Which order of Knights Radiant was hardest for conception?
It was definitely the Dustbringers, which I'm not even sure yet, because I haven't done a lot with them in the books. But I wanted the Dustbringers to be more than just "generic fire magic." Not that people haven't done great things with generic fire magic that they have individualized, but kind of the whole idea behind the Surges in the Stormlight Archive is that they are using, as the elements of their society and the fundamental forces, things that you wouldn't normally see as magic systems in a fantasy novel. And generic fire magic didn't fit into that schema very well.
I'm not doing the [BYU] lectures as YouTube videos this time. We figure we only wanna do these every three or four years; there's no reason to do them every year. But, because of covid, I have to stream the class to all of my students. And I do apologize; it is a closed stream through the university. But we will be creating highlights out of each lecture; maybe there'll be a fifteen-minute or a thirty-minute chunk here that Adam thinks will make a good stand-on-its-own thing, and you will get to see those probably after the semester's done, whenever Adam gets them together. We're gonna be doing that from the Lair.
Then I need to work on outlines, because Janci has got the second outline for her second novella. I'm really excited by the Skyward novellas. Because what's going on is: the third Skyward book, very pleased with. I really like how it turned out. But one of the issues with this series is, the first book was kind of a... They're all first-person from one character's view point, so it's not like they are ensemble books. But in the first book, the character had a large cast she interacted with of characters who are quite endearing. And in the second book, those characters were intended to continue on. But the way the second book played out, about halfway through, I felt like (because it was in a different location and the whole team had gone) that it just was not working. There was too much of a safety net for the main character, with the whole team being there. And I rewrote the whole book so she was there on her own, isolated. And the book just worked way better.
But one of the problems is: the outline for the four-book series had Book Three already being a solo adventure from the character in a way I couldn't really write out of the series unless I just cut the book entirely. And I didn't want to do that; I like the character growth that happened in it. But that now means that we have two books in a row where the main character's isolated from her team, that you still probably want to find out about if you enjoyed the first book. So my fix for this is to have a series of novellas from three different viewpoints (Janci picked the viewpoints) that I'm co-writing with Janci Patterson, a good friend of mine for many years and an excellent writer. And, honestly, more in touch with YA than I am, and kind of knows that genre. And I went to her and said, "Hey, would you pick three characters that you really wanna tell about from this other group and write three novellas that kind of progress the story, so that it's one long story in three chunks." And she was really excited by this idea and is writing these.
So, basically, at the time Book Three comes out, we hope to... (no promises on timing on these; I have to let Janci write at her speed. She's a writer that writes at a good pace, but I want her to have the freedom that she needs.) She's going to write these novellas from three different viewpoints that are, together, going to cover the same time that the third book does, that kind of catch you up on what everybody is doing while Spensa is doing kind of solo adventure stuff. And she just turned in the second of those outlines for me to go over and offer feedback on. I'm only about half done.