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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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"Depending on how you look at it, either two or three years."
The kids left Emond's Field in the Spring of 998. Winter's Heart takes place during the winter of 999-1000.
Here's a compilation of questions asked, some of which were from RASFWR-J through me or John.
How much time elapsed between the last chapter of Crossroads of Twilight and the epilogue?
The greatest challenges in writing The Wheel of Time have been getting it all down on paper in a form that pleases me and doing so in a reasonable length of time while trying to make each book better than what I've done before. I'm seldom completely satisfied with what I've written, and I almost always think that one more rewrite would make it better, but there are things called deadlines, and a good thing, too, or I might never hand in a manuscript.
I like trying new things with each book, too, especially tricks with time. Some of those work out better than others. The notion of starting each major segment of Crossroads of Twilight on the same day seemed a terrific idea, but by the time I realized that it would have been better to do it another way, I was too deeply into the book, with not enough time to rewrite the entire book.
When asked about the number of years between the Breaking and current day Brandon replied that it was well known and referred us to Encyclopaedia WoT, which is accurate except for a year here or there.
When asked if the timeline will ever be published, Brandon referred to a couple admirable efforts by fans, and Maria added that she tracks it with an Excel spreadsheet, but it would take a lot of effort to get it into a publishable format. Also, RJ was uncomfortable showing anyone his unpublished work and would go through a number of drafts, even if it was just for Harriet.
Brandon admitted there would be overlapping chronology between The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight and that Graendal's name will be mentioned a few times.
Brandon said the progress of book completion is sometimes edited down and then up depending on the subtraction or addition of submitted content.
The Gathering Storm begins sometime in April. It ends around the end of June/beginning of July. However, Perrin advanced very little—only about two weeks. Mat advanced a bit more, but was still about a month behind Rand and Egwene (this gets an asterisk as a MAFO), but Mat traveled to Caemlyn about 30 days before the end of the book—he emphasized 30 days and asked if I understood the significance of that—I said that I do. (Interpretation: Mat will open Verin’s letter very early in Towers of Midnight).
Tuon's timeline jumps around the most. In Knife of Dreams, she ended about a month ahead of everyone else. There were probably (MAFO) about two weeks between her meeting with Rand and the launch of the attack on the White Tower.
That sounds about right to me.
It actually has not been that bad to date because Jim himself set up so many timelines as part of the series. It was fun going back in his files and finding literally dozens of timelines of what was going to happen. With his engineer's mind, it was important for him to grasp where every single character was at any given time in the series, know how they were meshing at any specific time in order to allow them to come together as part of the story later on and not be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
So, it was really just a matter of seeing where he was going with things and how he had structured them and tapping into that and then just extending it. You know, the harder part now is that Jim is gone, and so we have to make sure that all these threads fit. You have to know how far a horse can travel in a day, and how far a cart can travel in a day, how far an army can travel in a day, and how many days they can keep that pace. "Oh, Mat has to be at such-and-such a place to be able to meet with this person who is coming in from a totally different area." So there is a lot of taking out the ruler and looking at the map and seeing how many kilometers or miles are between point A and point B.
How difficult has weaving Towers of Midnight around The Gathering Storm been? Is there a large amount of inter-connectivity? Do we cross back on any events in The Gathering Storm?
Yes, we do cross back on events in The Gathering Storm. The trickiest part was timeline. Robert Jordan had this innate ability to juggle timelines. This is not something he relied on Maria, Alan, or Harriet for; it was something he did on his own, just part of the genius of his brain. All of us are pretty new at this. I mean, I wrote Mistborn chronologically. There wasn’t any time juggling. There was time juggling to do in Elantris, but it was across the course of a single novel. It didn’t get as extensive. For the Wheel of Time, timeline things that Robert Jordan kept in his head are quite incredible, and I have to admit that I’m not as good at it as he was. Perhaps someday I will be able to get to that level, but for now I’m simply not. So working with the timeline has taken a lot of effort. I think we’ve got it so it all worked out. It took a lot of help. Maria, Alan, and others all worked together with me to get things arranged—some of our beta readers were extremely helpful in this—but there is a lot of juggling back and forth. You will see some events from different perspectives. It is not a complete jump back like book ten was. I would say that the book is mostly new material with a few glances at other things that are happening, but we’re moving forward; I’d say 60% of the book is taking place past what happened in The Gathering Storm. And then there’s one timeline in particular where we jump back and catch up—that’s Perrin’s timeline. But it was really challenging.
