Expecting the Unexpected Journey
While The Hobbit wasn’t the first fantasy novel I read, it was near and dear to my adolescent heart. I think I’d even read the book at least 14 times before I was old enough to vote. Scary, I know, but it gets worse: I read The Hobbit to my daughter in a series of bedtime story episodes before she was three years old! We’re working our way through The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, at the moment.
The Lord of the Rings, on the other hand, was a bear for me – it was slow and boring. I think I read J.R.R. Tolkien’s, The Silmarillion, first – and that betrays all common sense! If you’re not sure why, try reading it sometime and it’ll make sense.
I watched the cartoons for the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings too. It’s a wonderful world with loads of opportunities for the imagination. With The Hobbit, Mr. Tolkien really nailed it, in my opinion. Good pace, a fun book, and he introduced many people to the possibilities of fantasy. He wasn’t the first to write such things, but he had the biggest market share at the time.
It’s ironic that Peter Jackson created The Lord of the Rings movies before The Hobbit. Tolkien did the same thing, but nobody would publish LoTR. So he wrote The Hobbit, which was accepted and published. With the groundwork laid out, The Lord of the Rings was a sequel, and sequels meant money. As much as the publishing industry is changing these days, some things stay the same. I have to admit, I’m excited at the prospect of watching The Hobbit next December. After watching the preview I’m even more stoked by it. Thorin Oakenshield even looks a little like a close friend of mine from childhood. In fact, if you’re reading this, Hi Dave!
For the writers out there that like to pick up bits and pieces of useful data from my blog, J.R.R. Tolkien is a fine example of a writer who went through the process so many of us do. He wrote something and failed at it. So he wrote something else and tried again. In writing the next book he took to heart what he’d learned from his failure and crafted a very enjoyable story. Enjoyable and successful. In my opinion anything he put out after The Hobbit was at best almost on the same level as The Hobbit was. His name had been elevated to the ranks of instant sales though, so he could have written an essay on how to repair plumbing, sprinkled in a little Sperethial (the language of the elves he created in Middle Earth), and had it published. I see a couple of lessons to be learned from studying Tolkien: Never give up and we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes.
I’m trying to take that to heart and to learn as much as I can when I succeed as I do when I fail. It’s hard, but that’s why if we want to be successful in the business of writing we should always be trying new and different things. Never rest on your laurels, the wolf on the top isn’t nearly as hungry as the one climbing the mountain.
To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.