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Does your son know about National Novel Writing Month? It's a great way to plunge into just getting some words (any words!) down on paper, to cut through that desire to be perfect on the first draft and WRITE. Last year my then twelve year old son wrote a 50,000 word novel in less than six weeks and I wrote a really, really bad one in a month.


What might be most impressive besides her age is the 252-page length of the book. Most adult fantasy writers have supped from the verbosity spoon a wee bit overmuch, leading to 650-page monstrosities.


Good for him (and Kristina), I always wanted to write something like that, but always chickened out.

Also, seeing how old your oldest is now makes me realize how long I've been reading your blog! I feel like if I ever met him in person I would channel my great aunt Marybelle, pinch his cheek and tell him I remember him when he was knee high. Or at least before he was a teenager. When did he get so old?


As noted, good for Skilling and the 15 Year Old, but it should be pointed out that the main reason Paolini got his book in print at such a young age is that his parents owned the company which published it.

Uncle Merlin

Geoduck I love the stories behind the stories! Thank You!

When we started our embroidery business way back there was this huge media blitz about this kid who started "flip you lids" hat shop and got all the major league teams signed up to be embroidered on hats and had many many outlet stores in all these big malls across america, it was very daunting after just starting a business. Overnite this kid was big.
Come to find out his father owned all those shopping malls across america, so I watched, and saw even after 5 years they still hadn't turned a profit.

When I learned that it wasn't so daunting after all!


velvet goldmine

A lot of people have snarked on the Eragon books for being derivative of Lord of the Rings, et al, but I read the first two and thought they were pretty respectable. Not breathtaking, but interesting. It will be interesting to see if he can tie it up in the third one without losing his way.

You know what always helps a young man approach a young woman to talk books? Having your DAD standing snapping pictures of the whole encounter.


Lmfao @ Paolini's parents publishing his book for him. I think we'd all be great best-selling authors if our parents owned the company. His ego must be on steroids, he goes around like he is the best author ever and better than JK Rowling, and mummy and daddy dearest just handed him a deal on a silver platter.

As for getting published at 15, I think it is a bad, bad idea. I know Justine Larbaliester got published when she was 11 and the kids at her school gave her hell for it, and it wasn't as useful as you would think in getting a book deal when she was older. It probably murders your humility, and I would be, let's face it, EMBARASSED to have my mother snapping pictures of me at my school book-signing. It would just be like asking for attention. To the writing of someone who is 15. Which to me is like taking a big steaming dump on the floor and asking everyone to gather round and have a look. When you're 15, you have very little experience, very few ideas, and not even a fraction of the skill. There is a 99% chance that that book was horrible. If she's special enough to be a writing prodigy, well, then that's just ducky.

Don't think that I'm some crotchety old bitch, either. I'm 15 going on 16 and the very idea of someone my age asking to be published is mortifying. I'd like to develop as a person first and let my writing develop alongside that.


All beginning writers need luck and help getting started. Christopher Paolini's parents may have published his first book, but they couldn't make people buy it or readers like Kristina and my son enjoy it. Besides, their company is far from one of the most important publishing houses in the country. He was lucky that he has parents who supported his writing, luckier still that they could help him get started. But his books had to make their own way into readers' hands based on his talents on a storyteller.


Good luck with your writing.

Kristina Skilling seems like a very nice person with a good head on her shoulders.

Ken Houghton

There are worse careers, or career paths, than Justine's.

Gordon van Gelder tells of selling his first story ("The Tenth Reindeer") in at latest his early teens and using the money to buy a 3-year subscription to F&SF.

Several years later, he's now the editor and publisher of that magazine.

That said, keep in mind Jim MacDonald's rule: money should flow to the writer. So if he finishes something, submit to a publisher who will pay him before going to iUniverse.

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