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Eddyz Aquila
12-28-2009, 05:41 AM
To start off, I'm in the same category as he was when he published his first book. Young and aspiring.

And to this, I always wondered what made him the successful author he is today. I'm voicing my opinion here - I read Eragon, and after the first 40 pages, I closed the book. I found the pace slow and he was too bogged down in the details of the whole Alagaesia world. Fantasy novels are one of my favourites, as they give you complete freedom when writing, but this one didn't quite click for me, so I want to ask for other opinions, perhaps it will convince me to read Eragon from beginning to end. I did enjoy the way he potrayed the world, it made it feel very real in my imagination, but from a reading aspect, the descriptions were too long. For every young writer, his success is amazing, and we all want that, but I cannot help but wonder how he got to the top.

Writing skill? Marketing? Age?

Discuss. I really want to hear everyone's opinion on this.

jvc
12-28-2009, 05:45 AM
It would help if your parents published the book for you. And isn't there already fourteen hundred threads on this somewhere?

BenPanced
12-28-2009, 05:50 AM
Like the song says, musta been the right place but at the wrong time.

jvc
12-28-2009, 05:55 AM
Like the song says, musta been the right place but at the wrong time.
There have been times when I've been in the right place, but it was the wrong time. And then I've been in the wrong place but at the right time. If only I could work out a way to get this sorted out and I'll be laughing all the way to the bank. :D

Oh, as the song says; it's not what you know, it's who you know.

Cyia
12-28-2009, 06:38 AM
The short version, recapped from all of those other threads:

He was 15. Mom and dad owned their own press. They had distribution into a real store. He dressed up in a silly costume on the day a real publisher happened to be there with his kid and the kid liked the book. Up to that point he wanted to quit because they couldn't sell the books, he was tired of the hassle, and they almost went bankrupt from the cost of it.

Kalyke
12-28-2009, 07:07 AM
Who is that? Never heard of him (or her). There are billions of people on this earth. All you need is a few million to like your stuff. I've never heard of this person, and if all he writes are dragon books, he's a one hit wonder and will be gone when his audience decides to go after something new.

I repete, never heard of him.

Wavy_Blue
12-28-2009, 07:12 AM
The short version, recapped from all of those other threads:

He was 15. Mom and dad owned their own press. They had distribution into a real store. He dressed up in a silly costume on the day a real publisher happened to be there with his kid and the kid liked the book. Up to that point he wanted to quit because they couldn't sell the books, he was tired of the hassle, and they almost went bankrupt from the cost of it.

While this is true, it doesn't explain why it became so enormously successful. Its one of the top-selling young adult fantasy series, and one of very few YA fantasies that has been turned into a movie. Sure, the movie tanked, but it still happened, which is a real testament to the popularity of the series.

blacbird
12-28-2009, 07:13 AM
The short version, recapped from all of those other threads:

He was 15. Mom and dad owned their own press. They had distribution into a real store. He dressed up in a silly costume on the day a real publisher happened to be there with his kid and the kid liked the book.

Addendum: The publisher also recognized the novelty value of putting out a book written by a fifteen-year-old, which was a HUGE marketing ploy. And it worked. If Paolini had been even five years older, that grabber would not have been there, and the story likely would have been very different.

caw

Cyia
12-28-2009, 07:29 AM
which is a real testament to the popularity of the series.

It's a testament to the hype-machine that went into overdrive when he was published.

kaitie
12-28-2009, 07:30 AM
I read Eragon, and personally I loved it. I know, in the minority. Was the writing great? Not particularly. Impressive from a fifteen year old, though. It was a fun story with fun characters, however. From what I've been told, it appeals mostly to people like me who haven't read a ton of fantasy. Now, there's a reason for that. Most of the fantasy I've picked up has been very, very badly written. I can put up with poor writing to an extent, but I get frustrated with it when there isn't anything else to pull it up. So by comparison, his writing didn't really strike me as terrible, just about average for what I'd seen in the genre.

Also, as someone who wasn't extensively read in fantasy (mostly because of said writing issue, which makes me much pickier about who I read), I wasn't aware of all the different places he was picking the plot up from. I imagine most of us out there who read it weren't. I have friends who hate it and consider it a hack job, but from my perspective it was a clever and original story because I hadn't read everything else that made it look formulaic. I still like it, btw. Yeah, it started a bit slow, but once I got into it I couldn't put it down.

