The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-25-2002, 09:33 PM   #81
NyteSky
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Tower of Sorcery and Lore
Posts: 76
NyteSky has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to NyteSky
Sting

I was incredibly relieved to find how long it took Tolkien to write his books. I've been working on mine for a little over a year now and there's no end in sight.
The temptation to imitate Tolkien, who is undoubtably the master, is very strong sometimes. I'm afraid I did borrow quite a bit from him for certain types of my elves, but other than that managed to resist.
I highly recommend David Eddings as an author. He's my favorite and I'm afraid I borrowed a little of his sorcerors as well.
I'm amazed how many seem to have written/ are writing here. Very impressive.
__________________
The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
AIM: NightSky717
Email/msn IM: davidone_2000@msn.com
NyteSky is offline  
Old 04-25-2002, 11:04 PM   #82
Mister Underhill
Dread Horseman
 
Mister Underhill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Behind you!
Posts: 2,738
Mister Underhill has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye

lmp: What is FaerieWorldweavers? It's probably none of my business, but I would urge you not to publish/post anything online that you hope to publish in book form one day, for a variety of reasons. My two cents.
Mister Underhill is offline  
Old 04-26-2002, 12:42 AM   #83
Starbreeze
Ghost of a Smile
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Mirkwood - Middle Earth
Posts: 389
Starbreeze has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Starbreeze
Silmaril

That has always been my reservation too Mister Underhill.
__________________
Do not tamper with the affairs of wizards, they are not all that subtle - Terry Pratchett

To write is to make dreams, to make dreams is to awaken the fantasy of the mind, to awaken the mind is to be a master.
Starbreeze is offline  
Old 04-26-2002, 03:12 AM   #84
Thalionyulma
Shade of Carn Dm
 
Thalionyulma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: across the sea
Posts: 295
Thalionyulma has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

I believe the whole point for a writers' forum is to "brain-storm". I do recall Tolkien having those same reservations though. But I believe without "The Inklings", many of his ideas for his stories would never have been made.

I feel like a baby still learning to walk here. Thank you for the encouragement KC. (i'll be sending my story soon to BD, its almost finished, hope its good enough to get posted [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] )

Gilthalion, your RPG and FanFic was the one that actually got me to pick up my pen again and turn my imagination back on. I had forgotten that magic Tolkien had offered... [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

I'm joining FaerieWordWeaver... [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
Thalionyulma is offline  
Old 04-26-2002, 03:51 AM   #85
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Pipe

Mister Underhill: I can appreciate your reservations. I wouldn't mind FaerieWordweavers remaining somewhat unknown, but all one really needs to do is post a "copyright" along with any such posting on line. Which I should have done. Oops. [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]

Thinhyandoiel: Thanks for your response on the levels of seriousness. I am in accord with you regarding Tolkien. I liked also what you said about your willingness as a writer to put important characters through some pretty horrendous experiences. Any writer worth her/his salt must do that or not have as powerful a story as could be. I think there may be a "level of seriousness" thing in that.

Mr. Frodo: Welcome to the thread. And I love the name. It reminds me of Sam's special bond with Frodo. The best way to be sure your characters sound like something other than what you may fear is to read a lot.

Nar: Thanks for the "liftoff". [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

NyteSky: I have read David Eddings. It's good, and I would give it a 3 or 4 on the seriousness, but no higher. Eddings comes from a history and political science background, if I remember correctly, and his humor helps his stories go a long way. It's an ironic humor that is foreign to Tolkien's sense of Faerie. Enjoyable, but about shoulder high to Tolkien if that. Sorry for seeming to trounce over something that's special to you.

FaerieWordweavers (no 'l' in Word) is the site Niphredil Baggins mentioned on this thread. Go to her post and click on the link she provided.

Happy writing!
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 04-26-2002, 02:49 PM   #86
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Pipe

Well, KC, upon my suggestion that you're missing something by holding yourself back from the a full appreciation of fiction, such as Tokien, and you return the favor by suggesting that I am deluding myself as to why I really perceive the world the way I do. I guess that makes us even. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

By now I'm well aware of your chosen stance as an outsider, and will not question your motivations, since, like the rest of us, you want to have fun and have chosen this way of having it. I have no problem with a worthy opponent in a forum, so you may pat your dander back down.

By the way, was it I who suggested that you were afraid of something? I may have pondered that, but I don't think I posted it...

Iron sharpens iron, goes the saying.

Mister Underhill:
Niphredil Baggins suggested that this thread might fall prey to being stopped due to its supposed tendency to vere away from Tolkien and so forth. Please be so kind as to inform whether you think this is so, or how close it is coming to that.
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 04-26-2002, 03:55 PM   #87
Mister Underhill
Dread Horseman
 
Mister Underhill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Behind you!
Posts: 2,738
Mister Underhill has been trapped in the Barrow!
Sting

Well, thanks for asking, littlemanpoet. I do think that this topic is starting to degenerate and needs to steer back towards Tolkien or face an untimely demise.

Discussion of the challenges of writing fantasy fiction in the shadow of Tolkien, the conventions of the genre, analysis of successful and unsuccessful techniques used by Tolkien and other fantasy authors (including yourself), strategies for overcoming or avoiding problems like Tolkien-imitation, the mythic/historical influences of the genre or other sources of inspiration, and so on are all still fair game. The moderators are usually far more lenient with a thread that wanders off-topic if the discussion is carried out in the spirit of friendly, respectful debate.

