I dream of writing a book …

Perhaps an unusual post compared to the others written so far. But nonetheless, it is intrinsically linked to the whole scope of this blog.

Ever since I’ve discovered Tolkien (and even years before that), I had in mind of writing a book.

But what sort of book?

A novel always piqued my interest. Once Tolkien was in my mindset, a fantasy novel seemed more tempting. But then I started wondering, as I have ever done when I begin writing such novel … I’m not a creative person.

The few feeble attempts I tried to write a few pages seemed too inspired by Tolkien or other stories. Imagining characters other than the usual stereotypes was always a challenge, soMy Book Sketch was the idea of describing completely imagined locations.

Not to mention anything about story development and narrative arcs.

It became clearer and clearer that the idea of a novel was going nowhere.

And yet, that flame and passion for getting something written down on paper and stitched together in-between two covers remained.

So from impossible novel-writing, I turned my attention to a more ‘realistic’ aspect; something I needn’t invent from scratch – something that was already there. And preferably, something related to Tolkien or fantasy in general. Or even something of the non-fiction.

The idea of a collection of writings – reviews, analyses, anything that had to do with actual facts – was beginning to appeal to me more. I began asking myself …

– Could I compile a number of articles (on a particular subject) and turn them into a book?

– Could their content be essays on Middle-earth – both films and books?

The answer is possible. But the doubts still remain. Strong doubts.

I fear to ‘take the leap’. I have no idea where to start from or who to go to …

And yet the passion is still there.

Perhaps a slightly more introspective post than the rest, but I really wanted to pose this issue ‘out there’ – hoping to get other people’s ideas, comments, opinions and experiences in such matters …

If this post has, in some way or other, ‘hit the mark’ for some of you I cordially invite you to post your thoughts here – they could be ideas for a book, remarks in restraining me from such a crazy endeavour, tips and advice, encouragement – anything.

Thank you! And until my next post … πŸ™‚

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26 thoughts on “I dream of writing a book …

  1. This was me, exactly. And some others have begun this way and gone on to very successful careers. For example, Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara is almost copyright infringement close to Lord of the Rings, but then he found his grove and made a world all his own.
    As long as the desire is there then go for it. Don’t worry about other people. Write until you find your voice, and then keep writing until others hear it. And Bilbo’s comments about the road going ever on and on also apply to writing. Good fortune on your journey!

  2. You hit on a great note here James. After I read the Children of Hurin I seriously considered sitting down and writing my own novel. However i really just didn’t know where to start. Every time I though of a character is was remarkably similar, if not identical, to the characters in the works of Tolkien, and that simply wouldn’t do. I had a problem bringing characters to life, making them believable.

    I simply couldn’t understand how to give a narrative a proper plot that draws out the readers interest and emotions. It was as this point that I had to accept that I was not a creative person, I never was, and probably never will be. I have always been into the sciences, a logical minded person. This mindset it a burden on many occasions. I have not given up my passion to one day be published, but I am sure that it won’t be a creative piece but rather non-fiction. Perhaps something philosophical or historical.

    I hope that one day you will write this collection os essays or stories. Perhaps that will change and you will decide to write something else. But this is not the point, the point is to sit down and write something that you love, don’t write for the sake of writing. If the passions drives you strongly, than you must transfer that onto paper.

    I look forward to seeing what path you eventually choose to take, and if it ends with a published work then I look forward to reading it.

    All the Best

  3. Find something you love and can’t be silent about and write about that — the book is a side effect of the need to write / speak, I would say.

  4. I would just say keep on writing, may be one day the inspiration hits you and end up knowing where the story is going or better collect your article about Middle Earth and publish them as non-fiction essay about Tolkien and his works.

  5. I can sympathize with you. I have been down that road myself. You just have to slog through it. Some writers don’t find their voice for a while, and yet some never do, even after publishing a dozen novels. Writing is a lifelong pursuit, The only thing that is certain is that writing begets more writing, and the more you write the better you get. Tolkien almost gave up on “The Hobbit” in 1936, and he took 17 years to write “The Lord of the Rings”:, and his master work, “The Silmarillion” was never finished when he died. Keep at it, and I say if it is a book of essays that you want to publish, then go for it.

