These Q&As are drawn from Christopher’s AMA on Reddit. We’re reposting them here for folks who haven’t seen them yet.
LOLmouseLOL: What, storyline wise, has been the hardest part of writing the Eragon books?
The interaction between Eragon and Arya. For whatever reason, that gave me the most trouble (probably because I’m not a hundred-some-year-old elven princess myself). Also, figuring out how to end Brisingr once I realized that the third book would need to be split in two.
WindowToTheLeft: Looking back at the Eragon books now, what do you think you would change or tell yourself as a writer? Nothing to break space-time but just a suggestion in another direction. Are there any specific chapters or lines you wrote, that you still think on?
I’d spend a little more time with Eragon and Saphira in Palancar Valley, when Saphira is little. Also, I’d add another chapter to Nasuada’s point of view, when the Varden travels from Farthen Dûr to Surda.
Stuff with Elva. The grass ship. The flight to Vroengard. Forging Brisingr. And lots of the little quiet moments between Eragon and Saphira.
Kitbixby: Can you even melt Rider swords?
Yes, but you’ll need a LOT of heat. As in, you’ll have to toss the sword into a volcano and leave it there for a while.
SoOromis: In the past, how long did it take to become a full-fledged Dragon Rider? Since elven children are presented to dragon eggs at the age of twenty and humans around the age of ten, does this mean elves grow up more slowly than humans? How many students did Oromis have before Morzan and Brom? Is it possible to heal illness like Oromis’s if you know the name of the ancient language? Is it hard to have long-lasting romantic relationships if you are a Dragon Rider? And can a dragon become jealous its Rider’s romantic relationship and ruin it? What or who was the most dangerous foe in the land of Alagaësia before humans arrived and Galbatorix was born? How tall are humans in Alagaësia? What colors are rare or impossible for dragons to be? Is it possible that sea dragons or ice dragons exist somewhere beyond the borders of Alagaësia?
- The young Riders would study for close to ten years before they would be considered anything close to ready to take on the full duties of their position.
- Yes. Elves age and mature much slower than humans.
- Dozens and dozens.
- Possibly, although even with the Name of Names, there are some things that are going to be just too difficult and/or energy-intensive to accomplish with magic.
- Yes!!! Very much so. Jealous dragons were a major reason for Riders breaking up with their significant others. Just imagine going on a date with a judgemental dragon looking over your soldier. . . . Yikes.
- No comment. 😀
- Depends on where they live. In the north, humans tend to be taller.
- Dragons come in all colors, although white and clear are rare.
- Possible, although not probable. All of the dragons would have flown to Alagaësia to help fight Galbatorix during the fall of the Riders.
p0x0rzWorldbuilders: What was the biggest challenge of writing a book so young? Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?
The hardest part was the fact that I didn’t know about anyone my age who had written and published a book. Of course, in the years since, I’ve learned about many different young authors, but at the time, it was a huge mental stumbling block. I kept thinking, “If no one else has done it, how can I?”
Also, at that age, my technical skills weren’t where I wanted them to be. It took a long time to master some of the more basic mechanics of writing.
dragon_morgan: I was wondering if you could tell me more about the experience of publishing a book at a young age and how it differs from publishing books later as a full adult, and if you had any advice for aspiring teen writers?
That’s a hard question to answer in anything less than a few thousand words. I’ll give it a shot, though:
Being published at an unusually young age invites a lot of attention (ask me how I know!). Some of that attention is positive, some negative. Can it be good for book sales? Sure! But only up to a point. People won’t read books they don’t enjoy. Ultimately, though, concentrating on an author’s age (whether young or old) ends up shifting the focus away from their actual work, which I think is unfortunate.
As for writing advice:
- Keep reading! The more you read, the more you can bring to the table as a writer.
- Learn everything you can about the language you’re writing in. Language is the tool of the trade, after all.
- Plot your story out beforehand. Think of it like music: first you compose the piece, and then you can concentrate on performing it as beautifully as possible.
- Find someone to edit your work. Family, friend, author, librarian, etc. Editing can be really hard to swallow, but I guarantee she’ll learn more from editing than she will from the writing itself. (That said, only listen to the opinions of people you trust.)
- Write about the things you care about the most! Getting through a book takes a lot of time and energy, so spend them wisely.
- Don’t give up. Persistence more than anything is what differentiates professionals from amateurs.
Enjoy this article? Check out the rest of our Q&As with Christopher series!