|Thus Spake The Creator
did the series start out?
Quote from RJ: The first
inspiration was the thought of what it was really like to
be tapped as the savior of mankind. In a lot of books
that have somebody who is the "chosen one" if
you will, it seems that the world quickly divides into
allies who are strongly behind the "chosen one"
and the evil guys. It seemed to me that if somebody is
chosen to be the savior, there is going to be a good bit
of resistance, both "Let this cup pass from me,"
and a lot of people who aren't going to be that happy to
have a savior show up, even if they are on his side
nominally. That established, I began to think about the
What I'm trying to do here is rather complex. The usual
thing is to either tell a sweeping story that is, in
effect, the history of a nation or a people, or to tell a
tighter story that is very much inside the heads of
individuals themselves. I am trying to do the stories of
individual people, a large number of them, at the same
time as I tell the story of a world. I want to give
readers an entire picture of this world-not just its
current history and situation, but its past as well.
That's hard to do at the same time we're so deeply
involved with individual characters. The complexity of
that combination is one of the reasons the darn thing has
gone on as long as it has.
Q: Hi.I Love your books and I was just wondering where
you got your ideas for the series. its like nothing ever
A: It all started with wondering what it was really like
to be tapped on the shoulder and told that you are the
savior of mankind. Ten years of thinking about that, and
I began writing.
Q: What was your inspiration for this series? Anything
A: For First Cause: I suppose the question of what it
would really be like to be tapped on the shoulder and
told that you were born to be the savior of mankind.
Beyond that, two or three hundred things.
Q: What was the primary driving force behind your
world building (other than making lots of money)?
A: The driving force was creating a world populated by
cultures that seemed real, but alien-- alien as in other.
Q: When did you first develop the idea for WOT? How
long have you been working on it before it was accepted
by a publisher?
A: The very first notion came to me nearly twenty years
ago; I spent ten or twelve years mulling it over, told my
then-publisher about it, and he offered me a contract.
Q: I'm sorry. How long after publishing The Eye of the
World did you recognize the extent of the popularity of
your book, and did you know at that time that the "World"
would grow to such a great proportion (i.e., that you'd
have written this many books)?
A: I never expected anything like this, and I really
don't know how long it took me to realize that the books
were very popular. It rather crept up on me.
Q: Did you think you were going to write only the
first book without sequels? If you wife is all the female
characters are you all the male ones?
A: No, I knew from the start that I was writing something
that would be multiple books. I just never knew how many,
exactly. The last question: Probably, God help me. Never
thought of it that way, though.
Q: How difficult is it to get a major publisher like
TOR to publish a novel, Mr. Jordan?
A: I forgot who asked this, but it wasn't difficult to
get Tor to publish my first novel. Tom Doherty liked what
I write. I've been writing for 20 years and I told him
that I had an idea for a multi-volume book I didn't
know how many books and probably any other publishers
would have thrown me out of his office but Tom said OK!
Q: You are an inspiration among fantasy writers. I am
wondering how you started on this massive undertaking?
A: Well, I wrote! I had some ideas and I wrote them! I
don't know how else to say it.
Q: With the scope of this work, it must have been on
your mind for a long time. When did you first concieve
the story and how many years after that was the first
A: I had the first notions for this book, I guess it was
1975 or 76. For these books I should say but there were a
lot of things to think out, a lot of changes I went
through for instance the character of Rand and Tam were
originally one. I spent about ten years noodling the
story around in the back of my head before I ever put
words on paper but that's rather typical for me. My books
have a fairly long gestation period.
Q: How long did it take you to plan the Wheel of Time
A: A very long time. Almost ten years of thinking about
it before I began writing. And then four years to write
"The Eye of the World." Then roughly 14 months
each for the next five books, and about 20 or 21 months
for "A Crown of Swords." You see, I have the
world planned out, but quite often details are a work in
Mr. Jordan, I'm a dedicated fan of your series who's
bought all of the books in hardback, and first I'd like
to thank you for bringing such a wonderful world to life
for us. It seems to me that your work is something
relatively new in fantasy -- you're exploring a situation
where there is no known quest or goal to be fulfilled in
order for victory to be assured. Instead it seems more
like the real world: uncertain, with the heroes fighting
a war without knowledge of the "victory conditions."