Did you ever get bothered with how late Perrin's POV was and how chronologically disorienting his parts were at times (good job on the Tam being picked up and Rand in Dragonmount portions though)?
Did you like having to "jump back in time" or was it just something that had to be done as Perrin's was so late in the the WOT timeline?
Oh boy, you’re fishing for Nakomi!
No, actually I'm not; somebody else submitted that question.
Okay. I would have to have the timeline in front of me.
Yeah. I think they asked because there are certain contradictions in the timeline and that’s why...
Oh yeah. There’s a mistake in Mat’s timeline.
And that was in The Gathering Storm, right?
No, there’s a mistake in Towers of Midnight. Mat sees sunshine when he shouldn't, or vice-versa. The reason for that being, Mat's timeline was the big one we were playing with, and we were moving him through the book to different places to decide where various things were appropriate, and where we settled on, both Alan and Bob Kluttz—who are really detailed timeline people—both stamped this timeline and said 'There are no flaws in this except there is an error in The Gathering Storm', which we have now changed. But we let a typo creep through—that one was more of a typo because we moved a scene from some place to some place else—and so there is a cloud typo. It is recorded on Twitter—I don’t know if you saw it—where someone pointed it out to me and I said 'We will get that changed.' Maria now is aware of it.
If it was recently then I didn’t get it, because I’m behind.
Okay. But Bob Kluttz does have an official timeline...he was one of the beta readers. The betas have all kind of come out now. I didn’t want people being jealous of them before the book came out, but...
Too late. I already knew about Linda. And I was jealous.
Yeah. I went to Bob because Bob is a master of timeline—one of them; there are many out there—and Bob’s job was to keep me honest on the timeline, and he did a really fantastic job, but we did miss one typo at least.
Brandon said there was no way around this as they had to catch Perrin up. Then we asked if there was a chance of getting the last three books re-released with the chapters in chronological order. He said this might be possible as an e-book or maybe a rearranged audiobook. Only the chapter orders would be changed.
You couldn't fit it all in one published book and it would just be weird to have three separate volumes published again with the chapters in different orders. I could totally see an ebook or one huge rearranged audiobook though as something attractive and maybe not too costly to produce that some HCFFs like us would enjoy having.
Okay, next question. How is The Way of Kings related to the rest of the cosmere? What point in time is it?
Oh, so far I have written the books/series chronologically. Though, I have skipped books...
And so there will be jumping back eventually, but Elantris, Mistborn, Warbreaker and Way of Kings all happened chronologically.
Just in general, how is it related to the rest of the cosmere? Or can you say?
I, uh...officially don't know what you're talking about.
I mean, what do you mean by "related to"?
For example, the letter...
Yes, just like the letter that I have no idea what you're talking about.
The Stormlight Archive is going to be in two 5-book arcs; will there be a big gap between these (story time wise)?
He said there would be a small gap, nothing as big as Mistborn and Alloy of Law, but it would be there.
How long before Way of Kings is Alloy of Law? I heard somewhere that it's a hundred years, but I don't think that's right.
I intended them to be happening roughly close to one another, with Way of Kings slightly before.
The second. I revised my placement of KINGS relative to HERO after realizing a behind-the-scenes conflict.
ALLOY had to happen after KINGS for Cosmere reasons. I had two timelines arguing, and in plotting Stormlight 2, I fixed this.
Karede catches up with Mat and the Band. Tuon completes the marriage ceremony.
Mat fights a battle with Elbar's men to allow Karede to get Tuon away safely.
Elayne is 66 days pregnant.
Melaine is 167 days pregnant.
"Yes they end up at the same time. I’ll have to give you a MAFO for an exact date for the second, but basically it is sometime in late June early July." In addition Tuon’s scene with Rand was about 3 or 4 weeks before her last scene in the book.