Things that are likely to get this and other threads closed: antagonism, flaming, insults, and rude and disrespectful conversation. Its always a danger sign when people start addressing their comments to one another rather than the topics under discussion. Since this is a Tolkien board, lets keep it in the neighborhood of Tolkien.
Mister Underhill is offline  
Old 04-26-2002, 09:39 PM   #88
Nar
Wight
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 228
Nar has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

All right, back to the topic, then. I'll try to tackle those 6 levels, littlemanpoet.

'1. Serious as personal escape from the mundane stuff we face each day.'
I do have greater ambitions for my stories than just 1, but I hope they work at this level. When I broke through writer's block (induced by too much editing early in the creation process), I made myself write pure fun stuff, without any boring connecting bits, just to get the joy of writing back. That can be a useful stage. It's important not to let commercial ambition, artistic ambition, or your own developing maturity as a writer block the sheer bliss of creation.

I think writing that is intended to be purely commercial begins here, although it may transcend itself. I think, however,that
even purely market-driven creations have to reach level 2, or they will not be successful. They may look good, and gain initial business, but they will not gain word-of-mouth or repeat business. If distribution is wide enough, that may not matter: the one-week bestseller, or the two-week movie. I remember reading a horribly incompetent book by an author with a fascinating profession. It was clearly published on the 'high concept' but the author was not prepared to write a novel.

'2. Serious as self-expression, which is the beginnings of art.'
Your distinction between 2 and 3 is interesting; I'm not sure I understand it. Does 'self-expression' mean trying to tell a story that reflects the writer, and opposed to just seeking pleasant sensations? The rewards of the story at level 2 are organized by the nature, interests and worldview of the writer? At this point the writer is beginning to take the act of writing seriously? Yes, I certainly think I write at this level. I think anyone who feels there is a risk to showing their work is at or beyond level 2, because what is the risk unless the work reflects oneself? Therefore, that sort of anxiety is probably a good sign. That's comforting --I think!

'3. Serious as communication of personal loves and desires, which is one step above #2 because I the writer am not merely blurting, but trying to connect to my reader. '

Ok, you begin this category with the nature of the writer, but to me the important idea is contained in the last word: reader.

Writing is in essence talking stretched across a page, and to me, a clear and vivid mental model of the reader on the other side of the communication is essential. This is why a writers' group or at least one friendly reader or listener is so useful in helping pull the best out of a piece. It is not just the comfort of knowing someone is willing to read it, but the imprint of one or more readers in the writer's mind, which refines the writer's voice and stimulates all the layers of the writer's mind and personality.

I think the grounding of Tolkien's work in stories told to his children and written work read to his friends is an essential
ingredient in the strengths of the work. In part, I think the rigorous composition of competing and cooperating themes, characters, plot elements and archetypes which I have discussed in the 'are there any valid criticisms' thread was stimulated by Tolkien's strong feelings about his initial audience.

For example, the section of The Lord of the Ring that, for me, raises themes of loss, despair, endurence, redemption and death, the journey of Frodo and Sam through Mordor, was written during WWII and sent in installments to Tolkien's son Christopher, who was in the RAF and stationed in South Africa. Having a son in service during a war must have triggered powerful fears. A phrase from a later letter retrospectively describes this, although the danger was past by then, Letters, # 105,
'I hope earnestly that [the news] is good, though one is still hesitant to ask news of sons.'
I can't help but feel that natural worries about his son may have influenced Tolkien's writing of Sam's grief over Frodo; and that the spiritual concerns that are raise by a mortal threat to a child helped induce the strong themes of grief and transcendence that I find in these sections. I certainly find fears about my future and current griefs bleeding into my stories.

This is good-- it's giving me ideas about my current story! Thank you. Sorry I never got to 4-6, more later, I hope.

[ April 26, 2002: Message edited by: Nar ]
Nar is offline  
Old 04-27-2002, 01:21 PM   #89
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Pipe

Mister Underhill: Thank you for supplying the useful guidelines.

KC: Cheers to all you said in your last post. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Nar: You have accurately interpreted the distinctions I intended between the levels of seriousness. You have succeeded in fleshing them out better than I, as well. Yes, the reader is the key aspect of #3 versus #2. I'm a struck that my levels seem to correspond reasonably well to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. That had not been intended, but there it is - after a fashion.
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 04-27-2002, 02:35 PM   #90
Starbreeze
Ghost of a Smile
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Mirkwood - Middle Earth
Posts: 389
Starbreeze has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Starbreeze
Silmaril

Oh boy, have I been away for too long (too long being one day of not being on). Well, I've been doing some research today and I have a lot to tell and ask you guys, and...oh no, I've got to go! Honestly, spend two days updating a website and you don't have time to do anything else. But I will be back soon to finish off what I was going to say.
__________________
Do not tamper with the affairs of wizards, they are not all that subtle - Terry Pratchett

To write is to make dreams, to make dreams is to awaken the fantasy of the mind, to awaken the mind is to be a master.
Starbreeze is offline  
Old 04-28-2002, 08:16 AM   #91
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Pipe

This is a little touchy because everybody who posted on the "Are You Writing Serious Fantasy" (aywsf) thread is a subject of this post. I have no intention of offending any of you. The one benefit is that you have the opportunity to respond to this analysis.

The "Valid Criticisms" discussion spurred me to start the aywsf thread. I was astounded that the topic garnered so many fervent responses. My original reason for starting the thread was to see if other serious fantasy writers (in this case all unpublished in book form) were running into the difficulties of Tolkien imitation and the pitfalls that go along with that, and how they were trying to overcome it, and how successful they thought they had been. I guess you could call it a more or less unscientific case study. The thread became a bit of a support group for fantasy writers' frustrations, which helped crystallize for me "six levels of seriousness" in writing fantasy.

