As many of you know, this fall Random House ran a Super Fan video contest. I had the pleasure of watching these videos over the holidays. To all who entered the contest, I was touched by your sincerity, creativity, and enthusiasm for the Inheritance cycle. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
Choosing a winner was no easy task. But we do have a winner! Two winners, in fact. Our grand prize winner is jwelde, from New York, who created a clever music video about living in Alagaësia. Our first prize winner is chucknorris1fan, from Illinois, whose enthusiasm won me over. Random House will fly Jwelde to Montana to meet me, and I will visit chucknorris1fan via Skype. Click here to watch the winning entries!
I would like to acknowledge the aspiring authors who submitted entries. I wish I could speak to each of you in person, or better yet create a roundtable of aspiring writers, where we could sit together and discuss your projects and find ways to improve your skills.
In short, read widely and pay attention to how authors craft their sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. You can learn a lot about the craft of writing by taking the time to study the books around you. Write consistently, then read your work aloud. You'll be surprised how many awkward phrases and grammatical mistakes you'll discover with this technique. And read a few books on grammar, how to craft a story, and how the publishing industry works. Finally, find a local mentor: author, English teacher, journalist, writers group, etc., who can help edit your work. Your local librarian may be able refer you to such a person or group.
Book Four is still in progress. As usual, each plot point seems to expand as I write it, but I think when you read it you'll agree that the story was worth the wait. I just finished a scene that included a stone table, a brazier filled with glowing coals, a man with impeccably groomed fingernails, and a black cloak.
Thank you for your patience as I finish this manuscript. I think of you often as I pen this tale.
May your swords stay sharp!
Visit the official fan site for the Inheritance cycle: Shurtugal.com