A relatively long discussion of timelines followed. Basically RJ would have the timeline within a story arc follow chronologically but “Jim was crafty” when it came to the overall timeline. Maria has a huge spreadsheet of a timeline but it is not publishable because it is very rough and unintelligible unless you’ve been working with it for a long time.
-first- Rumors: he said that rumors are just rumors. About Trolloc attacks, specifically, he said that "Trollocs have been attacking, or invading in various places for months" and that rumors abound in all sorts of forms about them.
With regard to the White Tower attack—I prompted this one a little, and he said that they are simply rumors which have coalesced from multiple rumors together, nothing related specifically to the real attack adding that "in the Wheel of Time rumors sometimes have a tendency to double back on themselves" turning into truth eventually.
As for the horse riding in Caemlyn, I asked him specifically about Rand seeing Mat and Thom on horses in Caemlyn, but Mat in Chapter 8 was not taking his horse into the city, and he responded by saying that Rand didn't see Mat in this specific scene and assured me that all that would work out in the rest of the book.
He did admit that there has been one "hitch" found in The Gathering Storm as per chronology that will be changed in upcoming editions. If I remember correctly he said Mat is roughly two weeks behind where he was meant to be and explained that Mat's position in time at the end of The Gathering Storm was supposed to be two weeks earlier than it was portrayed as being.
Well—this is something I'd like to understand better—and hear it verbatim. I'm not sure I understand what is being said by the reporter.
This means that something currently in The Gathering Storm needed to be retconned to get the timeline to work and will be changed in future editions of The Gathering Storm. Unfortunately, there wasn't time to get it changed in the paperback that's coming out this month. I'm guessing the change will affect only a sentence or two.
Retconning was a last resort that they really didn't want to have to take, but it was unavoidable.
Team Jordan has a very detailed chronology that looks in many respects similar to Steven Cooper's chronology, but Steven's is a bit off in a few areas. Certain beta readers helped verify it was nailed down.
And Terez: It doesn't have to do with Sulin. Actually, they decided Sulin needed to be retconned earlier. You can find out in the paperback of The Gathering Storm how that was worked out.
Aons are an interesting part of this book—perhaps my favorite of the world elements. If you think about the system I've set up, you'll realize some things. First, the Aons have to be older than the Aonic language. They're based directly off of the land. So, the lines that make up the characters aren't arbitrary. Perhaps the sounds associated with them are, but the meanings—at least in part—are inherent. The scene with Raoden explaining how the Aon for 'Wood' includes circles matching the forests in the land of Arelon indicates that there is a relationship between the Aons and their meanings. In addition, each Aon produces a magical effect, which would have influenced its meaning.
The second interesting fact about the Aons is that only Elantrians can draw them. And Elantrians have to come from the lands near Arelon. Teoish people can be taken, but only if they're in Arelon at the time. Genetically, then, the Teos and the Arelenes must be linked—and evidence seems to indicate that the Arelenes lived in the land first, and the Teos crossed the sea to colonize their peninsula.
Only Elantrians can draw Aons in the air, so someone taken by the Shaod must have developed the writing system. That is part of what makes writing a noble art in Arelon—drawing the Aons would have been associated with Elantrians. Most likely, the early Elantrians (who probably didn't even have Elantris back then) would have had to learn the Aons by trial and error, finding what each one did, and associating its meaning and sound with its effect. The language didn't develop, but was instead 'discovered.'
There are likely Aons that haven't even been found yet.
Elantris is like a massive power conduit. It focuses the Dor, strengthening its power (or, rather, the power of the Aons to release it) in Arelon. This far away from Elantris, however, the Aons are about as powerful as they were before Raoden fixed Elantris.
If you consider it, it makes logical sense that the Aons would be tied to ELANTRIS and Arelon, yet would work without them. The Aons had to exist before Elantris—otherwise, the original Elantrians wouldn't have known the shape to make the city. Their study of AonDor taught them a method for amplifying Aon power.
One of the things that...okay, blasphemy: I've only read through the series once.