Let me reiterate that I consider each level of seriousness to be, indeed, serious, and not at all worthy of contempt. I myself have passed from level one to the succeeding ones as I have gotten more serious about my own writing.

To recap:
1. personal satisfaction (ex.: emotional wellbeing) - akin to Tolkien's 'escape' from "On Faerie Stories"
2. self expression (personal aesthetic pleasure)
3. communication (an audience is part of the consideration)
4. good plot and character development
5. the inner consistency of reality
6. evolution of consciousness (this is a concept from Owen Barfield, a better description than what I gave on the other thread).

At the risk of oversimplifying, there are two types of evolution of consciousness. First, there is new awareness of distinctions where none were before comprehended (like someone indigenous to an equatorial region aware afar of snow, who then visits my home state of Michigan in February and becomes aware of snow, sleet, slush, and so on). Second, there is increased awareness of the "isness" of something that has been part of one's life for some time (one of the best examples for our purposes is how Tolkien's Ents have changed our awareness of Trees). This second type of evolution of consciousness is akin to Tolkien's 'recovery' from "On Faerie Stories". I think that Tolkien's 'consolation' and 'eucatastrophe' can span the levels.

I noticed in hindsight that these levels corresponded somewhat to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. When I brought up the six levels, interest in the thread moderated from its initial heated pace. I can think of two explanations for that: one, the newness of the thread was gone; two, the introduction of the six levels raised the discussion above the need-level of a support group; analysis was not their interest.

Some responses to the six levels were offered, and must be taken at face value. For the rest, reading through the posts allows for general categorization of various writers' efforts.

I have been writing long enough such that despite my meagre talents I have been able to hone my craft enough to even consider approaching level 6. Others have been writing for a few years, and have attained to higher levels due to their high level of talent. I am consistently impressed, for example, with Nar's perspicacity.

Conclusions:
1. Granted, I am discussing unpublished works that cannot be read in order to determine their artistic value or level of seriousness (which I'm hoping are synonymous terms).
2. Some writers, such as StarCupCake, show an aptitude toward beauty of expression that rivals and perhaps surpasses published works in certain ways, having to do with a Sense of Place. Her 'in the Blue' captures an essence of between-dream that is haunting in its beauty.

Her example brings up a tension that seems to me to be central to the issue of the genre: the publishing industry is looking for good plot and character development because the reader is understood to want to connect to a character and care about what happens to her/him. On the other hand, fantasy lovers are aware of a Sense Of Place that is equally important for good fantasy. Tolkien's Middle Earth is for me the primary example of this. This is part of the success of C.S. Lewis's Narnia Chronicles, despite their failure in other ways vis-a-vie Tolkien's ouvre. The problem is that many fiction lovers, such as at least two in my own writer's group, have little sympathy for this 'sense of place'. One of my sympathetic readers sees this sense of place as little more than the paraphernalia of run-of-the-mill fantasy that must be put up with. But to me it seems to be at the core of escape, recovery, and consolation.

3. There are other writers posting in the aywsf thread who revel in precisely the sword-and-sorcery fantasy that is bemoaned in the Valid Criticisms thread.

This points to the fact that there are at least two fantasy mountains, shall we say, down whose streams flow, feeding the main courses of the river of fantasy, and the mixture of the two seems to be inevitable, except that all artist-writers are free to dip their buckets into whatever part of the river and streams, at any place in the geography of story they please. So one may dip in a purely Nordic stream, or further down one may dip into a confluence of Celtic and Nordic myths. My own story shows a choice to dip into a variety of streams relatively high in the mountains and create my own confluence for my particular 'soup of story'. I think Kalessin's rant bemoans the tendency of most published works to dip their buckets down in the valley where the river is wide and the confluence is thoroughly mixed and the Sense of Place is more or less washed out by all the other elements of story.
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 04-28-2002, 10:15 AM   #92
Starbreeze
Ghost of a Smile
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Mirkwood - Middle Earth
Posts: 389
Starbreeze has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Starbreeze
Silmaril

Wow, that was a lot to take in Poet. I'm not sure if I'm awake enough right now to understand it fully.
I did see though that you brought up your six levels thing. I have been putting in a lot of thought to my answer to that, and I still haven't managed to work out which category I think I fall into. I am either too lenient, or too hard on myself. I would like to think that my work has reached the standard of levels 4, 5 and 6, but I cannot be sure. In the same way I feel that my work has transgressed past levels 1 certainly, and almost certainly 2 and 3, so I don't know where that leaves me. Prehaps I am too occupied with exams to think clearly at the moment but I really don't know where to place myself. Upon requesting an answer from a friend (who is close enough to tell the truth about things) she told me that my work had almost certainly fallen into group 5, but I was not so sure.

~~edited by me because I am too tired to write properly~~

[ April 28, 2002: Message edited by: Starbreeze ]
__________________
Do not tamper with the affairs of wizards, they are not all that subtle - Terry Pratchett

To write is to make dreams, to make dreams is to awaken the fantasy of the mind, to awaken the mind is to be a master.
Starbreeze is offline  
Old 04-30-2002, 07:32 PM   #93
Mister Underhill
Dread Horseman
 
Mister Underhill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Behind you!
Posts: 2,738
Mister Underhill has been trapped in the Barrow!
Sting

I was puttering around today and it occurred to me that part of Tolkien's genius was his ability to devise clean, simple, compelling McGuffins. In the case of both The Hobbit and LotR, the cause for the action is a physical thing: a Dragon and a Ring, respectively. And in both, what must be done with this thing is clear and unambiguous: it must be destroyed, or the heroes will suffer grave consequences.

