Eragon (Inheritance, #1) Eragon discussion

should young people write books?

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message 1: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ i personally do not like this book, because it is dull and unoriginal. But I feel that some people are extra hard on it because the author is a teen. Being a teen trying to get my own books published, I am a little concerned by this. Also, when I was looking up publishers, I found one that directly discouraged teens from trying to get published. They said that young adults should save their ideas for books they will write later in their lives. I found this offensive. I mean, I can't just sit around keeping my ideas in my head. Writing is a passion, and people can't tell you to just put your dreams on hold like that. Teens can be amazing writers--sometimes even better than adults. Also, I feel that young people have a different perspective on the world, and their writing should be treated with more respect. So what do other people think???

message 2: by Typicalquirk (last edited Mar 08, 2008 09:13PM) (new)

Typicalquirk I have not read the book though I did see the movie. I enjoyed it, but you are right; it is not terribly original. I also agree with your assessment that teens can write good novels. Let`s take a look at S.E. Hinton for example, who wrote `The Outsiders` and `Rumblefish`among other books. She was a teen and wrote for teens and did a very good job. One of the rules for writing can be write what you know. She wrote about teens and did a very good job. Teens are not fully developed yet, so we need to understand that. I think they should be able to express their views and should. Anything less is bordering on censorship. Good luck Brigid!

message 3: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ yes, i absolutely LOVE The Outsiders--it's amazing. It's one of my all-time favorites! and the fact that it is written by a teen only makes it seem more amazing! thanks for the awesome example. :)

message 4: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Hair I absolutely think that young writers should try and write. I am one, and I'm working very hard on my novel. As writers, we all need to work on our talents as much as we can. I don't think you wake up one day as an adult and you can suddenly write. It's developed over time.

Clare D' Lune I thought that Eragon was really good. The 2nd one wasn't quite as good, but I think it's amazing that he started writing it at 15 years old... but, uh, he was like 20 when he finished it, so he wasn't really a kid by then. But I think that kids should be able to publish books, but writing them, and waiting till your past high school might make it easier. I'm working on a book right now, but I don't think I'd ever get it published because, unfortunatly, publishers will rarely look at something that anyone under 20, has written. After all, didn't Christopher Paolini's dad publish it or something? Usual publishers wouldn't bother.

message 6: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ yeah, i've heard that christopher paolini's parents were like literary agents or something, so he had an advantage...but I'm also trying to prove the point that publishers shouldn't discourage teens from writing. Teens whose parents AREN'T literary agents should be able to get their books published, too. I know how hard it can be, though--I wanted to get my book published, but almost all the publishers I looked up required the author to have a literary agent. :( how do u get a literary agent, anyway?

(btw, would anyone mind reading some of my writing? :) u can find it on my profile page...i want some feedback.)

Clare D' Lune Can't see your writing... You pro-file is set on private...

message 8: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ oh, sorry. i tried to make my profile public, but it wouldn't let me because i'm only fifteen...but u can still find my writing in the "stories & writing" section. my stories are called "destiny" and "the chosen one".

Clare D' Lune I read the part of your book posted and I found it interesting. Though it conflicted with a few of my own beliefs, I still found it very well-written. I'm no expert, but I still thought your discription of everything happening, very good.

BTW, i found your old story first, and thats why that one now has a review :)

message 10: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ clare, thank you so much for your feedback. i really appreciate it. :)

Clare D' Lune Sure Thing ;)

Rachel It's absurd to think that teens shouldn't write. Now, maybe they shouldn't publish their books until they are older and wiser, and have gone back and done a lot of editing and fixing, but not writing at all is the worst thing you can do if you want to be a writer. If you don't write, you won't learn. And if you don't learn, no matter if you're twenty years old or fifty, your writing will suck. Majorly. Also, when you're younger you have more time to spare than when you are older, and therefore more time to practice. If you don't write when you're young, it's going to be almost impossible to write when you're old.

Heather Rachel, I definitely agree. While people do have their own opinions about the writing industry, I do believe that it should be easier for a writer to get his or her work at least reviewed and later, if it's the publisher who finds it good enough to market, published without an agent.
The only big problem (and I have run into kids like this) is that kids oftentimes think that they can throw a bit together and write the world's best book without editing. Just go onto any fiction website and you'll see kids bragging about their own works and calling anyone who puts forth effort trash. Mind you, I'm not saying that everyone does this, but there are a lot of people out there. Personally, if someone is published by a major company, they're doing something right and I as a reader can only like or dislike it.

Rachel Yes, that's very true that a lot of times teenagers will just throw anything together. I once came upon a story where the author actually said that she was to lazy to complete the scene and just skipped it. Luckily there are also ones who won't do that, and actually put their heart into it. I remember when I first started writing my book, I kept going back an editing it, and my mother kept telling me, "Just finish the story! You can edit later!".