At least you've read through it once...Jimmy.
Anyway, in some of these later books, one of the biggest issues that I had was when the timeline got fractured, and there was a period of time when I was fully convinced that there was a Darkfriend impersonating Tam. It just had me really confused. What lessons did you learn from that experience as you're gonna carry forward into your future writing?
The timeline fracture in Towers of Midnight came because of the book split, and what needed to go in one book, had to go in...you know, and things like that, and after the fact of releasing The Gathering Storm, we had Towers of Midnight sitting there, and I hadn't finished Towers of Midnight completely, I'd written like...I'd basically, when we split it, I'd written one...like, Perrin almost all the way through, but not other sequences all the way through and things, and we released The Gathering Storm, and we had to like fix things in The Gathering Storm, when we were getting in that, we realized, "Oh no..." I mean, the timeline is fine, but it means that Tam has to jump back in time. And this was going to be a bit of a challenge even if the book were whole, because Robert Jordan had them off of time with one another at the start of The Gathering Storm; Perrin was several months behind everyone else. And so, once you start bringing people back together, you either had to...we either had to do some things like walls fall on them, which was famously how Jim got Mat back in sync with everybody else, when he'd been behind, is a wall fell on him, and then he left him for several months for him to heal, and then we come back, and Mat's like, "Man, I hated having that wall fall on me!" (laughter)
"Good thing that was three months ago; I'm better now!"
Yeah. And that was the way that Robert Jordan, since people get off track from each other...some of the things you kind of have to do. I had to get Perrin stuck in the mud for a while. (laughter) Yeah. And this is just to get everyone synced up, and the Tam sync-up, as a writer, I think what I learned is, I think of timelines a little differently. Like I, being deep in the series and working on it, I knew where everyone was, and I'm like, "Everyone will know that we're flashing back to Perrin here." But of course not everyone knows that; they're not all following the timeline; they don't know that we're starting this book two months before The Gathering Storm ended, so to bring them back on track, that's why Tam ended up in two places at once, because he wasn't in two places at once; they were off track from one another, time-wise. And I guess I would just take more consideration of the fact that not everyone is steeped in the timelines like I am, and knowing where everyone is, and things like that, and I would have tried to find a better cue for the fact that we've jumped backward in time.
"Three months earlier..."
Yes. "Three months ago..."
"...back when dinosaurs ruled the earth..."
Right. Elantris is far earlier.
Like thousands of years earlier? Or more like hundreds?
It's quite... It's not thousands.
So how long is the series going to be? RJ's answers from 95–06
Friend of mine posted this on Dragonmount and I got a kick out of it, a timeline of RJ's estimates on just how many books the series was going to be:
He still isn't sure how long WoT will go on for, saying probably seven books but adding that when The Eye of the World first came out he saw the series as four books.
"At present I am indeed hoping to complete the cycle in either seven or eight books. I am 90% confident that I can do it in seven, 95% confident that I can by eight. The thing is, as a famous manager of an American baseball team once said: 'It ain't over till it's over.'"
"It will last several more books, until I reach the last scene, which has been in my head since the very beginning."
"I do hope there will not be ten books all told. I'm planning for eight, at present, and hope very strongly that I can wrap it all up in that length."
He said he writes as the ideas come and he has no clue as to how long the series will be!
"I knew from the start that I was writing something that would be multiple books. I just never knew how many, exactly."
Not only did he decline to set the number of future WoT books, but he denied ever setting a number and says he never planned it to be only a trilogy. But he seemed to indicate he was planning 9-10 books total. When faced with the prospect of about twelve books, his wife threatened to divorce him and his editor began to make jokes about the Irish Mafia.
"Several. Some. A few. I'm not even speculating now on how many books I hope it will take, because every time I do mention a number I hope I can finish it in, it turns out to take longer. It will be at least eight, because I've signed the contracts for books seven and eight."
"I've stopped saying how many more books there will be."
"At one time, I did hope for eight; now I don't think so. I certainly hope (Please, God!) it doesn't go to ten books, but I have stopped saying anything except that I will write until I reach the last scene of the last book, which scene has been in my head from the beginning."
