Recent entries

    March 2019 - May 2019 ()
    #25 Copy


    How do plants advance to the lord realm and beyond in cradle, what happens as they do, how far can they go?

    Will Wight

    As plants advance, they start gaining the ability to influence the world around them in certain ways, either through aura or madra manipulation or by developing the ability to move. They can then siphon the aura from natural treasures to make soulfire and advance to Lord.   Minor spoiler: one of the current Monarchs was the Remnant of a tree.
    Footnote: Will is likely talking about Emriss Silentborn.
    March 2019 - May 2019 ()
    #26 Copy


    Both the Underlady of the Jade Eye school and Li Min Redflower were separately said to have healed Eithan's shoulder in Skysworn. They were also both said to wear a dark veil at the meeting of the top 7 underlords with the emperor. Are they the same person?

    Will Wight

    They are. She's a blood member of the Redflower family but learned the Path of the Jade Eye school and came to lead it.

    March 2019 - May 2019 ()
    #27 Copy


    (Paraphrased) Was Cradle meant to represent Chinese culture?

    Will Wight

    My intent was not to represent Chinese culture, because I can't do that effectively. I draw on east Asian myth for the world, not just Chinese myths, and the culture definitely takes Chinese elements to begin with. But it is in no way intended to be an accurate representation of Chinese culture (and I would be surprised if readers thought it was), just a few elements to introduce some concepts before we transition into the wider world. So tbh his calling it a Western fantasy story wearing Chinese costumes is pretty accurate.

    My real goal was to create a kind of bridge for Western audiences, because I tried to recommend xianxia stories and my friends often got turned off by the prose or the names or the cultural sensibilities. So I wanted to write something that was sort of xianxia-adjacent but intended for Western audiences, in the hopes that they would later check out the real thing.

    As for Asian Myths and Legends, that's the correct category for Cradle. That is the Amazon categorization for stories that are inspired byAsian myths and legends, which of course Cradle is. If it was for only myths and legends authentically from Asia, the category would have very few entries in it.

    March 2019 - May 2019 ()
    #28 Copy


    Would Lindon or Simon win in a fight? Also will the Seishen Princes bodyguard be showing up later in the story? She was way stronger than I thought and had a cool power.

    Will Wight

    After the events of Underlord, Lindon would win. As for Meira, I can't answer that yet! Maybe she will, or maybe Lindon will leave her so far behind that if she showed up again she would be completely outclassed.

    March 2019 - May 2019 ()
    #31 Copy


    I’ve been meaning to ask what happened to the Tidewalker Sect that was mentioned in Ghostwater? It seems like that got retconned and the Arelius family was substituted as one of the Monarch factions.

    u/Will_Wight, is that what happened, or can we expect hear more about the Tidewalker Sect in future books?

    Will Wight

    Not a retcon! The Tidewalkers are not now and never were a Monarch faction, but we can expect to see some of them at the Uncrowned King tournament. As a vassal faction.

    March 2019 - May 2019 ()
    #32 Copy


    Does anyone else think it would be interesting, after seeing all the giant/exotic animal sacred beasts, like snowfoxes, wolves, sandvipers, tigers, and dragons, that it would be interesting to just see a really ridiculously high level house cat? Like an animal that started out as a completely ordinary pet, and because cats get into everything, it managed to consume enough elixirs to advance to an absurdly high level (to the distress of its owner because elixirs are not cheap)?That would be funny, especially given how impressive/dangerous looking the sacred beasts have been so far.

    Will Wight

    Problem is, it would probably end up looking exotic too, even if it STARTED as a normal cat.

    March 2019 - May 2019 ()
    #33 Copy


    Been waiting for a new post to ask somethings

    So finding out abidan archives was an info overload and I felt kinda like what dross must have felt on trying to integrate the Aurelius library. So I have a few questions/confusion.

