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.

Sincerelyish,
Kitty

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Comment

  1. Virgil on 28 April 2010, 20:49 said:

    metric fuckton

    This needs to be a proper measurement.

  2. NeuroticPlatypus on 28 April 2010, 21:30 said:

    This is awesome, Kitty.

  3. dragonarya on 28 April 2010, 21:40 said:

    Awesome, Kitty! Your articles (if one can call them that) always make my day.
    I’m just kind of wondering though, why is there so much hate about Pao-Pao being homeschooled? Sure, it’s nothing earth-shattering, but I don’t see the big deal. I read somewhere on this site in a comment that were quite a few of us being homeschooled…

  4. Puppet on 28 April 2010, 21:48 said:

    It’s a shame that this brilliant work of art will never reach the eyes of Mr. Paolini.

  5. Diamonte on 28 April 2010, 21:57 said:

    I don’t think it matters about homeschooling, but more the experiences gained from homeschooling. If you don’t expand your world enough and get enough interaction with your peers, it can stunt your writing. You need perspective. In Paolini’s case, it’s more that he is very shut-off from the world, rather than just ‘he is homeschooled’.

    Kitty, thanks for the metric fuckton of excellent advice. =D

  6. NeuroticPlatypus on 28 April 2010, 21:57 said:

    why is there so much hate about Pao-Pao being homeschooled?

    I don’t think that anyone is really against him being homeschooled. It’s just that a lot of homeschooled kids graduate early (or so I’ve heard) because they are able to work at their own pace. It’s harder to graduate early in public school because you’d have to skip a bunch of grades, which is difficult to do even if you’re smart enough to do it.

  7. Kitty on 28 April 2010, 22:07 said:

    ^ That. I have nothing against the homeschooled, but critics back in the day often neglected to mention that he only graduated early because he was homeschooled – the implication that we got, however, was that he went to public school and was just so damn smart he managed to escape it while still a sophomore. It’s a sort of manipulative way of putting it.

    Public school really doesn’t care about how smart you are, it’s just about how good you are at following directions and cheating at tests. :P

  8. Danielle on 28 April 2010, 22:24 said:

    Public school really doesn’t care about how smart you are, it’s just about how good you are at following directions and cheating at tests. :P

    And how soon you learn to bring your own lunch every day instead of buying it. Sure, that lunchbox might look a little dorky, but it contains actual FOOD. :P

    Great article, Kitty. It’s almost kind of sad, seeing a bouyant young writer losing his passion like that. I hope he spends his massive amounts of dough on writing lessons.

  9. dragonarya on 29 April 2010, 09:19 said:

    It’s a sort of manipulative way of putting it.

    Ah, I see now. Thanks for clearing up my misunderstanding, everyone.

    It’s almost kind of sad, seeing a bouyant young writer losing his passion like that.

    Absolutely. I guess it just goes to show that because it’s so unoriginal he has no passion for it.

  10. Asahel on 29 April 2010, 13:45 said:

    I have to admit, Paoloini’s admission of love for large literature has inspired me to sing:

    I like big books, and I cannot lie.
    You other authors can’t deny,
    When a chapter walks in with an itty bitty page
    and a sentence in your face,
    you get sprung!

    Apologies to Sir Mix-A-Lot for commandeering your song.

  11. Inspector Karamazov on 29 April 2010, 14:39 said:

    For the record, it’s hella easier to cheat when you’re homeschooled. The answers are right there.

    Great article, Kitty. It made me laugh.

  12. dragonarya on 29 April 2010, 21:08 said:

    @Inspector Karamazov: So true.

  13. LucyWannabe on 30 April 2010, 18:26 said:

    Kitty: I love what you wrote there—and it’s true, you don’t always have write a trilogy if you’re writing fantasy. Not everything has to be the Great Fantasy Epic. It’s a shame, if it’s the case, that he’s completely lost any drive he had for writing. Hopefully, he’s taking some good advice and working on his technique before creating anything more.

    Asahel: I think I love you.

  14. RandomX2 on 1 May 2010, 14:36 said:

    Send this article to him. If there’s a chance he’ll heed your advice, it’s worth it (considering it’s already written).

    Seems kind of sad that he’s lost enthusiasm for his series, but I don’t blame him. He probably needs to get on with his life, anyway.

  15. Kitty on 1 May 2010, 16:11 said:

    His parents filter his email and delete the ones they don’t like. This is probably one of those emails they wouldn’t like.

  16. geekish on 1 May 2010, 18:10 said:

    I think i’ve just become your creepy number one fan.

