What Comes After Cradle?
Last night, on the fan subreddit (reddit.com/r/Iteration110Cradle), I did an impromptu AMA* in which I had some fun answering fan questions.
There was one question, or set of questions, that stuck with me afterwards and I continued thinking about today. And those boiled down to "What story are you going to write next?"
Once I finish Elder Empire and release the next Cradle book or two, I'll probably start something new. I might return to Traveler's Gate or write a Cradle spin-off or something, but I really love making up new things. That's what I always look forward to.
So I thought I'd share my thoughts on the matter!
First of all, I haven't decided anything. I tend to change my mind on this subject eagerly and often, so I'll jump from idea to idea whenever I feel like it.
But here are some of the things going through my head:
--I've worked on a world that's more game-y than I normally write. Not exactly a LitRPG, but something like a tabletop RPG world, e.g. a D&D-style universe in which the people have figured out the rules of magic over the generations through trial and error.
--I've written a few notes on a possible system in which people have certain slots for abilities that they can fill in "builds," so to speak. This started as a supplement for the aforementioned RPG world, but it might end up evolving into its own thing. For instance, you might be able to learn three supernaturally enhanced talents, two contracted items or creatures, and one active ability.
People try to fill those gaps as synergistically as possible, but everything has a rarity rating. And one character won't settle for any ability less than legendary, even if the all-legendary abilities don't work synergistically with one another at all. So he'll take a loss or refuse to take an awesome opportunity just because it isn't rare enough.
Anyway, I think I could have some fun with it.
--I've always wanted to try to write a death game sort of story, something like Fate/Stay Night, Basilisk, or (weirdly) The World Ends With You. I like the idea of working with a finite cast of characters, each with a strong backstory and motivation, that gets whittled down all the way to the end.
Unfortunately that concept tends to work better for a standalone than a series, but it's a dream I come back to every once in a while.
--I also have a loose idea rattling around in my head about a more traditional fantasy epic with a bunch of different factions that have unique identities and histories and are represented by superhuman champions.
In this world, if you accomplish enough as a mortal, you evolve into a higher version of yourself. These mythical heroes then tend to clash with one another for various competing goals that shape the history of the world.
--I'd also love to write a survival fantasy story, if I can figure out how. The Martian is probably my favorite survival novel, but I don't know how I feel about the goal of getting back home being the primary motivation. Also, I want a solo battle of survival to be the focus, but at the same time any story gets boring if a character doesn't have anybody else to play off of.
Bonus points if it takes place on a magical ocean. Because then it's like Subnautica.
*Ask Me Anything: essentially an open Q&A session
3/12/2020 02:45:17 pm
The slot build world! Yes I want that!!!! That sounds epic! Someone that would go on the most dangerous and hazardous of ‘quests’ because it will give him a super rare legendary thing he needs for a certain slot.
3/13/2020 10:47:21 am
I challenge you to make a crafting hero, a story inspired by skyrim crafting mechanics ( there is nothing inherently special to the mc but through hard work and crafting he makes himself into something uber awesome.) Just an average dude who builds himself into a hero, apothecary turned alchemist turned into gunslinger who uses old school fire arms of his own design and potions and tonics to win the day......or something I dunno
3/13/2020 02:16:13 pm
My own experiences would tell me it would be a story about a guy who makes himself into the best stealth archer in the land by forging five thousand iron daggers xD
3/12/2020 02:57:55 pm
Would love more Traveller's Gate books please. It's my favourite one of your worlds.
3/12/2020 02:58:20 pm
I think the idea of a survival/death game would be cool. Vast area with limited resources, limited cast with the opportunity to add more if needed.
3/12/2020 03:03:25 pm
Could a world guide to Cradle be possible?