    1. Regarding Monarchs Will said that there are 8 active monarchs in cradle and at the end of underlord 7 live ones are mentioned Akura malice Seshethkunaaz, (dragon one) Sha miara Northstrider 8 man empire , counted as one, Emriss silent born ,The monarch remnant, Reigan shen , who apparently killed a monarch recently (possibly the Aurelius )

    Now I am not counting the Aurelius monarch as he's been dead for a few years (~6) and Will said active monarchs.So the question is is there an unknown/hidden monarch?

    Am I missing someone's name or is eithan the aurelius monarch and is hiding/repowered?

    2. Of Markuth

    I believed he was abidan level but he was confirmed to be sage at most, so I can get how he can travel off world maybe using portals or something like a Stargate but looking to fight the 4 dreadgods together or even one at a time when even monarchs cannot handle them alone seems unbelievable.Remember how malice was on the verge of retreating after 3 days and the blood Phoenix was still good to go but it retreated (maybe the influence of makael judge 001 ) wore off.

    3. A few random musing

    i. Who is judge 007 cause the reaper is 008.

    ii. Is a ward key like a battery or an amplifier

    iii.Do u have to die and be reborn(leaving ur remanent behind) to ascend/touch the way , this would explain the death of sage of endless sword.

    Will Wight

    This is a lot of questions, and these blog comments aren't a great medium for an in-depth discussion, but I'll do what I can.

    1.) There are eight Monarch factions. Currently seven living/active Monarchs.

    2.) He was an Archlord (or similar level) when he ascended from Cradle, but he has advanced beyond that in a different magic system after leaving. When he came back, he believed himself to be more powerful than anyone in the Iteration. Maybe he was, who knows? Maybe he was just prideful and Northstrider would have beaten the crap out of him. But he was definitely not more powerful than Suriel.

    3a.) Zakariel is Judge Zero-zero-seven.

    3b.) No, it's like a passkey that lets you walk in and out unharmed.

    3c.) Maybe! That would be a spoiler.

    March 2019 - May 2019 ()
    #34 Copy


    So preface, Will is terrible with numbers as a rule. We know this and love him despite it.

    I'm doing a reread of blackflame and the following passage sprung up spoilers obviously:

    He’d never even heard of Eithan Arelius until six years ago, when the man stumbled through a portal to the other side of the world. Already an Underlord. Life and blood artists beholden to the family had confirmed that he wasn’t far past thirty. Foundation location 9814

    So based on this he's 36 at Blackflame. Already too old for the tournament. At least another year goes by with skysworn ect. We know the portal opens every decade and it'll be 3 years til it opens as of underlord (correct me if I'm wrong please) so based on the life artists it seems Eithan is much too old for this at well 37. 

    Will Wight

    The problem is my bad phrasing of that sentence in Blackflame.

    It was meant to say that he had been tested for his age six years ago, and he’s not far past thirty now.

    I intended that all along. Before Underlord was released, I became aware of this sentence in Blackflame, and I had a talk with some of my beta readers.

    “This sentence implies that Eithan is in his late thirties now, even though he isn’t supposed to be, and never was. Do I change the age cutoff of the tournament to 40 and make him 37-38 now?”

    It was too late to change Blackflame, because the Audible version is out. So we decided to explicitly state his correct age in Underlord despite the apparent contradiction.

    And here we are.


    March 2019 - May 2019 ()
    #35 Copy

    Will Wight

    Morality discussions are exactly the sort of thing I probably shouldn't chime in on. When I share my thoughts on this topic, that kills discussion between readers.

    But since you tagged me in, I'm going all-out! Let's do this thing right!

    There is no true morality or justice in Cradle, only might makes right.

    I don't understand this. The "might makes right" mentality comes from a world in which one hundred people cannot necessarily overpower one person, so their cultures developed differently than ours. In the same way, ours developed because there is no way ten people could possibly fail to overpower one, so "power" is measured in one's ability to influence others to your side.

    None of this is a reflection of "true" morality or justice. These are just power dynamics. It's not mutually exclusive with the same range of moral beliefs we have in the real world, it's just a practical reality. The series is primarily dealing with power dynamics, not the moral ramifications of such, because having Lindon extensively brood over whether his accumulation of power is morally justified in an inherently stratified society doesn't make for a compelling story.

