A question for Janny regarding TWOLAS.

Janny Wurts Chat Area: Author's Corner: A question for Janny regarding TWOLAS.
   By Rhett Jones on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 02:12 pm: Edit Post

Hi Janny,

I was just wondering if after Stormed Fortress, there will be more books in the series. I don't know if I'm right, but I get the impression that Stormed Fortress is the last of the current phase of the series but not the absolute last of the overall saga.

   By Trys on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 03:41 pm: Edit Post


There are five story arcs planned that makeup The Wars of Light and Shadow:

Arc 1: Curse of the Mistwraith

Arc 2: Ships of Merior (includes Ships of Merior and Warhost of Vastmark)

Arc 3: Alliance of Light - Fugitive Prince, Grand Conspiracy, Peril's Gate, Traitor's Knot, and Stormed Fortress.

Arc 4: Untitled as of this moment.

Arc 5: Untitled as of this moment.


   By Rhett Jones on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 10:42 am: Edit Post

Thanks for the info Trys. While I'm impatient to get to the end of the entire series I'm glad in one way to look forward to so much more to read.

BTW, doesn't the Cycle of Fire trilogy seem incomplete? Those were the first of Janny's books I had ever read years ago and I've always thought it could do with a few sequels. If I remember correctly the main character is powerful enough to take on what destroyed galactic civilisation. Dont mind me if I'm not making any sense but I'm trying to remember what I read years ago without the books in front of me.

   By Trys on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 11:41 am: Edit Post

Janny has indicated that there is another story that could be written in that world... given time and interest.

   By Rurack on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 12:11 pm: Edit Post

Well I would be interested. But one project at a time :-)

   By Janny Wurts on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 12:31 pm: Edit Post

Hi Rhett - You Asked.

Trys gave you the bare bones outline for Wars of Light and Shadow - I can only add that, it will be a series like No Other, when completed. There's a careful staging plan for the whole thing - and a creative thrust in each arc. The focus of which shifts, as each arc is complete.

ROUGHLY (given the progression of ONE main thread, not all of them)

Arc I set the stage.

Arc II Showed the "shift" in Arithon's perspective - from "running from" response to the Curse, to what happened to those he had engaged with, while in this phase of avoidance - to his first effort to "engage" and mitigate the damage - which fails....and Lysaer's "defeat" which also shifts HIS perspective.

Arc III begins with Arithon's reassessment of that failure, shifts focus to another form of "engagement" (Peril's Gate) And TK begins the "play out" of that shift, with its culmination in Stormed Fortress....and shows Lysaer's next phase, also, playing itself out.

All the arcs gradually deepen your understanding of the other factions and the interaction/flow of the various forces inherent in Athera, coupled with those that live there.

Arc 4 and 5 each handle another phase.

Each book, as much as possible, answers or lays a complete set of groundwork for deepening the layers, and completing a cycle of understanding and comprehension.

This is, however, a project of very immense scope. It cannot POSSIBLY be done in short format. Nor is it possible to make each book "stand alone."

Hell's Chasm, Sorcerer's Legacy, Master of Whitestorm ARE and were designed to be stand alone stories.

War of Light and Shadow never was designed to be "stand alone" but all one overarching story that encompasses an intricate tapestry of concepts and events. While it is "risky" to create art of this scale in today's commercial world of "instant gratification" I have made my decision with regard to this project.

I will not shorten its scope for a reason that ONLY makes sense for the short term.

For people who desire instant gratification - for any who are frustrated by the fact I can't DO this story in a format that is quick or shallow - there are plenty of books available that are less demanding.

By all means, anyone is welcome to say whatever they FEEL, and frustration is a valid emotion.

My creative choices are mine, however. The vision that has inspired these books is not negotiable. The "pattern" driving these books is not "good vs evil" - and that departure alone demands the thorough exploration of an expanded outlook.

Five Arcs. No apologies. Thanks, instead, for the patience and support AND for the honesty of your reactions, if your drive and my goal don't seem to match.

Note: There is a sequel in outline for Cycle of Fire, it is titled Starhope, but it is not under contract. It will be Anskiere's story, though.

   By Cheryl on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 12:43 pm: Edit Post

I think it's great to know so many more books are coming in this series. I'm not complaining I don't know what I'd do without my looking forward to the next Arithon book. I just wonder how these books could be done into movies unless it was like Star Wars. I have fun imagining these books as movies though.

   By Deborah McNemar on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 02:11 pm: Edit Post

I, for one, am glad for something to read that actually requires the use of my entire brain, lol. The grand scope of the story is part of what hooked me into the series to begin with and I would feel gipped now if it was done "quickly". The length, artistry and the depth of characterization are a treat to be savored again and again. It's the candy bar that keeps on giving...

