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Argh take 2... the first post was eaten by the site *grumbl*

Amarie and I started to discuss it here:

Amarie wrote:
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Actually I have so many 'maybe this or maybe that' thoughts that I can't decide what I really think happended. It also involves the unanswered questions about elven rebirth. Complicated!


I replied:
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It actually is not, but then we better discuss this in the writers guild. How much you want to stick to cannon, resources and stuff.


So the question is, as a writer, how much do you stick to cannon, what do you do with gaps that Tolkien left? Where do you go when you can't find the answers you need for your story? Do you rely on books like HOME, do you turn to experts?

When do you let go of cannon and try to fill in, from your own imagination and knowlegde of what might have happened?

I personally always do my research before I start writing, I try to get a grasp on the time period, characters and such. The letters of Tolkien and the index in the back of the Silmarillion is a valuable source to me. Especially now that I am far from done to collecting the HOME.

I am always glad that there are good Tolkien fan fiction sites with resources and knowlegable people to ask.

So what about you guys...
I have Morgoths Ring of the HOME series and I really like what it says about rebirth. The soul is reborn, but doesn't remember its previous life untill the elf has grown up. And then he/she will have had two childhoods, which is seen as the most cherishable part of an elfs life. What a gift!

It is the story that gets complicated since I then would have to add the life of another elf, his parents, family, friends, upbringing since it would be a part of the reborn elf. That is if Findrod ever gets reborn and if I don't find another reborn-theory I like and blabla. But of course, if I just sit down and sort my thoughts and actually start thinking about making it into a story instead of a pile of what-ifs, then I might actually decide on something. Wink Smilie
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The soul is reborn, but doesn't remember its previous life untill the elf has grown up. And then he/she will have had two childhoods, which is seen as the most cherishable part of an elfs life. What a gift!


You think? I wonder. It depends on what happened during your previous life. And froom what I understood is that elflings starts to connect and form a bond with their parents (all in Morgoth's ring) before they are born.

How about the second parents? They will never feel that special connection to their kid with previous parents in their memory... I believe Tolkien says something about it.

Questions to muse on: why would Findor be granted a second life? Glorfindel had a special reason, so why him (not that I mind, mind you!)? In what age would he be reborn, how would he react to the changes!! Oh Amarie, once you start to write it and start to share... let me know.

But, back to the topic. Writing elves can get very complicated. I read some chapters from Morgoth's ring and I was like: wow... ok.. Mmm.

Maybe that is why I like writing Edain/Numenoreans much much more Wink Smilie
See? And you claimed it wasn't complicated! Wink Smilie

Of course they would bond with their child, he or she is just like any other child untill he/she is grown up. But it must be a bit strange for the parents... Oh no... Another plot bunny...
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See? And you claimed it wasn't complicated!


It is not, it just makes an interesting story. You can make it as complicated if you want. With trauma's, nightmares, angry parents or family, previous life love interests that are still alive... mmm Smile Smilie It isn't that complicated how Tolkien wanted it to be, it can be complicated if you choose for an elf reborn.
*lines up cannons.*
*loads with plot bunnies*
*aim at the two singers*
Fire!!!


Big Smile Smilie Cannon and canonical are words with very different meanings, depending on context. Me thinks you use it here the same way as for a "cannon of art"? Not the theological meaning or the way the word is canonically used in physics! Tongue Smilie (like vanilla in US english)
Yes of course it is an interesting story! Wouldn't been stuck in the back of my head of over two years if it wasn't. Smile Smilie I have been focusing on the Quest though. Or obsessing more like it. Love the Quest, my precioussss Quest. Haven't felt ready to start a story of my own, not really wanted to either. Especially not in English! My vocabulary has grown a lot since I started coming here every day, not to mention from writing for the Quest and for the 'let us write a story together...' before that.

We'll see which one of the plot bunnies wins if/when I sit down with pen and paper (or keyboard and a new word document Wink Smilie ).
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Cannon and canonical are words with very different meanings, depending on context. Me thinks you use it here the same way as for a "cannon of art"? Not the theological meaning or the way the word is canonically used in physics! (like vanilla in US english)


LOL those smiley's. In Fan Fiction worlds Cannon is quite usual to indicated that is is (strictly) based on what Tolkien wrote. Since I completely have no knowledge on physics... you lost me there

Amarie wrote:
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Haven't felt ready to start a story of my own, not really wanted to either. Especially not in English! My vocabulary has grown a lot since I started coming here every day, not to mention from writing for the Quest and for the 'let us write a story together...' before that.


