Christopher Paolini’s “Epic in Epic Fantasy” Comic-Con Panel Live Coverage

Christopher Paolini is currently participating in his “Putting the Epic in Epic Fantasy” panel and Shur’tugal is there covering the panel live! This panel features a host of brilliant fantasy authors, including George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Peter Orullian, KJ Taylor, and Kevin J. Anderson. We are currently live-blogging the event. To view our live coverage, continue reading!

Here are the highlights and quotes from Christopher’s big “Epic in Epic Fantasy” panel today!

  • KJ Taylor, Patrick Rothfuss, Peter O, Christopher Paolini, Brandon Sanderson, and George R R Martin on the panel!
  • Christopher got a huge clap, eclipsed only by Martin’s applause
  • This panel is about putting the “epic” in “epic fantasy”
  • Christopher: “I define epic as Wizard of Earthsea. Massive books can be epic, but not always”
  • Christopher: “So Brandon, you’re telling us that the Wheel of Time is never going to end?”
  • “Epic fantasy is a marketing category to distinguish the type of things us on the panel write.”
  • “Within an epic story you can tell many small stories” – CP
  • George R R Martin is sitting there playing with his beard. Hilarious.
  • Question: How do you start world building?
  • “You can argue that Tolkien is language-based, as it was such a large part of the world”
  • “I think that it’s become very clear that everyone tackles world building with a different focus. Everyone’s heart sits in a different place.” – CP
  • “All you want to do is write about big battles and action sequences. If you’re honest about how those effect your characters, you’ll start delving far into their psychology and build on them from there.” – CP
  • “You might have a story where your characters don’t do anything…” “Isn’t that what literary fiction is?”
  • “The world I created was a matter of asking very simple questions. Where do they get food? Who do they not hate?” – CP
  • “Everything is: what is ______ about? Ask those questions to build a world”
  • “There are tons of half-finished books where I have a great character with no world for him to live in, or a great world with no good characters to populate it” – Sanderson
  • “World building needs to go hand in hand with storytelling, the focus needs to be on both equally” – George RR Martin
  • “It begins and ends with the characters and their story” – Martin
  • “We’re not all Tolkein and we cannot all spend decades inventing languages” – Martin
  • “World building has come under attack on the internet lately. I completely disagree with it” – Martin
  • “In Ice and Fire, I started with a scene where some wolf pups were found with their dead mother in the snow. I didn’t know what story it was apart of, what world it was a part of — nothing.” – Martin
  • Question: Do you start with a character and let the character tell YOU where to go?
  • Martin: “Yep”
  • “Dammnnnnn! Damn! I’m an outliner!” – Patrick Rothfuss (after once dogging on story outliners) “We’ll have to discuss that afterward!” – CP
  • “The best parts of a book are ‘beautiful accidents’ — part of an organic process”
  • “I do do a — I said dodo.” Ah, fantasy authors…
  • Christopher’s long (and interesting) and interesting answer:

    “Looking up and down this panel, this is an awesome panel to be on. And Peter — am I the only one here who has beard envy now? More seriously, for me… I’ve never actually written more than one story. For me, every single story book that I’ve outlined or decided I wanted to write at some point — it always comes from a single image coupled with emotion. It’s usually the key turning point for the story. I’ll feel the emotions in my head and I’ll say, ‘This means something. This touches me. This is good. This is important.’ The challenge I then have to face is ‘how do I create a world and a structure to get to that point?’

    Ultimately I’m an emotional writer. In the Inheritance cycle, the key idea was a young man finding a dragon egg in the middle of a forest. Everything I did after that was an attempt to justify everything after that experience. Before I started Eragon, I tried writing books before and couldn’t get past the first three or four pages because I didn’t know what happened next. So I decided to be very rigorous about this, plotting out an entire book… and I never wrote it. OK, now I know that I can plot out a book. I’m going to write my first book as practice and then I’m going to write a real book. I do love Eragon by the way, don’t get me wrong. Of course Eragon was the practice book. Each book is a 12 to 14 page outline, single spaced. I talked to Terry Brooks about this a couple of times — he’s rigorous about this as well. That said, you have to have the ability and courage to recognize when the outline is ruining your story. They grow and change in ways you don’t expect. You have to have honest with yourself to acknowledge that. ‘The guy I had intended to marry so or so, or kill the king, that just doesn’t fit now’ (MIKE’S NOTE: HINT FOR THE FUTURE??) ‘So okay, how do I work out the rest of the story?’ Without exception, I found that this process led to a much better story. I’m a big believer of outlining, but you have to be willing to throw it away when the story demands it.”