All the action springs naturally in both stories from the effective use of this fundamental device.

Not any great insight, I suppose, but something that struck me as a useful lesson for would-be writers of fantasy fiction and worth sharing.

[ April 30, 2002: Message edited by: Mister Underhill ]
Mister Underhill is offline  
Old 05-01-2002, 01:23 PM   #94
Starbreeze
Ghost of a Smile
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Mirkwood - Middle Earth
Posts: 389
Starbreeze has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Starbreeze
Silmaril

I thought of this and I thought it applied to me, so I guessed it maight apply to some other people here. I thought it was really nice. I don't know where it came from or who said it but I like it.

"The best story is the one you can't write, you won't write. It's something that can only live in your heart, and not on paper."

I felt it kinda represented what most writers feel (correct me if I'm wrong) so I thought it was appropriate.
__________________
Do not tamper with the affairs of wizards, they are not all that subtle - Terry Pratchett

To write is to make dreams, to make dreams is to awaken the fantasy of the mind, to awaken the mind is to be a master.
Starbreeze is offline  
Old 05-01-2002, 01:52 PM   #95
Luntindomeiel
Pile O'Bones
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Hobbiton
Posts: 11
Luntindomeiel has just left Hobbiton.
Tolkien

Yes, I am writing serious fantasy, and I think that, after reading Tolkien, it's hard not to copy some of his ideas. I've made my best to sound 'original', but I always go back and put some Tolkien things... [img]smilies/redface.gif[/img]
__________________
Tenna' ento lye omenta,
HiT
http://www.plauder-smilies.de/poke2.gif
Luntindomeiel is offline  
Old 05-01-2002, 02:02 PM   #96
Starbreeze
Ghost of a Smile
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Mirkwood - Middle Earth
Posts: 389
Starbreeze has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Starbreeze
Silmaril

Yes, not including Tolkienish things is almost impossible if you are writing that kind of fantasy (sword and sorcerer someone called it) as he used almost all the elements of good fantasy.
__________________
Do not tamper with the affairs of wizards, they are not all that subtle - Terry Pratchett

To write is to make dreams, to make dreams is to awaken the fantasy of the mind, to awaken the mind is to be a master.
Starbreeze is offline  
Old 05-01-2002, 02:46 PM   #97
Gilthalion
Hobbitus Emeritus
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: South Farthing
Posts: 635
Gilthalion has just left Hobbiton.
Silmaril

Actually, I am at work on a story that strictly speaking must be called a fantasy, and not another Tolkien ripoff.

In THE HOBBITS, I intentionally immitated Tolkien. For sentimental reasons, as well as pride, I suppose, I don't really want to publish a work that is "just like Tolkien." In other words, not another sword & sorcery kind of tale. If I feel the need to scratch that itch again, I'll write another Middle-earth fan fiction.

I'd like to see published a fictional novel about the Millennial Kingdom, a matter of fable, legend, and some would say prophecy. This would be a fantasy, because of its supernatural elements and that different "sense of place" with which it must be imbued.

In scenario and vignette drafts of my "Millennial Fantasy," I find that I have exorcised the overt Tolkien style. But there is still much there that someone looking would be likely to see.

I used to think that I would write in a style like Asimov or Heinlein. Then it seemed to me that I could find no prose style more worthy of emulation (in my opinion) than Tolkien's. He himself wrote in several different styles, it seems to me.

There was the chattering, prattling, almost condescending storyteller found in much of THE HOBBIT (and in my own story). Toward the end of that tale, and throughout LORD OF THE RINGS, Tolkien wrote in a style of somewhat higher prose. In some places, like when the Riders of Rohan ode to the rescue of Minas Tirith, the writing resembled that of the old Northern European myths. Epic stuff.

Since my next effort (even if I do a time travel story first) will NOT be a traditional dragons and fairies kind of tale, I am worried less about suffering in comparison, should one be made.

It seems to me that the greatest difficulty faced by the would-be fantasy writer is that the conventions of modern fantasy are almost cliche. I hope to evade them entirely in my next fantasy effort. If I were to write a goblins and wee people sort of tale, I honestly don't think I could do it without it being some kind of homage or ripoff.

I think if you can look at the first works of an author, and compare it to the last, then you may often find that the style employed has changed with time and practice.

I think that this is the key (pardon me if someone has already said this!) to developing a unique style. Time, patience, and practice.

Practice, practice, practice.

Reading and emulating the work of great authors is an excellent learning tool. But in the end, I suppose that the only way to learn how to write is to write.

And write, and write, and write...

(Of course, there are those folk of rare genius who have a first novel with an utterly unique and world rocking style spring forth from their brains like Athena from the brow of Zeus, but these solitary individuals would not likely be reading this thread! I'm sure such folk exist, but I've never met one!)
__________________
Please read my fan fiction novel THE HOBBITS.
Wanna hear me read Tolkien? Gilthalion's Grand Adventures!
Gilthalion is offline  
Old 05-02-2002, 06:23 PM   #98
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Pipe

More broth from the Writing Festival I went to for you starving fantasy writers:

Words don't come from heaven or originate in people or events; words do not descend, they ascend from the deep well of the soul.

