Recent entries

    Asylum ()
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    Questioner

    "Tell me about mountain climbers in Elder Empire."

    Will Wight

    The body of Kthanikahr, the Worm Lord, weaves through a mountain as though through a rotten apple. The Great Elder is miles long, and the stench of his decay is overpowering. Still, some brave the corpse--and the cordon of Imperial troops around the area--to scale the peak and try to harvest a strip of the Worm Lord's skin. It is said that a charm made from this leathery strap can repel Elderspawn, so dozens make the trip each year...and only a handful return.

    Asylum ()
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    Questioner

    Is there an awakened object that was awakened to be the aqivelent of an AI (artificial intelligence)

    Will Wight

    In a certain sense, yes. There are records of a dozen Soulbound whose Vessels were books. These Soulbound exhibited superior memories, enhanced insight, and a remarkable ability to organize their thoughts and impressions.

    Asylum ()
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    Questioner

    What is the deepest point in the Aion Sea (that's the Elder Empire sea, right? Forgive this one's idiodicy if he's wrong.), how deep is it, and what is the most horrible creature that lives there?

    Will Wight

    The Vebross Pit is a legendary location at the bottom of the Aion Sea, passed down through Navigator tradition.

    No one has ever explored it--there are many shallow locations in the Aion Sea that have never been explored, to say nothing of the true depths--but many Navigators employ Soulbound with water-scanning and scouting powers. All of them report impenetrable depths around a general location near the center of the Sea, and that area has been referred to as the Vebross Pit.

    The ocean seems almost dead around the Pit, with no sightings reported of anomalous events, Kameira, Elderspawn, or anything but natural fish. Therefore, the Navigators once preferred routes over the Pit.

    But that only lasted a short time.

    Navigator ships began to go missing. This is not in itself too unusual, but when it continued for three or four years and started to cost the Guild money, the Guild Head sent out an expeditionary force to investigate the Pit.

    The Witnesses accompanying the expedition returned reporting a phenomenon that happened at night. As the moon rose, a vast humanoid face seemed to rise from the depths. It grew closer and closer, until the captain of their vessel realized that the face was big enough to cover the ocean for miles.

    Their force escaped with no losses, and from then on, the Vebross Pit was classified by the Navigator's Guild as an Unknown Danger Zone. A captain plotting a course through such a zone must leave all Guild assets behind, as they are likely to be lost.

    Asylum ()
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    Questioner

    What is generally held to be the must ridiculous awakened object that turned out to be much more useful than anticipated?

    Will Wight

    A wide-brimmed hat invested to keep its wearer cool. When a Magister spent weeks attempting to Awaken it, his colleagues thought he was crazy. He was actually called into the Guild to question the use of his time.

    Now he makes a fortune selling them. They can't be mass-produced, so each hat is a work of the Reader's art. There's a waiting list.

    Wearing such a hat is like wearing sunglasses while your head is stuck in an air-conditioned room.

    Asylum ()
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    Questioner

    What is the greatest battle ever to take place in the arena

    Will Wight

    Baldesar Kern, the current Head of the Champion's Guild, was never a gladiator. But he did have one fight in the arena.

    He had attempted to persuade a rival of his to back the Guild, but his rival was not convinced of Kern's strength. Therefore, Kern agreed to meet his rival's representative in the arena.

    His rival's "representatives" turned out to be a half-dozen Kameira trained and equipped for battle. There was a lizard bigger than a horse with red-hot teeth, a lion-headed ape with a pair of axes, two shark-creatures that may have been Elderspawn, a worm that burrowed through the sand, and a puppy-sized flea that conjured clouds of smoke.

    Baldesar's battle with this army of creatures lasted over an hour, and is widely considered the greatest battle ever to take place in an Izyrian arena. It became a mark of honor to say that you were there that day.

    At the end, his rival had no choice but to support the Champion's Guild, and the Champions were victorious. As they always are.

    Cradle ()
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    Questioner

    Which sacred beast produces the best bristle material for the Aurelias Clans brooms?

    Will Wight

    There's a species of eagle whose tail-feathers have a unique relationship with wind aura. When you sweep such a feathered broom, the wind actually gathers up all the dust and loose debris in a small area and piles it neatly up. Scholars believe that the patterns in the feathers act as a script to produce such a unique effect, but no one really knows for sure. In battle, the Broom Sage used bristles from the tail of the Thorn Mountain Boar, a fifteen-story-tall boar that ate forests. The wood for his broom was taken from a branch of the Underworld Herald, a self-aware ancestral tree that once grew upside-down in an underground kingdom of blood and darkness.

    Writing Advice ()
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    Mestama

    Will, what is your opinion on writing assistants?