  17. Puppet on 2 May 2010, 09:42 said:

    His parents filter his email and delete the ones they don’t like. This is probably one of those emails they wouldn’t like.

    Of course they do, because even today Paolini still lives with his parents and isn’t a independent adult.

  18. Steph (what is left) on 5 May 2010, 06:27 said:

    His parents filter his email and delete the ones they don’t like. This is probably one of those emails they wouldn’t like.

    Ya whaaa— ?

    You should send this anyway, Kitty.

    (Awesome job, btw)

  19. Magus on 8 May 2010, 00:06 said:

    shoot moose

    Don’t you mean stab moose?

  20. Nemeres on 14 November 2010, 04:00 said:

    This article is as sad as it gets. It’s unhealthy what you’re doing.

    No, I’m not Christopher Paolini. I’m just a dude who knows jealousy when he reads it. And don’t say you wish him the best, because if you take the time to write stuff like this it’s because it gives you pleasure. Why would you want the source of your pleasue wiped away? You’ll be on this kid until you see him begging for quarters in the street, just because he did something you couldn’t.

    Seriously, chick, find a hobby.

  21. dragonarya on 14 November 2010, 14:17 said:

    @ Nemeres:
    Your comment highly amuses me, so I’ll take the time to reply to it.

    This article is as sad as it gets. It’s unhealthy what you’re doing.

    Enjoying ourselves and making a valid point is unhealthy? Now that sort of thing is sad.

    I’m just a dude who knows jealousy when he reads it.

    Ah, the old “UR JUS JELUZ!” argument. We are not jealous of his writing, no. Who would be? As for him being published, I don’t think many of us are jealous of that either— who wants their first, poorly written, unrefined novel to be inflicted upon the world only to result in deep embarrassment later?

    And don’t say you wish him the best, because if you take the time to write stuff like this it’s because it gives you pleasure.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I for one want him to improve. Even if it’s amusing sporking crappy books, (a) there’s tons of them out there, and (b), Paolini seems like a nice enough kid and given some work might have some potential. Additionally, it does make me a little depressed when I see how such bad writing is popular, so if he improved I’d be pretty happy for him.

    Why would you want the source of your pleasue wiped away?

    Because there’s plenty more. :P I’m sure if Paolini actually improved it wouldn’t take long for some other piece of poorly-written rubbish to become popular.

    You’ll be on this kid until you see him begging for quarters in the street,

    I’m pretty sure if he was on the street we’d feel quite bad for him and help him out. I’m 99.99% sure that nobody here wants him on the street begging for quarters.

    just because he did something you couldn’t.

    Did what? Write a book, or get published? We don’t wish him ill just because he’s published, nor because he’s written a few novels. We’re most if not all writers here. Writing a couple of novels is no big deal. Writing a good one, good enough to be published, is. We do feel a little resentful that he’s a published author with such awful books, but we certainly don’t want him in the poorhouse.

    Seriously, chick, find a hobby.

    I’m pretty sure I speak for Kitty and all of us Imps when I say thanks, but this one is pretty fun. :P

  22. Puppet on 14 November 2010, 14:18 said:

    How is it unhealthy? I can guarantee you that we critics spend a lot less time hating the series than the fans spend loving the series.

    You’ll be on this kid until you see him begging for quarters in the street, just because he did something you couldn’t.

    Ahahahaha, I love it when people use this argument. A lot of members on this site are actually in the process of completing National Novel Writing Month/NaNoWriMo. We’ve been writing 50,000 word novels for now. We can write books, they’re aren’t great, but then again, Paolini’s books aren’t exactly masterpieces either.
    We can write, believe me. I’m 13 and I’ve already written 3 full length novels. I must be some kind of child prodigy. The only problem is that my parents don’t happen to own a publishing company.

    Seriously, chick, find a hobby.

    She has, actually. Kitty hasn’t been active on this site for over half a year.

    And the main site isn’t a true representation of this community, the forums are more accurate. Christopher Paolini and some other writers may have essentially brought this community together, but they aren’t the ones holding it together. Nowadays we hardly ever talk about The Inheritance Cycle. The last article related to Paolini was an article thanking him, for bringing us together. Oh, and Paolini isn’t a kid anymore. He’s 26.

    I’m not jealous of Christopher Paolini. Never have, never will. I’m perfectly happy with what I have. And for the record I do wish him best. I really do. I have high hopes for him as a writer. While I may be a critic of his Inheritance Cycle, Paolini has said he plans to continue writing after the series has ended, I have high hopes that he’ll become a better writer as time goes on.

