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How to Create a Good Piece of Work with J.R.R. Tolkien

July 3, 2018

How to Create a Good Piece of Work with J.R.R. Tolkien

Once upon a time, when the professor was at his office, something really fateful happened. He was assessing students’ papers and found that one of his students submitted a paper with a blank page. Suddenly, he wrote down the following sentence: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

This sentence inspired professor Tolkien to write The Hobbit. In 1937, the novel was published and brought success to the author. Tolkien was asked to create similar stories because public wanted to hear them. 
As a result, Tolkien created a full series of tales called The Silmarillion. However, the publisher made an assumption that these tales would not become popular and asked Tolkien to create a sequel to the previously written novel The Hobbit.

Tolkien was disappointed but returned to work. The publisher did not hope for high profits. However, when the sequel was published, everyone was surprised with the final result.   
The sequel attracted readers’ attention immediately. The following year, the trilogy was adapted to radio. Over 150 million copies were sold out. Then, film series was released and brought success to the author. The Lord of the Rings is considered to be one of the greatest books of the 20th century.

The Uneasy Way of Creating a Fantastic World

Tolkien spent many years planning and writing The Lord of the Rings.
When you begin reading the book, you notice that the Middle-earth world was created accurately, and the author paid attention to every single detail. The Middle-earth world has various people, who speak different languages, practice various religions, have their history, and live in different locations. 

You may ask how did he cope with such an impossible task? How did he manage to write so many interesting storylines? 
Tolkien claims that he began with a map and then made sure that the story fits in. 

The author made sketches, drawings, and even inscriptions on the early stages of the writing process. In order to create the Middle-earth map, he drew small sketches and then connected them. Later, more and more details were added.

The maps were constantly revised and improved. Saruman’s tower was round at first, but then its structure improved and became more severe. The author reflected this change in The Two Towers. You can see it when reading the description of Orthanc. 

It can be said the maps became the basis for the story. Later, the very plot added some shapes to the map. The author made sure that the speed of Sam and Frodo’s traveling fit the dimensions of the map. In addition, he took into the account all the steepness and slopes. 

You may ask why? Well, it was of significant importance to make sure that the two characters would reach the Mount Doom at the exact same time when Aragon’s army came to the Black Gate to lead a battle. New maps were added by Tolkien during the process of writing.

Main Strategies Applied by Tolkien 

The author spent a lot of time on planning, drawing, and revising the Middle-earth world prior to starting the writing process. 

So, there are three aspects that should be described:

1.    The groundwork should be laid
Tolkien did not base his writing solely on words. The words were the outcome of author’s imagination that was pictured and sketched first. In order to provide a clear description of places and different objects, he drew them on the paper.  
So, prior to starting any of the projects, it is important to imagine the basis. Try to comprehend the foundation first. Before writing, you should make some serious preparations.  

2. Make some mistakes and correct them 
Tolkien had a critical eye. He called all his drafts amateur. He kept on changing names of characters, places, and routes. He never stopped revising his sketches until he liked the final results. 
It can be concluded that when you test out different concepts, it helps you to make something specific. You can see whether the created design makes any sense. Before claiming that your idea is successful, you should test it on a small scale. 

3. Help your work to be revealed 
The scale of Tolkien’s work impresses. It is difficult to realize the fact that the trilogy was created by one individual. 

However, the author claims that he did not write the story from scratch. He says that he let the story unfold gradually. Tolkien said that, at times, he waited till the story “writes itself.”
It is a fact that, sometimes, your work starts living its own life and it is considered to be a positive thing. The author can plan things till a particular point. In most cases, the circumstances change and you may find new ideas. As a result, you can come up with the unexpected conclusions. 

Begin from the Basics 

Tolkien has one superpower and it is patience. He spent decades on planning and sketching the story. Despite the fact that his story includes numerous details, he coped with everything and created a successful trilogy. 
Most people wish to achieve the final result without making any efforts in their life. For example, people want the following: 
•    To have a lot of money without providing any value. 
•    To achieve high results in whatever activity without practice. 
•    To be fit and slim without exercising.  
People try to focus only on the final result and forget about how to start the process of change. 
So, in order to become good at something, you should practice and lay the foundation.

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