    Also, what are "true morality" and "true justice"?

    So I fully expect Lindon to slaughter the Heavens Glory school.

    Why would you expect that? He hasn't slaughtered anyone thus far. He's been in life-or-death battles and failed to wrestle with the morality of killing people who were trying to kill him, but that's a big leap to exterminating a school in revenge. He hasn't done that thus far, so I'm confused about why you would expect him to start doing so in the future.

    There is no theme of moral development.

    It is my one complaint in the series, there is no moral development.

    I'm going to meet you halfway here and say that I think I agree with your intent, at least to some degree. Lindon needs to care about more than just his immediate problems in order to have a nuanced connection to the world and be fleshed out as a character, so I intend to explore that more as his ability to influence other people grows.

    However, I don't think a theme of moral development is a necessity in every story.

    Lindon withholding protection of SV out of revenge regardless of the innocents saved would be very consistent with the world.

    Sure, but not consistent with Lindon's behavior or personality.

    Everyone is a monster except the Judges who are forced to make horrible decisions to save some worlds.

    I find it interesting that you singled this out, because the Judges are the only people I explicitly showed in an ongoing moral dilemma. The other characters face similar decisions with lower stakes, but because it's not a major theme of the series, I don't focus on it or spell it out.

    And there doesn’t seem to be a moral arc as to why Judges would stop caring about clawing for power and suddenly flip a switch and be protective guardians of the universe.

    I'm not sure why such a moral arc would have been demonstrated in the story thus far, nor why those two things would be mutually exclusive. We have a small amount of insight into Makiel, Suriel, and Ozriel--three of the four Judges introduced into the story thus far--and all three of them very clearly use their power with a strong set of beliefs. Suriel is trying to minimize suffering in the multiverse, Makiel seeks stability, security, and order, and Ozriel is (or was) looking for a way out of his distasteful role in the cosmos because he doesn't want to be mass-murdering people.

    So we know that they do have moral standards and reasons for gaining power besides the power itself. Why would you think that they didn't before?

    Besides Mercy, we haven’t seen anyone who cares about anything beyond their own problems (Lindon included).

    I think you have a specific requirement or expectation in your mind for what constitutes the demonstration of a moral standard, because we definitely have seen those things from virtually every character. It depends entirely on your definition of "their own problems" and what it looks like to care about them.

    Jai Long obviously cares about his sister, and Jai Chen cared about Sandviper Kral and grieves when he is gone. Lindon cares about his family and friends. Yerin cares about hers. Orthos cares about Lindon. Eithan's priorities are mysterious, but he demonstrates that he values the Arelius family, Cassias, and Cassias' opinion of him. Kiro from Underlord takes the responsibilities of his role seriously on behalf of his kingdom, as does Naru Huan, the Blackflame Emperor, who regularly prioritizes the development of his Empire over his own personal advancement. Charity cares about her family. Sophara cares about hers. At the very beginning of the series, we see each individual member of the Shi family trying to balance their own personal desire for advancement with fairness and equality in the form of the debate around the orus fruit.

    You could include caring about one's own family in the "their own problems" category, but does trying to do what's best for your family make you a monster? You said "Everyone's a monster," but is someone who is primarily motivated by the good of those to whom they are responsible a monster? How many people are motivated by pure altruism? How relatable do you, as a reader, find a character who is driven by nothing more than abstract morality?

    TL;DR - Lindon will be running up against more moral dilemmas in the future, now that he has the power to really influence the lives of more people, but I don't know that I'll ever be exploring the moral ramifications of the setting to your satisfaction. I just don't see it as an essential component of the story.

    March 2019 - May 2019 ()
    #36 Copy

    Scholar Warrior

    It sounds like the matches for the Uncrowned Tournament are not to the death? at least that was partly my impression in Underlord but the end of Ghostwater implied to the death.,

    Will Wight

    It’s not a fight to the death, that would be too hardcore even for Cradle.  

