Friday, August 17, 2007

Eragon continued

So I completed Eragon by Paolini. I enjoyed it. As the book wore on the teenage-mind dialog really grated on me. Still I am overall, impressed. However, I strolled on to Amazon to peek at reviews for Eldest, the next book in the serious, and it was wholeheartedly trashed. The reviews are so overwhelmingly negative that it blows the mind.

I suppose the main issue is that Paolini's work is a thinly-veiled retread of Tolkien and Star Wars. What to say? I still plan to read Eldest. The bloom is of the rose for me just knowing that the work wasn't wholly original. Still, as writer, I can only admire the effort. Many on the Amazon review site complained that the story and names and life world of the novel are extremely similar to Tolkien's stuff. Here, I bow my head in shame and confess my ignorance of Tolkien. I read the Hobbit once, and it was absolutely delightful. I tried to get into the Lord of the Rings and boy, what a yawner! I have to say I found the first 100 pages of Dostoevsky's Crimes and Punishment more eventful even though 100 pages into C & P we are only two hours into the night and still in the main guy's head.

Anyway, all that to say that I do not and did not have a personal basis to judge just how similar Eragon is to Tolkien. One thing that is clear is that the criticism has come from the hard core sci fi folks who've read everything out there. So what may not be apparent to the regular uninitiated reader, is clear to them, regarding derivative works.

I plan to read Eldest, but I think I'll break from Dwarfs and Elves for a while. Diana Gabaldon has a series of works out which are considered romances. I'm not into romance, but everyone agrees that her books are unbelievable. So I am sold.

I have resumed writing my novel. We are at over 300 pages. The problem is that there are quite a few characters who all have fairly well developed histories in my head but not on paper yet. I am now convinced that it is worth it to put pen to paper and develop these characters more so that people can care about them. It would probably add a couple hundred more pages, but I've seen that excess novel length is exciting when you have a very good book. There's nothing like looking up during a wonderful read and realizing you still have 300 pages to go. It's like an endless plate of chicken wings.