Greetings, everyone, I think you are probably all really excited to hear the result of yesterday’s interview with the award winning author, Christopher Paolini. Unfortunately, as some of you already know, the interview did not happen.

What happened?

The report is that certain people found the posting asking for interview questions on this site, and canceled the interview.

The upshot of all this is that the event still took place, but the filming and interview were canceled. I guess Christopher Paolini’s overseers were afraid of the kinds of questions that would originate from this site. Here is the list of questions whose answers we can now only speculate on (the finalized list I sent, not the list of admittedly rude questions that were suggested at various times).

Honestly, I think these questions were pretty tame. We just wanted to hear an interview where we can actually gain insight about Paolini’s writing process and technique, instead of another fan question about how shades are made, or how magic works, or whether Saphira was based on his dog. (All of these questions have been answered at one point or another, so asking them again is unnecessary).

Perhaps Christopher would still like to answer these questions. I, for one, would be happy to hear him out. If you are Paolini’s staff member and you are reading this, please let Chris know and have him come on over. I know you browse this site, because your traffic patterns are thoroughly unlike those of normal visitors. (If you would like some tips on how to fit in better, spend less time on each individual page, and leave comments.)

So how does this affect us?

Anyways, the effect of all this is visitors and user-writers are encouraged to be more careful about what they say. This site receives a good amount of attention, and we should keep that in mind. We are on the internet in full view of millions. I especially caution you to avoid Ad Hominem attacks against authors or other individuals. These are unprofessional, rude, logical fallacies. The other thing is be careful with your use of copyrighted material, you definitely want to keep within the law here. The US Patent office has the following to say about what constitutes fair use (emphasis mine):

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights:

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include …

Basically, just be mindful of what you say on ImpishIdea, no big deal, really. Everyone here is essentially well behaved.

Now what?

Well, I’m taking this as a challenge, and I think we can rise up to it. As I’ve said before, the easiest way to help out here is to link to ImpishIdea and maintain our good PageRank®. The second easiest way to contribute is to post Work In Progress fiction. I say easy because once you post something you’ve already written, you’ve just got to wait for the comments and critiques to flow right in. The hardest, but possibly most worthwhile way is writing an article. This definitely involves the most work, but it allows people to learn from your perspective—instant karma points.

Edit: Forgot to mention you can also work as an editor, and catch silly mistakes like this one.

So tell all your friends. Random House hires huge marketing firms to develop campaigns like Vroengard Academy (although they developed this one themselves) to promote their products. They do all this in hopes that the marketing scheme will “go viral” and spread all over. What these people don’t understand about the internet is that interest simply can’t be manufactured, it has to be genuine. I hope ImpishIdea is becoming the kind of site you are genuinely interested in, and that you spread it around in the name of promoting better writing. I think it already might be, because after a month of its creation, ImpishIdea’s monthly unique visitors has surpassed Vroengard Academy’s. You can use social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon to great effect when linking.

I would like to reemphasize this site’s mission, because it sometimes gets a bit obscured. This site doesn’t aim to discourage or decreases sales of any book. In the particular instance of the Inheritance Cycle I think the series is such a great how not to guide that I actually recommend buying the books, and then identify the mistakes in your writing, based on what you read. The site’s purpose and reason to exist is to increase writing skills and literary literacy. This site is also not about bringing down Random House, in fact they do great reprinting of classic books. This site is about getting people to read the right kind of book.

Closing addendum

I’ve been talking up a NaNoWriMo post-o-rama (as Rand dubbed it) and there has been a lot of interest, so I’ll clarify my concept of what it will be. Basically, it’ll be like posting stuff for critique—kind of: each day we can post our day’s progress (hopefully 1666 words!) and our thoughts on the day’s writing, and take a look at how everyone else is doing. It’ll be a great way to know that other people care and are reading your work, that you aren’t in it alone, and also a great way to build up the community.

Sometime a little later in the month when more people have signed up for NaNoWriMo, I’ll start collecting the NaNo user names of the people interested, and get things set up.

In December I will also consider running a post-NaNoWriMo editing event along similar lines, if there is interest.

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  1. SubStandardDeviation on 10 October 2008, 01:59 said:

    So how does this effect us?
    Should be “affect”. Or was that the silly mistake?

    Aww, the interview was canceled? That stinks. They could have at least let you film the event and post it on Youtube.