    Underlord Release Q&A ()
    #37 Copy


    How do you get inspiration for characters? 

    Will Wight

    I described my outline process earlier, so when I go through the book, I realize kind of what people are, what roles they're going to play, so I then label them kind of that way. So somebody like Harmony I put as like "Akura young heir" kinda thing, and that's how I refer to him in my notes. Ziel was a specific character I was trying to develop so I called him Ziel, and then the other two were kind of "rival 1" and "rival 2" or whatever. So then I go through and I go "Okay, so now I know what their role is in the plot, and how they have to relate to Lindon". Then I go what would be a cool personality and arc and background to give them, and so I do that a number of ways. First of all I kinda know the sorta person they have to be because I know what sort of role they have to perform. So I know that Ekeri in Ghostwater had to be standing outside, had to really want to get to Lindon, and there's a few motivations she could have for that; she could really hate Lindon, she could be very curious, she could have been scorned by him in some way, or she could just be really greedy and want the treasure, and so I when I thought greedy treasure I thought dragons, and the dragons are one of the factions on the island, I already knew that. So I was like oh great they had gold dragons that makes sense, dragon greed, that all fits, and so I alter it from there, so that's where that comes from.


    So that's how I do it, I do role and then I do sort of now I know kinda their traits, now I can build a personality around that, and then I can figure out based on the other people in the world, kinda what a cool other thing would be to do, like cool power sets to give them, and that kind of thing.

    Somebody asked if I could talk about how I come up with names of the characters. Every way. All the ways. I spend so much freaking time naming much....its hurts....deep inside....I cry.....  No it really is one of the most difficult things for me, I don't know why that's the hardest thing for me, because I kinda just do baby name books, I do random names, I pick a word that kinda has a sort of feeling that I want for a character and a tweak it until it looks like a name. I try to give the the different clans and factions their own naming conventions, both for cohesion and to kinda build the world around them and just to give me a shortcut with the name, cos like I gotta give them a dragon type name, or an Akura type name. You like the Ziel name? I'm very glad, because Ziel was one of the few names where I was like, i really like this name, Ziel spelled this way, and then so I was just looking for a character to attach it to, so I was like I'm definitely using this freakin' character name because I don't want to make up another one.


    So whenever I do think of a name, I have a name document on my phone, its one of the ones I use the most, so I hear a unique name or I think of a variation of another name, I write it down in my notes and come back to it later when I'm looking for a name.

    Underlord Release Q&A ()
    #38 Copy


    How much do you find yourself influenced by what you think the fans want to happen in your stories? Do you ever find yourself writing something that you think should happen based on how characters act and then rewriting because you don't think fans will be happy about it? 

    Will Wight

    No that does not happen. So i never write something that i think is in character for the characters and then say no cant do that cos fans wont like it. There are a few things that i know that i'm not allowed to do because the fans wouldn't like it, so for that's a little bit of a spoiler so... The point is I've got to be careful how i treat Yerin, for instance, because some people take the heroine of a series very seriously. So there's things I cant do with Yerin that i could do with a male character, even one who's in the exact same..yeah see..he he see I've got Andrew Rowe in there telling me not to harm Yerin. So I've got some restriction on the characters in that way, so there are story actions closed to me based on how the reader will perceive it.


    Having said that, what i'm trying to do always, is i'm trying to create an experience for the reader. So one of the things we say a lot around the team is "purpose, target group, strategy", so I really say that a lot. So its "what is your purpose", "who is your target group" and "what is your strategy for reaching that target group for your purpose". That really kind of permeates everything i do. So when i'm writing these stories, I kind of have an idea of who my target audience is, and what i'm trying to do is i'm trying to give them a sort of experience, an emotional reaction, a journey, a something.  So that's always how i'm processing everything. So when I say that this action is in character for the characters, the reason why i want it to be in character for the characters is because i know that that improves the experience for the reader. So there's nothing i do without the reader in mind. I never do anything like "man I know what Lindon would really do but i gotta hold back cos the readers aren't gonna like it", that's... that never happens. But it is still, its the major factor, is what is the reader experience going to be, everything is about the story and about the reader experience.

