First, just want to say your books are amazing. I started with House of Blades, another favorite of mine. I wanted to ask; if you had to give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be based on your experience as a professional writer?
Finish the book.
Here’s some advice I gave someone on Reddit not long ago when they said that the advice to “keep writing” wasn’t working for them:
That is very common, and I think most of us have been there.
I think I’ve identified the cause, though: “just write” isn’t a strategy, it’s a mantra.
“I realized it was bad and stopped writing,” wrong, keep writing.
“I had no idea where to go next,” then you’re going to be very surprised at what comes out of your fingers when you keep writing.
“You don’t understand; I sat down to just write and the result was an exact clone of Harry Potter as crapped out by Satan. I’m going to get both sued for copyright and exorcised by the Pope.”
There is no good writing, only good rewriting.
All your characters know you are responsible for everything that has happened to them. You hear a knock at the door. Who is it and how much trouble are you in?
It’s Eithan. He knew all along. He invites me into my own home for a cup of tea.
What is the magic system of Traveler's Gate like in its native state, if the Way wasn't so thin and there were no fragmented Iterations attached to it? Would it serve no function?
I have some notes to this effect, but I’m afraid to lock myself into something by answering this question. Suffice it to say that I would like to explore this in the future.
Do you plan any new series in the near future?
I would like to write something new! But certainly not before the next two books of Cradle.
Any plans to release more short stories set in the Travelers Gate universe?
Plans, yes! But I always end up delaying those plans for another book...
How many books planned for cradle? Any sequels intentions?
12 books planned, though that number isn’t set in stone. As for sequels, it very much depends on where the story is at the end! And how much interest there is in a sequel.
Hey Will ! I am a big fan of your works (i probably already said this through my other user accounts but hey). I have a few questions if you don't mind entertaining. Did Valin somehow have access to the Way when he created Valinhall ? Or the creation of Valinhall is kinda a Travelers Gate magic and nothing to do with the Way? Did Eithan expect Yerin to eventually learn using the sword icon through his training ? Or that was just a pleasant surprise/coincidence that he did not know would bear fruit from his training? Thanks for bringing Cradle/TG to life ! It has been a pleasure.
1.) It DOES have something to do with the Way, in fact. 2.) Who can know the mind of Eithan? (In all seriousness, #2 is a Read And Find Out.)
Have you thought about writing short stories about the Emperor and the Regents (from EE)? Could you give us a hint what these might be like?
I have! Especially while working on OKAK, I thought that might be something I would have liked to explore. I would like to show the Elder War at its peak, when the Emperor and his companions had to go into territories warped and shaped by a Great Elder and convince slaves who had grown up with decades of indoctrination to follow fellow humans instead of the alien gods who own them. I think that could be cool.
How did a bunch of Sages kill the Sword Jade? (Real question) Where can you find the best cookies on Cradle?
Deep in the Diamondvale Mountains lies the home of the Honeyfinger sect, confectioners and craftsmen without equal who raise ancient chocolate plants over generations and summon incomprehensible sugars from other worlds. They’re currently working to perfect a disc, a sandwich of two chocolate cookies with creme between them, the birth of which could change Cradle forever.
Any advice on developing magic systems for a fledgling writer? The Cradle series is one of my favorites hands down b/c of how well the magic system is thought out. Looking forward to future works!
Hey! I like to start with a general concept (e.g. “magical martial arts”) and then include all the things I know I want the practitioners to be able to do. Throw fireballs, leap really high, whatever. Then I try to make sure it’s restricted in enough ways. Does it take years of training to form a fireball? Can you throw as many fireballs as you want? Usually it takes some kind of resource to use magic, even if that resource is just your physical stamina. After that, I start trying to push the magic system by thinking of crazy new ideas or coming up with weird implementations. Like, if you use a spell by writing it on a scroll, what happens if you use a material other than paper? Thinking it through more thoroughly in that way helps me to flesh it out some more, make it more real, and identify areas where I might need another rule.
The reason for Lindon being labeled Unsouled was amazing. I don't want to spoil anything but it's so true about the limits we put on ourselves, other people's expectations of us and how we live our lives. Is this mindset, this possibility blindness, inspired by something or someone close to you?
Not anything specific that I can think of, just the knowledge that usually the thing that most shapes my opinion of myself is the story I tell myself about who I am. In order to change my thoughts, I have to change that story first.
After reading your bio, I now smell cookies. Please tell us more about bear surgery.
People assume that it’s about performing surgery on bears, but it’s far more about using bears as surgical tools.
If you could be a type of Oreo, what flavor would you be and why?
Most Stuf.I don’t want to settle for an inferior amount of stuf.
Are you able to confirm if Cradle was a naturally formed iteration? Or was someone "playing Adriel" and made Cradle?
Cradle is a naturally formed Iteration.
Question from your #1 fan, my 12-yr-old karate student, Teketel: "Who is Eithan's second cousin?"
That's far too much of a spoiler!
The identity of Eithan's second cousin is the sort of knowledge that would warp the mind and tear the cosmos. For you student's own protection, I cannot tell you.
(In response to Will's post about re-listening to the Cradle audiobooks)
Must feel weird reading your own book. I know some actors hate watching their own show/movie.
It really is very uncomfortable.
But whenever I write a new book in a series, I re-read the older ones as well as my notes.
This is just the first time I’ve done it on audio, because reading with my eyes is so much faster.
May I ask why then? Why are you listening instead of reading if you can do it so much more quickly by reading? Is it just for a change of pace, or to allow yourself to multitask, or some other reason that I can't even fathom with my puny little non-author brain?
Thanks so much!
I want to have a more intuitive grasp of Travis’ voices for the characters—I’ve heard them all, but I’m so much more familiar with the characters as I wrote them that I sometimes forget what the audio voices sound like.
Also, I don’t want to skim or skip any sections even if I’m familiar with them. I think the slower speed might give me a new perspective.
But that part is just a theory. It’s always hard to get immersed in a story I wrote myself, and it’s even harder when the slower pace of listening to audio gives me so much time to think.
I’m sitting there thinking about what I should have done, what I should do later, ideas for the future, speculation about what I was thinking when I wrote the scene...
Where was Tharlos at the end of OKAK?
Tbh there’s a pretty mundane explanation if you don’t mind knowing it:
Tharlos is incapable of coordination with the others because he’s incapable of consistency, which is why he doesn’t help.
The reason he isn’t mentioned again is because of the scenes I removed dealing with Tharlos specifically.
One I actually wrote and then removed, so I have that saved, but the other one was supposed to be a Bliss epilogue that I never wrote.
I felt like the epilogue scene would put too much emphasis on a Great Elder who in the grand scheme of things didn’t do much, and would detract pacing-wise from the emotional impact of the ending, so I cut it.
Of course, what I then should have done was tossed in a throwaway line at the end where Calder senses what Tharlos is doing in order to tie up that loose end. But I didn’t think about it.
TL;DR - The reason it doesn’t exist is because I cut the Tharlos scene, and then I didn’t include a line patching it up because I forgot to.
Ozriel isn't dead because he appears in OKAK and Will said it happens after Cradle.
Without officially confirming or denying anything, I want to say that I don’t feel bound to anything I said outside the books.
I generally say whatever I’m thinking at the time, but I have to be free to change my mind until it’s in a book.
So I would have felt no qualms about changing the timeline around until I have established it in a published work.
So Li Markuth was on a different path? since he had something like Shadow and Storms i think?
Though he also came from a Li clan so long ago as to be unrecognizable to the modern family.
True Ruler of None
Does Reigan Shen do catnip?
All the time.