Try writing the same section over again (after the plot and characters are described) and write in terms of each one of the five senses in turn. We tend to write for the eyes; now try writing for the ears; now for the nose; now for touch; and now, for taste.

Writing from the soul includes but is not limited to my own experience.

Write not just what I know but to learn.

As you spin your stories, pay attention to your own senses by:
- noticing your dreams
- getting acquainted with your fears and desires
- exploring your beliefs - tease them out (my beliefs hang onto me, not the other way around)
- being honest with myself about my life
- giving up my illusions of control
- trusting the creative process
- being at home with your own sexuality

What, you may ask, does any of the above have to do with Tolkien? Well, regarding the last item above, consider the stories of Faramir and Eowyn; Beren and Luthien; Aragorn and Arwen. Tolkien was more comfortable with sexuality than most of the 20th century Edmund Wilson types who obsessed on it. Dream plays a prominent role in LotR. Fear and Desire are at the heart of fantasy, certainly at the very core of LotR. Gandalf helped Frodo to be honest about his own attitude toward Gollum - to the eventual benefit of all the Free Peoples.

Trust your creative process. I am convinced that in every serious writer (of fantasy or anything else) there is a seed of genius worthy of being exposed to the sun of the written page. Take courage. Be bold. Reach down deep inside and bring out what's there. Mold it and shape it. Be surprised. Enjoy it.

[ May 02, 2002: Message edited by: littlemanpoet ]
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 05-02-2002, 11:58 PM   #99
Thinhyandoiel
Wight
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 187
Thinhyandoiel has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Thinhyandoiel
Eye

poet- wow!! I'm scribbling down notes after that post! Some good pointers to take notice of. Heh, now I have to go back and rewrite...alot. Agh, that's so HARD when you have writer's block. Can anyone give me any advice on writer's block? I haven't written anything for a month, not even a complete paragraph that makes progress. Hey, now that's an interesting question. How do you think Tolkien dealt with writer's block if he had any? I think I recall reading somewhere that after he got to Balin's Tomb in Moria he didn't know what to write next, but I forgot how he overcame that. Agh...so frustrating. [img]smilies/mad.gif[/img]
__________________
In gwidh ristennen, i fae narchannen
I lach Anor ed ardhon gwannen
Caled veleg, ethuiannen
Thinhyandoiel is offline  
Old 05-03-2002, 02:02 AM   #100
orlandoandsaran
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Greenwood Home
Posts: 91
orlandoandsaran has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to orlandoandsaran
Shield

Yes. I am writing some serious fantasy writing . I haven't been writing long...only for maybe 4 months.
And i have had loads of promblems such as plots...i ran out of plots.
Also when i wanted to describe something...it was very hard because i was trying to find the perfect word for it. I try so hard not to write like Tolkien but that was where i started writing.
So i usually think of Tolkien's world and how it is...it's loveliness and beauty and then i try to imagine my story where is it and stuff like that.
When i think of something really good for my story...i would just jot it down and that is why sometimes i run out of plots coz i sometimes forget o plan what is the next move.
I'm still like in the beginning of my story. I kinda stopped for a while because my exams were taking up most of my free time.
Anyway.......i hope i can be more and more imaginative.
Tolkien Rocks! [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img]
__________________
Vor|otwen Bloom spouse of Orlando Bloom.
orlandoandsaran is offline  
Old 05-03-2002, 03:55 AM   #101
Maikadilwen
Summoner of Lost Souls
 
Maikadilwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: At home, with my Strongbow
Posts: 525
Maikadilwen has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

I've heard many people say they're afraid of copying Tolkien, but what about Tolkien's OWN copying? Through his books, there are many similarities to Shakespeare and just reading LOTR, you'll find a lot of "Arthurian" things (the way I see it).

Gandalf = Merlin

Narsil/Andril = Excalibur - the sword of kings that was broken and reforged.

Isildur = Uther Pendragon - Failed being a good king and was killed.

Aragorn = Arthur - The one true king. The only wielder of the great sword.

And I could go on but I haven't got the time for it now. But the thing is, that you can't really write anything today, without partially "copying" something that has already been made. And I really don't think it matters that much, as long as it's not too obvious. Write whatever comes to your mind, even if it reminds you of something else. You can always change it afterwards. It's called "inspiration". [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
__________________
-"Death borders upon our birth, and our cradle stands in the grave. Our birth is nothing but our death begun."
Maikadilwen is offline  
Old 05-03-2002, 04:00 AM   #102
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Pipe

Regarding writer's block: Just some suggestions.
1) I have read that the act of dreaming and the act of creative writing both use the same resources in the brain. Keep a pad and pen by your bed and write down your dreams as soon as you can after waking up - if you wait too long you lose so much of it.
2) Read back through your story as a sympathetic critic and ask yourself these questions:
- does this action/thing/person have a greater effect on the plot than what I've accounted for so far?
- have I described fully enough how this character would react/respond to this event?
- is there a smell, tactile sense, taste, or sound I could write into this that would enrich the fabric of my story's world?

If you have run out of plot, maybe you need to make the problem facing your protagonist bigger than you've made it so far.

If you have trouble finding the right word, buy a Roget's Thesaurus; make sure it's the hardcover one with over 250,000 words and phrases.