The writing on the sequel was much better, btw, and really shows how far he had come as a writer, which is also fascinating to see. I do sort of wish he'd waited to publish it, though. If he had written the first one even as well as he did the second (which isn't perfect, but much, much improved), I imagine he wouldn't be getting quite the same level of flak. I haven't read the third yet, btw. It's on my stack of to-read books.

Anyway, that's just my take on why I enjoyed it, and I'm sure there are others who would probably feel the same way. I knew nothing about the marketing ploy when I picked it up. In fact, I'd never really heard of it. I just saw what looked like a cool fantasy story with dragons and decided to give it a try and, by my standards anyway, I lucked out. I understand the criticism, but it doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the book.

I also imagine, and hope even, that he has a successful career and continues to improve his skill. I think he's someone who can become a really leader in his genre if he continues to improve. There's an awful lot of promise there. That's just my take, anyway.

kuwisdelu
12-28-2009, 08:36 AM
Marketing and hype combined with his age.

Haven't heard anything about him since the second book.

Exir
12-28-2009, 08:54 AM
Read the non-fiction book The Black Swan. It explains everything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Swan_%28Taleb_book%29

icerose
12-28-2009, 08:56 AM
Marketing and hype combined with his age.

Haven't heard anything about him since the second book.

From what I heard they took the third back to self publishing because they wanted more control. I'll be nice and won't guess beyond that. I do wish he would have had to slog like everyone else because I think it really hurt him as a writer in the long run. Not to mention his ego and referring to himself as "the savior of young adult" really put me in the extreme dislike catagory.

BenPanced
12-28-2009, 09:05 AM
From what I heard they took the third back to self publishing because they wanted more control. I'll be nice and won't guess beyond that. I do wish he would have had to slog like everyone else because I think it really hurt him as a writer in the long run. Not to mention his ego and referring to himself as "the savior of young adult" really put me in the extreme dislike catagory.
Brisingr was released through Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers.

scarletpeaches
12-28-2009, 09:07 AM
From what I heard they took the third back to self publishing because they wanted more control. I'll be nice and won't guess beyond that. I do wish he would have had to slog like everyone else because I think it really hurt him as a writer in the long run. Not to mention his ego and referring to himself as "the savior of young adult" really put me in the extreme dislike catagory.Tell me he didn't.

kaitie
12-28-2009, 09:13 AM
Brisingr was released through Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers.

Yeah, that's what I was gonna say. I know that the hardcover was published by the same company that released the other two. Do you have a source on the quote, Icerose? I'm just curious because if it comes from the same source with the self-publishing thing I'd take it with a grain of salt. I know I've seen interviews with him when he was younger and he always seemed like a totally nice guy. That isn't to say it hasn't gone to his head, though, I just would rather see the source and be certain it's valid. Goodness knows there are lots of rumors out there.

IceCreamEmpress
12-28-2009, 09:21 AM
A) The book appeals to many readers because its plot keeps them turning the page, eager to find out what happens next.

B) His entire family spent a year and a big chunk of their savings marketing the self-published book all over the place--that hard work got it in the hands of somebody who made the trade publishing deal happen.

B') The self-published book was professional-looking because the parents were in the printing business, and it got into stores because the parents had professional connections with distributors, being in an allied field.

So it's easy, right? You just have to write a book with a plot that appeals to readers, invest tens of thousands of dollars, spend a year on the road doing booksignings in costume, and get lucky. (Note sarcasm: it's not easy. If you don't have tens of thousands of dollars, a year to spend doing costumed booksignings, and parents in the printing business, I recommend writing the best book you can and sending it to agents. For every Paolini, there are hundreds of new authors who broke in that way.)

smcc360
12-28-2009, 05:22 PM
So it's easy, right? You just have to write a book with a plot that appeals to readers, invest tens of thousands of dollars, spend a year on the road doing booksignings in costume, and get lucky.

The costume is where I'm screwing up! I'm glad I read this. Thanks!

Capes are sized like suit coats, right? I'll need a 44 Long.

icerose
12-28-2009, 06:21 PM
Tell me he didn't.

It was in an interview with him about three or four years ago. I can't find it now so I can't quantify it.

And with the self publishing that's what a book store owner told me and it's why I qualified it with "I heard". It's good to hear he didn't go back to the self publishing route.

gothicangel
12-28-2009, 06:30 PM
He attracted the attention of Knopf because Carl Hiassen's step son picked up a copy while on holiday. Hiassen was intrigued by the boy's enjoyment of the book and decided to read it too. Hiassen then passed it to his editor at Knopf, who then passed it to Paolini's now editor.

I enjoyed all three books and looked forward to the fourth. Lets face it, there are worse books out there that got past an agent too:D

Libbie
12-28-2009, 08:11 PM
What made Paolini successful?

Money. Specifically, a smart marketing campaign and the funds to carry it out.

You, however, can find success -- even at a young age -- by writing a damn good work. You can earn the marketing money from a publishing house by being brilliant. You don't need to be the child of a mom and pop with a mom-and-pop press to get it. Just write a good book. Please make it better than Paolini's.*


*The preceding statement is only Libbie's opinion of one writer's abilities.

Libbie
12-28-2009, 08:13 PM
Tell me he didn't.

He's done more than that. If you ever want to poke your own eyes out with rage, look up some of the interviews he's given. Clueless doesn't even begin to go there.

Jamesaritchie
12-28-2009, 08:34 PM
His was a "coattail" book, which means it came at exatly the right time to grab the coattails of LOTR and be pulled along for the ride. The "coattail effect" happens pretty often in publishing. If you can write fast enough and well enough, there's a chance of having this happen intentionally, but it's most often a fortunate bit of luck.

The title was also a fortunate bit of luck. I saw a poll that said an amazing number of readers picked up the book thinking it was some sort of spinoff from LOTR.

This was a book with just teh right story that came at just the right time, and I have no doubt it would have been a huge success with or without his parents.

IceCreamEmpress
12-28-2009, 09:46 PM
This was a book with just teh right story that came at just the right time, and I have no doubt it would have been a huge success with or without his parents.

You mean if he had sent it to an agent? Probably, because yeah, he was in the right place at the right time and the plot is compelling (perhaps because it's a mashup of other more original books, but that's another issue).

The thing is that Paolini's success is often touted as an example of Why Self-Publishing Is An Easy Route To Success. My post above points out why most people can't replicate Paolini's route, and why it wasn't "easy" at all.

Phaeal
12-28-2009, 10:46 PM
I tried Eragon, but having been a fantasy buff most of my life, I saw through its "originality" right off. I know a number of nonfantasy readers who have liked it, so the genre-neophyte factor does seem to be at work here. If they go on reading fantasy, they may conclude that Tolkien and McCaffrey ripped off Paolini. ;)

Did I see Paolini on one of the morning shows talking about how he wrote the third book with quill and ink? Or was I dreaming it? He seems personable on air, which is helpful to the marketers, as is his unusual backstory. Though there seem to be a lot of young authors these days, so that tack may lose some impact.

gothicangel
12-29-2009, 12:55 AM
Why not garnish reality?

JK Rowling liked to espouse that bull**** about writing Harry Potter. She might of written in the middle of coffee shops [The Elephant is one of my favourite Edinburgh haunts]; but she wasn't living on benefits - she was a working school teacher.

Toothpaste
12-29-2009, 01:22 AM
Um . . . actually JK Rowling has always been very honest with the details of her life, so if anyone is espousing BS it's the people around her. One of the things I love about JK is that she's always been very honest, even correcting the idea that she wrote the entire novel on napkins etc.

gothicangel
12-29-2009, 02:53 AM
Okay slap on the wrist for that one! There are a lot of myths around JKR which are obviously created by PR people.

Take the coffee shop one: no way you could sit all day in there all day without being told to shift! It's THE student hotspot.

sheadakota
12-29-2009, 03:19 AM
I never heard of Paolini either, then I read the rest of the thread and went- Oh!that kid! eh- I always took him as a coattail rider- his movie came out around the same time as LOTR I think and I could never get past the Eragon/ Aragon simularities- intended or not-

Jamesaritchie
12-29-2009, 03:46 AM
You mean if he had sent it to an agent? Probably, because yeah, he was in the right place at the right time and the plot is compelling (perhaps because it's a mashup of other more original books, but that's another issue).

The thing is that Paolini's success is often touted as an example of Why Self-Publishing Is An Easy Route To Success. My post above points out why most people can't replicate Paolini's route, and why it wasn't "easy" at all.