    Will Wight

    I guess I should have addressed my above answer to you as well.

    I might have misunderstood the question, but it sounds like you may have an idea of a "writing assistant" as something like a manga artist's team of assistants, where they help him draw side characters and backgrounds and stuff and the whole thing goes down under one name on the cover. That doesn't happen so much in writing. Usually you have ghostwriters or a group under a pseudonym (Animorphs was written by a team of ghostwriters under the same name so that they could produce a book every month), but that's pretty much always something you can find out with a little research.

    Normally, the person who gives you a lot of suggestion and help on your writing is called your editor. I don't know if I've ever heard of someone who leaves writing certain scenes (or certain POVs or whatever) to assistants and then claims all the credit. Theoretically I'm sure someone must have done that somewhere, but I'm not aware of it as a common practice.(edited)If anything, writing as a team is harder than writing alone.

    Writing Advice ()
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    Tievel1

    Will, what would you change if you had to do Cradle over?

    Will Wight

    There's a lot (as with all the books I've ever written), but I can hit the highlights off the top of my head. I would keep the series only in Lindon's POV, perhaps in first-person, or maybe in third and then just do one POV from Lindon, one from the bad guy, and maybe a brief interlude from Suriel.

    EDIT FOR CLARITY: This means no Yerin or Eithan chapters, for instance.(edited)I would change vital aura, maybe getting rid of it entirely, but at least defining it more clearly. Not because it doesn't work now, but for the sake of removing ambiguity and increasing clarity.Basically I would streamline the whole thing so it's more immediately clear.Also, I would give Lindon more of a personal connection to the world and everything he's doing.So lots of general changes. There are specific things I would tweak, but mostly in the service of this general style change so that everything feels more immediate. I feel like it would increase the impact of the stories.

    I would change vital aura, maybe getting rid of it entirely, but at least defining it more clearly. Not because it doesn't work now, but for the sake of removing ambiguity and increasing clarity.

    Basically I would streamline the whole thing so it's more immediately clear.

    Also, I would give Lindon more of a personal connection to the world and everything he's doing.

    So lot of general changes. There are specific things I would tweak, but mostly in the service of this general style change so that everything feels more immediate. I feel like it would increase the impact of the stories.

    Writing Advice ()
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    Will Wight

    I'm regularly tempted to go back and clean up old books, but that's not something I can make common practice. I could always go back and make an old book better. Always. There will never be a time where I couldn't improve one of my old works, because I'm always learning and growing.

    So at a certain point, I have to let the stories go. I could work on each compilation and change them so that they flow better and work better as three-part stories, but where does that end? Do I change the individual books to match those changes? If not, then the people who buy the books individually and the people who buy the collections are getting different stories. If so, then I've told a story in three-book arcs rather than in one-book arcs, which is a very different approach to storytelling.

    It just becomes complicated. And I think it has to be rare to go back and make significant rewrites to a story, because it's too easy to justify. I'd rather improve by writing new stories and getting better as a writer over time than by constantly fixing stories I've already written.

    Writing Advice ()
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    dyring

    Have at any time a followup book sold more then the first(total, I expect they sell more right away)? Aka, I assume noone would buy soulsmith without having read Unsouled, so there should be more sales of unsouled, but is that always true? Is there a falling stair of sails with Unsouled at the top?

    Will Wight

    There's always a falling stair of sales, so to speak. The first one always sells more total, but subsequent books always sell faster.
    Writing Advice ()
    #1431 Copy

    Will Wight

    Re: ghostwriting. I have no negative opinion of ghostwriters, if that helps anything. I have, in fact, a very positive opinion on ghostwriters, because they are professional writers who are extremely skilled and professional. I greatly admire people who can bring that level of professionalism to someone else's story.

    For example, Brandon Sanderson isn't using a ghostwriter, he's just very prolific. I make jokes about him being a team of robots, but he just has a great system for producing books and works very hard. As for my opinion on assistants, I think it's necessary to have some help if you want to produce good books consistently. It's kind of funny, because although writing a novel is basically the most solitary thing you can do, no one produces a consistent, successful product alone.I have people I bounce ideas off of, people who beta read for me, people who help me manage my finances and my schedule, people who copy edit and content edit, and honestly because I write the books so quickly (and take them through so few drafts) I don't get enough help on each book. Assistants are necessary.

    Writing Advice ()
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    Will Wight

    I'm glad you enjoy them! They're fun for me too, they just take a long time due to sheer volume.

    I find it easier to be imaginative within constraints. So when someone asks me "What's the Cradle equivalent of a piano?" I tell myself that I have to give them a satisfying answer. I can't just say "There is none," or "It's a piano," unless there's a story reason to do so. I have to actually invent a Cradle piano.