Would you care to comment?
wanted to write a fantasy that reflected the real world,
with characters who reflected real people -- not specific
people, but characters who were real people. And there
are things about the real world that I wanted, such as
that people who end up heroes very rarely set out to be
heroes, and heroic journeys consist mainly of sleeping
rough and going hungry, wondering how you are going to
pay for the next meal and wonder exactly what it is you
are supposed to do and how are you going to get out of it
When you first started writing the Wheel of Time, did you
have a set plan for the whole series, or were there some
things you just thought up as you stumbled upon them in
knew the beginning, that is, the opening scenes; I knew
the final scene of the final book; I knew the very
general line that I wanted the story to take from the
beginning to the end. And I knew a number of major
occurrences that I wanted to take place and a number of
relationships that I wanted to develop. I left open how I
would get from one major occurrence to the next to allow
for fluidity in writing. I did not want to set anything
in stone. Sorry for the pun, but that does lead to
Mr. Jordan, I first wanted to say thank you for such a
great series. My question is how long has this story and
or series been running around in your head, and do you
feel you have the ending picked out?
started thinking about what would turn into the Wheel of
Time more than 15 years ago, and the first thing that I
thought of that was really solid was the last scene of
the last book. I could have written that 15 years ago,
and if I had, it would differ from what I would write
today only in the words. What happens would be exactly
the same. So, I've known where I'm going from the start.
How far in advance did you plan the later novels like
LORD OF CHAOS and A CROWN OF SWORDS? Did you know the
series would be this long when you started?
did not know the series would be this long in the
beginning. When I first went to my publisher, I told him,
I know the beginning, and I know the ending, and I know
what I want to happen in-between, but I'm not sure I know
how long it will take me to get from the beginning to the
end. Now, don't laugh, but I said to him, "It's
going to be at least three or four books, and it might be
as many as five or six."
Q: Do you remember when you conceived _The Wheel of
A: The first thought that came to me was what would it be
like, what would it really be like, to be tapped on the
shoulder and told you were born to be the saviour of
mankind. And I then very quickly thought, what would
happen if the saviour of mankind really showed up and he
was really there to save the world from impending doom,
what would the real response of the world be? And after
ten or twelve years of knocking around in my head,
because I always give my books a long lead time, that
turned into _The Wheel of Time_.
Q: To the books
then. The Wheel of Time is a fantasy series epic in size
and scale. How did it all begin - and what was your
inspiration for it?
A: It's really hard to
say. There's all sorts of things that come about before
you start writing a series. You don't have "an idea"
that becomes a short story, or a book. A short story is
maybe hundreds of ideas that have come together, a novel
is thousands of ideas that have come together. But The
Wheel of Time - I was thinking at one point about what
it'd really be like to be tapped on the shoulder and told
"You were born to be the saviour of mankind. And oh
yes - you're probably going to die in the end and no, you
can't resign - it's your job, you're stuck with it".
Then I had been
thinking about the source of myths, the source of legends.
About whether some of them might not have been
personifications of natural events, the way we say some
of them are supposed to be. What if some of them were
things that people had done, and had simply been told and
told until it became a myth and legend?
At the same time, I
was thinking about the degradation of information over
distance. The further you are from an event in either
space or time, the less reliable your knowledge of the
event. Information inevitably degrades over distance,
whether it's spatial or temporal.
I was thinking about
lots of other things too, and it began to coalesce. It
was the beginnings of what would become the Wheel of Time.
I let it mull over for four or five years, then I thought
I was ready to sit down and write. But it took four years
to write the Wheel of Time because I discovered there
were a lot of other things I had to think and sort out.