An agent or an editor. The word "agent" is written in such large letters that many don't realize how many books sell without an agent.

Many don't even consider Paolini as being self-pubished. Just because your parents own the publishing house doesn't make you self-published, and this wasn't the only book they released.

But it doesn't matter. This book came at just the right time, on just the right subject, and with just the right title.

It happens every time a monster bestseller comes out. Dan Brown spawned a number of short term bestsellers that were picked up only because Code was such a huge hit.

Eddyz Aquila
12-30-2009, 05:22 AM
Though there seem to be a lot of young authors these days, so that tack may lose some impact.

Can you please name a few? :)

Cyia
12-30-2009, 06:03 AM
Can you please name a few? :)

Shady Lane and Blind Writer on this site for 2.

katiemac
12-30-2009, 06:14 AM
Okay slap on the wrist for that one! There are a lot of myths around JKR which are obviously created by PR people.

It's not the PR people, either. Bad/out of context quotes and fans passing stories from person to person can distort reality. It's hard for PR to control, actually, but it's not like they're purposely feeding the media misinformation. To get an interview, they need a source, and that source would be Rowling.

Matera the Mad
12-30-2009, 07:52 AM
I hate to see a potentially good writer ruined by undeserved praise. I wonder if Paolini could outgrow success. I probably won't live to see it. That's all I'm saying.

Momento Mori
12-30-2009, 05:43 PM
Eddyz Aquila:
Can you please name a few?

Catherine Banner was 15 when she wrote The Eyes of a King, which was the first in a YA trilogy. Personally, I thought that it showed in the writing.

Helen Oyeyemi was 17 or 18 when she wrote The Icarus Girl, which is literary fiction. She had another novel (The Opposite House) come out while she was studying at Cambridge University (I think she was an English Literature undergrad) and her next book, White Is For Witching is due out in May. She's been getting a lot of good reviews for her work and she's still in her early 20s.

MM

Phaeal
12-30-2009, 07:34 PM
Okay slap on the wrist for that one! There are a lot of myths around JKR which are obviously created by PR people.

Take the coffee shop one: no way you could sit all day in there all day without being told to shift! It's THE student hotspot.

I have three favorite coffee shops in the Providence area. People routinely camp all day, with never a request that they "shift." Once you park your notebook or laptop on a table, it's yours.

There are even squatters who don't buy anything. This is very very very bad form. These people will burn in hell. The rule of thumb is: One drink or snack for every two hours of table possession.

Coffee shop etiquette -- a fascinating subject for the anthropologist!

gothicangel
12-30-2009, 08:42 PM
You should try Stirling, leave the seat and it's up for grabs!

I don't think the UK has that kind of cafe culture. As a former coffee shop worker we know tricks as to how to get people to 'shift.' Sitting strangers on the same table being my personal favourite!

Phaeal
12-30-2009, 09:54 PM
You should try Stirling, leave the seat and it's up for grabs!

I don't think the UK has that kind of cafe culture. As a former coffee shop worker we know tricks as to how to get people to 'shift.' Sitting strangers on the same table being my personal favourite!

Nah, our baristas are totally laissez-faire. You want a seat, you get it on your own. They won't intervene until philosophical differences descend to fisticuffs. This makes for exciting eavesdropping.

And as long as you leave something obviously personal on the table (a coat, hat, notebook, keys), no one but a soon-to-be-absolute-social-pariah or batty old guy will sit down. You can't rely on leaving a newspaper or magazine or anything provided by the shop (including drinks and food), because then tablehunters will assume the table is open, its last tenant having committed the sin of not clearing it off.

But enough hijacking of the thread. I can't find that Paolini uses coffee shops to write.

Terie
12-30-2009, 11:46 PM
Okay slap on the wrist for that one! There are a lot of myths around JKR which are obviously created by PR people.

Take the coffee shop one: no way you could sit all day in there all day without being told to shift! It's THE student hotspot.

Yes, she did. The owner of the coffee shop (at the time, not sure if it's still got the same owner) was related to her, a brother-in-law or something like that. That one isn't a myth at all.

Heck, I've sat writing in that coffee shop for hours and not been asked to shift. Had to share my table, but no one ever asked me to move.