And it will keep on growing if you write much and loads. Just give it a try and see where the story takes you. English is not my native language, but with the necessarry encouragement I stepped over that big hurdle and started writing anyway. With loads of support from my beta's and friends I tend to keep on writing Smile Smilie So just write write write write....
Here is a (pile of) definitions of "canonical" : Clicky!

Not typing fast enough, Amarië? Tongue Smilie

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Just give it a try and see where the story takes you.

I have tried, several times for years. I just haven't been able to write stories. A scene or more, an ending, but not how they got there, quite detailed but still just bits and pieces. So I found shared author stories to be perfect for me. Practicing, twisting my brain and having fun and creating something with others while waiting for a whole story to find me. Now several plot bunnies are attacking at once, quite fun. Smile Smilie

And it has nothing to do with typing. You only said that so you could use the typewriter smiley, Grev. Don't think I don't know that Wink Smilie
WRITING IS SO HARD!!!!! WHenever I write, I end up writing like those awful peoples who are trying to write a fantasy novel and it gets all fantasy-based, and it's all DOOM DOOM!!!!!! And of course it could sell. I've seen loads of books like that that were quite successful. BUT I HATE THAT STYLE OF WRITING!!!!!! IT's so eeeew. And I write in such short DOOM DOOM sentences. I HATE THAT!!!!! Damnit, I wish I could write in some other style. And i hope someone here actually understand what I mean by DOOM DOOM!!!! and all this gobbledegook I've just written.
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I have tried, several times for years. I just haven't been able to write stories. A scene or more, an ending, but not how they got there, quite detailed but still just bits and pieces. So I found shared author stories to be perfect for me. Practicing, twisting my brain and having fun and creating something with others while waiting for a whole story to find me.


I never had such problems. I do have problems with finishing a story though LOL. But look mommy!!! I finally did. Big Smile Smilie You have no idea. It is a bane!

I do have some stories in the works and there are some chapters in between that cost me a lot of time to connect things. It is sometimes very frustrating if you want to go from a to b and ... a writersblock hits you. It helps sometimes to send it to a writer buddy (I always call those things my famous filler) for help. Such things are always returned. It helps when some one can help yourself out of a corner you have yourself written into.

What strikes me is that dialogue comes very naturally to me. I mostly start with a rough draft and work from there, but the bigger picture, plotlines and character development is always in the back of my mind. Except for short stories, unless someone tells you that maybe more can be done with that. *hint*hint* Wink Smilie

But writing with others can be so much fun! I agree! And it is a great way to practice. I am looking forward to your big step Amarie. Wink Smilie No pressure here... really.
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WHenever I write, I end up writing like those awful peoples who are trying to write a fantasy novel and it gets all fantasy-based, and it's all DOOM DOOM!!!!!! And of course it could sell. I've seen loads of books like that that were quite successful. BUT I HATE THAT STYLE OF WRITING!!!!!! IT's so eeeew.


What is so eeeuw? The setting? The plot? The hero saves the day thingie?

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And I write in such short DOOM DOOM sentences. I HATE THAT!!!!! Damnit, I wish I could write in some other style. And i hope someone here actually understand what I mean by DOOM DOOM!!!! and all this gobbledegook I've just written.


LOL, well I tend to write awful long sentences, but then I just get a bag of punctuation marks and my beta says: ya know the drill. Loni, don't forget. All these famous and best writers do have an editor and proofreaders that read their works before it even gets published. I bet they all thought once their writing sucked, but gave it a try anyway!