Happy writing!
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 05-03-2002, 12:32 PM   #103
Starbreeze
Ghost of a Smile
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Mirkwood - Middle Earth
Posts: 389
Starbreeze has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Starbreeze
Silmaril

Thanks Poet! I have been considering your questions about the level of writing we have reached and I have decided that I am at four, and i have determined myself to reach five, for I doubt that i shall ever reach 6. One step at a time. Thanks so much for starting this thread.
__________________
Do not tamper with the affairs of wizards, they are not all that subtle - Terry Pratchett

To write is to make dreams, to make dreams is to awaken the fantasy of the mind, to awaken the mind is to be a master.
Starbreeze is offline  
Old 05-03-2002, 12:50 PM   #104
Maikadilwen
Summoner of Lost Souls
 
Maikadilwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: At home, with my Strongbow
Posts: 525
Maikadilwen has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Starbreeze never doubt your abilities. If you believe you can't reach the sixth level, then you never will. You have to have confidence in yourself, knowing that what you create is great as long as it comes from within. Remember, you yourself, are your worst critic. Leave the judging to others. There'll be plenty in line. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
__________________
-"Death borders upon our birth, and our cradle stands in the grave. Our birth is nothing but our death begun."
Maikadilwen is offline  
Old 05-03-2002, 02:44 PM   #105
Saxony Tarn
Wight
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: a western shore
Posts: 132
Saxony Tarn has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Saxony Tarn
Sting

Well, this thread has certainly been an enlightening read for one who's but recently caved in and allowed the latest idea (inspired oddly enough by a dream, a need to think up an adventure for my gaming group, and some of the gems posted on the fanfic section here) to come flooding onto paper. Of course with some of the caveats posted to this thread, i'd have to go back and determine if it was indeed "unpublishable" by any standards before submitting it for the omnivorous consumption of the 'Downs readers...

A couple of things to add, since most everything else has been well worked over:

1) On the problems of "imitating Tolkein": i've been writing for my own entertainment (and that of brave friends who've read my stuff) for two decades, and i've developed two distinct authorial voices (one, which i call "Steinbeck Prose", more 'highbrow' and florid (and grammatically complicated) than the other) I would consider writing a given story DELIBERATELY in a Tolkeinesque style to be an interesting challenge, and if i could pull it off half as well as the visionary soul who crossed Tolkein and Austen by foul craft or fair, i'd pat myself on the back. And thus this story starts out with one of the characters making up a twisted little song that just happens to suit the actions and the initial thrust of the plot...

Yet adorning already intricate narration with poetry breaks just because Tolkein did it would be artistically like Prince lacing seven music videos together with the movie "Purple Rain" for a string. So, as it pans out, our singer here would use music and verse as the method of his magic, thus giving the songs a more believable reason to be in the story (or at least i'd hope a reader would think that, find them relevant and appropriate, and maybe even cleverly done, and get a chuckle rather than skipping them...)

2) On Sex, Love, and Good Fiction: always a, um, provocative topic. i've noticed it's easier to handle as i get older (and also easier to write it convincingly) but if the characters aren't cool with it, i wouldn't force them on each other (conversely, some characters i've had to pry off each other with a crowbar) One rule i've always held to is that no character's relationship should be consummated until the end of the story. i'd rather make 'em wait and work for it, and if the tension that drives them drops off before then, i won't bother letting such a resolution happen for them. (Sort of like Life, in a way. Had some characters that caved in to their 'forbidden' attraction to each other -- they spent the rest of their tale dealing with the repercussions from their rash action and maneuvering their way out of the hot water it put them in. Ah, character-revealing conflict!)

But yeah, the carnal angle has been pretty well used & overused by now, so if it doesn't seem like it should be worth mention,or it makes the author feel uncomfortably voyeuristic while trying to write it, off-camera it goes and stays...

and 3) let me add my voice to the raves for having so many folks on here who are serious about their writing -- whether they write for an audience of one or a million. Makes me feel right at home!

be well, and may your ideas never dry up; if they do, do something else for a bit. (Always works for me -- my ideas have come in cycles for years...)

s.t.
__________________
<-- who, me? Take the Ring? Betray the Fellowship?? Nah -- couldn't be ME, i'm too cute...
Saxony Tarn is offline  
Old 05-04-2002, 12:02 AM   #106
Thinhyandoiel
Wight
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 187
Thinhyandoiel has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Thinhyandoiel
Eye

My writer's block is gone!!! *does happy dance* I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I was going over the last chapter of my story, and I thought, what would Deomer be thinking after all that? And then it just struck me. My next chapter is practically all character development, especially for the newer members to the party, and I'm SO excited!! Thanks for the advice poet! It helped!

And, what you said about dreams, I do believe that they play an integral role in most writer's life. However my dreams are always so...silly that I don't see how they might have any relevance at all to my work. But I'm gonna try out what you said, and maybe a new idea will come out of all the silliness. ^.^ Thanks!
__________________
In gwidh ristennen, i fae narchannen
I lach Anor ed ardhon gwannen
Caled veleg, ethuiannen
Thinhyandoiel is offline  
Old 05-04-2002, 05:06 AM   #107
Tarthang
Wight
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Paths of the Dead
Posts: 108
Tarthang has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Depends on what you mean by serious Fantasy. Do you mean strictly writing books?
I've been writing material for my own RPG (paper and dice variety) for about three or four years now (far from complete). With the intent to publish it one day if any takers can be found.
It includes a creation story, detailing of deities/powers/gods, playable races, creation of the mechanical system to resolve issues (i.e. the rules on how to make it playable), maps, defining various political, social and religous organizations. In other words world building.
I've read a great many books by a lot of different authors, so ther is little reflective of Tolkien. Except for the Race of Hobbits, in which I'm using only the name (don't like the term Hafling, Waerlinga, Kender and whatnot applied to a race of mannish midgets).
There are a lot of pitfalls to avoid to this type of writing. The hardest to overcome is to synthesize a concept from an author without plaigarizing and making this concept ones own, not a quick, cheap imitation. Other pitfalls include creative dryspells and finding time to work on such a project.
Tarthang is offline  
Old 05-04-2002, 06:27 AM   #108
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Pipe

Welcome to the downs, Saxony Tarn. I love your 'handle'.

