Placing the Bar: Tolkien

While reading Lord of the Ring, looking at the amazing job he’s done, I’ve decided that’s what I want to one day create. I’m not a huge fan of his writing style, though I respect it. What I am a huge fan of are his maps, the detail to the world, the history that swirls about everything and makes Middle Earth one of the most realistic worlds every created by a fantasy writer. I told a friend this. She laughed at me a little, told me he was one of those rare natural talents that just comes out of the womb oozing capability.

There are certain writers that when I see their work I freak out a little. As time’s gone more and more of those writers I can dissect their work just by reading it. I can see how the words hit the page and can imagine the author typing them. I still can’t with Tolkien. When I look at his maps, it baffles me they’re hand drawn. When I look at the plethora of books, I become weak in the knees and my head starts to swoon. It’s terrifying. But he’s my goal, my great white whale, my fleeing lover. And I will have him.

Well, the last part there was absolutely dramatic. But when speaking to my friend she said if I wanted that talent I would have to work at it. I would have to dedicate all my time to it, giving up video games, work, and lovers. I told her I think I have the time required. I believe I can attempt to chase him. Shaun T, the Insanity guy, is the closest thing I have to a lover. He makes me sweat, is highly demanding, but supports me in my time of need. Oh, and all I can do is listen, as there is no response to me talking. After about twenty to thirty minutes with him, however, he’s out of my life. Sometimes, that makes me sad. Take what you will from that.

Either way, Mercer was definitely not the world I was going to focus on. I wanted to nail Ji-Wei. God laughs at my literary plans and thrusts this in my face. Perhaps I’ll put together an anthology for the world, a few histories laced with some first hand accounts (short stories if you will) as to what happens in the world. Finish it with the story which takes place alongside Kelst and Ayne, which will be another epic. My only fear is no other story in Mercer is nearly as clear as my stories in Ji-Wei. The world is rather developed already. Decisions. But I have my dream, it’s reachable, and I will do all I can. Aside from making a language. That will quite likely not be happening.

When you write, who is your benchmark? What author do you look to and think, “If I can be as them, I’ve done what I wanted.” Why that author?

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5 responses to “Placing the Bar: Tolkien

  1. I admire the way that Brian Jacques gives the animals of Redwall such distinct personalities. It is something I hope I am able to do with my therians. However, Weis and Hickman made me fall in love with fantasy.

    • Definitely with Weis and Hickman. They were my gateway to fantasy. Have a bookshelf for them. Saw you liked Redwall. I’ll have to give it a shot.

      And from what I read you do well with the therians.

      • Thank you, sir. Tolkien is setting the bar high, but I certainly think we should push ourselves. It is easy to settle for mediocrity; let’s not.

  2. Ernest Hemingway and Jennifer Crusie. They’re my go-to writers I wish I could be like. If I could somehow blend the two…

    And from what I gathered, just in creating little minor worlds (like a house where two characters interact), more stories sort of just develop the more time you spend there. Living there instead of developing it… does that make sense? Side characters become important, little bits of the house that were insignificant yesterday are utterly important today. So you may have additional stories from Mercer the more you let your mind live there.

  3. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy were the first books I read for pleasure in my younger years. Tolkien has inspired me to write and dream in all that I do. The man left the world nearly 40 years ago and still receives the same high respects from so many people. That’s the kind of author all people should aspire to be. I was very happy to read this post, Paul, thanks for this one.

    Dylan

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