DWSTXS
12-30-2009, 11:53 PM
coffee shop etiquette would be a good thread. I do about 99% of my writing at a coffee shop. I'm there 6 days a week, and that includes all day on saturdays and sundays.

I spend a lot there, but keep my table all day long. I even leave for lunch on weekends, and leave my laptop and everything sitting there while I go somewhere else to eat.

BenPanced
12-31-2009, 12:03 AM
I have three favorite coffee shops in the Providence area. People routinely camp all day, with never a request that they "shift." Once you park your notebook or laptop on a table, it's yours.

There are even squatters who don't buy anything. This is very very very bad form. These people will burn in hell. The rule of thumb is: One drink or snack for every two hours of table possession.

Coffee shop etiquette -- a fascinating subject for the anthropologist!
The owner of my favoritest coffee house in the world loves writers and considers the money we spend on food and beverages rent for the tables we inhabit. I once spent eight hours at the place, through both the breakfast and lunch menus, and nobody said anything.

LOG
12-31-2009, 12:35 AM
I tried Eragon, but having been a fantasy buff most of my life, I saw through its "originality" right off. I know a number of nonfantasy readers who have liked it, so the genre-neophyte factor does seem to be at work here. If they go on reading fantasy, they may conclude that Tolkien and McCaffrey ripped off Paolini. ;)

I read almost nothing but fantasy, I had no problems with Eragon.
Was it completely original? No, but almost no plot ideas are anymore at their very core. It's the execution of a plot that matters.
Paolini had elements of McCaffrey? Certainly.
But other than having a dragon companion, the series is much different from The Dragons of Pern.

gothicangel
12-31-2009, 12:36 AM
Yes, she did. The owner of the coffee shop (at the time, not sure if it's still got the same owner) was related to her, a brother-in-law or something like that. That one isn't a myth at all.

Heck, I've sat writing in that coffee shop for hours and not been asked to shift. Had to share my table, but no one ever asked me to move.

That's strange because she denied it in an interview.

Couldn't stand writing in there. Too busy, too noisy. Last thing I need when writing would to start eavesdropping on a tutor discussing RL Stevenson when I'm trying to write!

Eddyz Aquila
12-31-2009, 01:12 AM
Catherine Banner was 15 when she wrote The Eyes of a King, which was the first in a YA trilogy. Personally, I thought that it showed in the writing.

Helen Oyeyemi was 17 or 18 when she wrote The Icarus Girl, which is literary fiction. She had another novel (The Opposite House) come out while she was studying at Cambridge University (I think she was an English Literature undergrad) and her next book, White Is For Witching is due out in May. She's been getting a lot of good reviews for her work and she's still in her early 20s.

MM

Wow, pretty impressive. Literary when you're barely a young adult is something that you should be proud. Well, as long as the book is good.

gothicangel
12-31-2009, 01:16 AM
I read an interview a few years ago by Oyeyemi. She was utterly obnoxious so I refused to read her books.

I'm going to start a new thread on coffee shops.

AryaT92
12-31-2009, 01:17 AM
If my book gets published I will have to keep it cool ;)

Eddyz Aquila
12-31-2009, 01:25 AM
I read an interview a few years ago by Oyeyemi. She was utterly obnoxious so I refused to read her books.


Talk about how some people's books became bestsellers... :D

Terie
12-31-2009, 02:43 AM
That's strange because she denied it in an interview.

Couldn't stand writing in there. Too busy, too noisy. Last thing I need when writing would to start eavesdropping on a tutor discussing RL Stevenson when I'm trying to write!

What she said on Desert Island Discs (which I caught live back in 2000) was that she did indeed write in Elephant House. The part of the old tale that was the myth was that she wrote there because she couldn't afford to heat her flat. I saw her say the same thing on a TV interview in about the same era. So unless she's changed her story (which I doubt), she did a lot of writing back in the beginning in the Elephant House.

The venue also has all kinds of stuff about it, and if it weren't true, I doubt she'd continue to let them paste it all over the windows and walls. Oh, yeah, and their website (http://www.elephanthouse.biz/), too.

Gillhoughly
12-31-2009, 03:53 AM
Yes, Paolini dressed in a silly costume and toured about selling his parent-published book at schools, fairs, and bookstores.

He was ready to pack it in because like other self-pub writers before him, no one was impressed.

