I first got the idea for the prophecy back in high school. I had a teacher by the name of Mr. Nations. I can’t remember what he taught, but I remember the name. That same year, in English class, we read Macbeth, and I was fascinated by the witches’ prophecy to Macbeth and the way it ended up turning around and blowing up in his face at the end. And so I had this teacher by the name of Mr. Nations, and one day the thought just came to me: “Nations shall tremble before you.” And the thought’s been with me ever since, that that line would make for a great “Macbeth Prophecy”.
I’ve always had this story I wanted to write, a series actually, about a mage who gets trapped in a different world, and he has to try to find his way home, but each world is different and has a very different type of magic with new rules that he has to learn and figure out in order to find a way to leave the world he’s on and progress to the next one. He would eventually come across an enchanted sword that can cut through anything, though it would treat living and non-living matter in very different ways, which would present unique challenges in his attempts to use it. The power of the sword would come from a spirit that was imbued within it. One of the major themes of the story would be religion and how it can become corrupted, the effects that this could have on society and the difficult process it would be to try and restore what had been lost or twisted. It was going to be an awesome epic series, and the word “Archives” was part of the title.
Then my brother introduced me to the work of Brandon Sanderson, and I realized I’d never be able to write this. If you’re familiar with his work, particularly The Way of Kings, you’ll understand why by now. (And if not, go read something by him. He’s an amazing writer! And you don’t have to take my word for it; check out Warbreaker, the novel he put up for free on his website, just because he’s awesome like that) The stuff I wanted to write was nothing like his work, except that a lot of similar points and themes did end up in stuff he published, and now if I ever wrote my story, people would end up looking at me like I was his Terry Goodkind or Peter Brett, which was the last thing I wanted. When I read Hoid’s speech about originality at the end of The Way of Kings, I felt like I was about to die from drowning in irony.
Meanwhile, a friend of mine was feeling a little bit down, and I decided to write something amusing to cheer her up. I came up with a somewhat silly story about a wisecracking antihero who ends up rescuing a damsel in distress, with the twist at the end being that the damsel is a lot less distressed than she appeared to be at first, and was actually Aylwyn, an angelic warrior character invented by my friend for an RPG campaign. She liked it, and that was the end of that… until the characters kept going around in my head. Eventually a bunch of pieces started to come together, and I decided to expand the little story I’d created just for fun into an actual story, with a plotline and characters and everything. And one of my basic ideas was, “create something that Brandon Sanderson would never write.” I think I did a good job at that point, at least. Not sure whether or not that makes my story any better! 😉
I didn’t expect that it would end up taking the better part of a year to write and turn out to be approximately the size of The Hobbit, nor that Aylwyn and Paul’s sub-quest would end up taking up so much of the story. I’d originally envisioned it as a few short episodes where he meets Aylwyn, Patrick, Sarah, and Gerald, and then something happens and they end up having to join together as an adventuring party of sorts, on an epic journey to try to save Sarah’s captive mother who, it eventually turns out, had been taken by the renegade wizard Ken Tu-kel. But the story just sort of ended up evolving differently, and I like what I ended up with.
There’s still more to the tale, of course. I’ve got some other stuff I’m working on at the moment, but Paul’s story will continue after a while, with The Fate of Paul Twister. Watch for it!