3/12/2020 03:03:59 pm
Please carry on the travellers gate series. It is what introduced me to your writing and although cradle has overtaken it as my most loved series the rawness and individuality of the series keeps me going back to listen/read several times per year. I'm so interested to see how it could develope..... screw it. I'm gonna start the series again tonight. Side note, out of your suggestions, the survival series seems the most intriguing. Maybe stay away from the ocean thing as you have already done it with of sea and shadow etc but that's just my opinion. I can only imagine how good a magical survival series could be though and how original you could make it. But... travelers gate......hurry up.
I REALLY like the idea of the fantasy epic. Its a concept I have planned to add to my fantasy series whenever i have an opportunity to put my life on hold, move to the US, and get like a masters in creative writing (currently on my third year of my masters in industrial engeneering, not quite as fun). Weirdly me and Will have a lot of the same ideas, tho i dont like when it gets too litRPG'y.
3/12/2020 04:17:02 pm
I’ll take all of the above. Yesterday would be great. Thank you!
3/12/2020 04:17:40 pm
I have always been on the lookout for a fantasy survival story, like a desert isle Robinson Crusoe style book would be excellent!! I'm not a huge fan of the extra gamey settings but I've been convinced before, I'm sure whatever you do will be great!
3/12/2020 05:35:26 pm
On the same AMA you also said "I was really into a setting with a modern culture and technology level but also magic. Kind of like many Final Fantasy settings" and damn that Idea is great.
3/15/2020 08:44:36 pm
I second this! I have read some good series recently along these lines (Myke Cole’s Shadow ops and William Stacey’s Dark elf war) that I really enjoyed. I also played a lot of Arcanum back in the day and love the technology vs magic tension.
4/9/2020 10:04:58 am
You might want to check Metaworld Chronicles. It a web serial set on a fictional earth with a D&D based magic system. The author has a pretty unique style of writing that I don't like at times (reminds of japanese works) but the worldbuilding and attention to detail is top notch.
3/12/2020 05:50:37 pm
Do both! A Travelers Gate prequel where Valin gets stuck somewhere and has to survive. It could be a long forgotten territory or even another iteration where some divine being has hard coded progression by limiting ability usage into pre-defined units. Valin has to learn how to combine these abilities in order to survive and get home.
3/12/2020 06:02:42 pm
I remember you talking about your plans a couple years ago. At the time it seemed that it was Cradle, Travelers, and a new thing. That way you would have established and well selling series to support you while you dabble with something new. Something that may not be as successful.
3/12/2020 06:43:32 pm
Please give me more travelers gate! I’ve absolutely loved the series and miss getting those little short stories on Simon and the gang. Not saying I’m not looking forward to the other projects though!
3/12/2020 06:47:49 pm
The Adventure Zone is a great podcast that has put out amazing stories using tabletop game mechanics (Balance arc [dnd] and Amnesty [monster of the week])
3/12/2020 06:50:36 pm
I'd prefer the Traveler's Blade idea I saw mentioned somewhere awhile ago. I like that world, so unique. I don't hate the D&D type world, but not super thrilled with the rest. Just my personal thoughts.
3/12/2020 07:02:11 pm
Cradle is ending eventually? NOOOOOOO!!!!!
4/5/2020 07:30:17 pm
Lindon's story may end but there's no reason another series set in the 'Cradleverse' couldn't be written.
3/12/2020 07:05:47 pm
Just write Cradle until you die.
3/15/2020 09:00:07 pm
3/12/2020 07:27:15 pm
Simon still might still be my favorite character you've created. It would be great to read some post-incarnation sword-finding stuff.
D rk M tter
3/12/2020 07:48:19 pm
How about a Cradle spin-off that's a subnauticaesque survival series about Northstrider's early life?
3/16/2020 03:03:02 pm
I agree i think would be interesting to read!
3/12/2020 08:23:33 pm
If you want some background reading on the RPG-style book, I recommend the Sanctuary series by Robert J Crane. It's got classes, guilds, quests/raids, loot, etc. You might also read the ".5" books, novellas giving background and some side stories for side characters that didn't make it into the main series; I'd love to see some of those for Cradle.
