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I asked about the cultural importance of Ais' gender-swap.
He talked about how part of the reason for the change, was he felt that he had already covered the strong patriarchal society and the oppression of women some of his other works, such as Elantris and Stormlight.
So the difference between the White Sand novel and the White Sand graphic novels, what was the thought behind changing Ais's gender?
There were a couple thoughts. The main one was, I just thought the character was more interesting. A lot of my early books, you'll notice I did a thing where I'm like "I want to make sure that I'm doing the female character really well." And you can see the problem in that sentence, and that is really how I approached it, I'd say "Well I want to make sure I do the female character really well." And I think I did do the female character pretty well in some of those early books. But you'll see a consistency to them, and this is just coming aware of your biases.
Now, there is nothing wrong with writing a book intentionally and saying, "You know what? Because of the way I want to write this book in this world, I'm going to make the cast almost all one gender or the other. It's when you're doing it consistently on accident, that there's a problem. And I had to kind of sit down and say, "Did I do this because I thought it was best for the character, or did I do this because I love Inspector Javert and I just wanna have to have Inspector Javert in my book?" And that's where the character came from, quite obviously.
And I sat down and said, "If I were going to build this character from the ground up to be my own character and I were trying to throw away all biases, what would be the best for the character?" And Ais being female was not a "I need more women in the book," it was more of, "If I'm throwing away these biases and building the characters, what works the best?" and I just really liked how that character came out when I was rebuilding. Yeah, anyway, we'll go with that.
I'll be very interested to see what people think of the adaptation.
What do you think of the adaptation?
I like it, it's so-- The big change of making Ais a women is great. That's the big change we made. It trims out a bunch of the fat. What we lose is some of the world building and behind the scenes mechanics of how the magic works, that trade off it's like-- It's faster paced and some of the characterization is much better. Worldbuilding and magic mechanics, we lose a bunch of because that's something you do in prose. There's pros and cons, but i think it looks great and I'm very pleased with it.
Is it something that you'd consider doing with any other of your work?
See, here's the thing, I've never wanted to do it for a published novel because I figure people have already read that. I want to be giving them at least something new.
Can you tell us about the progress for White Sand, a kit of people are looking forward to it, and I know I am.
For those who don't know, White Sand is the book I wrote right after Elantris. I wasn't satisfied with it, and never sold it. Dynamite Comics asked if maybe we could do a graphic novel, and I felt that in creating a graphic novel script, we could fix the problems I had with the story. So I said yes.
Working on the graphic novel with Dynamite has been one of the best experiences I've had with a licensed product. They have been quick to listen, have given us a great deal of leeway with asking for revisions of both art and text, and have hired people we really like to work on the project. The end result is a comic I'm very proud of, and happy to have as the canon version of White Sand. (Which is relevant to the cosmere.)
The plan is to do three graphic novels, of six "Issues" each. We've basically finished the first six issues, and plan for a summer release next year. We should be showing off some of the pages on my blog this month. (I hope.)
I loved White Sand. I'm actually reading it for a second time now while I wait for Bands of Mourning. Is the graphic novel going to differ much from the novel? Anything you're willing to give away?
Hmm... We overhauled one major character (not Kenton or Khriss) to give more complex motivations, and in doing so, changed them from male to female.
It will basically be the same plot, though streamlined, with a few structural changes and a little more depth of characterization.