Now for the first ever Writing Factoid!
Question #1 by Jason of Scribblings of a Madman
--What is the meaning of life? How much planning did you put into WISB?
The meaning of life, obviously, and how could you not know this, is to acquire everything you could ever possibly want in one single lifetime. If you fail, well, then you get sent back here as a gerbil and you have to work your way up life to life until you get back to being a human again and go through the same process. How could you not know that?
Now for the serious question. I honestly didn't put much planning at all into WISB when I first started. I rarely outline to begin with, but in this case I barely even had an idea! I started it as an experiment and it just sort of took off in places I hadn't expected it to. Granted, it's not like I'm super popular like Tolkien or Rowling, but the fact that some people express that they enjoy this story has kept me writing it. That's all that matters to me really, some loyal fans. So, I didn't plan to get very far. I researched blog novels, thought it was an interesting idea, and decided to go with it. So, here we are, some 86,000 or so words later, nearly to the end of the first book.
Now, towards the latter half of WISB I did do some planning. I had to. My world had become so expansive and enormous that I had no choice. I created a map, as some have seen and of which I should put up as a quick link on the right hand column. The map was mostly to give me an idea of where everything was so I wouldn't get things mixed up. I did make a mistake, and the map helped me realize that, and luckily I fixed that. For the plot, I've been thinking steadily about where the characters should go and did some thinking on how they would get there. The Blaersteeds came into the picture right about then. I had to figure out where and why the characters were running. And, so you have the story as it is now.
But that's for WISB. If you want to know about The Spellweaver of Dern, well, you'll have to ask :). SOD is a completely different beast!
Question #2 by Alex (forgive me for not knowing your SmackJeeves page off hand)
--One thing I am intrigued to learn is of the location of the Lean. Will he return and will there be news of the fabled city?
Now, I'm going to answer this without actually giving anything away. Realize that SOD is actually going to be far more complex than WISB. It has to be. I can't stick in James' head anymore because there are alternate storylines now that have to be addressed.
Will the Lean return? At some point, yes. And yes, there will be news of the city beyond the Black Sands, but I cannot tell you whether or not the city actually exists. In fact, because I will writing SOD in about 2 months--which will put us rather close to when WISB first appeared on the Internet--I have to come up with everything that happens. I have to find out if I can actually write from the point of view of the Lean, and if not, what am I going to do about the character? How am I going to convey what the Lean has seen?
So, I can say this: The Lean is moving beyond the Black Sands. The Lean will know the truth about whatever is out there, if anything. And the Lean will return. Leans technically cannot be killed, not by any normal abilities that would be possessed by the people of Traea, so the Lean will return at some point. Whether that be in SOD or not, I cannot say. I don't even know that myself!
So there you have it!
Ask more questions! Even stuff that's not related to the plot! Bring it on!