    Which is fun. It makes me consider avenues of the worlds that I hadn't considered.As for your trying to be imaginative, it's not like my systems are the most original magic systems ever designed. I just give myself permission to have fun with it.

    I start with what general kind of magic I want the people to use. For Traveler's Gate, I started with the idea of an extradimensional mansion where you went for martial training. I knew I wanted the House to exist, so then I built a world where extradimensional training grounds were commonplace.

    For Elder Empire, I started by knowing that I wanted a world where significant objects held automatic power through their significance. Excalibur wielded by King Arthur would have automatic power BECAUSE it was Excalibur and BECAUSE it was King Arthur's sword. Then I worked out from there.You can do that too. And there's nothing wrong with using principles from known magic systems; madra is basically just elemental mana.

    My main weakness is that I throw in everything but the kitchen sink. Every idea I can think of goes in. There are more Territories than necessary, for instance. Too many Guilds. Reading, Awakening, Soulbound, etc. are more complicated than they need to be, and could probably be separated into two systems. Vital aura is essentially elemental energy, but by trying to integrate it into the madra system I accidentally made it muddy and unclear.

    No approach is perfect, but I like mine because it's fun. My magic systems might be too unintuitive or complicated, but they're colorful and fun. That's my priority over a logical, fully hammered-out, and ultimately simpler system.Of course, the Holy Grail is a simple, intuitive system that nonetheless fires your imagination and can be used to create as many fun and colorful situations as you want. And toward that distant goal, we all strive.

    Writing Advice ()
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    Will Wight

    First of all, I suspect new writers don't need my ideas. You have to have SOME notion of what you think would be fun to write, otherwise you wouldn't want to write at all.In that case, I suggest you think long and hard about the elements you think sound fun to write. Make a list. There are no wrong answers here, just what sounds fun. Then pick one that resonates with you. What is it about that idea that sounds cool? What can you picture? What makes that idea attractive to you?

    Let's say you wrote down "pirates" and you thought that sounded fun to write about (I picked pirates because it's one of the easiest ideas to latch onto, and also I wrote two books with that as the seed concept).Now, you ask yourself: what attracts you to this idea?

    Write down all your initial impressions. Maybe you like the fast-paced swashbuckling swordsmanship from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, or you want battles on a spray-slick deck, or the vast silhouettes of sea monsters passing under your ship, or the mystery of a buried treasure on an uncharted island, or the adventure of sailing off into an infinite and mystical world.

    Maybe it's the mundane, un-romantic side of pirates that interests you. The gritty details that make it seem real, tangible, possible. Pirates would stink like a week-dead dog, they would stab a man to death over a spilled drink or an angry word, they would have rotted and twisted teeth and they couldn't say two words without cursing.

    Doesn't matter, but something in that broad idea should fire your imagination. When it does, that's the seed of your story.If nothing fires your imagination, then...what are you writing about? What passion is driving you to write? Why write at all? When the story isn't going the way you want, and you HAVE to get this scene does but it's flowing like a sack of gravel pulling uphill and all you want to do is burn everything you've ever written and start over, why keep going? What makes you WANT to do this?

    I also don't think you're bad at coming up with ideas. I don't think anyone is, I just think it's a skill some people don't practice.You can literally take any noun and come up with a story idea. I used the random noun generator from <desiquintans.com> just now and came up with these:"Cake." A down-and-out cake shop owner turns to her skills as a retired jewel thief to compete with her new rival."Dressing." A man tries to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, but finds that he has no idea what "dressing" is and only ten minutes before guests arrive. What will he cook?"Tutu." A police detective finds a break in a long-cold case of a missing ballerina when he finds her bloodstained tutu in the back of his own closet."Wish." ...too easy, pass.That's an example of the first story I thought of for each noun.

    Now I apply what I already know about my tastes, and I go for a story I'd actually write:"Cake." A young baker's apprentice finds that she can bring her confections to life as a sweet-but-deadly golem army."Dressing." An architect finds that the ornamentation around an ancient castle's windows hides an eldritch secret."Tutu." A blessed tutu grants increased grace and agility to its wearer, so a young man uses it to fight crime."Wish." For real though, too easy.You can do this too. It's easier for some people than others, but anyone can do it. I believe in you.I think that's the most useful writing exercise you can practice at this point. Come up with ten story prompts that sound interesting to you.

    You could just write one of the examples above, I wouldn't mind, but I think you should stretch yourself to come up with an idea based on your own vision. If you really are "bad at coming up with ideas," and I'm not convinced that you are, the way to get better is practice!

    Will's Life ()
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    Lil' Blue

    What's your writing soundtrack?