3/12/2020 08:37:50 pm
Keep doing what you love Will! They all sound like wonderful and fulfilling ideas! It brings me happiness to see someone's mind working out ideas for what they are so good at doing! I'd love to see some time travel/worm holes in your stories. I think you have the creative chops to execute something like that. It can be complicated, but sooo rewarding if done well.
3/13/2020 12:58:03 am
The epic fantasy sounds like the Ascendant aspect of the Malazan world, including the idea that people of power tend to play games using the lives of mortals (what else would they do?). It's something that has fascinated me for years since I read those books and even ran a bit of D&D campaign along those lines. I'd like to see your take on an epic fantasy in this direction, particularly since your writing style has very quick pacing and light humor. It'd certainly have a novel twist in a genre that, while I love it, tends to go severely heavy on both word count and darkness.
3/13/2020 04:21:13 am
1) Could the Oathsign or similar technique be used produce effects outside the users own madra apesct (i.e.. Could Ziel in his peak have used the Oathsign to produce lightnings or fireballs).
3/13/2020 04:52:29 am
All those ideas sound great. I hope cradle doesn't end anytime soon.
3/13/2020 05:03:28 am
Maybe you could do a combination, such as the D&D like world but in taking one of the legendary abilities he get transported to the middle of the magical ocean and has to get back to civilization. Luckily for him, that last legendary ability gives him a servant to help him! Unfortunately for him, that servant wont help unless *he* is legendary!
3/13/2020 06:49:43 am
Not sure if you previously answered this but when can we expect the next cradle book? Next book? Whatever you write I’ll check out
3/13/2020 08:08:49 am
Survival world. Here it goes:
3/13/2020 10:57:31 am
In general I think you should concentrate on a few more cradle books, hopefully better than Uncrowned, which suffered from the rush to publish. Then more in the Traveler's Gate world as there is so much room to explore that universe. We've seen...what, maybe 15 rooms or so in Vallinhall? Largely haven't really gotten deep into many of the other territories and what else they may hold. Origins of Vallinhall would be a great read, or hell, origins of the whole world which seems like someone pieced together dying iterations somehow.
An annoyance with a wallet
3/13/2020 03:37:15 pm
I'm not gonna lie, will. any and all of those sound amazing. the power slot one especially. but I would read any of them because they would be by you. so... go nuts.
A boxing geek
3/13/2020 09:18:06 pm
Sooo everyone is excited about the next series and I really just wanna know when your next cradle books comes out! I reallllllly like those books. I could use one right now to read before the next Dresden files comes out in July.
3/13/2020 09:18:51 pm
Will, you should seriously consider partnering up with Travis Baldree (who also happens to be a video game designer) to design an MMORPG that's based on your Cradle World... all the ingredients are pretty much all there in your books already, just need to flesh it out into the framework/blueprint of a MMORPG, with all the myth/lore... and then see if you can pitch it to one of the big developers, perhaps Amazon who are currently trying their hand at a couple big MMOs. It'd be frikkin amazing if done right!
3/14/2020 01:59:28 pm
^SO MUCH THIS!!! I thought of this right after starting the Cradle series, as I’m sure tons of other readers have. The Cradle series (and similar cultivation/advancement type novels, such Tao Wong’s “A Thousand Li” series, which I started (& love) per a recommendation from Will) are literally PERFECT for translating into an RPG format. Defined character leveling, multiple classes, paths, options, & other variables for character development, varying item abilities/power levels, crafting, etc.
3/20/2020 07:05:29 pm
And Travis could do all the voice acting, 2-for-1 right there!
