Oh my. It was my intention to blog each Thursday, but between distracting news events, health issues, and a major snowstorm I mixed up my days and blogged on Wednesday.
I thought about skipping the Thursday blog, but then thought that if even one person shows up I should have posted as promised.
Yesterday, Stepping Inside My Head covered my discovering fantasy after reading Lord of the Rings in my early teens. The focus was on the elements that influenced me the most as a fantasy writer. Today I’ll cover a few elements that I always wished were different. In many ways these items were equally influential.
Over time I’ve found that Tolkien’s breathtaking world building failed to carry over to characters that were often wooden, their dialogue stiff (even so, there are many memorable lines). Too, at times scenes became bloated, wordy, and drug on too long. The most glaring omission was too few female characters. Peter Jackson recognized this and expanded the female roles in his movies. Even so, they’re minimal. Always I’ve wished that Rose had joined the others for the trek east. What an exciting thought having a girl in the mix and Sam having to divide his attentions between Master Frodo and the serving girl he was attracted to.
The problem, of course, is that the result wouldn’t be Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, but instead Christina’s—something.
My last issue I don’t blame on Tolkien, but more so on those who later were, uh, inspired? by his work. Tolkien describes the transition to the Age of Men so at its end it’s logical that the wizards are gone. On the other hand, I’ve read more recent fantasy series that use a similar device as a reason to not explore wizards and their magic. I call it the “The Last-of-Their-Kind Excuse.” It’s an excuse because they create a world where there’s only one remaining wizard. This allows the wizard to be a shadowy oddity who’s never fully explained or provided depth. Too, because there’s only one wizard there’s no need to create a wizard culture.
Ouch! Hopefully this doesn’t come across as too much negativity. Again, this isn’t an attack on Tolkien, but instead a way to show how I began to deviate from his colossal work as all writers must. As always I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts.