I don't have much time to make many more questions to you, but one of my questions--I'll try to make them short, because then we'll open the floor for the audience--one of my questions is whether you could now, seeing the evolution of The Stormlight Archive, what would you say about this evolution, if you could explain it? Since there has been an evolution, imagine you could go backwards in time and explain it to yourself, or even explain it to Robert Jordan, how would you explain it, the evolution of this?
So, the evolution of what, of my book series, in my head?
The evolution of these ten books.
Okay. Well, the somewhat cheeky answer is that I would never go back in time. I have read this book, and it always ends with you almost getting erased, or coming back to your home being communist, or to some other disaster. Unless I know I'm in the right Connie Willis book, I'm not going back in time, and even then, I might end up in the time of the Black Plague, so I wouldn't risk it.
But to answer it more seriously, if I were to go back in time and explain about The Stormlight Archive to my young self... Boy, that is a hard question, for me to consider what I would say about it, because I tried to write The Way of Kings in 2002, and I failed at writing it. I completed the book, but the book was a failure. I did not have the skill as a writer yet to juggle the number of characters and the depth of worldbuilding that book requires. It is a book that required about twenty years of writing practice before I was able to write it. And so, I think I would tell my young self to keep going, that the work will be worth it, that I will get to the point that I will be able to do it, but I still would have had to write the 2002 version in order to learn how to write the later version that worked. Working on The Wheel of Time was certainly part of that. It was like going to the gym and knowing I was going to have to be lifting these heavier weights, and I couldn't afford to be doing the light weights anymore.