Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Guess I'm the Tolkien

August 12, 2010 - August 16, 2010
Critiquing: 2 hours, 50 minutes
Editing: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Outlining: 1 hour, 20 minutes

I condensed for your easier reading of my goals. I did not meet all of my goals on every single of those days, but I met at least one, usually two. Critiquing is dropping to a weekend thing this week with the arrival and passing of the contest deadline and the beginning of Fencing and Italian community college classes this week.

I wasn’t sure initially what to write about in this post (seems like that happens to me a lot, don’t it?), but then I remembered a conclusion I’ve sort of come to about my writing style. This doesn’t mean I write fantasy with incredibly deep worlds (if I could, I might, but I can’t) and really long books. It’s more of what I’ve concluded (perhaps incorrectly) about C.S. Lewis and Tolkien.

I’ll stop talking in riddles and attempt to explain. A while back, in the height of my first LotR-fandom kick, I read some biographies about Tolkien. What fact has stuck with me the most? He spent 17 years on Lord of the Rings. That’s a loooong time. I’ve been alive that long, for one thing. I’ve long joked about editing: “well, I’ve still got 14 years to get it right!”

C.S. Lewis, on the other hand, had 7 books released in 7 years--and if I remember correctly, had them all written in 5 or 6 years. Lewis also brought us his Space Triology, Till We Have Faces, Screwtape, and numerous non-fiction books. Tolkien was never quite finished with The Silmarillion.

So, now some correlation with what I’ve begun to experience and/or realize. It took me approximately 23 months and several false-starts to finally realize what Forest of Lies’s story was going to look like. My “Robin Hood book” first shows its face in November of 2006, and I got my BLAM moment in late October of 2008. Granted, after that, the story flew by--especially the writing, which took me under three months. I’m getting close to my 4-year mark, then, when it comes to working on what has become Forest of Lies.

In the same vein, Etched in Black’s story is finally coming together, after approximately 17 months of false-starts, and 95,000 words written in it. Not to mention I’d spent six years on Betsy Flowain before I started OYAN and learned how to really write a story.

“Well, so?”

I’m surrounded by others who complain about getting story ideas so often that it’s hard to keep up with them. My last honest-to-goodness new story idea? December 2009. You can contribute this to the fact that maybe I get hyper-focused on whatever I’m working on and don’t think “outside the box” very much when I’m in the zone of a story. This could be true, because I got more story ideas before starting OYAN. Not untold hundreds (or dozens) that my peers speak about, however.

Also, I have several friends who can come up with a story idea, write it, edit it, and then enter it into a contest--all in a year or under. I can’t seem to do that. It annoys me. Such books are as good as or better than my slaved-over FoL, yet they were written in half the time, or a quarter of the time (or even write two novels in half the time it took me to write one). Why IS that? I’ve had some jealousy over this fact. I’ve assumed it’s because I’m not to good and a host of other reasons. After all, I haven’t as yet met other authors that function the same way--so it must be a problem with me. I’m not sure it is, though. I know I love to write, and I know I’m good at it. (Hopefully I can say that without sounding conceited.) I’m not great yet, but I’m good. Maybe I just work slower. Annoying as that is when it comes to yearly contest, maybe it’s really fine.

Maybe I’m just the Tolkien of the forum, in other words. And I love both Tolkien AND Lewis’s work, so I’m not looking down on Lewis or the other writers. I’ve just noticed the difference and stuck a tag on it, accurate or no. But it is comforting, like that 17-years I’ve got. I’m reading Lord of the Rings for about the twentieth time right now, and I’m loving it. If it takes me 17 years to get FoL that good, I think I’m willing to take that time. 13 years to go.


P.S. That image has yet un-released words from a new Forest of Lies scene that I worked in while in Iowa City. Yes, mysterioussss...


Teenage Authoress said...

Well, Nai, if it makes you feel any better I didn't enter a novel into the contest because I'm not done with TLB. Then again, I don't have the time/devotion (I'm not sure which yet) to write every day. If I did write every day I'd get more done *rolls eyes*

But I don't want to be a Tolkien - I don't like Tolkien. Too much like a historical textbook for my tastes. I prefer to write fast anyway.

Speaking of which *hits post because she has two novels waiting for her still*

Nairam said...

I don't really write LIKE Tolkien in way of writing style in the actual books...you can probably tell that...but anywho...

I actually only like The Hobbit (least historical textbook of any I've read) and The Lord of the Rings. Only made it through those anyway. Hobbit is just fun and LotR is an amazing story. 'least I think so.

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