Christopher Paolini has had a wide-reaching impact on young readers and aspiring writers across the globe. His journey from creating and self-publishing Eragon at just 15 to becoming a worldwide best-selling author a few years later inspired hundreds to put their own ideas and adventures to pen and paper!
As part of our NaNoWriMo series, we’re sharing stories from Inheritance Cycle fans who wrote their own novels – all because Christopher motivated them to give it a shot! We hope that you too can take something from this post… maybe even begin an adventure of your own?
From Kate Post (@notanowl211):
It was actually the wait between Eldest and Brisingr that made a writer out of me. Christopher’s world was so engaging that I refused to leave it during the hiatus. I wrote some truly awful fanfic to combat the withdrawals. From there I found NaNoWriMo, and 11 years later, I’m a published author and editor with Writers Colony Press, a small indie publishing house that produces charity anthologies in memory of people like Alan Rickman, David Bowie and others.
My short story, “The Fringe Point,” is sci-fi with a dash of dystopia and a hint of Joss Whedon. Captain Winnie Hammerton hovers on the edge between loyalism and revolution in a futuristic world plagued by the same old problems. My story appears beside stories by Dragon Award finalist R.R. Virdi (The Grave Report), D.R. Perry (Providence Paranormal College series), and many more in The Longest Night Watch, Volume 2, which honors Sir Terry Pratchett. All proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association.
From Kelly Palmer (@Kelly_D_Palmer):
In 2004 my mom read an article in our local paper about a young author who would be signing at our local bookstore. She suggested I go because it sounded like the kind of book I would like and the author was only 2 years older than me. Not wanting to go to the signing knowing nothing, I bought the book, started reading, and fell in love. It was the kind of high fantasy you only find in Tolkien. I couldn’t believe someone my age had written this. Now I had to meet him.
The night of the signing I heard Christopher talk about writing Eragon. I got to ask him questions and talk to him about writing. When he signed my book he said I asked questions like a writer. I told him I had a story I’d been thinking of writing. He told me I should write it and that he looked forward to reading it one day. I went home that night and started outlining a plot. Now I’m on my fifth edit of my first novel and starting my second novel. I don’t know if I’d be as far as I am without his kind words. I know that when I publish it will be in large part due to the little push Christopher gave me back then.
From Bryant Golden (@bryantgolden):
When I was twelve, my English/History teacher in sixth grade recommended a fun little story about a boy who finds a dragon egg. He told us it was called Eragon and moved on with the day’s lesson. It wasn’t homework. He never even brought it up again. But I went out and found a copy with my mom, and when I read how young the author was, I decided I could write a book too. I wasn’t “too young.”
It took years of stubbornness and effort, but when I was nineteen I finished my first book and self-published it. When I was twenty, I founded my own publishing house in Los Angeles. When I was twenty-two, only months after the final book in my trilogy was published, “Blue Moon Chronicles” won a bronze medal in the 2016 Global Ebook Awards for Fantasy/Other World Fiction. All because in sixth grade, my teacher casually recommended “Eragon” to the class.
From Emily Buza:
When I was in first grade, my parents bought me and my older brother an audiobook version of Eragon. I was definitely much younger than the book’s target demographic, but I loved it. Even if I didn’t understand everything perfectly, the story and the characters ignited my imagination (and the writing style improved my vocabulary). From then on, Eragon was part of my life. I literally grew up with these books. Listening to each audiobook as soon as it was released, and loving every single one.
Now as a freshman in college–over ten years after I first started listening to these stories–I still love them and I’m still writing. Fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose, I try to write everything. And a lot of what I’ve written over the years has been inspired by the sprawling fantasy of The Inheritance Cycle. My work now is much better than it was when I was in elementary school writing about the adventures of my stuffed dragon named “Saphira” in a sparkly purple journal. But even now, Christopher Paolini still inspires me. He showed me at a very young age that you didn’t have to wait until you were an adult to write something substantial. You didn’t have to wait for the rest of the world to decide that you were ready. If I’d never discovered the story of Eragon and Saphira and Arya and everyone else in this magical world or if I hadn’t found it when I did, I’m honestly not sure if I’d be writing the way I do now. Because of that, I am eternally grateful to Christopher Paolini for writing this series and to my parents for thinking their children would enjoy an audiobook with a dragon on the cover.
From Zachary T. (@Xaqrie)
Eragon was the first “big” book that I read as a teen. I went on to read the rest of the series, and conquering those epic books has had an enormous affect on my entire life. It has caused me to love reading all fantasy books, video games, and movies. For a long time I have dreamed of writing a book but I never had any idea what it would be about. I recently got a job at a library on campus re-shelving books all day and I stumbled across a copy of Eragon. I bought it on audiobook about 15 minutes later and have since listened to all of them in the series.
Since re-listening to the series, I have become inspired and finally begun writing my own book. I’m currently about 20,000 words in and I write several thousand almost every day when I get out of class or off work. I am hoping to have a full first draft of my book by the end of my next school semester. This never would have happened if not for Paolini’s incredible books.
From Anjali S. (@shurtugalangjali)
I first picked up Eragon when I was in 4th grade. I am now in my second year of college, and I’ve reread Eragon almost every year since then. I’ve read through the series as a whole only about twice, but Eragon I’ve read at least eight times, Eldest I’ve read about five times, Brisingr thrice, and Inhericance twice. The Inheritance Cycle was probably my first real experience with (high) fantasy, and though I’ve read many excellent books in the genre since then, none hold quite the same charm that Eragon does for me.
As someone who’s been writing stories since I was a little girl, the Inheritance Cycle instantly captivated me with its magic and dragons and it wasn’t long before I tried my own hand am writing fantasy. The languages in the series caught my interest as well. The two combined to form the book I am currently writing, complete with its own system of magic and a world with its own cultures and people and languages. I simply cannot stop creating languages and alphabets (I counted just yesterday; I’m up to eight languages, and half of those don’t even show up in my book!) If I hadn’t picked up Eragon back in 4th grade, I think a lot of my writing wouldn’t exist.
On top of giving me the push I needed to start bigger writing projects, the Inheritance Cycle keeps me going when my creative juices are running dry. All it takes is a rereading of the books and I’m cured.
The Paolini family have also featured a large collection of stories from Inheritance Cycle fans whose lives were touched by the series. While many of these stories don’t discuss Christopher directly inspiring them to write, their tales are unique and a pleasure to read.
We’d love to hear if and how Christopher Paolini sparked the writer inside you! Share your story in the comments below!