    For now I’ve lost all interest in The Inheritance Cycle. I think all of us here have. We’re focusing more on our own writing now.

    So I thank Paolini, for bringing together a great community where I’ve met some amazing people that are now some of my best friends. And I thank him for improving me not only as a writer, but as a person. I think I can speak on every Imp’s behalf here… Thank you Christopher Paolini.

  23. Nemeres on 14 November 2010, 22:21 said:

    Ok, let me rephrase that, I meant a constructive hobby. You can either create or criticize (with bile or without). Both are perfectly valid, but only one is worth it in the long run.

    By the by, nothing against online communities.

  24. Danielle on 14 November 2010, 23:58 said:

    If I may?

    Ok, let me rephrase that, I meant a constructive hobby.

    When I was a young girl (and by young, I mean 15) I loved Eragon. I wanted to move to Alagasia. I checked the online countdown daily to see when the sequel was coming out. In the meantime, I wrote my own fantasy novel. It was a lot like Paolini’s—an LOTR knockoff with just enough originality thrown in to ward off the copyright lawyers. I thought that was the only way you could write a fantasy novel—well, that or a Narnia knockoff, and I had already tried that. What did I know? I was 15 and had just realized I wanted to be a writer.

    When I read Eldest, something was wrong. The magic, the feeling of immersion in a new world that I had felt with Eragon, was gone. I didn’t want to keep reading. I skipped to the end, and lo and behold I had guessed pretty much all of the plot twists. But I didn’t know what was wrong with the series, why I felt so disillusioned…until I found this site.

    I joined in the Paolini bashing for a while. Pointing out the flaws in Paolini’s work—and laughing about them—helped show me where he went wrong. It also showed me where I was going wrong, and how to correct those areas.

    My days of Paolini bashing are over. I can still giggle about his attribution goofs (”‘I’m sorry,’ apologized Brom,’ anyone?) but I no longer get a charge out of tearing his work apart. I like to think I’ve matured past that, and that the people on this site—especially the forums—have helped.

    So what was the point of my story? Simply this: Paolini bashing is just the beginning. For me, it was a jumping-off place for my own writing. Because of this site, a place that allowed me to hone my own skills while looking at some shining examples of what not to do, I have become a better writer.

    Now tell me that’s not constructive!

  25. dragonarya on 15 November 2010, 10:07 said:

    I agree with you, Danielle. I was similar: when I first read Eragon I loved it. It was what got me into fantasy and reading in the first place.
    I did end skipping large parts of Eldest until later; it was stuffy to me even back then.
    I found Anti-Shurtugal some time later, and at first I didn’t want to accept the truth, thinking that they were a bunch of nitpickers, but then I realized that they were right.
    Even after I became a member of ImpishIdea and I knew that Paolini’s books were rubbish, I read Brisingr, because I still have a fondness for the series. I mean, I know it’s bad, but it’s kind of nostalgic reading it. Besides, now I flip to a random page and I can’t stop giggling!
    Paolini’s books serve as a guideline really, even though I’ll never write a LOTR-type book, of what not to do. They’re helpful. Not only that, but reading all the articles on AS and II with the books as a subject, about plotting and characterization… all that’s really helped me as a writer.
    I’d like to think that’s pretty constructive. (Don’t mean to sound like I’m rehashing you Danielle, but that’s my story.)
    Besides, I’ve moved on. There’s better things to shred (Twilight, anyone?).

  26. swenson on 15 November 2010, 16:16 said:

    Have to agree with both of the posts above me, as I had a similar experience. Critique and analysis is a constructive hobby—and it’s hilarious, to boot!

  27. Kitty on 29 December 2010, 01:07 said:

    @Nemeres:

    You’ll be okay, I promise.

  28. Curly on 28 March 2011, 02:51 said:

    I know this is really, really late, and the chances of anyone reading this are zilch, but anyway… I could write my life story here too, but it would only take two words: Copy, Paste. Ahhh, I think I like it here.

  29. Luircin on 4 February 2013, 01:55 said:

    Might be a little too late for anyone to read this, what with it being two years since the last comment, but I might as well do something to distract myself from homework.

    Honestly, I kinda enjoyed the series. At least the first two books, which was all I read before I grew out of it. Were they good reads? Not at all. Most of the people here have probably said more than enough about the plot holes and cliches, which is nearly all valid criticism.

    I guess that there were just a few good scenes that captured my imagination, and in my mind, that was enough for me to, if not overlook, at least tolerate everything else. And I love dragons too, so there’s my not-very-good excuse.

    So, I guess the proper term would be guilty pleasure.