  • “Writing an outline is like running a war.”
  • Check out writingexcuses.com — Brandon Sanderson’s website offering advice to aspiring writers. “It’s soooooo useful. Thank you!”
  • “Editors will let you know if your book is ready by sending you a check!” – Martin
  • “Don’t take forever with a story. Write a story, send it out. Short stories are how I began and I still think that’s the best way to begin.” – Martin
  • “It’s important to keep writing, to keep working on making your work better. But if you continue to write, you have to be aware. People may not learn from what they’re writing, and you have to make the effort to improve with every story.” – CP
  • “Don’t write to the market. Write to please yourself.”
  • “Epic fantasy needs better female characters” – Patrick Rothfuss. Christopher: “Patrick just nailed it there.”
  • CP: “I like e-books, but I do not read them. I think they have their limitations. Reading on the computer is hard — it’s going to hurt your eyes. Ultimately I like having a physical book. That said, I think the format allows for a type of storytelling that hasn’t been explored yet.”
  • Laurelleaf9

    “Epic fantasy needs better female characters” – Patrick Rothfuss. Christopher: “Patrick just nailed it there.”
    I’m working on it!

    • Eragon and Arya995

      So am I 🙂

      ~Krista

  • Neverquestionyoda

    Is there a full transcript or recording of this panel anywhere?

  • 18scsc

    HOLY CRAP GEORGE RR MARTIN AND CP ON A PANEL TOGATHER

  • Gustopher

    I am also a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I have learned a ton from writingexcuses.com and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to become a better writer.

  • Gustopher

    I am also a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I have learned a ton from writingexcuses.com and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to become a better writer.

  • Roy

    I love CP, but I would like to have read more of Brandon’s comments. I think Brandon is one of the best and most original writers of the moment. I met him a few weeks ago when he was in Amsterdam and the guy is a freakin genius. His last book, The Way of Kings, is one of the best fantasy novels I have ever read. 

    That being said, I can’t wait for Inheritance. I think I’m going to do a reread of the first books to refresh my mind a bit, even though I know the books quete well, 

    Also, I laughed at the bit where Martin says you shouldn’t take forever with a story after taking 6 years to write his last book xD I hope someone will put the full panel on youtube soon. 

    • Bob Bob

      Have you read Mistborn?
      If not, you ain’t read nothin’ yet.

    • Bob Bob

      Have you read Mistborn?
      If not, you ain’t read nothin’ yet.

  • I’m fairly sure the issues were that internet was very touch-and-go at the convention center and Mike wasn’t able to live blog the show.

  • Baboo

    I got an email from Alagaesia.com today. I think it’s the announcement(s).  Don’t get you’re hopes up. Sorry. 

    HERE IT IS:

    Kvetha Fricäya! 
     
    Hi Everyone,
     
    I’m thrilled to unveil to you today two exciting Inheritance cycle announcements from Comic-Con International in San Diego!
     
    For all of you who are on Facebook, we’ve launched a great new Facebook game called Inheritance Quest. In this game you’ll have the opportunity put yourself in the shoes of many of your favorite Inheritance cycle characters. Each character quest includes ten tasks comprised of a variety of challenging visual puzzles, mini-games, trivia, and choose-your-own-adventure activities. Completion of tasks earns players badges, three in total, and ultimately a trading card for each of the five characters: Angela, Murtagh, Galbatorix, Saphira, and Eragon. This week we’ll be kicking off the Angela quest.
     