Cheryl, it would be a visual treat if they could make TWOLAS into a movie but I can't help but think about LOTR. Three books, one arc. How many hours of movie? The thought of applying that sort of time to this series boggles my mind. Besides, they'd cut something out or rearrange a story line to suit the "visual media" and then we'd all be furious. Not worth the ulcers...

   By Trys on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 03:14 pm: Edit Post


Not worth the ulcers...

Oh you are so right. ::big smile::

   By Auna on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 08:42 pm: Edit Post

Oh cool, I felt bummed that I didn't get more story about Anskiere.

   By Blue on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 11:59 pm: Edit Post

Not worth the ulcers - especially on the point of WHO could be cast for each role, WHAT would have to be trimmed from the story to make it filmable, and HOW could we commit such an act as to chop up a story we (for the most part) are enjoying?

Yes, when Janny gets the chance, I myself would WELCOME more of the Cycle of Fire series.

Is there any chance that any of the events of the galactic civilization that is falling apart in CoF series is a predecessor to WoLaS? For example, the "demons" [aliens] cause such fear that Calum Kincaid and company create their great weapons? Or am I REALLY hoping for something that just isn't there? :-O

   By Hellcat on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 04:05 am: Edit Post

Janny, thank you.

Agree that a filmed WOLAS wouldn't be worth the uclers. there is so much you would lose be having the narration in a visual format. the Sleeping Sourceror for instance, visuallly that wouldn't work. On the page there are so many facets.


   By Cheryl on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 12:38 pm: Edit Post

That's what I was saying that they can't really do a movie of this series. They would shorten it and not get the whole feel of it in a movie or several but it's nice to think if they could it would be fun but I know it's unrealistic. Better to enjoy the books movies don't always do books justice anyway.

   By Rhett Jones on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 03:10 pm: Edit Post

I think I may have been misunderstood. I'm not frustrated at all. What I meant was that I wish I could read the entire series at once, I didn't want it done at the risk of lack of quality. As you mentioned in another thread years of hard work is devoured in a few days by your readers and I'm sure that alot of them could wish they could travel forward in time and get the entire collection. I guess I feel this way about any great series of books. While I look forward to knowing what happens in the end, I'm also at the same time sad that the series has actually come to an end. So I'd probably describe my feelings as more anticipation instead of frustration. The very complexity of the 5 arcs are what I enjoy. There's always something new you gain from each reread. I apologise if u think I was criticising the length of the work, whereas in actuality this series is among my 2 favourite fantasy and within my 4 all time favourite book series of any genre. And I have easily read a couple of thousand books. (Well what can I say, I don't sleep much!)

   By Trys on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 03:41 pm: Edit Post


That's not so many books. I read my first SF book when I was ten. By the time I was your age I'd probably consumed at least a couple thousand books with most of them being SF/F.


   By Cheryl on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 05:06 pm: Edit Post

wow I think I've read hundreds in my years of reading fantasy but not more then a thousand. That's from not being a speed reader I bet and some eye stuff I had. I understand Rhett that's exactly how I feel on books. Don't want them to end but want to know the ending.

   By Auna on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 05:38 pm: Edit Post

Heh, that's why I usually speed read through books the first time through. I'm a terrible book addict and an author's worst nightmare - devouring years of effort in a short few hours and then whining for more! Of course a positive side effect of that is they are enjoyable on rereading as well because I catch things I missed earlier in my haste to get to the end. :-)

I also love rereading stuff I haven't read in years because sometimes it's like reading a new story all over if I forget a lot. I'm very glad I don't have a photographic memory, that would be a true bummer for me.

   By Blue on Friday, December 17, 2004 - 12:03 am: Edit Post

Heh, that's why I usually speed read through books the first time through. I'm a terrible book addict and an author's worst nightmare - devouring years of effort in a short few hours and then whining for more! Of course a positive side effect of that is they are enjoyable on rereading as well because I catch things I missed earlier in my haste to get to the end.

You summed up my feelings as well, Auna. I remember Terry Brooks saying, "Slow down, I can't write THAT fast!" when I told him that I had read one of his books in 12 hours.

   By Cheryl on Friday, December 17, 2004 - 08:33 am: Edit Post

I use to read 30 books in a year but after I got this allergy related eye problem I cut it down to 15. At least I can still read I'm grateful for that. Writing now has also interfered with my reading. This year I only read 11 books but I think Robin Hobb's Fool Fate was the culprit their it had 888 pages or so and that was like two books I think. LOL I think Brooks writes pretty quickly. He gets one out a year on time I think he does a good job. I got behind on his Shannara series because he writes them too fast for me LOL I should tell him that.