The only thing that saved him from the usual obscurity reserved for self-pubs--and I DO put him in that category since his parents footed the bill for it all--was that writer Carl Hiaasen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Hiaasen) took his stepson to a bookstore instead of the zoo or McDonalds. Paolini was pimping his book there that day.

Hiaasen's kid bought a copy of Eragon, loved it, and Hiaasen showed it to Knopf publishing.

Pure chance. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eragon)

Is the book well-written? Perhaps it is for a 15 y.o.

But very unfortunately a ton of OTHER young teens are taking that set of unique and unlikely circumstances as the blueprint of how to "break in."

All they hear is that this guy is 15 and his book was a howling success from day one. They see its arresting cover all over the bookstore, so of course it can work for them, too!

I tell ya, they HATE hearing the truth, but better to have their balloon punctured early on, else they could wind up being a PublishAmerica victim the instant they type "The End" on their 99-page fantasy epic.

What made the book a success?

Clearly its fans like the old Hero with a Thousand Faces (http://www.amazon.com/Hero-Thousand-Faces-Bollingen-No/dp/0691017840) quest trope that worked well for George Lucas, among many, many others.

Young readers are more accepting of mediocre writing than adults. Goodness knows, my library of kid books had its share of crap (along with some classics) and I still treasure those bloody awful books.

Keep in mind that the book is not aimed at adults.

I wasn't able to get past page three because I have problems with horses being killed. (Yes, I know that happens in battles, but I *don't* like to read about it. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon8.gif )

Fortunate circumstances, striking a chord with young readers, and a demand for young fantasy in the aftermath of Harry Potter and the LOTR movies made it all come together.

Great for Paolini, but don't ever take his success as a blueprint to follow.

I have seen self-pub writers trying to sell their books. They've set up a signing, put on a big smile, and hope for the best.

Do I go over to chat with them?

Sometimes -- usually to see if they went with PublishAmerica or AuthorHouse. If it's some outfit I never heard of I wish them luck and leave. (In case anyone was hoping an established writer will wave a wand and cause success to burst into their life. Sorry, mate, I'm too busy trying to get that buggering wand to work for ME!)

I never buy the books, either. (Okay, I bought ONE. But it was from a writer friend who sold 60 titles to various publishers in her career and had a signed, numbered short story.)

Maybe if I have the time I'll ask why they decided to self-pub. The usual reply? "None of those publishers will give a new writer a chance. It's a closed shop!" Or "I got three rejections and then I got smart!"

That's when I haul arse out of there.

It's for their own safety.

Honest.

I'm afraid some kid might get hurt by flying bone shrapnel should my head explode.

gothicangel
12-31-2009, 02:08 PM
Interestingly Paolini has said once book four has been published, he is thinking of going to University. I think he's very savvy, (he read Beowulf as research.)

Maybe an English Lit degree might help him fulfill his promising start.

Marian Perera
12-31-2009, 02:40 PM
Can you please name a few? :)

I believe Felicity Savage was 19 when she published Humility Garden. Tried to get through that book twice; didn't succeed either time.

bettielee
12-31-2009, 03:17 PM
That's strange because she denied it in an interview.

Couldn't stand writing in there. Too busy, too noisy. Last thing I need when writing would to start eavesdropping on a tutor discussing RL Stevenson when I'm trying to write!

In the documentary about the year she wrote Harry Potter, they went to the coffee shop and she showed them the table she sat at. She said she'd put her daughter in the stroller, walk, when she fell asleep she would go in and write, and she said the thing about the coffee shop owner being related to her.

Rhysdux
12-31-2009, 06:10 PM
Can you please name a few? :)

Alexandra Elizabeth Sheedy was 12 when she published She Was Nice to Mice: The Other Side of Elizabeth I's Character Never Before Revealed by Previous Historians (http://www.amazon.com/Nice-Mice-Alexandra-Elizabeth-Sheedy/dp/0440478448/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262267417&sr=1-3) in the year 1975. The illustrator was Jessica Ann Levy, who was 13.

And yes, Alexandra later become known as actress Ally Sheedy (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000639/).

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes published In the Forests of the Night (http://www.amazon.com/Forests-Night-Amelia-Atwater-Rhodes/dp/0385326742) when she was 14.

