How do writers write? Tolkein’s advice and me…

I came across this interesting piece of wisdom pulled from Tolkein’s work.  I wondered how much of it had come into play in the creation of  “Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas”.  It was a story that had been brewing around in my head for quite some time.  I’d wanted to tell it and wanted to tell it.  But I couldn’t seem to get it down on paper.  Then one day,  the “Happy Accident” occurred when I was sharing the concept with one of my writing friends, David Radman. (Who now is the co-author).  He loved the idea and couldn’t stop thinking about it and went about starting down the wonderful world of rhyme that it ended up being today. Hmmm. Poetry as the road to prose?  Funny how that indeed has worked out.  You will have to read the book to understand how dreams play out in this story.  But I will just say simply that they do.

He says real people make the best characters.  I have to say that in my first book, We’re Having A Tuesday, the characters were most certainly based on real people.  It came right out of my life.  I had two kids that came back to my house and off we went until a story eventually was formed.  Even in Santa’s Zany… the idea came from a real person.  Santa himself is based on a real person.  And the idea of the suit changing colors and all of the ramification came right from my daughter asking why his suit was red in the first place.  I have learned over the years as Tolkein says, “Vanity is useless”- and it most certainly is in the book world.  There are a million authors and books published I think every 10 minutes.  So I’ve always believed that I had to just write about what interested me.  I’ve done lots of writing over the years, but my best work has always been done with what I was inspired to write at the time, not by assignment.

Keeping a stiff upper lip and listening to critics.  Those are two points that I don’t think anyone could possibly argue about if they are in the writing field.  Anything I have ever written has been shredded apart dozens of times.  And sometimes I have wanted to be in a huff because I didn’t agree with the critique.  But I will say, that in the long run, no matter how different it might look from when I first start, it always ends up being a much better piece of work after it has been edited, reviewed, critiqued, and rewritten, a few dozen times.

Do my works seem trite?  I don’t know.  Probably.  I mean we took a classic and reworked it with a new spin.  I’m sure some will call that trite.  Having a stories with happy endings?  Those could seem trite too.  But I suppose trite only becomes trite because it was popular, at least at one time. So maybe these will be too.  And do we hope to be best selling authors?  Of course.  What author doesn’t?  But for me at the end of the day is that I hope that something I write makes a difference for somebody.  It either brings them a smile, or helps them through an issue, but it touches them in some way.  So…..I have to say, I think this advice seems to stand the test of time, and appears to still be spot on, trite or not.  To see full size graphic click on it.

Advice for today's writer through Tolkein's works.

Advice for today’s writer through Tolkein’s works.

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