How is your story coming along anyway?
I didn't want anyone to give me ideas for the stories I tried to write, I wanted to write them on my own. My ideas from my head in my story, and then show it to people. I still want that. Later when the story has a head and a tail and legs to wobble on then maybe I'd get someone to see it and hear what they think. And any attempt to pressure or push me would only lead to that person being the absolute last to ever see the story, so it is good that you are not pressuring. Wink Smilie

I think I know exactly how you feel, Loni. Just keep on having the stories in your head and suddenly one day you will be able to get the pen or keybard to write it exactly the way you want.
Just joining in on your elven re-birth topic... In Morgoth's Ring, Tolkien attempts to explain in two or three different ways how the mechanics of the re-birth would occur.... In some he has the elf return into its old body and in others he has the elf return into a new body as a baby. Both ways he offers explainations for, but in both cases seems to run afoul of other problems in doing so.

In the case of returning into a new body as a baby, the problem was one of denying the parents of their right to create a "new entity". It would not truely be their child if it turned out to be a reincarnated elf fresh from Mandos. He did try to explain this away by inventing the idea of a second childhood, and regained memories of past life etc once they were adult, but to me, this just seemed as though Tolkien was clutching at straws. Apart from the two Glorfindels and the reference to Finrod now walking with his father beneath the trees, there is little reference to support elven rebirth in the Silmarillion at all (in fact until I read Morgoth's Ring, I did not believe in elven rebirth). I think this omission from the Silmarillion is important, because it seems to show that JRR never resolved the problem himself, and therefore did not press the storylines any further.

For a fan fiction writer, this can mean one of two things.... 1) there is little material for getting accurate facts to enable a storyline that is close to cannon, or 2) Why worry? Tolkien didn't in the end.

Tolkien never really pushed one theory beyond the others, and seemed to have examples for both kinds occuring. In this case, I would advise a writer pursuing this avenue to feel free with their storylines. Write what you feel is best.
When I write fan fiction, I tend to concentrate on areas that Tolkien mentioned in passing, but did not concentrate on in too much detail. I then try to research the background as much as possible, tying in dates and places, plus other events, so that my plot does not contadict anything else. Once I have a reasonable framework, I see if I still have enthusiasm to continue the story or if the idea has been trashed by other events already written.

Once I begin, I then try to keep my characters as close to character as possible, generally avoiding the bigger star names (unless they are making cameo appearances).

As far as writing the story, I generally begin with a loose idea for a plot, but then spend lots of time in the bath etc thinking how to develop it into a story. Sometimes, this idea can just be a simple scene (my Rangers of the North story for instance, started from just a picture I had of the opening scene, from which the rest developed as I began writing). Likewise, my "Soldier's Tale" began with the scene which eventually became the ending; a mother waiting for her son to come home from war.

I do find, however, that everything I write evolves as it is written, new ideas forming all the while. As Rhapsody mentioned, the problem often then is linking these ideas together.
I tend to write spontaneously first and then refine the story until I'm happy with it. The story just pops into my head and I have to get the gist of it down before the ideas disappear. I think I am a 'lazy writer'.

Val - you'll be pleased to know I have now started Chapter 3 of Orc's Odyssey. Chapter 2 needs a bit of refining and I may well have to go back to Chapter 1 and change or add things (but Ihope not too much).

Keep it coming, Vee. I'm expecting nothing less than a full blown novel by the time you've finished.
*Joins in on Val's comments there*
My 12 year old son is also expecting a novel. Aaaaaaaaaargh! The pressure!

Hey at least you Son loves the canon/world it is written in.

My hubby read my latest and said: hmmm yes, nice well written. High Fantasy feelling, but not my cup of tea. When are you gonna write a detective?
Sounds like my husband, Rhapsody. I can see his eyes glaze over when he reads my stories. He loves nonfiction, I love fiction.

I will be psychoanalyzing LOTR for my masters thesis. Any ideas for resources? (besides Freud, Rank and LOTR) Smile Smilie.
http://www.blackwell-synergy.com is a nice place to look for articles and papers on pretty much anything. You might need to acces it through a university or library computer to get acces to the full-text articles. Has lots of journals, but is a very confusing place..

How do you select your thesis? I have been struggling with that this past semester myself. (in astrophysics) I have a few candidates, but none that grip me by the throat and yell "write me!!" yet.
Well, for the longest time I was going to write on William Blake because I thought it would be seen as more scholarly, and I really do love his work. But, of course, I have a much deeper passion and love for Tolkien, so I just decided to go for it. I proposed the idea to my professor who specializes in psychoanalyzing literature, and he said he thought it was an interesting an idea and to go for it (Crisis of the Self in LOTR and how it relates to its resurgence in the '60s). That's about it. In the end, what had seemed like such a painstaking and difficult process, was really quite simple if I just followed my heart. I thought about what I would want to get up and read and write about every morning, and realized that after a semester of Blake I might be ready to jump off a bridge. So remember to really contemplate what you would want to get up and write about every day.