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Yea, I have an editing problem as well. I try to finish the whole chapter before going back to edit but sometimes I just glance over and think, "Oh, this is pathetic." Still I tried writing the whole story once and going back but it completely fell apart that way.

As to teens writing books ... on a website called Gaia some of them best writers there (which are few) are teens. The adults tend to ... not accept help that come majorly from teens while the teens usually accept one another's help so they get further. So as long as one accepts help and has some skill I think anyone can write a good story.

message 16: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate Personally, I liked Eragon. I didn't know until later that he was a teen when he wrote it. I do think that is a little unfair that he got help from his parents to publish it, but some of us are just lucky, I guess. But I don't agree with the fact that teens shouldn't write books. I don't think that people like Stephenie Meyer, or J.K. Rowling (sorry of my choice of authors, that's who first popped into my head) just got up one day and said, "Oh, I think I'll write a book". Writing is something you have to work at and develop. It's people that write their whole life that write all the fantastic novels that everybody loves. And some teens write better than adults. One of my freinds starting writing a book last year, and I couldn't put it down! So all you young authors out there--don't get discouraged! Keep at it!

(sorry if this was a little long. I tend to rant)

Pandora Everyone should write. My Mom started writing in her seventies. A Grandma Moses. Writing as a teen is a big plus because you a have jump by knowing so young what you want. Getting publshed though is a tough game even for adults. My Mom tried and ran into a brick wall too.

Best advice is for now keep writing but, also look to network. See about contests, workshops, and don't forgot college will be a great oppurtunity to finding mentors to help you. Just don't lose sight of the true gift which is the pleasure that writing brings to you. I write somewhat myself but, as yet not for publishing.

PS You might what to check out Andrew Clememts School Story. He is on your side.

message 18: by Ni (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ni I believe young writers should write. After all, this is also a website for people who like to write

message 19: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 16, 2008 02:39PM) (new)

I also think it's absurd that people think that young people shouldn't write. I'm writing a book right now, and I admit that right now I only have like 18 pages typed on the computer but one day I'm going to be famous for it!!!!! jk.....mabye.....we can all dream can't we?

Pandora That what life is all about. Aiming for something great and doing the hard work to achieve. Remember there can always been another S.E. Hinton. The Outsiders is still popluar after almost 30 years and she was a teen when she wrote it.

Ashley I think teens should definately be able to publish books. I know I would love to get a book published as a teenager if I can ever finish writing a full one. (I tend to write half finished stories)

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

im not a huge fan of eragon, but young people writing in general I think is great. actually, im 12 and im writing a book (check out the first 2 chapters under my writing!!!! PLEASE gimme feedback--I can handle criticism!)

Mackay Publishers say a lot of things. They don't know what they want. Ignore them, until they have given you a contract--then listen to your editor.

While in general, it may be a wise choice to live a little and learn the craft of writing novels, if you have a great book inside you now, why not try it? It may not find a publisher, but it will teach you all sorts of lessons about writing and plotting and perseverence.

And as others have pointed out, look at Eragon (I disliked it as wholly unoriginal, but he was too young to know seem a step up on him there!), and S.E. Hinton's wonderful books, and even older, Walter Farley and The Black Stallion. He was only 16 when he wrote that. So it is possible--go for it! Just don't be discouraged if you don't get the next six-figure advance. Good luck.

Starlight YES!!! young people should get their work published. i am gonna try to get mine. It doesn't matter what your age is, as long as its a good book it should be published. I personally love Eragon, but you have to get into it first.

Swankivy Young people need to write in order to learn to write.

I'm a freelance editor, and I get hit up for help on amateur teens' books all the time. More than nine times out of ten it is unsalvageable crap, but it is by writing unsalvageable crap and growing from it (to the point that you can read your own writing six months later and say "oh God, what is this awfulness??") or writing unsalvageable crap and having it rejected by publishers that you learn to write salvageable crap and then stuff that isn't quite crap at all.

You need to write and you need to read to learn how to make a good story. "Saving your ideas for when you're an adult" is one of the most absurd things I've ever heard. It's unlikely you'll get published as a teen (unless, like Paolini, your parents feel like running it through a vanity press and taking you on a family-sponsored book tour), but you must WRITE. You just have to. I had written four novels by the time I was out of my teens. Guess what? They're not very good.

