Characters and Background Info
No, none of my friends, none of me. There is a touch of my wife in all of the major female characters, however, and a good many of the secondary female characters. She's a very complex woman.
I spent forty-odd years listening to women, and besides that, they're all based on my wife.
They were in the original plot line.
I know the fates of all of the primary characters.
One of the characters who I have brought in later was a fellow named Daniell in TEOTW, and I brought him out because I realized he didn't have anything to do there. I reintroduced him later. At that point, he was simply taking up space.
One at a time...in fact, when I first started thinking of what would turn into The Wheel of Time, Rand and his foster father were one character. Not a 50-ish man and his teenage foster son. But a man in his 30's who had run away from a quiet country village seeking adventure, had become a soldier, and now after 20 years of that, world weary and tired. Who has come home to his pastoral village seeking peace and quiet, only to find that the world and prophecy are hard on his heels. You can see that that's a much different character that what I ended up with when I started writing. I may actually use *him* someday.
She's introduced late in the series because this is the place where she was supposed to come in. I didn't expect her to be a part earlier in the series--there was nothing for her to do! We introduce no character before her time. With apologies to Orson Welles.
Simply because I needed an organization for the power structure, and it seemed to me that a collective organization was something women were more likely to come up with, rather than something strictly hierarchal.
3000 years ago, the world was destroyed by men: specifically men, and for all of that time, every society has been afraid of any man who can channel. The result has to be greater power and influence for women.
Simply because people don't generally give names to their homes that way -- it's other places they give names to.
Well, sometimes. But I know where I'm going, I know how I want to finish it, I do not intend to speed up the pace to get there faster. In truth, the greatest pressure to finish it, I think, comes from ME. I won't really have done it until I finish it.
Too true. Too true. But when I find out that something I wanted to be obvious isn't, I do look around to see if I can find another place to slip in a hint.
It covered a shorter period of time, but in Lord of Chaos and A Crown of Swords there were a great many things that happen in a short time that made it necessary to have the books, if not slower paced from the reader's point of view, slower as far as the chronology is concerned.
Yes and no. I know the last scene of the last book. I know the major events I want to happen between now and then. I know who will be alive and who will be dead at the end of the series. I know the situation of the world. I know all of those things, but I leave how to get from one point to the next free so that I can achieve some fluidity. I don't want it too rigid, which is what I think will happen if I plan in too great a detail.
The books are published as fast as I can write them. In fact, in the beginning, you might say they were being published faster than I can write them! The normal lead-time from ending a book to publication is 8 months to a year. My last 3 books have been published within 60 days of completion by me.
I sometimes feel impatience but I am trying to maintain the same pace, making great effort to maintain that pace, to go neither faster nor slower than I have gone before.
No, I never "fill in the spaces." Sometimes I have to cut events out, because I've become entirely _too_ patient, getting from one place to another. For the rest I don't really have a "method" beyond telling the story.
Sometimes people have found things that are typos, and sometimes people have found a place where a change or correction that I had intended to be put into the book was not before it was published. I always try to get those corrected as soon as possible after they're found. And, while I don't like having them there, I'm glad when someone points one out to me. As for inconsistencies, I'm afraid inconsistencies are a failure to read the books correctly. Every time somebody has come to me with an inconsistency, I have been able to point out in a return letter where his or her mistake was.
In both cases, no. I have, in some cases, developed the story in ways that I did not quite intend to at first but there has been no important character who has been deleted, there has been no necessity to add in something I did not expect to add in.
No, not interaction with fans. There are always things that are going to become more obvious as the story goes along. I certainly don't intend to keep everything hidden until the very last. There won't be any Perry Mason revelation scene where all the characters sit down and say, "This is what happened and this is why it happened."
Sometimes I have to look back at the books themselves, but primarily that is to make sure that I remember for example, exactly what someone said to someone else, I don't need to remind myself of the story or what has happened. I sometimes do have to check on small details.
The story does not get modified. Occasionally the writing is modified to this extent. A good editor tells you what is wrong, as another set of eyes. A good editor says, "I don't understand what you're saying here, you haven’t told me enough, you haven't made me believe that this person will do this or say this." And then I go back and work at making sure the editor is convinced. Remember the editor is the first reader. If the editor isn't convinced, I doubt the fans will be either.
A very long time. Almost ten years of thinking about it before I began writing. And then four years to write The Eye of the World. Then roughly 14 months each for the next five books, and about 20 or 21 months for A Crown of Swords. You see, I have the world planned out, but quite often details are a work in progress.
No, I don't use story boards, etc. I just do outlines in the sense of synopses of what I intend to write.
I had the basis of it before I began writing, and a good part of how it fit together. Other parts were added in when I realized that there was a question to be answered: something that I had to decide here and now, how this worked. But I have now quite a large file describing the one power and how it works, and the things that can be done with it and the things that can't be done, and the exceptions to the rules and all that. It would probably be 300 pages, if I printed it out, maybe a little more, but I never have. It's just a computer file at the moment.
I had the first notions for this book, I guess it was 1975 or 76. For these books I should say, but there were a lot of things to think out, a lot of changes I went through. For instance the character of Rand and Tam were originally one. I spent about ten years noodling the story around in the back of my head before I ever put words on paper, but that's rather typical for me. My books have a fairly long gestation period.
The very first notion came to me nearly twenty years ago; I spent ten or twelve years mulling it over, told my then-publisher about it, and he offered me a contract.
It wasn't difficult to get Tor to publish my first novel. Tom Doherty liked what I write. I've been writing for 20 years and I told him that I had an idea for a multi-volume book. I didn't know how many books and probably any other publishers would have thrown me out of his office, but Tom said OK!