    ImpishIdea’s monthly unique visitors has surpassed Vroengard Academy’s
    Sweet! Must feel great to have a lot of fans!

    In light of your recent NaNo promotion, may I suggest that someone – not me, since I’m terrible with foreign languages – take the time to organize the site articles a little? Right now they’re in general groups, but within each group I can’t find any logical order. Having subcategories (i.e. Writing-Process, Writing-Content, and Writing-Parody, or grouping Critique articles by author’s name) could be a big help come NaNo when the site will undoubtedly be swarmed with dozens of “The Adventures of So-And-So: Chapter [n]”.

  2. SlyShy on 10 October 2008, 02:35 said:

    Thanks, I feel incredibly lame admitting it, but I’ve never quite practiced that rule enough to figure it out.

    ImpishIdea’s monthly unique visitors has surpassed Vroengard Academy’s
    Sweet! Must feel great to have a lot of fans!

    Well, debatable, Vroengard Academy is in its death throes at this point, so the comparison wasn’t entirely useful.

    take the time to organize the site articles a little?

    Yeah, that’s my next big project. The organizational scheme is a little crazy, but I’m looking to work something out.

  3. SlyShy on 10 October 2008, 03:13 said:

    So it’s extremely late, and I still have another paper to write, but I’ve done something with the site navigation. The section listings should be a bit improved, could you give me feedback on that? I’ll work on it on the weekend.

  4. Carbon Copy on 10 October 2008, 07:46 said:

    It’s a shame the interview never happened. However, I can understand why it didn’t. It did sound like he was being set up for an ambush.

    That being said, the questions lined up were totally acceptable. There was nothing there that a writer should fear. They were questions about what he thought about criticism, and questions about his writing processes. The biggest shame of all is that it was a chance for him to give some really interesting insight, because the questions were all from people who love writing who were genuinely interested to know more about his creative processes. It was a chance to ask the things that never normally get asked in interviews because most interviewers are just looking for a few sound bites for their magazine or newspaper.

  5. Virgil on 10 October 2008, 08:09 said:

    Ah, well, I’m not too surprised. I was thinking whether people responsible would have found the list of questions, and backed off.

    I agree with Carbon too, the list of questions are perfectly reasonable, and those who called it off might have seen the gag questions we posted for fun. The actual list has nothing wrong with it, and all of us are interested in Chris’ response.

  6. SlyShy on 10 October 2008, 08:49 said:

    Yup, I think that’s exactly it. I’d be nervous too if I thought the gag questions were the ones being used, although I would hope a little common sense would clear that up; I’m not going to send a friend to say something dumb like “What do you have to say for your crimes?”, nor do I think that’s a question Paolini should even be asked.

    There was an issue of confused intent, and they took the safest route, unfortunately.

  7. DrAlligator on 11 October 2008, 17:25 said:

    I find the attacks directly at Paolini to be so offensive. Thankfully, however bad we get, we’ll never get as bad as our siblings on LiveJournal. Those people are terrible.

    Just remember what we’re here for. We’re here to evolve as writers, not crack jokes at the expense of others.

  8. Snow White Queen on 11 October 2008, 19:40 said:

    hmm…i would have been interested in seeing paolini’s responses. too bad it didn’t happen.

    anyways, the nanowrimo idea sounds cool. but is this during november, when we’re actually writing or during december, while we’re editing?

    in any case, getting some opinions on my work will be cool (i’m almost certain all of it will be stuff i can improve on, but that’s good too)

  9. SlyShy on 11 October 2008, 21:32 said:

    This is during November while we are writing.

  10. Snow White Queen on 12 October 2008, 17:45 said:

    ok cool!

  11. GC on 14 October 2008, 13:55 said:

    goddamit iwuz lukin forwurd dis lol

  12. Snow White Queen on 18 October 2008, 18:38 said:

    although, on second thoughts, i think i may post during december.

    editing AND writing 3 pages per day might be a little much for me.

  13. SlyShy on 18 October 2008, 22:33 said:

    There isn’t any need to edit.

  14. Snow White Queen on 19 October 2008, 13:42 said:

    no, what i meant was posting things to edit, taking the suggestions and incorporating them into my piece and THEN writing more is kind of a big load.

    although i guess there’s no need to incorporate in suggestions until later…

  15. Rand on 23 October 2008, 19:55 said:

    Alright! Sounds good- Sign me up for the post-o-rama.

  16. Snow White Queen on 23 October 2008, 19:56 said: