Dear Pristopher Chaolini,
Hi there. I noticed ever since Eldest you seem to be quite bored with your “cycle”. Not even the anti-fans like us really have anything more to talk about. Why do you seem so disinterested? Recent Shurtugal.com interviews are more brief and terse while in old ones you seem bubbling over with excitement. What happened?
I believe with the advent of Eragon you were happy with your work. Like a beloved child, you paid close attention to Eragon and would not let it associate with people who did not absolutely and unconditionally adore it. Critics were falling over themselves to call you a “wunderkind” and a “genius” who “graduated high school at the age of 15”—never mind that it was home school, not public school, that gave you a diploma, and while you began work on Eragon at 15, you ended it at 18. The immature writing style is indicative of your age and mindset. This is not a bad thing, but I do not believe it should have been published in its current state. Pruning excess is not bad. After all, for the healthiest of fruit trees, you have to do a whole lot of clipping.
By Eldest your enthusiasm was still flying high. Critics very much anticipated the next book, probably fanning themselves and coming down with cases of the vapors because holy shit they just couldn’t wait to read the next work by the world’s most amazing literary child-genius. Except you were like 20something by the time it was released so the age card really shouldn’t have been played any more, but beating a dead horse is sometimes really hilarious, especially when it’s reduced to a pile of blood and giblets.
And then Eldest came out. Most critics agreed it was overwrought and too long and too boring and not enough happened, except for the hysterical Randy Forest Ceremony scene. At the time the series was still planned to be a trilogy. We all agreed it suffered from the syndrome most trilogies suffer from – the second in a trilogy has to have something happen, but it can’t resolve the story or the third book will be flailing around uselessly like a Macy’s thanksgiving parade balloon caught in a hurricane. Two Of Three Syndrome hurts even the most careful of authors. Talented authors are able to at least make second books interesting, maybe introduce important characters in some way. While you’re not the most talented of authors, at least you did better than New Moon, whose only memorable scene was the functionally retarded protagonist’s cliff-diving episode.
Then there was Brisingr. It was, in a word, awful. It was, in several words, too long and boring and it was obvious you hadn’t learned a goddamn thing from literary critics who suggested, many times, that you quit with the purple prose. You revealed you liked “big books” and immediately I understood why Eldest and Brisingr were such doorstoppers. You like big books. You felt it wasn’t a proper book until it was capable of breaking the windshield of a sports car. Therein lies your crucial mistake.
And I could tell, by the dwindling of the fandom and the growth of the anti-fandom, that you had lost interest in your beloved child. You have better things to do, after all, like go fishing or shoot moose or whatever it is people in Montana do. Writing another doorstopper just isn’t in you anymore. It’s lost its spark and novelty and no longer entertains you.
What will the next book bring to the table? Absolutely nothing, unless you’ve been spending these abnormally quiet years actually practicing writing better. If that’s true, then good for you, that’s awesome and I wish you luck. If it’s not true and you’re just bored, please quit pretending you have any interest in the series at all anymore. I’m quite sure you don’t.
So, here are my suggestions to revitalize the remains of the series, or at least your writing career.
My suggestion is that you make the final book as short as possible. Prune away unnecessary chapters and paragraphs describing inconsequential things. Learn to write convincing dialogue. Learn to write convincing romance. Learn to write characters who aren’t either all good and right (elves), all stupid and unenlightened (dwarves), or all evil (orcs – yes I know you attempted to give them some sort of culture but it fell flatter than a Swedish pancake). And for God’s sake, learn to conlang. English ciphers are not constructed languages, they are English ciphers and that’s all they’ll ever be.
My other suggestion is that you simply stop the series altogether. Very few people actually care about it enough to see it through to the end, and I’m sure aside from a few nutjobs, no one will be bothered. Learn your chosen craft. Try your absolute hardest to write in your own voice, not the voice of old dead guys with a writing legacy no one can ever quite imitate. Write something else. Start a new series, or maybe just a new standalone novel. Not every book has to be part of an epic trilogy. Not every story will benefit from a metric fuckton of padding and purple prose.