says yes to the DnD thing. Yeah of course she does, because Hannah is in my DnD group right now; and so is my sister Rebecca. So I've been running a group for about a year now, or something like that, and we're on a pause because one of the group members had a baby. Yeah, it wasn't me.
Make the glowy stuff different colors.
Alright so Trent, is responding to my magic system design notes, and I want to address that. Color coding is a great way to create a shortcut to distinguishing between paths, and any varieties in your magic system. I think color coding is, Territories as you might remember.
What is your favorite Star Wars character?
Who is my favorite Star Wars character....? Uh, Sam said Jar Jar Binks. Even in jest, I can't do it. It's got to be Yoda. I feel like, I was trying to think of one that's not like, taken by everyone, but it's probably Yoda. (Rebecca from off screen 'I think one day I'm going to do a house tour to show off our Star Wars living room.') It's Ewen McGregor. Not Obi Wan, Ewen McGregor.
When will the Cradle D&D Kickstarter be up?
I don't think Wizards of the Coast would like me doing that.
Is the new series planned to be as long as Cradle?
No. That is not the plan, I'm planning on doing it shorter than Cradle. I'm thinking 5 books right now, but that's very very early in the process. It could easily change, but that kind of range.
Which doll of Simon's is your favorite?
That's a great question, I like a lot of the dolls, (Rebecca slides into camera frame next to Will's head) but of course my favorite one is Rebecca. (Rebecca slides back off camera) Rebecca is my favorite doll.
Why do you still live in Florida?
Well look, I made a pact long ago with the Swamp Spirits of Florida, and if I move now it would just, it would cost me way too much of my power. It's taken me years of practice to learn how to create Manga, uh, mangroves out of nothing. So, I don't want to give that up. I'll be honest, if I moved somewhere else, you know if I moved to Georgia, do you know how long it would take me to create Red Clay? I mean, years. Years. I don't want to have to get to know knew spirits, and find new witches buried in the swamps, I just want, it's a whole thing.
Are all the books going to be signed from the Kickstarter?
Yes, all of the books will be signed.
Any chance of an Orthos hat?
I'm gonna pass that along, take a note of that. We'll see if we might be able to make that happen one day here soon. So, I've got my eye on you Orthos hat.
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