"There will be a few more books, some, not a lot, hopefully fewer than seven more."
"It will be at least ten books, yes. There will be some more books, not too many, and please God, not so many as I've already written. I am, in truth, writing as fast as I can. I want to maintain the pace of the story until I reach the final scene, which has been in my head since before I started writing The Eye of the World."
1997"There will be at least three more books. I'm not saying that there will be ONLY three. I'm saying that I can't finish in fewer than three."
"I believe—believe!—there will be three more books. I am trying to finish up as soon as possible, but I cannot see how to do it in fewer than three books. That isn't a guarantee, mind! In the beginning, I thought that there would be three or perhaps four books total, but it might go to five, or even six, though I really didn't believe it would take that long. It wasn't a matter of the story growing or expanding, but rather that I miscalculated—brother, did I!—how long it would take to get from the beginning to the end. I've known the last scene of the last book literally from the beginning. That was the first scene that occurred to me. Had I written it out 10 years ago, and then did so again today, the wording might be different, but not what happens. It has just taken me longer to get there than I thought."
"When I finished A Crown of Swords, I said it would take me at least three books more to finish. Now that I have completed The Path of Daggers, it looks like it will take me at least three more books to finish. Believe me, guys, I'm trying as hard as I can to get there as fast as I can."
"I don't have a set amount of books planned. I believe it will take at least three more books to reach the ending that I have known for more than 15 years."
"Remember, after A Crown of Swords I said at least three more books....the same thing I say now."
The usual "at least three more books" was mentioned several times in an increasingly loud voice.
"I am only asked that question by about 300 people a day. The answer is that there will be at least three more books. At least. As I said earlier, I know everything that I want to happen and I have known the last scene of the last book for fifteen years. I also know that I cannot get everything that I want to happen into less than three more books. So that's where we stand at the moment."
Firstly, RJ said three more books "at least" and that he'd try to do it in three if he could, but he couldn't promise it would be only three. And he said he thought it would take "at least five years".
"Sigh! At least three more. I know I've said that before, but it's still the case."
"It still sits at three more books to finish, but I've always said from the time I began using the three books that it would be AT LEAST three books—that I'd try to finish in at least three books, but I couldn't promise. I know that I couldn't possibly finish in fewer than three. If I can finish in three, I will. But that's what I'm hoping for, what I'm trying for. NOT a promise."
"There is no set number. It takes as much space as it takes."
The next book will be out very soon after he's finished writing it. He don't know how many more books there'll be. At least three. If he can finish it in three, he will.
There will be no more than five, but also no less than another three books to be expected to appear in The Wheel of Time series.
"There will be at least three more books. The next book will be in bookstores very shortly after I finish writing it, and Michael Jordan is my kid brother whom I taught to play basketball."
"After Crossroads of Twilight, there will be two more books, knock wood, God willing and the creek don't rise. I never intended The Wheel of Time to be this long. The story is progressing the way I planned, but from the beginning I believed I could tell it in many fewer words, many fewer volumes."
"I think twelve."—Harriet
When asked "how many more books?", which of course met great laughter, he responded that he had started the process intending to have only five or six. Now on book 10, he remarked that he would complete the series in two more books if at all possible. If not, then three.
Jordan showed up around 7, and gave a little speech. He said there will be at least two books, and that he will not write a word more than he has to."How many more books will there be? There will be at least two more books. I apologize for that. I cannot finish it in fewer books. I will try to finish it in two more. I have known the last scene of the last book since 1984. I know where I'm going. The problem is...[my tape is once again inaudible and this was one of the few parts of his speech I could not hear, sorry gang]. That's about it."
"I really hope—knock wood, spit over your shoulder, and sacrifice to the gods—that I can finish up in twelve books total. We shall see."
"No, at least two more books, I'm afraid....I've had some people say they'd like five or ten, but I generally throw something at them."
"I hope—please God, are you listening?—that there will be only two more books in the main sequence."
"I very much hope to finish in two more main sequence books. It's not an absolute promise, but I'm very much hoping for it and I think I can do it."