Thanks for the tip regarding the place to locate journals. I'll check if my university has access to the site.
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I thought about what I would want to get up and read and write about every morning, and realized that after a semester of Blake I might be ready to jump off a bridge. So remember to really contemplate what you would want to get up and write about every day.

Yepp! That is the thing. When doing one thing everyday for a year, you need to make sure it stays interesting and doesn't become a chore. The ideas that I get really excited about are PhD thesises.. And nigh on imposssible to narrow down to masters level without taking all the interesting stuff out of them in the prosess.. :-/ Anyway! I'll come up with something eventually! Smile Smilie

Oh, http://www.scirus.com/srsapp/ is also a nice place. A bit like http://www.scholar.google.com/ ,but it is older and unlike google you get relevant hits for Blake. Wink Smilie
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When I write fan fiction, I tend to concentrate on areas that Tolkien mentioned in passing, but did not concentrate on in too much detail. I then try to research the background as much as possible, tying in dates and places, plus other events, so that my plot does not contadict anything else. Once I have a reasonable framework, I see if I still have enthusiasm to continue the story or if the idea has been trashed by other events already written.

Once I begin, I then try to keep my characters as close to character as possible, generally avoiding the bigger star names (unless they are making cameo appearances).


Like Val, I like to explore the areas about which Tolkien said little. That is particularly why I like the first half of the Third Age, and the boyhood adventures of Legolas, whom I imagine was born in that era.

I like to write stories with a clear beginning, middle, and conclusion. In them I like to tell the readers stuff they might not already know. That’s the fun part – making things up that conform to Tolkien’s canon (in the US, a cannon is a big honking gun. I was in a law ethics class once and the professor asked the class “Where do we find the Canons of Ethics?” Smart aleck replies: “Right next to the Guns of Navarrone.”)

I have only departed from the canon knowingly, twice, both times in the same way and for the same reason.

The easy part of writing a story is knowing the very last scenes and the very first scenes. The hard part (which is also fun) is plotting the story in between. In the first fan fiction story I ever wrote I wanted to show how Legolas the lad practiced and studied with great teachers to learn archery. I knew that the final scenes must contain a spectacularly dangerous challenge for Legolas, which had to have the following characteristics:
• must endanger some Elves – the more the better
• must have been caused mostly by Legolas
• must take place in front of his parents, teachers, and others
• Legolas must be there in the middle of the action, and
• the reader thinks the outcome, that Legolas actually prevents the danger through his archery skills, is uncertain.

I knew these characteristics because I had seen them in kind of a dream, but how to get from Legolas the student to Legolas the boy hero was a mystery to me. I had to imagine the physical layout of the place where Legolas lived. There had to be a place where people could look down onto a large clearing. It could not take place in an underground cavern, and that had to be accomplished without damaging what little canon there is in The Hobbit. The danger that Legolas faced had to take place in front of a lot of people, so the reasons for a lot of Elves to be in one place had to be developed. The danger had to be really scary, so that the outcome was in doubt. Legolas had to have caused at least part of it, because that would make his failure worse and his success greater (heightens the tension). And it had to be the kind of danger that could be met with great archery skills, and I had to make his ability plausible. And it would help if the danger in question was brought about by Legolas through his trying to perfect a deficient archery skill.

Whoof.

How you do it is, tons of trial and error, asking what if, and writing the possibilities until you run out of steam. Then what you do (or what I do anyway) is research. I remember reading essays on hunting and doing internet searches on archery, and re-reading The Hobbit, and all kinds of reading. And then going back and rethinking it all, and writing and discarding and writing some more.

When you’ve finally got the story down in a first draft, you go back and eliminate the needless words (adverbs, passive voice, “Did too! Did not!” type dialog, etc.) and correct all the technical errors. Then you read it aloud and see what you think.