No dream is silly. I read a huge and really good book on dreams last summer that really helped me understand mine. Here are a few basics I gleaned from it.
- the act of dreaming is your brain's efforts to sort out the day's experiences and connect them to all of your memories, including the memories of which you are no longer conscious.
- the dreaming brain employs symbols, mostly in the form of people you either know or don't know. These people usually represent aspects of your own personality. If you know them (family or friends or enemies) they probably also represent themselves.-
- the 'you' in your dreams (the observer) is your conscious awareness (Tolkien examples: Frodo, and Sam after Frodo becomes hard to relate to) known by Jung's followers as the consciousness.
- older people represent wizard or wise-woman types - these people connect you to the inherited depths of wisdom of the entire race, even before you were born (Tolkien example: Gandalf) Jung's wiseman.
- a sympathetic person of the opposite sex is perhaps your muse, also that aspect of yourself that carries good mystery (Tolkien example: Galadriel) Jung's anima.
- a fly-in-the-ointment, chaotic, untrustworthy person of the same gender as yourself, is those aspects of yourself you don't like, don't trust, and haven't yet incorporated into your own personality sufficiently yet (Tolkien example: Gollum) Jung's shadow.
- a dark person of the opposite gender that may represent death or destruction (Tolkien ex.: Shelob) Jung's dark anima.

Animals, vegetation, and geometric signs also have symbolic value in dreams. And transformations in dreams have symbolic value, too. For example, I dreamed once that a lion was chasing and caught me. Later I went back and had a waking dream in which I talked to the lion (which had a human face) and learned from it what it was, and it changed into a human being. What had happened was that a formerly unknown and poorly understood part of myself became known and integrated for me.

Of course, all this is just one well-developed "take" on dreams. Being a model, it's imperfect, but still can be quite helpful in making sense of your dreams.

It occurs to me that there are no transformations in LotR, except for Beorn. The only other ones I can think of are Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn seeming to grow in stature and power and regality, respectively. Or Saruman being 'unwizarded'. All other transformations occur within the personality of the characters. Hobbits stay hobbits, Men stay men, Elves remain elves. And Tolkien loses nothing by refraining from these transformations. Oh, there's Elwing turned into a gull (swan?) and Luthien turns into some kind of animal, doesn't she?

Tolkien's exceptions, where he allows transformations, increase the significance of this for me. I guess I'm writing about this because I had determined that one of the most powerful things in fantasy is transformation. The symbolic value alone is tremendous. I think I need to start a new thread...

[ May 04, 2002: Message edited by: littlemanpoet ]
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 05-05-2002, 10:52 AM   #109
Starbreeze
Ghost of a Smile
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Mirkwood - Middle Earth
Posts: 389
Starbreeze has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Starbreeze
Silmaril

I found a way around not being able to write battles! At the moment, well, for about the past year or so, I have been bullied and on Friday last it reached its worst - I was pushed into the toilets, shoved around and basically ridiculed and beaten. However, despite it being a very nasty experience for me, something good did come out of it. Because of what happened, and has been happening for the past year and a half, I have harboured quite a lot of hate and anger. On Friday, after what happened, I went home, quite shaky, I decided to write some more on my story to calm me down, and all the hate that had been building up inside me suddenly came rushing out as a brilliant (if I do say so myself) battle sequence. It just goes to show that every cloud has a silver lining.
By the way, I may be sounding cheerful about this, and I guess I'm not that cut up about the bulling now, coz I released all the hate etc. into my story.
__________________
Do not tamper with the affairs of wizards, they are not all that subtle - Terry Pratchett

To write is to make dreams, to make dreams is to awaken the fantasy of the mind, to awaken the mind is to be a master.
Starbreeze is offline  
Old 05-05-2002, 11:09 AM   #110
Ainu
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thumbs up

I've been working on a fantasy story now for only a year, I drew a picture of a this girl sat next to this amazing but strange building and then just started building up her character profile and I also drew other characters and places<mostley of which I got from dreams I had> and then named places and people, I've started to work on my plot now, I've got all the characters, I just need to figure where I'm gonna go from here........ [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img] [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img]

[ May 05, 2002: Message edited by: Ainu ]
 
Old 05-05-2002, 04:03 PM   #111
WillowStarmist
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thumbs up

My story is about 4 kingdoms ruled by the different elements and stuff, I've come up with some characters I like but it's still in the planning stages at the moment, but I am taking it seriously(maybe a bit too seriously but ah well never mind) [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img]
 
Old 05-06-2002, 03:57 AM   #112
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Pipe

Welcome to the downs, Ainu and Willowstarmist. I hope you have found this thread enjoyable and helpful.

I like the four elements idea, Willow!

For plot, Ainu, I suggest, follow your dreams...