3/24/2020 09:03:06 am
I personally would love this. However we have to consider the feasibility. It would take a couple of months minimum to develop the game and also we would want it to have good graphics or controls. Will would also need a kickstarter of some sort. Next he has to make sure it would be available for different consoles although he could put it on steam. Finally we have to consider the story line. Will we be Lindon/Yerin/Eithan or would we be someone with no connection to them. Will we be some sort of character that doesn't have much significance like Jai Long? Maybe it could be his origin story and we watch as he joins the sandpipers. Or maybe the game could be him training to fight Lindon and he has to gather elixirs and relics to advance before the fight. Lindon could be the final boss of game one. Now we can follow Lindon from books 1-6 but what about when Will continues the series? Spoilers might be a big part of the game. Okay so now we got that out of the way. I'd like to suggest a few things. 1) You can make the game following a low level Abidan officer who had just ascended. This officer is placed in cradle and has to use his/her abilities to stop disturbances in the Way. For example the premature rise of a dreadgod. The only way to reverse time in this situation is to beat in a fight. Or maybe you have to fight one of the Abidans enemies. This whole thing could take place before Lindon is born to avoid spoilers. We can meet Monarchs before their rise or maybe even influence them and join them on their adventures. Maybe throughout the game we realize that this Officer is actually Suriel and this is how she becomes a judge. another scenario is where in an alternate timeline Cradle, Asylum, and the Travelers Gate world collide. Simon and Yerin meet after her masters death( which takes place BEFORE Sacred Valley) and takes her in( I'm having trouble remembering which world produced stronger people although maybe in this version Simon has the mask permanently on his face so he's more powerful). Lindon is still in sacred valley only now the people of Damasca have invaded after they discover "new land". The king of Damasca destroys Sacred Valley. although Lindon survives since he is out searching for things for his mother. He hears the fight in the distance and turns back but he is too late. Alin as an Incarnation was freed by being transported although he was weakened significantly. He offers to help Lindon. Lindon turns the abilities of Elysia into a path and starts to ascend. Thats all for now. I know this might not be a good storyline but its just me thinking aloud. Will if you see this let me know if you think this could be a good idea. Maybe you can use this for a book. Just an idea.
3/13/2020 09:32:01 pm
Please no superhero story, we have too many of those. Also, please don't talk about ending Cradle yet. :>
3/13/2020 11:34:03 pm
Would you ever consider writing a book series like “The Song of Swords”? P.S. Your my favorite author. ILY!
3/14/2020 09:39:04 pm
“The Song of the swords”? What kind of homo-erotica are you into? We’ve got enough swinging swords around here without writing more books about them.
3/14/2020 12:29:34 am
"Also, I want a solo battle of survival to be the focus, but at the same time any story gets boring if a character doesn't have anybody else to play off of."
3/14/2020 01:43:00 pm
^This. Or something similar, such as one or more ghosts. Imagine something similar to the dolls from the Traveler’s Gates series.
3/14/2020 04:42:44 am
Another one of my favorite authors gave a recommendation of Unsouled on their site. You’re rather popular...
3/14/2020 02:10:44 pm
3/14/2020 06:11:36 am
The superhuman champions idea sounds amazing!
3/14/2020 01:35:27 pm
Idea for a “death game” concept, but with returning characters: introduce a means of reincarnation, specifically after all die or last-man-standing. This would allow character-building beyond death & could be an awesome concept, imo.
3/14/2020 02:10:23 pm
i think you should write a story like a lit rpg/ wuixa or but a villan in a situation were he was to be a hero or vice versa
3/14/2020 08:45:54 pm
Think it was stated above, but to have more to play with for the survival fantasy story, you could set it in the Traveler's Gate of Cradle universe and use a character, such as Valin for Traveler's and Northstrider (or other legend) for Cradle stuck in such a situation. I think there's enough for you to play with to keep you satisfied creatively while giving us a better view into your universes and keeping it fun. Would probably work better as a prequel/standalone style novel though.
3/15/2020 09:38:23 am
As a huge Fate fan I'm delighted to know you've read Fate/Stay Night, have you seen any of the Heaven's Feel Movies?
