Amph ~The Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini~ Discussing its literary merits

Discussion in 'Community' started by Coruscant, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    And yet, he started writing when he was 15. He's been writing for 9 years.

    I think a large part of his problem is that he's never really had to go through the submission and editing process that most starting writers go through. Eragon was initially published by his parents' company, and because it was already published, when Knopf bought the rights to republish it, they couldn't exactly ask him to rewrite it.

    And look at what he's said he was doing while working on Brisingr. He talked about how he was writing it with a quill pen while listening to his iPod. While that sort of thing might make you more immersed in the story, it doesn't help him improve his writing any.

    What he needs is a good editor who will tell him "No. This is poorly written, and you need to rewrite it.", and will give him specific examples of what needs to be rewritten and tightened up. Until that happens, his writing cannot improve because he isn't aware that it needs to. Brisingr is just as poorly written and both Eragon and Eldest. He shows no sign of even marginal improvement in his writing in the last 6-7 years since Eragon was published, although his storytelling has improved in that same time.

    Kimball Kinnison
  2. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    KK, he needs an English teacher, not an editor. I will gladly volunteer to fill that role ;)

    And IIRC, he HAS had a professional editor to work with. And if any blame is to be assigned to anyone, I'd say it would be that editor's fault.

    What REAL writers know is that the real work is done once you have the stroy written down. Kinda like pottery except you have to make your own clay and shape it. It's a process.
  3. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I didn't say he needed a professional editor. I said he needed a good editor.

    A good editor would tell him exactly how bad his writing really is, would get him the help of a good English teacher, and would make sure that he fixed it before publishing anything more that he writes.

    Kimball Kinnison
  4. Coruscant Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2004
    star 6
    It wouldn't matter if he had/has a good editor. Paolini has made it known how much he hates the editing process, how much it makes him want to rip his eyeballs out (his words, not mine). Ultimately, his books make Knopf tens of millions, if not hundreds. That's all that matters. If Paolini threatens to stop writing the series because they hinge the publishing of his books on any editor's opinion, good or bad, they'll keep Paolini and give him a new editor.

    Chancellor: 9 years is an incredibly long time for a young writer (who was a teenager for half of that time). That's plenty of time to grow and develop as a writer. The simple reason Paolini has not improved is because his mediocrity has been continually rewarded by readers' cash. Simple as that. Let's face it, he has no innate talent, but he does have a work ethic. Any successful writer worth his salt will tell you perseverance is the more valuable in getting a work done, getting it published, and getting the bucks. Paolini has definitely got that part nailed down. Unfortunately, he lacks the talent and/or the humility necessary that would've shown us a noticeable incline in his skills by now. Because of the great success of his books and the absence of a few key qualities, Paolini's growth as a writer has stagnated. To add insult to injury, his storytelling has gotten worse. Eldest and, it appears, Brisingr are step-downs from Eragon. That is a remarkable thing because the first book was no remarkable story in the first place.
  5. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    If Paoloni says that about editing, it tells me something very interesting: he is still in love with his own work. Writers need to fall out of love with their work, only then do they begin to grow.
  6. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    But is his infatuation with his own work such that it stopped him from rewritting Eragon three times before submitting it for publication? Is he in so love with his own work that he was unwilling to rewrite signifigant segments of Brisingr and thereby shorten the story or throw out twelve pages of Eragon's entrance to Ellesmera in Eldest.

    This only reinforces what I've been saying. He's not a bad writer. He's a young writer and there is a big difference.
  7. JediXManSerenaKenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2007
    star 4
    That is an excellent line, Kat. You sum up exactly what writers should be thinking. I rarely love my own work - like it, occasionally. But I think you're right - editing is the most important process of writing. The first draft is only the beginning. Editing is a pain, but it only makes you a better writer, and it improves your work. It's vital and necessary for any kind of writing. If Paolini is so against it, I don't see how he can make it as a writer.

    Blood, sweat, and tears. That's called work. If you want to be good at anything, you have to WORK at it. But clearly, Paolini has many people helping him with this editing process, or just doing it for him.
  8. Coruscant Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2004
    star 6
    If you ask me, for a young writer, three rewrites seems kind of low. I'm twenty years old so I certainly consider myself a young writer and I know I'll be doing countless rewrites of all my works in the future, as I have already done a bunch in the past.

    I fully understand and even agree with what Katana is saying, but honestly, I think Paolini's real problem is that he doesn't love either the art or craft of writing enough. He may be in love with his writing, and that may be giving him some kind of delusion about it. However, we can't really say for sure. Paolini needs to love writing in a way that he wants to improve his own as much as possible. Nine years, and three books, is plenty of time to evince substantial growth. We haven't seen any such thing even marginally, but that's certainly up for argument. Paolini needs to fall out of love with his writing, and start loving the process of writing in general.
  9. Lurking_Around Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2002
    star 6
    Well, after seeing the new book (Brisingr or however it's spelled) all over the book shops and rewatching the bloody movie ("Star Wars in a fantasy setting! Complete with sunset scene!") I tried reading Eragon the book.

    Wow...horrible. I set my standards low (how low? Lower than the Dune prequels, lower than those Warcraft tie-in books, hell lower than a romance novel!) and this is till bad. It's boring. Half the time it's sdescription after description and because Eragon 'talks' to the Dragon with telepathy, there's a whole lot of italic font used. My poor eyes.

