PERSONAL: Born July 7, 1931, in Spokane, WA; son of George Wayne and Theone (Berge) Eddings; married Judith Leigh Schall, October 27, 1962.
EDUCATION: Attended Everett Junior College, 1950-52; Reed College, B.A., 1954; University of Washington, Seattle, M.A., 1961.
CAREER: Writer. Has worked as a buyer for Boeing Co., as a grocery clerk, and as a college English teacher.
MILITARY SERVICE: U.S. Army, 1954-56.
OTHER High Hunt (novel), Putnam, 1973. WORK IN PROGRESS: Two "prequels" to the "Belgariad" series; a mainstream novel, for Ballantine.
SIDELIGHTS: With the publication of his epic fantasy cycles the "Belgariad" and the "Malloreon," David Eddings has emerged as one of the most popular writers in the field, with his last four novels hitting national bestseller lists. While the plots of his novels follow the conventions of contemporary fantasy, what distinguishes Eddings's work are his interesting characters and his often irreverent wit. Calling Pawn of Prophecy "a promising start" to his "Belgariad" series, for instance, a Publishers Weekly critic states that "this work demonstrates that Eddings is a good storyteller who never gets bogged down in the cliches and archaic language that often plague contemporary sword and sorcery." As Dale F. Martin similarly says of Guardians of the West, the first book of the "Malloreon": "The plot is not new to anyone who has read much fantasy, but then it doesn't need to be: the real interest is in the characters, who are skillfully presented and deftly developed. Along with the sorcery and derring-do," the critic adds in his Fantasy Review article, "there is wry humor and loving domesticity and credible dialogue."
"I have devoted the majority of my life to writing," Eddings told CA. "My approach to fiction has been broadly ecumenical. I have tried my hand at a wide variety of subgenres with more interest in the technical problems presented by each type than in commercial success.
"I have noted that no form is, of itself, trite or hackneyed. Those faults lie in the writer, not the form. The mystery, the western, the gothic horror, the thriller, the oversized historical novel--all are susceptible to that artistry which lifts the efforts of a given writer above those of his contemporaries, no matter what form he chooses.
"My advice to the young writer is likely to be unpalatable in an age of instant successes and meteoric falls. I tell the neophyte: Write a million words--the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you're ready to begin. Never be afraid to discard a day's work--or a month's, or even a year's. Attachment to one's own brilliance is the worst form of juvenile self-indulgence. It is the work that is important, not the writer's tender ego. When you are with people, listen; don't talk. Writers are boring people. What are you going to talk about so brilliantly? Typewriters? The construction of paragraphs? Shut your mouth and listen. Listen to the cadences of speech. Engrave the sound of language on your mind. Language is our medium, and the spoken language is the sharp cutting edge of our art. Make your people sound human. The most tedious story will leap into life if the reader can hear human voices in it. The most brilliant and profound of stories will sink unnoticed if the characters talk like sticks.
"Most of all, enjoy what you're doing. If you don't enjoy it, it's not worth doing at all. If hard and unrewarding work bothers you, do something else. If rejection withers your soul, do something else. If the work itself is not reward enough, stop wasting paper. But if you absolutely have to write--if you're compelled to do it even without hope of reward or recognition--then I welcome you to our sorry, exalted fraternity."
He added: "My current excursion into fantasy has given me an opportunity to test my technical theories. I made a world that never was, with an unlikely theology splattered against an improbable geology. My magic is at best a kind of pragmatic cop-out. Many of my explanations of how magic is supposed to work are absurdities--but my characters all accept these explanations as if there was no possibility of quibbling about them, and if the characters believe, then the readers seem also to believe. Maybe that's the real magic. That's the basic formula for fantasy. Take a bit of magic, mix well with a few open-ended Jungian archetypal myths, make your people sweat and smell and get hungry at inopportune moments, throw in a ponderous prehistory, and let nature take its course."