"I sincerely hope it will be possible to tie everything up in two books."
There is only one book left in the series but it will be a doozy. He will fight to prevent it from being "George R.R. Martined," or split for publication.
"I am committed it is going to be 12 books, even if it is fifteen hundred pages long and it requires you to bring a luggage cart to get it out of the store. Bring your knapsack, you may need it, because no matter what the case that is going to be it."
"One more—the twelfth book. That will be so even if that book has to be 2000 pages in hardcover, and require a luggage cart and shoulder strap to get it out of the store."
"I have said it before and will say it again. There will be one more book. Even if it has to be a 1500 page book. It will be the last book even if you have to use a luggage cart to move it."
"For Segovia, my intention is finish with twelve books, and that may mean that the last book will be VERY long, but I really can't say how long it will take me to write. My publisher is always trying to get me to commit to a time frame. I just do a little sand dance until he goes away. I carry a small bottle of sand with me in New York for exactly that purpose."
Book Twelve will end the main sequence if he has to personally go to New York and beat the publishers at Tor, even if it runs two thousand pages and they have to invent a new way to bind the books (shudder). There will be two more prequels a la New Spring, and there might—very big MIGHT—be another trilogy in the same universe.
First, "the next book will be out very shortly after I'm done writing it." Next, "the next book will be the last book, even if it's 2000 pages, and you need a luggage cart to carry it out of the bookstore."
"Can we all say it together? One more book. I don't care if it has to be 2000 pages and you have to wheel it out the door. One more book."
"After Knife of Dreams, there's going to be one more main-sequence Wheel of Time novel, working title A Memory of Light. It may be a 2,000-page hardcover that you'll need a luggage cart and a back brace to get out of the store. (I think I could get Tor to issue them with a shoulder strap embossed with the Tor logo, since I've already forced them to expand the edges of paperback technology to nearly a thousand pages!) Well, it probably won't be that long, but if I'm going to make it a coherent novel it's all got to be in one volume."
Ah, and what a marvelous 2,000 page book it would have been. I was really shooting for this. Turns out, however, that I don't have the influence that RJ did, and couldn't persuade the publisher that printing a 2,000+ page book was viable. You'll have to be satisfied with three 800 pagers instead.
I do kind of hope we'll be able to do a cut of the volume in ebook where I weave the three books back into one, which would fix some of the timeline confusion in Towers of Midnight, which was the big casualty of the split.
(I knew that, in all likelihood, a split would be mandated, and so I prepared for it by deciding on the three book split instead of a two book split, as I feel it fit the narrative flow better. However, I was working on Perrin when the first split happened, and didn't realize until afterward that by jumping back to the beginning of his story after finishing The Gathering Storm, I was going to create the issues it did with Tam.)
So you're planning on doing a Phantom Edit of your own work? I, for one, would be really interested to read something like this, but I think that what you lost in chronological clarity in the split, you gained in pacing and narrative clarity.
That said, you mentioned in a previous interview that The Gathering Storm's intensity also came from an awareness that your first effort in the Wheel of Time really needed to be a home run. Would your decisions regarding the narrative structure have changed if you didn't feel that pressure?
I wouldn't consider it a phantom edit, as I wouldn't be removing sections. I'd be moving them around, adding in a few deleted scenes. More like an extended edition mixed with pacing tweak.
I don't know how my decisions might have changed if I hadn't felt that pressure. I might have chosen to do Rand/Perrin in the first book and Egwene/Mat in the second book. Perrin/Mat have great stories in TofM—but they're not as focused as the ones for Rand/Egwene. I don't know. The timeline might have been even worse.
This is something I'd have to play with, if I were actually to attempt it, to even see if the narrative flow would work that direction now that I've made writing decisions with three books—instead of one—being the reality.
Now that I've finished reading A Memory of Light, I have to say, I think this would be an insane task. Mostly, The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight would be the things caught up in reorganizing, since A Memory of Light's timeline is internally consistent enough to justify things. It would also let you sprinkle the Black Tower POVs a bit more nicely throughout the trilogy, since the frontloading of that plot at the beginning of A Memory of Light is one of the few structural weaknesses I thought I saw.
