How Tolkien Thwarted my Novel for Decades (Finding Your Voice, Part 1)

I’m sure this will sound familiar to many writers out there (timelines are condensed, but you’ll get the idea):

It’s evening, and the time to finally start my first novel has come. I have my new notebook (or blank word document) open before me.  I have the proper snacks and drinks on hand, and no one to bother me.  It’s time to get to work.  Let’s see…well, I guess I need to flesh out my characters.  I have a hard boiled warrior, a wise wizard, and a dark lord.  And a magic sword.  And elves. And armies massing to battle each other. And dragons. 

So my story has already fallen into the well trodden tracks of the writer who I admire the most: JRR Tolkien. My draft outline is sounding like a rip off of The Lord of the Rings. But you know what?  That’s fine…it’s just a starting point.  I’ll make it more original later.  Now I need names.  You know what a cool name is? Aragorn.  And Gandalf.  Actually, my names really suck compared to those names.  But worry about that later.  Get the idea on paper!

Continued here on The Weathered Journal Blog.


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