But I just finished my eleventh a few months ago as of this writing. We'll see what happens.

message 26: by Brigid ✩ (last edited Aug 23, 2008 12:32PM) (new)

Brigid ✩ I'm almost sixteen now and I've written two books. I'm very serious about my writing, and I edit it like crazy. Some teens, as was mentioned before, think they can just sit down and write whatever they feel like and call it a 'book'. But I know when my writing is good and when it sucks. I've written a lot of crap in my life. But I have one book which many people have read and given positive feedback on, which I am trying to get published right now. I know it's not perfect; no book will ever be. And I have no idea--if it ever gets published--what kind of reviews it will get. But ultimately, I know that SOMEONE out there has to like my book. And even if everyone hates it, that won't be the end. I have a feeling that I'll write a lot of books in my life, and even if the first one turns out to be a mistake, there's still a chance for my other ideas. I know I put more effort into my own writing than some adult authors put into theirs. I guess it doesn't really matter what age you are as long as writing is what you truly love to do. As long as you put all your heart into a story, that's all that matters. Trust me--I've spent many nights up late crying over my writing. But it's something that I know I'll never give up.

Swankivy To Brigid:

It's great that you're so serious about writing. I saw that you said you "looked up" publishers, but have you actually submitted any yet? Just curious. I wondered if you have done all the homework about "how" and have done query letters or anything.

message 28: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ thanks! :D so are yours! XD
and yeah, i have. i wrote a query letter and sent it to a literary agent. it took a while to get the courage to do it, but i finally did it! XD i'm still waiting to hear back, though.

Swankivy To Brigid:

That's great that you've decided to approach an agent. I think that's a smart way to go and I'm doing it that way too. For my last book I sent 8 queries out and got back 6 positive responses asking for sample chapters, and then one of those asked me to withdraw it from the others and asked for a full manuscript, but she finally said the book was too long, which is one of my biggest problems in writing. I am going to send another book to her next month, though. Querying is exciting! Good luck to you. . . .

Mackay Good for you, Brigid. (And Swankivy, too.)

But - query more agents--more, more. You never know who will respond, and you can and should send queries to as many agents as you find who rep what you write.

Agents can take forever ... don't just send one at a time. Personalize the letters, of course--but paper the world with those queries! It's persistence as much as talent in the crazy world of publishing. Really.

Good luck.


Swankivy To Susan:

I personally plan to only send my query to this one agent *first* since she expressed interest in my earlier work and told me she wanted to see what I did next (if it was shorter). I decided it might be prudent to give her the first crack at it. :) Luckily she is also a quick responder. The first time, she replied to my initial query within 24 hours (e-mail), responded to my sample material within a week, and then responded to my full manuscript a day after I sent it (also e-mail). She might be busier now, though . . . it's a couple years later.

And yes, I'll second your notion (to anyone who's listening) that queries have to be personalized. Not just with the agent's name replacing "To Whom It May Concern," but with obvious understanding of why you picked this agent and what makes you think you and the agent are a good match for each other. They expect you to do your homework.

message 32: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ cool! thanks for the advice, everyone. ;D

Kelsey I think that young people definitely should write books; it just may take some time before they develop as a writer. I did like Eragon, and I still would have liked it if it hadn't been written by a teenager. I was actually very surprised that it was written by a 15-year-old. Anyway, I think publishers might discourage teens from trying to get published, because they presumably haven't written enough to learn from their mistakes.

Swankivy To Kelsey: Just so you know, he only STARTED writing it at 15. It was completed when he was 19. Big difference.

message 35: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ exactly. he didn't WRITE the book when he was fifteen. he might have written the first draft at fifteen, but he must have edited it when he was nineteen, so there's a huge difference there.

like i'm writing this story that i've been working on since i was eleven, but i would never say that i WROTE the story when i was eleven, because it sucked when i first wrote it. now that i've edited it and added onto it, i can't give that much credit to my eleven-year-old self. sure, i got the basic idea when i was younger but that is completely different from actually having the finished product of the book.

message 36: by Robert (new)

Robert As someone who published his first paid magazine article at age 18 (although that was a good many years ago), I don't see any reason why you shouldn't write and make an effort to get published. Everyone starts somewhere. Age is more or less irrelevent when it comes to writing.
My friend Patrick O'Conner used to be a New York editor and he recalls receiving a manuscript about movies on TV back in the 1960s. He asked the author to come to New York from his home in New Jersey, and was surprised to lern that the writer couldn't make it during the week. The writer was Leonard Maltin, then 15 years old, still in high school and without wheels. His dad had to drive him to Manhattan on the weekend. Patrick agreed to publish Leonard's book. So, while the odds are long (what the hey, even if you're older the odds are long!)there are precedents.

message 37: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ good to know. :)

Clare D' Lune haha speaking of Eragon, I'm reading the 3rd book right now.... so far I am not impressed...

message 39: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ lol. no comment ... XD

Marty One word of advice that LOADS of Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror/Mystery authors have given, is...

