Here be rabid fan-beasties...be on yer guard

Anilee just covered the irritating habits of a peculiar critter called the Inheritance fan, and I had to add one observation: When faced with an attacking critic, one of the hardcore fan's last resorts is to sputter, "Chris was only fifteen when he wrote Eragon! Give him a break!" (Or, even worse, "I'd like to see you write a book that good as a fifteen-year-old!" Ad hominem, anyone?)

First of all, it is simply untrue that Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon at age fifteen. The back jacket flap of any copy of the book will tell you as much. He began writing Eragon when he was fifteen, and Eragon was not self-published by Paolini's family until Christopher was eighteen, in 2002. And the version that's on the market now? That is the product of another round of editing, and didn't come out until he was closer to twenty.

Does it really matter, though? Well, I would like to see the rabid fans get their facts right, but no, in the end his age doesn't matter to me.

Because I don't think that someone who has taken his novel into mainstream publishing, and through all the editing that entails, should be allowed to use his age as a shield from legitimate criticism of his book. You publish the book, it goes out onto shelves, people read it, and they judge it based on its merits as a book. Not its merits as the product of a homeschooler or a teenager or a resident of Montana. If a reader is more impressed by the author's perseverance knowing that he wrote the novel as a teenager, fine, but that doesn't make the book any better, and this isn't high school, where the grading scale is weighted for those who take classes beyond the secondary level early. A book is a book, and the notion of tailoring one's standards for it based on the author's bio is ridiculous.

12 comments:

Anilee 6/11/2008 1:40 PM  

Oi! Thanks for reminding me about this "defense", cuileann; I can't believe I forgot.

You're totally right about everything. Age doesn't matter in publishing. If you're submitting as an adult, your work should be judged as if it were written by an adult.

Q 6/11/2008 1:47 PM  

I think that while age can be used for marketing purposes, it should be disregarded when a publishing company is deciding whether or not to publish a manuscript. The only thing that should matter is the quality of the book.

cuileann 6/11/2008 2:50 PM  

Anilee - I was going to put it in a comment on your post, but it was getting so long, I figured I'd give it its own post, heh.

Q - Should be the only thing thing, agreed, though I imagine there are a lot of factors involved. Also...it seems like the fact that they'd have an easier time marketing Eragon because of Paolini's age would have had a lot of bearing on Knopf's decision to publish it...(just musing; you've prodded my thoughts).

Q 6/11/2008 3:34 PM  

I enjoy prodding thoughts. It makes life so much more interesting, don't you think?

cuileann 6/11/2008 3:38 PM  

Most definitely. Thought-prodding friends keep my brain from getting complacent and sleepy.

Q 6/11/2008 3:39 PM  

*prod prod*

Erin 6/11/2008 7:54 PM  

Amen!

K.M.Grant 6/12/2008 3:00 AM  

Hi, Cuileann,

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. If you go back to it today, you'll see that I'll be posting about the content of the drama being filmed in our house later on. It has been exciting, and also very odd.

It's funny being in the middle of writing a book when quite major things also happen in real life. At the risk of falling foul of the thought police, I'd say that you do feel a bit bi-polar: I'm half in 13th century France, half in my purple hall and half - did I say -bi-polar? That should be tri ...

very best,
Katie Grant

Cassandra 6/12/2008 11:44 PM  

Yes! Thank you. Though, the sequel was admittedly better than Eragon; it's just so cliche... I want the final book to come out already so I can read it and just be done with it.

cuileann 6/13/2008 2:01 AM  

I actually bore Eragon better; though I think I'd probably say it's more derivative than Eldest the writing and plotting didn't bug me as much.

Honestly, though, I don't care that much what opinion people form of the series as long as they can be intelligent and refrain from defending themselves with troll tactics.

Cassandra 6/13/2008 11:47 AM  

You know what's funny, I actually used to admire the little bugger Paolini... I think about it now, though, and I cringe a little. ^_^ Interesting how opinions change so with a little extra thought involved.

Delaney 6/13/2008 6:16 PM  

Well, I've always admired his ambition. And his luck. ;)

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