Well, that is how I wrote my first story and all the stories that I thought were any good.

I did not know this post was going to be so wordy, but I do like talking about writing. Regards – Chathol-linn
Haha, I remember my early stories. It was all about this little bug. And all it was was "blablabla he said blablabla she said blablabla he said blablabla she said." Then it was "blablablablabla" without any he or she saids. YOU CAN'T WIN!!!!
It's the knowing when to stop fiddling that I need to learn. Poor Val, I send him a version of the next story and within hours I've emailed him saying, Nooooooooo, here's another one... v2.1 or whatever. The ideas just pop into my head and I have to rewrite/amend/add etc. There must be a point when you have to say NO MORE! LEAVE IT ALONE!

Loni's post reminds me of some stories I wrote for my girls when they were toddlers. Not the best of stories but written for a purpose - in fact not so much written at first as just made up on the spot and written down when the girls kept asking for the same story. Anyway, youngest daughter, for whom these particular stories were written has asked for a good copy of them, preferably bound or laminated, together with illustrations! For Christmas! OK, I can get them bound easily enough I think and they are only a few hundred words each but I can't draw...... so I've asked our lovely Amarie if she can draw a Happy Blue Hippo for me. I hope she can. Happy Blue Hippo needs YOU!
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Eruwen wrote: Sounds like my husband, Rhapsody. I can see his eyes glaze over when he reads my stories. He loves nonfiction, I love fiction.


Actually my husband is very fond of fantasy, basically after 6 years of telling me how great it is he got me reading it. He is just very tired of it. Better stuff out there he says.

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I will be psychoanalyzing LOTR for my masters thesis. Any ideas for resources? (besides Freud, Rank and LOTR)


Maybe you should check web of science to make sure it has not be done before. I would hit the Social Sciences Index. It sounds like it has been done before. Don't you love research? Besides Blackwell, Sciencedirect (besides Web of Science) is also a wellknown one a scienticfic source.
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Chathol-linn:
How you do it is, tons of trial and error, asking what if, and writing the possibilities until you run out of steam. Then what you do (or what I do anyway) is research. I remember reading essays on hunting and doing internet searches on archery, and re-reading The Hobbit, and all kinds of reading. And then going back and rethinking it all, and writing and discarding and writing some more.

When you’ve finally got the story down in a first draft, you go back and eliminate the needless words (adverbs, passive voice, “Did too! Did not!” type dialog, etc.) and correct all the technical errors. Then you read it aloud and see what you think.

A big me2. Just write and write and write... Get that first draft down, but don't toss it at your beta-reader straight away (although that depends on what kind of beta reader you have). I do tons of research, most of the time when an idea hits me I go back to the source itself, re-read it, plunge into my resource books and start to plot.

Another thing to keep an eye on: do not automatically assume the reader knows what you mean with your story. That doesn't mean add tons of details, thoughts and more to get it across. But simplifying, adding more layers, very gradually, works very good as well. How often have I not seen halfway a story that I actually wrote an extra layer in the story and that I thought... ok, how did I come up with that. It is good, but where was that coming from Wink Smilie

I forced myself back to the drawing board for one of my stories. I was about to plummet my readers into something but that would have confused the hell out of them. It might have been clear to me what I wanted to tell, but that would have meant that readers would get very lost.

Chathol-linn: I love to talk about writing too, so be my guest. Wink Smilie
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so I've asked our lovely Amarie if she can draw a Happy Blue Hippo for me. I hope she can. Happy Blue Hippo needs YOU!

First I have to draw these "#¤%#&" roads and houses into the map and make a 3d movie of them and finish the webpage and print the prospect and have an exam, Wary Smilie but when Monday is over I should have more time for Happy Blue Hippo. *phew!* But I have done a few quick sketches. Smile Smilie
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Another thing to keep an eye on: do not automatically assume the reader knows what you mean with your story.


Agreed! Always try to see the story from the reader's point of view. Although I will say that one of the great delights in telling a story is this: the writer knows what is going to happen and why, and the reader usually does not. If all goes well you can create a desire for them to keep reading to the end.

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That doesn't mean add tons of details, thoughts and more to get it across.


