I don't watch Star Wars, so whatever references Paolini had, they flew right over my head. But I notice the similarities between Eragon and LotR. But none of that annoyed me nearly so much as the fact that every one of his characters (with the possible exception of Murtagh) felt like a proxy for their role. So far as I can detect, folks like Eragon and Roran have nearly no personality outside of what the plot requires.
But look! The fact that we're even talking about him! He may not be a good writer, but something in his works causes many people to enjoy it. That's why writing is subjective, and there is no rule--only loose principles.
As for the antihero argument, a distinction needs to be made about role and personality. The antihero role may be used however many times, but it offers unlimited possibilities for personalities. That's why I pulled out the Lestat and Roland example; they're distinct, different characters despite both being antiheroes. I doubt anyone would hate The Dark Tower because they read The Vampire Chronicles first or vice versa. Frankly, if a role as vague as antihero should be avoided, you're only going to be limiting your options and ultimately end up boxing yourself into a corner with your own fear of cliches.
I don't think an author's opinion of their own work is useless. As writers, one skill is to learn to edit. No one can write your stories for you, and when people offer suggestions, it's up to you to decide how to change the part, if you change it at all. Sure, the author's opinion is one opinion and might not be the best one, but no writer can get through life without editing their own work. Knowing how to evaluate stories, your own or others, is a skill a writer must develop, and basing your opinion of your work solely on what others tell you doesn't speak of a lot of care about your own writing. The bottom line is, if you hate what you wrote and don't give a crap about it, why should anyone else care?
< Message edited by Firefly -- 7/9/2009 12:42:38 >