    The other piece of news is that Alagaesia.com is getting a whole new look! Now you’ll be able to easily discover my new videos, see photos from all my appearances on the book tour, hear about the latest announcements, and check out Inheritance cycle activities.
     
    I hope you enjoy the Inheritance Quest and the new look of Alagaesia.com. I look forward to hearing your reactions to them. Good luck with your quests, and may your swords stay sharp until we talk again in August!
     
    Christopher Paolini

  • Cilmion

    You all realize they can only do what they can do getting impatient will not get it to you any faster mike will get it on here just calm down

    • Lil Uhura

      Yeah, just chill people.  It’ll come when it comes (though it won’t stop me from checking every hour :-p ).

      • Hrothgar

        ur right. sorry. its just im really curious about what it is.

  • Hrothgar

    Ok earlier today i was fine with waiting but now it is 3:40 and nothing has come out yet and i am in california so i think something should comeout in at least the next 1 hour, by 5:00 california time.

  • Shipuz

    come on its 01:20 here…

  • Corex Defender

    we still waiting Mr. Mike sir… Nothing yet Mr. Mike sir… HURRY UP MR. MIKE SIR…

  • bigdog

    dudes it is 5:15 pm here

    • Olli

      here it’s 00:00

      • SecretCountess

        Are you in Spain too?

        • limlight

          CET time goes from germany to Spain, including all the countries in the middle.

          • Lamees_arekat

            Here it’s 1:00 Am ..which means it’s actually Friday and I AM STILL WAITING!!:(

          • Oh get over it people. It will get here when it gets here

  • Crystal

    Wait a second, I think I saw something come up on the screen… and now it’s gone… ?

  • THIS is the announcement?

    • no, this is not the announcement, which probably didn’t come to surface yet ’cause the staff is way too busy at Comic Con. 
      it was supposed to be a live coverage of one of the panels CP will attend xP 

  • berry21

    Uuggghhhhh… technical dificulties! But I can’t wait to read the post! & I wanna know what the big announcement from Random House is!

  • Crystal

    Has this already happened? If not, what would the time be in Central time? This is so confusing…

  • Had a power outage here in Chicago. I was terrified that I would miss important news. Luckily there doesn’t seem to be anything too important that I missed. I hope you guys are having fun over at Comic-Con, and thank you so much for going to the trouble of covering it for those who can’t make it, we really appreciate it. I have a feeling this is going to be a lot more interesting than we expect.

  • vadersapp

    ARRRRGH!!!! Vlogging fail!

  • Guest

    Actually, everything is happening just as mike said. He said the panel would be between 12 and 1 pm Pacific time, and that is now. Calm down ppl!

    • vadersapp

      But, it’s almost quarter til 1, Pacific, so it is running behind, still.

    • vadersapp

      But, it’s almost quarter til 1, Pacific, so it is running behind, still.

  • Brandon

    Id say just refresh your screen every few minutes and hope and pray it comes up. I really want to see this stuff.

  • Brandon

    did it already happen i wonder and there has been a mix up or is it going to happen in 20 minutes?

    • vadersapp

      That’s kinda what i was wondering. Or maybe the event itself is running late.

  • they have probably gotten some problem people. keep calm. 
    it’s not so easy to cover a live event. 

    • cp fan

      okay, I’ll take your word for it.

    • Brandon

      Hey i will calm down when it starts not a moment sooner. :p

      • though, there’s no need to it. if it’s not working yet, it must have a good reason to. 
        when you less expect, you’re gonna be watching it (i hope, at least xP 

      • though, there’s no need to it. if it’s not working yet, it must have a good reason to. 
        when you less expect, you’re gonna be watching it (i hope, at least xP 

  • misswriter18

    I feel cheated…

    • cp fan

      I know, right?

  • cp fan

    Live coverage? What live coverage?

  • raiden41233

    what times this showing at???

  • raiden41233

    what times this showing at???

    • cp fan

      It’s supposed to be showing right now!

  • Matt

    Currently? There is nothing here….

    • Santeri S

       my thoughts exactly

      • Perseus

        Ditto.

    • misswriter18

      I got the reminder in e-mail and yet there’s nothing. I’m getting sad.