Right again. I've been a beta for lots of people, and I often see writers telling rather than showing (remember the old adage). Also, some writers love to use adverbs to make their points crystal clear: "May all you love come to grief!" he cursed bitterly, hating the creature who stood before him. Well - 'cursed' is unnecessary' because you can tell it's a curse from the content of the speech. 'Bitterly' is not necessary because you've already made the point, - curses aren't sweet - and 'hating the creature who stood before him' is even less necessary. The writer in this made-up example has made the point 3 times, when once would be enough: "May all you love come to grief!" he said.

I always think that the fewer words you use to make your point, the more powerful the prose. - Chathol-linn
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Maybe you should check web of science to make sure it has not be done before. I would hit the Social Sciences Index. It sounds like it has been done before. Don't you love research? Besides Blackwell, Sciencedirect (besides Web of Science) is also a wellknown one a scienticfic source.


Yep, of course a psychoanalysis of LOTR has been done, but I can't find anything on the approach I plan on taking...a very good thing, phew! Thanks for the research tips, Rhapsody. I'll peruse them thoroughly I'm sure. I'm going to really begin this summer. Ah...research, research, research. At least it's an interesting subject, so it shouldn't be too bad Smile Smilie.

You're lucky your husband reads it. I think my husband is secretly a fan because anytime I make him watch a movie or make him listen to a book I'll read while he's driving, he likes it.
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Agreed! Always try to see the story from the reader's point of view. Although I will say that one of the great delights in telling a story is this: the writer knows what is going to happen and why, and the reader usually does not. If all goes well you can create a desire for them to keep reading to the end.


True, although I sometimes surprise myself too Wink Smilie It is more that you read back, especially a couple of chapters and you think... wait a minute. You can sometimes be wrapped up in your own created world that even your beta might go like: ok... I lost it somewhere. It is the a to b to get to c, but you move c forwards and forget the b. Or you assume your reader gets the b like that.

I am sometimes already at c, but I need to switch gears to get the a to b properly worked out first Smile Smilie
But I don't want to miss those jewels of inspirations for the c-moment. So what I sometimes do is I get those things out of my system first and save them in a work file. When the time is there I look at them again and see if they fit in or not.

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I always think that the fewer words you use to make your point, the more powerful the prose.


True, so true.
I am trying to slog through my first anywhere near approaching novel length story... and it's fantasy... one of my biggest worries is about trying not to re-write LOTR, but I think I might be over-reacting to that a little, so being on this site is part of my therapy. I don't dare try to read the books and write at the same time, or without having read two or three different things in between, because my writing always sounds like what I'm reading at the time... the most recently written pages of my story read like Sherlock Holmes Big Smile Smilie That happen to anyone else?
Also, I'm trying to keep going forward and not go back and edit, but my whole concept of the elves in there keeps changing, because I didn't take time to define them clearly first and because new opportunities keep ocurring to me... I'm trying to make them diferent from Tolkien-elves... I could use some different peoples takes on the Tolkien-elves, maybe, to help me visualize where I'm going...
And don't even get me started on the romance scenes. The way I have things now, they pretty much have to be there, but it's tough because I haven't really had that experience yet... Exploding Head Smilie
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I don't dare try to read the books and write at the same time, or without having read two or three different things in between, because my writing always sounds like what I'm reading at the time... the most recently written pages of my story read like Sherlock Holmes That happen to anyone else?


I actually don't have time to read, but when I do.... For example I was researching something for one of my tales I noted how many other ideas came to my mind.

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I could use some different peoples takes on the Tolkien-elves, maybe, to help me visualize where I'm going...


My beta always says: if you can visualize it! You can write it!

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And don't even get me started on the romance scenes. The way I have things now, they pretty much have to be there, but it's tough because I haven't really had that experience yet...


In that sense it helps to read other people works. See how they treated it.
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I could use some different peoples takes on the Tolkien-elves, maybe, to help me visualize where I'm going...


My beta always says: if you can visualize it! You can write it!


Yes, but I need help! So if anyone cares to share their take on Tolkien-elves (or suggestions on how mine could be different) I would very much appreciate it. However, that's not what this thread is for, so probably PM me or post in the Wizards vs ?(Please help me)thread as that is closer and I think we've helped Ar-edain with his wizards all we can, unless he comes up with more questions.