In any case, congratulations! You've really done it! Those annotations will be fascinating, assuming you get permission to take it on.
You're right on the Black Tower structural weakness. I actually plotted that sequence to go all in Towers of Midnight, but ran up against deadlines and only did a few chapters of it. It would work far better moved earlier.
Thanks for reading. I'll see what I can do about annotations.
That makes a lot of sense. One gets the feeling that a lot of your writing was done with several different forces tugging you one way or another; collaboration can be tough, especially for artists who are used to working in the silence of their mind, and I can't imagine adding a massive fandom to that.
Seriously: congrats. Tai'shar...Utah? :)
Tai'shar Nebraska, actually. But I like Utah well enough. :)
Like how long after?
I haven't answered that yet.
A lot of people keep asking. But after them, but not so far after them that the technology level has shifted, which I allow, in my worlds, to happen. And also not so far after that the Emperor's Soul- if you keep your eyes open you will see a Derethi priest in full armor. And so, not so far after that the kingdoms we are familiar with no longer exist. They do exist and the tech level has not shifted dramatically so you can use that to kind of ballpark for yourself, a range. It's certainly not thousands of years later, in other words.
What time period do they all fit in, do they all fit in time- at the same time?
No, like for instance, Way of Kings and Alloy of Law are pretty close to one another but Elantris is fairly far before them. So far I’ve written them chronologically basically, except I’ve skipped certain stories, like there’s a series called White Sand which is in the middle there somewhere which will actually be a jump back in time when I end up doing it and some things like that. And Dragonsteel is like way at the beginning which I’ll eventually do but I’ve done them chronologically so far.
Towers of Midnight: What did I do wrong?
I'm the culprit of numerous small mistakes, most of which there is no time to point out. The biggest flaw in my writing of Towers of Midnight, however, has to be the chronology.
All of my solo books have been basically chronological. Elantris had some funky storytelling where each group of three chapters happened concurrently, but most of my other books had a forward progression without much jumping back and forth in timeline for different characters.
The Wheel of Time, however, does jump around a lot—you just don't notice it, as Robert Jordan juggled the timelines quite well. Mat could be progressing at one rate, and when you jumped to Perrin, you'd jump forward or back in time. Those who wanted to look for the clues could find out and build a timeline using the phases of the moon or other hints. Those who didn't want to notice, however, were never thrown out by perceived incongruities.
When we split the books, some of the timeline things I'd done got too far out of sync. At the end of Knife of Dreams, the character viewpoints were somewhat out of sync, as Robert Jordan often wrote them. I didn't have any experience juggling something like this, and in Towers of Midnight I flubbed it. Not that the timeline is messed up—it's actually pretty good, all things considered. However, the perception of it brought us troubles. Because characters interacted across timelines, it felt like they were in two places at once (Tam is an example) even though it all worked narratively.
This made for some confusing moments for readers. Mr. Jordan did things like this without distracting; I didn't juggle this as well, and because of it, I think the book suffered. I hope I've grown better, but it was eye-opening for me when Towers of Midnight came out and people mentioned being confused. I hadn't even noticed the potential problem until the book was out.
To be continued.
Current timeline, which I have NOT canonized, is around 6,000 years... I have not finished with my outline document yet.
'Cause I've looked at the current chronology and it's very, very spotty...
Yes it is... the real trick is... making sure that I fit in, for instance, White Sand and things with the proper amount... because I haven't released that book series yet, I have to make sure while we're doing the graphic novel, that it fits the chronology, which is why I can't quite canonize things yet.
That one takes place before The Way of Kings doesn't it?
'Cause I know one of the worldhoppers from there shows up in The Way of Kings...
Yeah, White Sand is one of the very earliest.
So are you going to write a book that explains what happened to the empire then?
You will find out more about it eventually, yes. But it's not my main project right now. We'll see how it happens eventually.
So Nightblood and Shardblades are both kind of powered by Investiture?
Yes, in fact you can call Nightblood kind of a miss-made, evil Shardblade-- more miss-made than evil but yes.
But a Shardblade wouldn't shear through Nightblood.