    Underlord Release Q&A ()
    #39 Copy


    The Eldest Nye mentions that before Kai lost his siblings and his sanity, he would have made a 'good' leader of Valinhall... Would you agree with the Eldest's assessment of young Kai, and what was Kai like back in the day? 

    Will Wight

    The eldest Nye has kind of a, has a particular set of criteria of what he thinks a good leader would be. This is not necessarily yours or mine. His definition is somebody who would be a strong leader and who would prioritise the advancement of Valinhall over anything. He believes that Kai would have done that basically because Kai had no friends and family outside Valinhall, and also Kai is a really good swordsman, so Kai's strong and he's resourceful and he has no connections that would prohibit him from doing all the stuff that the Eldest Nye wants Simon to do.

    Underlord Release Q&A ()
    #40 Copy


    What is your general outlining process when preparing to write one of your novels? 

    Will Wight

    Okay, yeah good question. Like i said, i'm working on revamping that right now, so that's part of what i'm talking about when i say i'm trying to change to process, so what i'm trying to do for Underlord, i wrote an outline of it and then i was going to sit on it and focus on Kings and Killers, so i wrote an outline for it last June, or something like that, like June or July. Then i went to work on King and Killers, and i was just going to sit on the outline. Then i came back to it and i felt that everything was wrong, like it was terrible. So then i wrote another outline, and i sat on it for a long time, then i got back to it and i was like okay, i could write this, i know that the cradle books take me a couple of months to write so i'll....its been a long time working on Kings and Killers, let me get back to Underlord, and i was actually trying to write the book, and i got back to it and i wrote the outline again. I'm redoing my ideas too much, i'm undoing my work too much, and the funny thing was, it turned out, the final thing I landed on was almost identical to my original outline. I'd taken it through 3 or 4 long extensive revisions, and I ended up just ending up at the first outline. With that in mind, when i really do an outline, especially a series i'm already familiar with, is i take the general concept of the book, so i've got something about this book that i like; so Ghostwater of course was, i knew i needed to get Lindon up to par with the really good people of his generation, like he needed to be able to fight alongside with Yerin. So therefore I needed to power him up, so i thought okay, whats a cool setting in which he could power up, and i really love underwater settings so i did a crumbling underwater world and then i was like okay so now who are the other people, and i thought other people there that are trying to power up!

    So I just brainstormed on that for a while and thought of cool concepts. That's the fun part of the outline, so i get to think of all the cool stuff that i think could go in there, and originally when i designed Ghostwater it had nine different levels and nine different wells each of which had a different aspect, and each floor of the tower; it was a tower but still still in a separate world. It was a tower because you got deeper and deeper, you went down, and so each one was a different level of the ocean, and so they had different ocean biomes, so there was a coral one and a whatever. So each one had a different survival element too, as they went down, but that was way too much, i knew that that book would be a million words long. So i knew i'd have to condense that, it was way too much. So i therefore had to go now i have to get this into plot structure, i have to go okay so what is this that's going to be.....traditional plot structure, i'm not going to explain that here, you probably already know that, but you can also look it up. So i had to make sure that it fit into the three acts and all that jazz. So then i started trying to do that and i came up with the first draft of the story, and then i had to come up with the personalities for the other people, the enemies, the antagonists. I ended up going through a lot of possible people he could have been fighting in Ghostwater. Then I had to go do character arcs for, so Lindon, what did he learning, what does he learn at the end that he didn't know at the beginning, and Yerin and Mercy as well, all the main characters. At that point I've developed kind of an outline, and write from there.


    The problem is, and this is the reason i started explaining my revision, what i'm learning first. The problem is that a lot of times i then dont stick with that outline, i use it as a jumping off point, and then kind of develop it on the fly as i go, and that i think, i think i end up working less efficiently that way. So that's my process.