    Will Wight

    I tend to string together songs you could choreograph a fight to. It used to be rock, but then it transitioned to epic trailer-type music, and now I almost exclusively listen to nerd rap. It's been a weird cycle.

    General Lore ()
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    Will Wight

    Adriel, the Creator

    The first seven Judges inherited their power and titles. Only Ozriel and Adriel are the exceptions: Ozriel because there has never been a Reaper before him, and Adriel because there has never been a Creator since.Adriel is a myth to the modern Abidan. Some of their oldest records posit his existence, but he vanished before the Eledari Pact was signed. The strongest pieces of evidence for his existence are indirect references left behind by the first Abidan Court.The Judges can defend, maintain, and alter Iterations. They can combine fragments into new worlds.But only one person could, according to legend, design and create Iterations out of whole cloth: Adriel. He created new worlds, introducing fresh pieces into the cycle of existence.His weapon, the Hammer of Adriel, is sometimes used by the Abidan as a symbol of creation.

    General Lore ()
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    Will Wight

    Ozriel, the Reaper

    When a world lives too long and drifts from the Way, only one person can terminate the Iteration without scattering corrupted fragments that threaten other worlds.For most of the history of the Abidan, there was no Ozriel. They eliminated worlds the old-fashioned way, and most of their manpower was spent defending Iterations from chaos-corrupted fragments. Ozriel reduced the threat of corruption to such a degree that the Abidan could spread their manpower to an unprecedented degree. Where once it took hundreds of Abidan to protect and maintain a single Iteration, now that same team could supervise an entire Sector of ten or more worlds.However, the entire system of the current Abidan now hinges on one man.Where most Judges are rule-abiding and structured by nature, Ozriel is not so rigid. He often challenges Abidan laws and traditions, trying to change and improve the policies of their organization. He might have succeeded by now if he were willing to relinquish control and cooperate with others. But, traditionally, he has never been much of a team player. When others don't agree with him, he tends to do exactly what he wants anyway.As the one individual in existence with a world-erasing superweapon, he's used to getting his way.And now he's missing.

    General Lore ()
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    Will Wight

    Zakariel, the Fox

    The Way governs space, separating universe from universe, but its branches reach into every Iteration. Foxes use these branches like tunnels, slipping through the Way to reach their destinations without the headache of physical distance.Virtually every Abidan has some ability as a Fox--at least the minimum spatial control required to enter and leave an Iteration. But only the best and fastest join the Fox Division: the heralds, scouts, and couriers of the Abidan.Each Zakariel has always been fickle and unpredictable, perhaps as a side effect of the ability to travel anywhere at any time. This generation's Zakariel likes to meddle, as a godlike child with her toys. She tests the bounds of the Eledari Pact with her actions, and the Foxes beneath her have grown unruly and undisciplined. She has been chastised before the Court of Seven many times, but her personal power and ability have kept her from being pressured out of her mantle.She is also an insatiable collector of anything she finds intriguing. Legendary weapons and rare creatures are displayed in her collection side by side with adorable stuffed animals and interesting leaves.

    General Lore ()
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    Will Wight

    Suriel, the Phoenix

    The power of the Phoenix is the power of restoration. An Abidan of the Phoenix Division can use the Way to return order to a system, restoring it to prime condition. Phoenixes are used as mechanics and engineers as often as healers, and are prized on any battlefield.Though skilled Phoenix Abidan are rare, and their division small, they are also very durable. A Phoenix is said to be the second-most difficult of the Abidan to destroy (after a Titan), since powerful Phoenixes can regenerate even from total destruction.The Phoenix herself, Suriel, is the only entity capable of restoring the condition of an entire Iteration at once. This can cause irregularities for both the Spiders and the Hounds, so she is required to notify Sector Control prior to temporal reversion.Ozriel is well-known as the most powerful Judge since the first generation of the Abidan Court, and possibly of all time. However, he has no ability as a Phoenix. He has made it a point to befriend both the previous Suriel and this one, holding their talents in high esteem.

    General Lore ()
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    Will Wight

    Razael, the Wolf

    The Way protects, but it also strengthens. The Wolves are the Abidan combat division, and each of them commands formidable destructive potential. While most other divisions are filled up by Abidan from Sanctum and the other core worlds--and thus essentially born into the Abidan--the Wolves pride themselves on taking "wild" recruits.Most Wolves were renowned warriors in their original worlds, and they carry those powers with them into battle.As Gadrael is the Court's shield, Razael is their sword. She is the unstoppable force, the heavy artillery unleashed against the greatest of the Abidan's enemies.Before the rise of Ozriel, it fell to the office of Razael to destroy worlds as completely as possible. Razael therefore considers herself something of a rival to the Reaper.Ozriel does not return the sentiment.