Happy writing!
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 05-06-2002, 09:53 AM   #113
Nar
Wight
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 228
Nar has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Starbreeze, I'm very sorry to hear you're being bullied-- I remember dealing with all of that stuff, ugh! You're doing the right thing writing through it, good job! Don't just console yourself, though, get some advice locally, and make some trouble! You should not have to put up with this, and if your school does not have an anti-bullying program in place, it flaming well should! Grrr. What you describe in writing your battle scene is a major function of writing fantasy, or any kind of story: to pull the causes of your fury and sadness out of the back of your mind, where they can rule you and cloud your mind, into the page under your eyes, where you gain the perspective to rule them. Also, writing from a strong emotion does tend to produce better work.
Nar is offline  
Old 05-06-2002, 05:33 PM   #114
The Silver-shod Muse
Shade of Carn Dm
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: The shoulder of a poet, TX
Posts: 388
The Silver-shod Muse has just left Hobbiton.
Pipe

I think that someone mentioned dreams as being inspirations. I always had trouble writing about battles too, but not so much anymore. As completely ridiculous as this sounds, I always seem to have the most maddening great dreams just before the full moon. I received enough material to write several new chapters on my novel from one week of dreams that completely blew my mind. I wondered where they came from because there was no way that I could ever have invented such poignantly beautiful threads by myself.

About the bullying: I often find that when bad stuff like that happens, it gives my imagination a major jump-start. My story characters are channels for my emotions and the lessons and truths that I learn the hard way.

P.S. Can anyone give me the address of a really good site that I can share my ideas on? Tolkien's Inklings made me so envious, and I really need someplace to spill my literary work outside of the Barrowdowns.
__________________
"'You," he said, "tell her all. What good came to you? Do you rejoice that Maleldil became a man? Tell her of your joys, and of what profit you had when you made Maleldil and death acquainted.'" -Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis
The Silver-shod Muse is offline  
Old 05-06-2002, 06:20 PM   #115
Lothiriel Silmarien
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: New York
Posts: 829
Lothiriel Silmarien has just left Hobbiton.
Silmaril

Starbreeze, I agree with Nar (very good words by the way), but I really can't stand it when people get bullied. It doesn't matter if I like the person or not, but I just can not stand that! Seriously, and I'm not usually the violent person.....well, not usually, ok sometimes. SOMETIMES! I have a brother and sisters, so you know. But I really think you should just punch those damn idiots. Really beat the...crap, outta them. And believe me, it's REALLY hard not cursing right now. I'm trying though!! But don't ever let anybody boss you around and think that they can do that to you. Although I think you are taking it in a very good way though, writing all of that down seems like it's helping. And good luck with your story, and everyone else's! As corny as this may sound, you guys really inspired me. It sounds like a lot of fun and I think I'm gonna try and write something of my own. I have a lot of ideas! And please people, let me know when you guys finish your stories, cuz I'm dying to read some of yours!!!! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

[ May 06, 2002: Message edited by: Lothiriel Silmarien ]
__________________
Si vanwa na Romello vanwa Valimar!~*~
~*~Now lost, lost to those from the East is Valimar!
My LotR page
Lothiriel Silmarien is offline  
Old 05-06-2002, 07:24 PM   #116
Nufaciel
Wight
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 133
Nufaciel has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

I've been working on a story for a couple of months on and off. I got the idea to do it from a fan fiction being written by me and others on another site (based in Tolkien's world) and everyone thought I should give it a try. I love to read, and to write, so I thought, why not? I'm also a language freak, and I am developing languages for my book. It will be a while before it's done significantly.
__________________
Member of Pervy Elf Fanciers Anonymous...I need professional help.
Nufaciel is offline  
Old 05-07-2002, 03:54 AM   #117
Maikadilwen
Summoner of Lost Souls
 
Maikadilwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: At home, with my Strongbow
Posts: 525
Maikadilwen has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Quote:
let me know when you guys finish your stories, cuz I'm dying to read some of yours!!!!
Well, in my case, all you have to do is hang on for a couple more years. I think I may have finished it by then. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
__________________
-"Death borders upon our birth, and our cradle stands in the grave. Our birth is nothing but our death begun."
Maikadilwen is offline  
Old 05-07-2002, 04:38 AM   #118
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Pipe

Silver Shod Muse, check out Faeriewordweavers, started by our own Niphredil Baggins. You'll see the link a little further up this thread. Look for Nephredil's post.
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 05-07-2002, 06:38 AM   #119
Cimmerian
Shade of Carn Dm
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Aquilonia
Posts: 382
Cimmerian has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Cimmerian
Sting

Is serious RPGaming a form of Fantasy writing?
I have been doing it for years.
[img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]



THE CIMMERIAN
__________________
IN STEEL I TRUST, BY CROM!
Cimmerian is offline  
Old 05-07-2002, 07:43 AM   #120
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Pipe

Hi Cimmerian. I used to have almost the entire CtB comic book collection up to about issue 200, then sold it all. I have a lot of respect for Robert E. Howard's creative genius, surpassed by few others besides Tolkien.

I do not include serious role play gaming in my conception of serious writing. I used to do serious role play dungeon mastering, and now distinguish between the two, having chosen the writing over the game prep and play.

Writing contains a qualitatively higher level of artistic endeavor than role playing, the literary. I don't deny the great fun and seriousness of fantasy role playing, however the refinements required to make a story - on paper - that deals not only with plot and character and cosmos/world development, but with word choice and beauty of expression, as well as form and content, are at a higher level of seriousness than role playing.

That's my take, at least.

Now, if you wind up turning your plot and character and world story that your role playing has created into a written story, you've raised your level of seriousness.

No hard feelings, Cimmerian, just my pov.
littlemanpoet is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:58 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.