3/15/2020 09:09:58 pm
Hey Will love the books! Just starting into EE, Travelers was good, Cradle is my favorite. Since I’ve stumbled onto Cradle I’ve read every book 3 or 4 times. Gotta know, is Sha Miarra going to give up her spot for Lindon. North Strider has a vested interest, no one wants a Monarch to get the arrow, and BAM you’ve got 4 factions putting their Pull behind Lindon. HUMANITY UNITE! Would be such a good gotch ya. You already answered somewhere, probably, I know he gets round two!
3/16/2020 09:26:34 pm
Personally I would like that prequel book about Verin the Wanderer you mentioned ages ago. it would also be nice if the books explained how he became a Founder of a Traveler Domain and how that is important as a having a leader for the domain. Like the Red guy from the flashback for Ragnarus. If I'm using the wrong terminology sorry it has been a long time since I read the series. Also maybe have that book explain the link between the Traveler series and the Elder Empire since one of those books had a qoute from Verin the Wanderer implying that he somehow traveled to the Elder Empire at some point.
3/17/2020 06:56:21 am
If you like subnautica, you should play The Outer Wilds(not to be confused with the outer worlds). Space exploration meets time loop where you are learning about an ancient civilization who previously colonized the universe but is gone now. Amazing.
3/17/2020 09:56:23 am
That would be fantastic. I would love a SF series that wasn't solely focused on military conflict or dystopian futures. More exploration based, similar to Norton's Solar Queen series but with all that WW goodness sprinkled on top.
3/17/2020 07:00:25 pm
I have to say first and for most i am sure anything you choose to write next will have my interest, it is surpremely rare for any author to have me hooked on multi series such as you have managed Will, So well i'd love for spin off/sequeal of Travelers gate/Cradle I am equally open to new ideas. (Being greedy pig i am i'd love for a new book,continue of cradle and spin off/new traveler gate/cradle i'll try and be reasonable.)
3/18/2020 08:24:15 pm
If you’re going to do an RPG world that is much more integrated than the standard LitRPG look at the Wandering Inn, one it’s one of the greatest books ever two it’s RPG elements are better used and integrated better than any other RPG system I can think of. Also did I mention it’s so FUCKING GOOD, KING OF DUELS YEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAH!!!
3/21/2020 01:24:28 am
Loot based space opera in a science fantasy settings with galaxy wide politics. Hidden myths and legends to guide our hero. Team quests with side quests for each team mates. It being a sci-fantasy will have fantastical power ups. Hero will uncover world ending plots and solve them all the while dancing to the whim of galaxy ending antagonists.
3/23/2020 09:03:23 am
Never thought I'd see a reference to The World Ends With You on your blog, what a stellar game that was. One of the few handful of video games in which I got incredibly invested in the story. I usually just skim through the story, books tend to have much better stories than games, in my experience.
3/24/2020 03:09:31 am
I am absolutely ok with new and exciting concepts and story arcs, but having reread EE I reckon an Emperor origin story would be pretty ridic.
4/2/2020 12:37:56 am
Do I get to vote? I vote for a Cradle spinoff.
4/12/2020 06:07:47 pm
I'd read anything you choose to write. I've enjoyed all of your books. I feel like there is definitely more to tell in your current worlds.
7/10/2020 06:37:55 pm
Please write 3-4 more cradle books before moving to the next series! I know you can’t have it go on forever (looking at you, Robert Jordan :), but I think This crew needs a bit more time to reach their personal goals and tying it to the Suriel/Orziel/Makiel narrative.
9/8/2020 06:32:56 am
Do you think of the Beginning After the End series by Turtleme as a nod to the Cradle series or a straight ripoff? I've read the entire Cradle series and now I'm reading Beginning. Beginning is so similar to Cradle I feel like he's stealing your idea. You, as the author, have the final say, of course. What are your thoughts?
5/27/2021 02:54:48 am
I would really love to see a different groups adventure in the cradle universe with a fresh/new to us focus on other paths maybe another trio or group. What I would love to read is a journey of 8 young sacred artist becoming the 8 man empire. Like as a group from the start knowing thats there goal.
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