Save all of those old stories from your childhood! There are a number of Sci-Fi authors who had an idea that they penned, sent to publishers (or just read, and edited themselves), and found to be garbage. Those saved manuscripts managed to hold seeds for later novels, or in some cases, were able to be revised and edited to make a very good story.

There is no reason for a young author to be denied a chance to publish, as long as the work is worth it (or can manage to sell enough copies to cover the expense).

I'm currently reading Eragon, and while I will agree that there are a few annoying things (numerous short chapters), I still enjoy it.

I'll stop here, before I start to rant. Suffice to say, my friends know what those can be like. ^_^

message 41: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ Well yes, I agree with that to a certain degree. I save a lot of my own work, even when I don't like it; someday, it might inspire something else.

message 42: by Meh (new)

Meh I wonder if you've read Crime and Punishment, Lily. It's kind of about that very thing: It's so rare that an original idea comes along that most of us will never think an original thought in our lives. That doesn't mean that we're worthless people, but just that finding original ideas to write about is SO HARD. And there's almost no such thing as a truly original idea anymore, everything has connections and similarities to something else. Just a bit of positive encouragement!

Chuck I agree with Brigid that teens can write well and with originality. This novel struck me as reasonably well-written (a lot of editing brought it to where it is, perhaps) but is derivative and lacking character depth. I know that fantasy regularly borrows heavily from previous work as well as the body of relevant myth, but this novel borrows so heavily that I spent more time thinking about LOTR than the novel itself. The original elements are fun, though, and I was sorry that the characters were not better developed. I'm tempted to read on in the series to see how/if the author develops.

Swankivy I hear the "there aren't any original ideas under the sun" comment a lot when I rag Paolini for being unoriginal. Thing is, there's a lot of leeway into what constitutes an "original idea," and the fact that someone else might have done something similar (or in some aspects identical) before us does NOT mean that we should therefore shrug and resign ourselves to ripping off whatever we want on purpose. There's a difference between being INFLUENCED by Lord of the Rings and deciding Middle-Earth is a public domain playground which you're allowed to swipe and rename Alagaësia if you want.

message 45: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ Fine. So no idea can be COMPLETELY original. It's the characters and their reactions to the situation that give the story life, in my opinion. W/Paolini's story, he might have been able to pull it off if he had at least had interesting characters. But, well, he DIDN'T. The characters are boring, and the plot is cliché, so the whole thing is just completely predictable. Nothing really special about it.

message 46: by Paige (last edited Oct 19, 2008 08:28AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paige Miller I believe that teens should be allowed to write and publish books. I'm 13, and I'm currently writing a book. It's taking a lot of hard work, and I spend a lot of time on it. Why should I be denied the right to publish my book just because I'm not an adult? It is age discrimination and it isn't right. It's like saying, "Yeah, well you can't write because you're a girl or because you're a boy." This is the 21st century, people. The Declaration of Independence says that all people deserve equal rights. Why aren't we following the guidelines of our country?

P.s. I have read the whole series, and I think he definitely improved as he continued writing. Brisingr was my favorite, but I did like Eragon and Eldest. As for those of you who rip on him for unoriginality, I disagree, but won't argue with you about it. It's not worth the struggle.

Lyssy i like this book but i haven't read the latest in the series yet.

message 48: by Nada (new) - rated it 1 star

Nada I think its wrong to discourage teens to not get books published. Of course, not every teen can write a novel, but there are some who can. So good luck to you Brigid and every other teen writer out there!

message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Just a note about originality...things don't have to be original. I know that's not what you were saying, but it does bug me when people say how formulaic things are(which you didn't, I know) The structure of fiction is based on formulas...just a thought. Off topic, I know. But there's a basic formula in almost every story. Obviously that doesn't have much to do with this, though.

Swankivy To Nada: I don't think anyone's discouraging teens to get books published. I think the point would be to discourage immature writers from getting books published. And I don't mean immature as people; I mean immature as writers.

If they haven't yet developed to a point where they're on par with other published writers, they owe it to themselves and to their possible future fans to work on their writing style a little more before trying to force their material out into the world. I think self-publishing (by well-meaning parents, like with Paolini) has made some people think they can legitimize their work when actually it's truly not ready. Self-publishing just means you paid someone to print it. It is NOT the same as getting a publishing contract and I think there's a misconception about that out there, judging from all the young and/or uninformed writers out there who seem to think they have to try to print it and sell it first.

If a teen has learned quickly and developed early in their writing style, they absolutely should go forward just like any older adult. If they are not ready, the publishing industry will tell them so in no uncertain terms. And if they're determined and they love writing enough, they'll keep at it until they ARE good enough. To me, whether the person's a teenager is irrelevant.

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