Nancy Yi Fan published Swordbird (http://www.amazon.com/Swordbird-Nancy-Yi-Fan/dp/B002XUM18Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262268389&sr=1-1) when she was 14.

Alec Greven wrote How To Talk to Girls (http://www.amazon.com/How-Talk-Girls-Alec-Greven/dp/0061709999/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262268423&sr=1-1) when he was nine years old.

Dorothy Straight wrote How the World Began (http://www.amazon.com/How-World-Began-Dorothy/dp/0394912578/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262268483&sr=1-3) when she was four. It was published when she was six.

Toothpaste
12-31-2009, 08:07 PM
And let's not forget Gordon Korman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Korman) who was first published at 12.

LOG
12-31-2009, 08:24 PM
Interestingly Paolini has said once book four has been published, he is thinking of going to University. I think he's very savvy, (he read Beowulf as research.)

Maybe an English Lit degree might help him fulfill his promising start.
An English Lit degree doesn't really teach you how to write, it teaches you how to spell, use correct grammar, and to research and organize your throughts. You learn to write by writing and being critiqued, over, and over, and over, and over...

gothicangel
12-31-2009, 08:56 PM
I've actually found it really useful.

I've widened my reading material and discovered authors I would never have dreamed of; fell in love with Gothic (and learned how to create Gothic descriptions); I knew I was writing a revenge story but studying Hamlet opened a lot of ideas to me; I also fell in love with the Hemingway uber-pared down style of writing.

So, my English Lit degree has taught me a lot about writing (also most degrees offer creative writing options, I just haven't chosen those options yet.)

Gillhoughly
12-31-2009, 09:15 PM
English Lit. never helped me. The teachers were half-asleep as they funneled yet another freshman class through the factory.

I majored in drama and got hands-on experience for staging plays, setting a scene, building a scene. (It didn't hurt to learn how to use power tools to build the set and sewing to clothe the actors, either!) The teachers were never asleep because there were different productions going on each semester, all with different demands. It was never boring to any of us!

I read plays, like Hamlet, and dozens of others by the best writers, which teaches one how to build dialogue that makes a point.

If a play is well-written and done well, everything in it leads up to a satisfying dramatic finish, which is exactly what a good book should do.

While English Lit. can help with analysis of another writer's work, it's just not the same as pitching in, performing, and speaking the words aloud.

I still do that. All my dialogue is read aloud. If it takes longer than a breath to get out a line, I break things up. If the wording makes me stumble--and I'm the writer!--it's rewritten.

I had one creative writing class.

The teacher taught out of a book that wanted descriptions of sunsets & such. We learned the basics of plot by re-writing TV commercials. I gave up and read the 808 section of the library instead.

I suppose I was lucky not to get one of those teachers who had their own book to pimp or a specific writing style that HAD to be imitated. So far as I know I'm the only one in the class who ever went on to sell anything. That includes the teacher, too. I liked her a lot, she was one funny, smart gal, but she wasn't a writer!

waylander
12-31-2009, 09:44 PM
Alexandra Elizabeth Sheedy was 12 when she published She Was Nice to Mice: The Other Side of Elizabeth I's Character Never Before Revealed by Previous Historians (http://www.amazon.com/Nice-Mice-Alexandra-Elizabeth-Sheedy/dp/0440478448/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262267417&sr=1-3) in the year 1975. The illustrator was Jessica Ann Levy, who was 13.

And yes, Alexandra later become known as actress Ally Sheedy (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000639/).


No doubt it helped that her mother is a major literary agent

Brindle Chase
12-31-2009, 10:12 PM
What made him successful? It's actually pretty easy to see.

Like ALL successful books, they employed smart marketing. Whether you like his writing or not, it was marketed well and thus sold well.

Secondly, he and his parents had the drive to succeed. Success rarely falls into one's lap. You have to make your dreams come true. That's what they did! Tenacity and perserverance go a long way!

gothicangel
12-31-2009, 10:21 PM
I think I'm lucky, most of my tutors are a bit 'off the wall'. They only books they publish are academic textbooks (and some poetry)

Last year I hit the jackpot - my tutor was a poet and had even sat on The Booker panel. I have the chance of studying a Creative Writing module in September, but I really want to do the Gothic module.

I hate it when teachers try to teach drama straight from a text, it's meant to be spoken. I'm like you, I read out loud to see if the dialogue works.