   By Janny Wurts on Friday, December 17, 2004 - 11:13 am: Edit Post

Rhett - I did you an injustice -- your interest outweighed your frustration, no doubt, and I was in no way troubled. Not one hair laid back...
And now my embarrassment, for pinning my own repressed frustration on your most innocuous post - I apologize!

You perhaps saw MY frustration - because while I know the full picture of what is to come, I can't SAY IT....and inevitably, readers who are now past halfway along on my series, and also reading others by other popular authors, like to make comparisons. Which is both fair game, and human. And OK to do. We are all individuals and that is to be celebrated.

I have said, many times, that I am writing a book that is DIMENSIONAL - the concepts, characters, and factions at play will both deepen and lift in layers of understanding and epiphany - and then Resolve in a way you cannot imagine.

Other stories are linear - you start here, and end there, without that spiral that expands from one core set of concepts and keeps on developing without sprawling 0r destination. Until the finale. Which composite picture - is living, and motion - and clicks into place and the whole spinning hoop in all its layers is apparent, and unveiled.

This is not a "journey" it is a map to a destiny.

This series will not sprawl. Neither IS it a 'linear' story.

I get (wry tone and a chagrinned laugh here) rather miffed, when it's now QUITE apparent, this expansive spiralling treatment - (since PG this pattern has been undeniably established) - that this series still gets "measured and judged, and sometimes even condemned" as a linear storyline. that "nothing happened."

Well this one's not linear - and quite a LOT did happen in fact - if seen as an UNFOLDMENT.

And the last arc will be all the more satisfying for this -- (or not! for the linear reader who skips from surface event to surface event, and does not wish to see emotions and depths and motivations and growth and be startled by the changes of perception that will drive the finish.) This tale is not about "who wins and who loses" - but HOW each faction and character self-creates their own fate.

To Anyone: Linear stories are quite OK (I read and love many of them too) readers who like that kind of story to the exclusion of others are quite fine - and I would rather people feel free to express themselves. Argue your points here, whatever they are, at least the discussion is open.

But if I hand you a computer when you expected a radio - ah well. We can agree to disagree as to our concept of what's fun to explore.

   By Deborah McNemar on Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 06:45 pm: Edit Post

You know, I speed read through most books and I enjoy it. Thoroughly. However, one of the reasons that I keep coming back to this series is that I CANNOT speed through them. I devour Tad Williams' in a day (or less given the opportunity) but I have yet to finish any of the WOLAS in less than three days. Peril's Gate took me five. Why? Because I hate to miss the slightest detail. Every nuance and every word is important and I simply, absolutely cannot rush through. It's physically impossible.

   By Ellydee on Friday, March 11, 2005 - 03:08 pm: Edit Post

Janny - Hi!

This question might have been answered in another posting (I'm not sure), but, as an author, what advice would you give to a writer whose plan for a series is not quite working out the way she intended? (My characters are being quite ucooperative, and I've done my best to stay faithful to their voices.) I admit frustration - it's been increasingly difficult for me to create a strategy and stick to it with a definite focus. What would you advise me to do?

   By Róisín on Friday, March 18, 2005 - 09:07 am: Edit Post

I'm not Janny, (clearly!) but like to write myself... my experience is... let it all out... down to the last nonsensical word... once you've cleared your head of the stuff that's interfering, go back to focusing on what you wish to write...

then - go back to the 'interference' a few days later... and see if it works anyway.

Helps me to relax into the creative experience by thinking of the story as unfolding along general lines rather than moulding it to detailed plans.

Hope this helps.

   By Janny Wurts on Friday, March 18, 2005 - 10:17 am: Edit Post

Ellydee - don't focus. Follow what's trying to happen. Let it run where it will. THEN watch as it develops - a theme, idea, or direction will emerge, and when you recognize what it is, you may find the "outline" you intended to write was NOT your true voice - the real passion would not be silenced. Follow the real passion....when you know it for what it is, re-tailor your outline to match the story you really wanted to write.

If you are just "running on at the mouth" and the story does not develop into something (else) cohesive, you'll run out of "steam" - if there's no driving substance to what's frothing the pot, it will calm - and you will easily be able to toss off the dross.

It's important to realize YOU do not control your creativity - you are inspired BY it - therefore, it will not be manipulated. It will, rather, illuminate YOU - to record the vision.

If you are not writing what you "think" you should write - your "thinking" is not connected to the true source of your creativity. You can examine that "thought" and probably find - it originated by somebody else's plan, not yours....society's, your parents, your teachers, some dogma that is not YOUR true voice.

One writes from the true voice, or one hacks...and I don't personally know any hacks, despite what the critics insist....