    Man, and I thought the Artemis Fowl sequels were bad (the first book was cool, alas everything went downhill). I hate to say this, but I'll stick to CS Lewis or, the horror, Enid Blyton!

    Though possibly one day, I'll try reading Eldest if only to read the "Eragon, I am your brother!" part. It's ESB in a fantasy setting, complete with pseudo-Yoda!

    [face_plain]
  10. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    Well, you also have to remember that Paolini writes with a fountain pen. I would think that that limits his ability to rewrite and edit his work. I hear what you are saying, but its alot more labour intensive to rewrite a book by hand than it is on a computer, so in that context, three rewrites is probably alot.


    I don't that is much the case in this instance, as the fact that Paolini hasn't garnered the same sort of media attention as JK Rowling or Phillip Pullman. He had his chance when Eragaon was adapted into a movie by Fox, but the movie was a train wreck and its financial and critical failure killed the possibility of sequels. The result was that Eragon was set to go mainstream, but the failure of the film ensured that Inheritence remained an underground phenomenon, at least for the foreseeable future. The result is that while Paolini does have fans, he doesn't the rabid, screaming legions that JK Rowling has and in a way this is a bad thing, since hype over fantasy series can reach such a pitch that authors come to hate the world that they've created and branch out, some times into other genres or styles of writing, to try and distance themselves from it. This is what I would like to see Paolini at least try to do after he finishes Inheritence and only if he does this will I say that he either has or hasn't grown as a writer.
  11. Coruscant Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2004
    star 6
    Oh, dear, did he break his quill? :p

    As for your second point, I understand what you're getting at, but I don't see how that is related to the second quote. :confused:
  12. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    I was responding to the idea that he has to hate his own work before he can get better. To put it simply there is no outside pressure forcing him to get better and the reason is that he hasn't achieved the same kind of success as some of his contemporaries such as JK Rowling or Phillip Pullman.
  13. Coruscant Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2004
    star 6
    I never said anything about hating his own work to get better. I simply think he needs to view his work more objectively (at least, as possible as it is to do that with fiction), or, at least, let others view it objectively for him and strongly consider their valuable suggestions. One way to accomplish this by oneself is to finishing writing a sentence, paragraph, chapter, or book, then put it in a drawer for a week or two, and then return to it. Editors are another way. Both ways are sublime.
  14. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    I personally use the put it in a drawer method. Does he say how long it takes him to write?

    And Corrie, I never said he was a bad writer, he's more a potential one. When I was reading Eragon I felt as if I was marking some kid's creative writing project and I wanted to put "See me" in red letters on it.
  15. Coruscant Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2004
    star 6
    I certainly think he has potential, but I'm quite pessimistic he'll realize any of it. :p
  16. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    If Paolini continues to write, ten years from now he will pick up Eragon, re-read it, wonder WTH? and then maybe either throw it out or dramatically re-write it.
  17. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Well, you also have to remember that Paolini writes with a fountain pen. I would think that that limits his ability to rewrite and edit his work. I hear what you are saying, but its alot more labour intensive to rewrite a book by hand than it is on a computer, so in that context, three rewrites is probably alot.


    When you're publishing a book, that can't matter. Yeah, a rewrite might take longer, but he can't put his preferred method of writing above getting a good book. That's just not how it's done.

    I third (fourth?) the calls for an editor that will smack him down or a publishing house that won't publish a bad book.

    Just because he hasn't reached JKR's level of fame is no excuse. She's made history, and few fantasy writers become as famous as he is. He was a hit with the middle school and high school sets when the book came out. People who don't usually read fantasy have either read his book or at least heard of it, which is unusual. He's plenty famous.
  18. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    NYC, the ONLY reason he's famous is because his parents sent him on a book tour. And IIRC he's never been to school, was homeschooled. I have one more reasons not to like homeschooling.
  19. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I agree to an extent. I think he's published because of his parents, but book tours do not make one great. I'm not sure how he got famous (or JKR, or Stephanie Meyer). I don't know what sets them apart for the rest.

    The homeschooling debate isn't one for here, but I can at least say that I don't think it has anything to do with how he got published or became famous.
  20. Vincent-Kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2008
    star 3
  21. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    LOL Vincent, and that's a great website.

    This is good too it explains exactly how I feel.

    Paolini is an insult you your writers everywhere, he got a free fast ride to the top.
  22. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Those are fantastic links! The first is hilarious and the second is soooooo true.
  23. JediXManSerenaKenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2007
    star 4
    Yes, that darn homeschooling! Awful, awful practice. :D

    Maybe now isn't the best time to mention that I'm homeschooled, huh? [face_whistling]



    I completely agree. I think that he became famous because he was so young - someone who published a book at fifteen isn't exactly a normal thing.

    Those links were hysterical, by the way. [face_laugh]

    - Serena

  24. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    But he didn't publish it when he was fifteen, he was seventeen. ;) He started writing at fifteen after graduating highschool. I think the whole young writer thing has gotten a bit blown out of proportion; he's an adult now, and should be treated as such with his two last books. I think many of the problems with the Inheritance Cycle have more to do with the fact that he skipped out on a lot of the hardships writers go through to publish their works. If he was turned down a few times, maybe it would have convinced him to give the project a better editing job and change some of his ideas. Paolini got a shortcut due to his parents' publishing company, and the insane advertising campaigns promote the book (including Paolini's own tour, which I believe he did before Eragon got picked up by Knopf... is that right? I can't remember?) made people want to buy it.



  25. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I agree with everything Idri just said.