    • Thanks E.J. – it’s something that’s been on my mind for quite a long while now but I could never find what to write about. Hopefully, through this blog, I’ll be able to focus on something in particular …

  6. I understand the struggle. I found that having a deadline and a daily quota helped me immensely. I entered National Novel Writing Month and that taught me the daily discipline needed to do the job. My first non-fiction book will be published by Weiser/Red Wheel this fall. Persistence and patience is the only way to do it. You can let the book evolve organically and ground it in the blog posts you’ve already made, or you can give yourself a quota of 1000 words a day and slug at it sequentially. Either way, the only way to eat the elephant is one bite at a time. And make no mistake, it’s an elephant! Good luck!

    • Hey Sable! I completely agree with your about deadlines – they certainly help me in keeping on track and avoid procrastination … I like your idea on the “1000 words a day” practice, I might give it a try. And good luck with your book πŸ™‚

  7. It was my mom reading The Hobbit to me when I was two or three that made me fall in love with story and decide I was going to be a novelist. There are a lot of us, aren’t there? πŸ™‚

    I would say to you, first of all, that writing a novel is hard work. No one realizes how hard until they try.

    Having said that, I don’t think that novel-writing is beyond the scope of nearly all the people who think it is for them. Sort of like carrying a tune. I cannot tell you how many people have told me over the years that they can’t sing because they’re tone deaf, but you give these people just a little training and they find out it’s just that no one ever taught them how and they’ve actually got a pretty nice voice. For some reason, with singing and noveling both, people are unwilling to cut themselves the slack of being terrible for a while before getting good.

    Yeah, your first attempts at an original novel are not going to be good. They will almost certainly be too Tolkien. (Mine most definitely was.) You don’t get better or more original until you get that out of your system and find your own voice. But you do, when you keep at it. You do discover which things you really want to talk about, which angles are the ones that fascinate you, which questions keep pulling you back in. The trick is to let yourself write those really bad first novels, and have the courage to put them away where no one will ever see them and then write novels that are less bad until you’ve got the work you’re proud of.

    But having said all of *that*, I would so read a collection of essays about Middle Earth. If that’s your passion, you should go for it. We’ll be cheering you on. There’s nothing lesser or un-creative about that kind of project.

    My point is, don’t decide to count yourself out before you’ve even started, and remember that failure is not an ending, but a chance at another beginning.

    • What a truly inspiring post Alyssa, a huge thanks! πŸ™‚ I’ll certainly keep these words as a primary motive to plod on in difficult writing times!

  8. Writing nonfiction is a great start. Do what you love, and in the meantime, query your daily life. Sooner or later, you’ll say, “that would make a good story.” Start with a short story that infuses a bit of magic. And always pay attention to your dreams…

  9. I think if it is easier for you to come up with a topic for an essay, that is something you would like to send to a peer-reviewed journal for consideration, then just use yoyr knowledge of Tolkiens oevre to come up with a research question that will lead to some original research. See what has been published already and figure out what research gaps are still out there and then go and see if you can fill them.

    • Looking at all the research that has been published on Tolkien doesn’t leave much room to work on! But there are still some areas which have not yet been tackled. Hopefully, I might give it a try. Thanks!

  10. A book of essays sounds great! Plus, if you’re feeling the squeeze to fill it up by yourself, you can always ask if others whose work you respect would like to contribute – then you can be ‘Ed.’ as well πŸ™‚
    It’s a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to happen overnight. I think the biggest thing is to have a fresh angle on the topic – as you mention, Tolkien is a well-studied author. However, there are probably gaps in the research you can see – what are some things you’ve always wondered about but never seen tackled or answered? They don’t have to be big things – that’s where a collection of essays works well!

    • Hey sylirael! Many thanks for your contribution πŸ™‚

      There’s certainly quite a number of “unsolved” mysteries in Tolkien and its always fun to speculate and try to understand there meaning.

      I’ll definitely take your input into consideration πŸ˜‰

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