Posted by Robert Jordan on October 2nd, 2005 in the Robert Jordan's Blog category
Well, here I am again. I’ve compiled a long list of questions from various places, and I’ll try to answer as many as I can before the tour begins. I won’t be taking them in any specific order.
First off, for JBumG, my apologies for misspelling your name.
For DomA, I can’t be sure that the logical patterns you see in the election of Amyrlins are the same that I used in making the list, but there are logical patterns to them. If Harriet adds to the Encyclopedia who was a strong Amrylin, who middling and who weak, you might see more patterns.
For F Horn of Valere, I spend relatively little time with the notes compared to the time I spend actually writing. I do a refresher run-through before I begin writing, and I have what I call a “base notes” file for each storyline and each group. That contains the major things I believe might be necessary for each storyline along with reminders of where more detailed information is to be found.
For HotW-Moiraine, yes, the bearded man ter’angreal could be said to be my Alfred Hitchcock moment. In KoD, you’ll learn what it does.
For SemiArmadillo, Harriet doesn’t post to any websites.
For kcf, I think I would like fans to walk away with the following. If the answer is easy, consider the possibility that you asked the wrong question.
For Infested Templar, two women linking have slightly less of saidar available to them than the two women would have individually. But it can be used much, much more precisely, and therefore more effectively, than they could manage working merely as partners. The reduction also occurs for men entering a circle. One man in a circle means that only the amount of saidin that he can handle, less the reduction for being in a circle, is available. Men can be much stronger than women in the pure quantity of the Power that they can channel, but on a practical level, women are much more deft in their weaving and that means the strongest possible woman can do just about anything that the strongest possible man could, and to the same degree. And finally, the Old Tongue is written in a script that has more letters than the English alphabet, some representing diphthongs. That script will be in the Encyclopedia that Harriet will do, along with 950 or so words of the Old Tongue derived from what is called Basic English, the 950 words necessary to carry on an understandable conversation. Some words I dropped as essentially unnecessary to the books — electricity, for example — while others — such as sword and names of birds and animals – I had to add. The total might come nearer 1000 words by now.
For Papazen, while I have spoken of souls being born with the ability to channel in response to questions, I think of it as being genetic also. In the Age of Legends, between 2 and 3% of people had some ability, following a bell curve distribution in strength. For over 3000 years, though, Aes Sedai have been removing men who actually learned to channel from the gene pool. They have been very efficient at this. As a result, the “present day” sees about 1% of the population who can learn to channel, with a much, much smaller percentage of that being born with the spark.
For N.O. Scott, no development in any of the characters has ever caught me by surprise, though once or twice I have realized that I could use someone in a fashion I hadn’t expected to. There have been a few things that I intended to do but didn’t. Sometimes, choosing to take a character in a certain direction precludes other things. The only thing that I wish I hadn’t done was use the structure that I did for CoT, with major sections beginning on the same day. Mind, I still think the book works as it is, but I believe it would have been better had I taken a more linear approach. When you try something different, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
For Brent Ross, getting an agent isn’t expensive. An agent makes his or her money from taking a commission on what your work is sold for and earns. Agents who want reading fees and the like are to be distrusted, in my book. You really need an agent, though, if you want to sell your work, short fiction aside. I don’t know of a major publishing house that will even look at unagented submissions any more.
For Lucky Day, Asha’man have varying degrees of ability with the sword, just like anyone else. There has to be a certain level of talent for anyone to reach a particular level of skill, and also there is the question of how hard a particular person might try at learning the word. After all, he can channel, right? Sword? I don’t need no stinking sword, gringo!
For Children of the Light, the Whitecloaks were inspired by the Inquisition, the SS, the Teutonic Knights and others. In fact, they were inspired by all those groups who say, “We know the truth. It is the only truth. You will believe it, or we will kill you.”
For Perrin WT, I don’t think about how many pages I do in a day. I don’t believe I’ve ever really tried to estimate it. The way I work, frequently going back to rewrite something done earlier, makes it very hard to count pages per day. I have misspelled characters names now and then; when I am typing very fast, sometimes my fingers get dyslexic. I believe my grammar is very good, though I sometimes use constructions that I doubt any English teacher I ever had would approve of. First you learn the rules. Then you can start learning when and where you can break the rules.
For Shiska, a mixed gender circle has X amount of saidin and Y amount of saidar available, set by the strengths of the men and women in it. Talents or special skills available to members of the circle other than whoever is melding the flows are not available to the person who is. If those Talents or skills are particularly needed, then control of the circle must be passed.
For Rifty, the extra body Rand found was that of a Gray Man. And, by the way, proof that the lady was no lady. She was a Darkfriend.
For Margot, I’m sure that people will still want quasi-medieval fantasy, but other types are interesting, too. In Infinity of Heaven, one of the cultures involved will be at more of an early-to-mid Eighteenth Century level, complete with gunpowder weapons. I’d like to do some books set in a late Victorian or Edwardian world, and I have a stand-alone in mind that I might do eventually which is set partly in the present day and partly in various real historical periods. As you say, other writers are broadening the field, and that is good, to my mind.
For Crowl Rife, the last movie I saw in a theater was Junebug. It has some truly sad parts, but Harriet and I laughed through most of it. Then she took a couple of her friends to see it, and they thought it was the most depressing thing they had ever seen. Go figure.
For Cooner 1987, I don’t think there is any similarity between Hobbits and the Two Rivers folk. The Two Rivers people are based on a lot of country people I have known, and among whom I did a lot of my growing up. I did try to make the first roughly 100 pages of EYE seem somewhat Tolkienesque. I wanted to say, “This is the place you know, guys. Now we’re going somewhere else.” And then the Trolloc kicked in the farmhouse door. But I didn’t take it to the point of trying to make the Two Rivers folk seem like Hobbits. I mean, I love The Lord of the Rings and have read it at least a dozen times, but when you have too many Hobbits together, they can be so bloody cute that I need a stiff drink.
For Flavion, I’m sorry you’ve had some bad experiences with writers. I think a writer should either make an effort to be pleasant with the fans or else avoid them. Of course…. A fellow once wrote me a long screed, back around The Great Hunt or perhaps The Dragon Reborn, complaining bitterly, and I do mean bitterly, about the complexity of the plots making the books unreadable. I shouldn’t have done it, but I wrote back suggesting that he try The Velveteen Rabbit as more his speed. In my defense, I can only say that it was late in the day, and I was tired.
For son o’merc, I doubt I’ll ever do any short stories, but who knows? Never say never.
For Anonymous — a busy poster — the ruby in Padan Fain’s dagger is just a ruby. Of course, the entire dagger is corrupted and corrupting.
And last but not least, for Deadsy, there is only one way for you find out whether I wear boxers or briefs, and you wouldn’t like Harriet’s reaction. Neither would I. Yes, I’ve begun picking up questions before they reach the blog.
That’s all for now, guys.
All my best,