Yes a Shardblade would not shear through Nightblood. In fact I wrote The Way of Kings first and then I wrote Warbreaker and The Way of Kings came out after Warbreaker but in my mind Warbreaker is a prequel to The Way of Kings, where I was telling Vasher's backstory.
Oh really, so the Warbreaker we know takes place after The Way of Kings?
No, it takes place before, it's a prequel meaning I wrote The Way of Kings and then I went back in time and told Vasher's backstory but Warbreaker ended up coming out first because The Way of Kings wasn't ready yet.
It's actually first.
Oh really? So it's like a prequel to everything?
Yes, to the cosmere.
So is it going to do the breaking of the Shards?
Um, oh man. I'm going to have to look at my timeline. I believe it's before, but I can't guarantee I'm right, because these things are all happening around the same time.
Because he says that Gavilar confided in him the night of.
Ooooh, you're right. Nope, it's after. It is after. You can send that question to Peter so we can confirm it. There might be something I'm forgetting about Taravangian.
[Peter said by PM: "As far as I can tell from what the book says, he went to the Nightwatcher after the assassination."]
… kind of a general-
Most people that I’m writing about now are all dead.
Is it up into the third trilogy of Mistborn?
It is that era, yes.
Sweet! That’s what I thought.
It might be a little bit before that trilogy, but it’s that era.
(Being a study of how long it will take information to travel various distances, and how long it will take people to travel various distances on horseback, in a cart or carriage, or afoot.)
ROUTES OF NEWS FROM TOMAN HEAD AND ALMOTH PLAIN.
[The route the news travels affects not only how fast it goes, but also how it is slanted.]
(1) From TARABON to AMADICIA. From AMADICIA to GHEALDAN and ALTARA. From ALTARA to ILLIAN and MURANDY. From MURANDY to ANDOR. From ANDOR to CAIRHIEN, also downriver to TEAR and MAYENE, upriver to TAR VALON, and thence fanning onward to SHIENAR, ARAFEL, and KANDOR.
(2) From ARAD DOMAN to SALDAEA, thence in turn to KANDOR, ARAFEL, and SHIENAR. From KANDOR, ARAFEL and SHIENAR each down to TAR VALON, thence to CAIRHIEN, to ANDOR, and on downriver to TEAR and MAYENE.
(3) By ship from TARABON to ALTARA, ILLIAN, TEAR and MAYENE. (Remember, ships calling at Illian seldom call at Tear or Mayene, and vice versa.)
(4) By ship from ARAD DOMAN to ALTARA, ILLIAN, TEAR and MAYENE. (Remember note under (3).)
By these reckonings, Andor and Cairhien would probably be the last places to hear. The White Tower might well receive news by pigeon and/or courier well ahead of many others, but how much of this would be shared with the general population is uncertain. The Amyrlin Seat, if she did not hear by the above means first of all, would certainly hear by the party with Mat, Egwene, Elayne, Nynaeve and Verin. This party would have traveled north of the Mountains of Mist, eventually crossing the Black Hills, finally reaching Tar Valon some two to three months after leaving Toman Head at the earliest. Baring pigeons, this would be one of the fastest ways to reach Tar Valon with the news.
Pushing hard, as he certainly would do, Byar would reach Amador in twenty to thirty days at a minimum. So Pedron Niall knows at least a version of what happened at least a month and possibly two before the Amyrlin Seat does.
By and large, it would take months for the news to travel. Under normal means, it might take as much as six or eight months to reach Andor and Cairhien.
News of great importance—the death of a king, a civil war—travels somewhat more quickly. [For example, Moiraine, on Toman Head, was able to tell Rand of the death of King Galldrian in Cairhien perhaps four months after it happened.]
NOTE: The Great Hunt of the Horn was sent out from Illian about "July."
Events on Toman Head happened approximately in "October" or "November."
The Hunters do not know that the Horn of Valere has already been found. Those who hear of it think it is merely a wild tale.
It is possible, given the time, that a Hunter may have made it to Toman Head, or even Falme, in time to see or hear of the Seanchan, or even the events at Falme.