   By willowsix on Saturday, July 08, 2006 - 07:46 pm: Edit Post

i just wanted to say thanks for the Arithon and Lysaer novels. i have just finished vol 7 Traitors Knot (having read each volume back to back)and i do hope you keep on writing this epic for a while longer.
i look forward to the next edition Stormed Fortress and the potential of two further phases.

i read your works firstly through Ray Feist and i liked what i read, then i was given a copy of Hell's Chasm. this lead me to buy Curse of the Mistwraith. i have enjoyed these books so very much, and just had to say a big thanks! keep up the good work from a fan in - the pool (Liverpool,UK)

   By Janny Wurts on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 12:53 pm: Edit Post

Hi willowsix, welcome here!

Thank you so very kindly for your nice words!

You can read some preview excerpts from the draft of Stormed Fortress under that topic list, here on this site. Enjoy!

   By DarthJazy on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 11:56 am: Edit Post

Wow reading all these posts so far im the only person I've whos first Janny book was curse of the mistwraith. I picked it up at random looking for a new author to start a few years back

   By Sarah Jump on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 12:03 pm: Edit Post

Curse was my first Janny experience too. I've filled in the gaps during the lulls between those books. I still can't find sorcerers legacy though.

   By Clansman on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 12:08 pm: Edit Post

Lucky you, DJ & Sarah! Nice to start with the Magnum Opus!

Of course, it's nice to see an artist grow, instead of looking back. I'm quite happy to have taken the route I did.

Heck, they're all a lot of fun!

   By Clansman on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 12:09 pm: Edit Post

Not to mention that the Magnum Opus is at 8 volumes and counting!

   By Susan C on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 02:07 pm: Edit Post

My first Janny book was also The Curse of the Mistwraith-I found it in the local library. I had to read it three times in a row to make sure I was getting everything. Then I went to B&N and bought the all the book in the series up to that point-which was Grand Conspiracy.

   By BillBob on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 02:35 pm: Edit Post

My first was Stormwarden, with the now Out of Print US edition cover showing in the art gallery. Although, I'm not honestly sure if it had the co-author of Daughter of Empire on it or not. I haven't looked at it in so long, since purchasing the Omnibus edition, I don't honestly remember.

Actually I think the only novel I haven't read of hers is Sorcerer's Legacy, although I can't say with any certainty that is a true statement. Part of me says I have and part says no. I know I have it, however, it is still in a box after the recent cross country move, pending building the "library" in the new house. Missing a few short stories however, including the "This Way Lies Camelot" collection.

   By Trys on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 03:42 pm: Edit Post

I also started with CotM as my first Wurts book.

   By DarthJazy on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - 01:32 pm: Edit Post

Glad too see im not alone in this. But alas I am alone in not reading the new one smiff smiff. ***dam the american publishers to hell***

sorry all had to get that out

   By joshua bruce law on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 07:42 pm: Edit Post

Hello Janny and board. First post here having found this board in the last week.

I just wish to thank you Janny for your beautiful work. The War of Light and Shadows is one of the greatest works of fantasy i have ever read, and you along with Raymond E Fiest are my favorite authors.

My first Wurts novel was the Second of the series, the Ships of Merior. I fell in love with Athera from then on, and because of that i went on to read the Empire series. Because of that i was introduced to fiest as well and have never looked back. The richness and complexity of the books from both of you is just amazing and like someone else said i can't get through a single book in a day, i generally need several days to get through one just because i try and catch every single word properly.

A question regarding the Drakes. Did they exist on any other world apart from Athera?.

   By Janny Wurts on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 07:58 pm: Edit Post

Hi josua bruce law - welcome here!

Thank you very kindly for sharing your pleased response to the books.

Your question: "did" the drakes exist on any world apart from Athera - I need to clarify what you are asking.

Did the drakes from Light and Shadows originate on Athera?
Have they gone from Athera to other worlds?
Did they dream or create other worlds?

Which did you mean?

   By Mark Stephen Kominski on Saturday, May 23, 2009 - 09:21 am: Edit Post

*lurks in suspense, the drakes being a favored topic....*

   By joshua bruce law on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 - 06:53 pm: Edit Post

Wow, i had just meant specifically the middle one, have they gone to other worlds. But now that you say the other options i would love to hear responses to them as well.

*is chuckling and thinking that janny may have opened a can of worms.....*

   By Janny Wurts on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 - 06:15 pm: Edit Post

Well, as it happens - the answer to all 3 is, yes.

   By joshua bruce law on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 - 09:12 pm: Edit Post


Well i wasn't expecting the answer to be yes to all three.

Ok now knowing that are we going to have anything about the other worlds they dreamed into existance and the drakes on other worlds revealed within the main text, or within a short story sideline?.

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