Q: Was the storyline for "New Spring" one
that was created at the same time as the rest of the WoT
plot, or did you come up with it specifically for the
A: The basis was notes that I had made for myself on
backstory, things that I had never intended to put into
the books themselves, but that I needed to know to write
the books: such as where did Moridian and Lan meet, and
where did they come from.
Q: First off, I absolutely love the WOT series! What I
wanted to know was when your originally started writing
this series what type of research, if any, did you do to
create the world and storyline you have created?
A: I started writing the Eye of the World in about 1985,
I guess it was. 85 or 86. It took me four years, and I
had been thinking about the things that would lead into
the world of the wheel of Time about ten years before I
started writing ANYTHING.
Q: How did you develop the idea for the Wheel of Time
saga, and where did you get the name?
A: The name comes out of Hindu mythology, where there is
a belief that time is a wheel. Many older cultures
believe that time is cyclic, that it repeats. In fact, I
believe the best thing the ancient Greeks gave us was (the
idea) that time was linear and change was possible.
Q: who was the first character you came up with when
you were going to write the wheeloftime was it Rand?
A: i can' t really say who the first character was that i
came up with. i was thinking of a number of types of
people and how they would work together. and they
coalesced into certain characters.
Q: And all the rest of the story develooped while you
wrote it? Wow Amazing and what an imagination! Hmm I
think Im jealous
A: it was really only the details that have developed as
i write the story. The major part of it was there in my
head before I began writing TEOTW.
Q: maybe this is a stupid question too: but you told
us that when you had your first thoughts about wheel of
time tham and rand altor where the same person. Now i
have a question about nynaeve. when you first thought
about her was she the same person as she is now (did you
already thought about her tugging het braid???)
A: nynaeve in the beginning was actually going to be the
loveinterest for rand'tam but she was the same kind of
woman - quickly temperamental and not suffering fools
Q: how come the first character you came up with isnt a
30 yr old rand anymore? when did this change?
A: the 1st char I came up was not a 30 yr old rand, it
was that the 1st version of rand was a 30 yr old man. I
changed that because i wanted the character of rand to
find everything beyond his village to be strange and new.
Reports from signings
The reason RJ chose to write fantasy was its
opportunities to build cultures and experiment with them,
in a way and with a freedom to comment that is
unacheivable with a "realistic", domestically
based world. The story of TWoT evolved during a very long
period, in part beginning in the middle of the seventies
with the idea of the Breaking of the World, before he
found the "final scene in the final book" and
began to actually write TEotW.
Jordan says that the idea for WoT came to him about 10
years before he began writing. "What would it feel
like to be tapped on the shoulder and told, 'Hey, you're
the savior of the world?'" He began writing The
Eye of the World four years before it was published (and
I say that it shows).
Rand and Tam alThor originally started out as
He is a man in his 30s from Emonds Field in the
(Earlier, when his story starts) There isnt
much for a kid from a small village out wherever to do
that does not involve backbreaking work. At about 15, he
runs away to become a soldier (yes, a field that does
involve backbreaking labor). After 20 years or so as a
soldier, Rand/Tam wants to go home, but when he does, he
realizes hes no longer the boy that left that
little village. And prophecy is on his heels.
Maybe something of the sort will be done in a future
He also talked about how the early stages of the story
evolved, about Rand starting out as Tam, coming back to
Emond's Field (although it wasn't Emond's Field yet back
then) after 20 years, realizing he'd outgrown it. And
then prophecy tapping him on shoulder with the message
that he was fated to save the world, and oh yeah, he'd
die in the process. He went for Rand instead, because he
wanted an innocent character, a character who could
realize how little he knew, and thus could grow a lot
Talking about why the Tam/Rand main character becamse
A: ...see this world for the first time, so that at the
same time as the reader is seeing something for the first
time, so are these people from this small town.
Raina's Hold / Thus Spake the Creator - Index