More follow-up from our very popular Terry Brooks & Christopher Paolini chat last week. Since so many of you submitted questions during the chat, the authors agreed to follow-up on a few questions which didn’t get answered. Today, Christopher Paolini answers your questions:
Hayley sue — Where do you both find the best place to write? I like to go to the local park, when it’s not raining.
Christopher Paolini: The best place for me to write is wherever I have the most peace and quiet. It’s very hard for me to concentrate on the images in my head if there’s a lot going on around me. At home I have an office, and that’s where I do most of my work.
Michael C. — Do either of you ever feel like the characters are controlling everything, and not you?
Christopher Paolini: Sometimes. When that happens, I try to get out of my own way, because the characters often end up doing things that I never anticipated, which is good. Over-planning things can be a problem when you plot the story out beforehand.
Xenia — so…question: how do you make your stories original? After all, there are so many stories about elves, dragons, mythological creatures out there.
Christopher Paolini: The very fact that you are telling a certain story instead of me, is going to make it original. If ten authors start with the exact same plot, they’ll end up writing ten completely different books, because they aren’t the same people. Write about whatever you want, and don’t worry about whether someone else has tackled the same subject before. It doesn’t matter, so long as you can tell an entertaining story. And I don’t know about you, but I like reading about elves and dwarves and dragons, and I hope more people write books about them.
Aria – I was wondering if you have any advice for someone who is new to writing, but really loves it? I love writing fantasy too.
Christopher Paolini: Plot your story out beforehand. This gives you a roadmap for where you’re going. Write every single day, whether or not you feel particularly inspired. Find someone in your life whom you trust (friend, parent, or teacher) who can read your work and give you some advice on how to improve it. And whatever happens–don’t give up!
Lauren — Christopher, I was wondering if Angela and Elva had any connection. Why else would Angela want to teach Elva how to behave if they weren’t connected?
Christopher Paolini: Angela doesn’t want Elva to turn into a hate-filled person as she grows up. So, Angela sees it as her duty to help guide Elva’s anger and frustration into more productive outlets.
Megan — Terry and Christopher, I also write books I was wondering how you keep all your characters in order? As I add books to my series I find it hard to remember all the little side characters.
Christopher Paolini: In my case, I keep separate files for: names of peoples, places, and things; every invented word; deleted scenes; timelines; notes on each of the books (which total several hundred pages at this point); summaries; and assorted odds-and-ends. It’s important to keep track of all these things from the very start; otherwise, collecting and organizing them ends up being a daunting task. I speak from experience.
LeeLee – Aloha, Christopher. Is there any point for me hoping for a sequel to Eragon, ie Eldest coming to the big screen? I’d even settle for a TV series ala Legend of the Seeker.
Christopher Paolini: It’s possible that Eldest might be adapted into a film, but, at the moment, I don’t know for certain.
Aidan Moher — Christopher, you began working on Eragon when you were a very young man. Now that you are older, how do you stay connected and interested in a story and to characters that were envisioned by a less mature Christopher Paolini?
Christopher Paolini: Great question. One way is by writing about characters other than Eragon, characters who are more mature than he is, like Roran and Nasuada. Another is by exploring other, less-obvious aspects of Alagaësia. The trick, I’ve found, is to keep writing about new things of one sort or another.
SeithrDrottningu – I hope you can answer this question. (There’s a bet running on it) Is Arya a descendant of the Menoa tree? I have soo much evidence that could prove this, but I still want to know.
Christopher Paolini: The elf Narí referred to Arya as “Menoa’s scion” in his song in Eldest. However, that was only a poetic term of his; the elves like to consider themselves all children of the Menoa tree. Especially prominent elves, such as Arya, might end up being called a root or a branch of the tree, but, again, in most cases, it is only a poetic term. That said, there are some elves who are related to the elf Linnëa, if only distantly.
Ben — Are there going to be new characters introduced in the 4th book?
Christopher Paolini: Of course, but not too many. After all, the main point of Book Four is to wrap up the stories of the existing characters.
Jeff – Terry and Chris: If you write a book but haven’t come up with a title for it, what do you do to find that “perfect” title?
Christopher Paolini: Tear out my hair; gnash my teeth; spend days and days writing down names, parts of names, and individual letters; talk with my editor, agent, and family; scour dictionaries, baby-name books, websites, encyclopedias, and atlases–basically anything to get new ideas. Brisingr, for various reasons, was particularly hard to name. I didn’t end up picking the title until the book was almost ready to go to press
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