On the Inheritance series (Eragon)
It's in His Character
By Jeremy Owen
How long have you been looking for your father?” Harlan Ellison asked the question. He’d just read my brother’s graphic novel Starchild: Awakenings. He didn’t ask about a particular part of the story. There were no questions about plot or direction. There were no questions about interpretation or comparison with similar stories done by other writers. There were no inferences about influences or James’s line of study. In the place of all these possible questions, the type of questions that are usually asked, there was just one: “How long have you been looking for your father?”
The question changed the way I think about everything I read.
Our mother divorced our father when James was about six years old. James hadn’t been actively looking for our father–our life was a good one despite or because of his absence–but there was a sense of something missing that showed up in the way my brother structured his story even if he wasn’t aware of it. When a word is laid down on the page by a writer, any writer, that word gives us a clue to what that writer thinks is important.
It’s always interesting to see the interpretation of human interaction, emotion, and conflict through the writer’s eyes. Whatever the author finds important invariably works its way into the personalities of the characters, giving us a broader view of the writer’s perceptions than is laid down explicitly on the page. Older writers learn to mask some of this, allowing the plot and characters to …