Three Writing Lessons from Lord of the Rings

by - 12:00 AM

I am beyond ecstatic right now. OBVIOUSLY. BECAUSE IT'S SAVANNAH. *squeals* Yup, the lovely Savannah Grace has graced us with her presence today. *claps for bad pun* Ahem. 

Before I get booed off the stage, I'll hand you guys over to her. ;)


*straps Mary onto a ferris wheel*

*happily takes over her blog*

WELL now that THAT is out of the way.

Hi guys, I’m Savannah! As you can see, I have taken over Mary’s blog today *cackles*.

Yeah, anyways. You’re probably wanting me to get to the real reason I’m here, so let’s get right to it.

Three writing lessons from Lord Of The Rings.

I’m a Lord Of The Rings geek (not geek enough to thoroughly read the Silmarillion, but still. If you’ve ever done that, I applaud you.). If you haven’t read Lord Of The Rings … you’re insane. If you say that you don’t like Lord Of The Rings … I’ll pretend you never said that.

So for today EVERYONE LOVES LORD OF THE RINGS. (also, don’t read the post if you hate Lord Of The Rings. You’ll probably go mad XD)

We can learn a lot from one of the founders of fantasy, can’t we? J.R.R. Tolkien crafted an incredible world with WONDERFUL characters and an amazing plot. But do you want to know the coolest bit?

Lord Of The Rings survived the test of time.

Now, I’m no expert (HA understatement), but I love thinking about what makes Lord Of The Rings so epic and how I can incorporate all of that into my own writing. And you want to know what I know, don’t you (JUST PRETEND, YOU GUYS)?

1. Worldbuilding

If anyone tells me that J.R.R. Tolkien is terrible at world building, I’ll be pretty sure that said person is going mental. Because REALLY?!

J.R.R. Tolkien is a master when it comes to world building. End of story.

Guys. Have you ever looked at a map of Middle Earth?

Okay, there. Now you’ve seen one. Incredible, no? Not only did he think of names for every. Single. Place (come on you guys, that’s a lot of places), but he fleshed most of them out too. 

If you’re writing epic fantasy (or high fantasy, whatever strikes your fancy), or any story that has a
map, you don’t want all your different places to become one big chunk of land. I’ve read stories where it’s like that – all the places seem … well, just the same. Even if they’re technically supposed to be different.

Lord Of The Rings certainly isn’t like that. Do Mirkwood and the Shire seem alike to you?

… didn’t think so.

2. High Stakes + No Cheating

The whole stinkin’ WORLD was going to fall to bits if the Ring wasn’t destroyed in Mordor.

I would say those are pretty high stakes.

And J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t cheat. He didn’t randomly pop some magical wand into Frodo’s hands during the middle of the story that could make all his troubles go poof! He didn’t give Aragorn invincible powers (well, okay, so Aragorn is ALMOST invincible. But not all the way XD).

He didn’t let the characters have an easy way out.

And we were rooting for the characters every step of the way as they fought their battles. Which actually leads us to the next point …

3. Likeable Characters

Yeah yeah, I know you’re all thinking ‘pfft, duh’, but SERIOUSLY. This is important.

I can’t be the only one who has ever read a story and gone ‘WHY am I even reading this? I WANT TO HIT ALL THE CHARACTERS OVER THE HEAD WITH A FRYING PAN’ (not that I can remember exactly which books were like that, but I know I’ve read books like that).

Who wouldn’t be able to root for Frodo as he climbs Mount Doom, or cheer when Legolas does all his fancy elf-tricks? We like J.R.R. Tolkien's characters, and we want to be right beside them as they fight to save Middle Earth. They’re relatable. They’ve got their flaws, but they fight through them just like we fight through our own. They’re likeable, and guess what? We like them. Which means we like the story they’re in.

You need people to like your characters too. And another thing about characters – don’t make them entirely perfect. IT’S JUST REALLY ANNOYING. Also, don’t make them too flawed to even be realistic. Sure, I like having a tragic character or two in a story, but it sure can be overdone.

Just sayin’.

SO hopefully you learned a thing or three (and if not, hopefully the post was amusing in one form or another).

Now, I must be off to get Mary down, and then it’s back to Middle Earth for this elf.

*takes a bow*


*stumbles off the ferris wheel* Phew, it's good to be back on stable ground again. *stares pointedly at Savannah* Thanks. :P

Wasn't this post great? ACK. Thanks oodles for agreeing to guest post, Savannah! It was even worth being strapped to a ferris wheel. XD Ooh, and now I can actually link to her blog! The fairies who used to protect it have run out of pixie dust. ;D SO GO. CHECK OUT HER BLOG. IT IS AWESOME. (Totally not because it has the word "scribblings" in it...)

HA. Look, another educational post. You got to learn about writing lessons from Lord of the Rings! Count yourself lucky. ;D (And no, my guest posts aren't the only educational ones on my blog. Where would you ever get an idea like that? *cough*) What's YOUR favorite thing about LotR? LET'S FLAIL TOGETHER.

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  1. Great post, girl! Even better because it involves Lord of the Rings. XD You should write a book about writing--I WANT TO KNOW ALLL THE WRITING SECRETS. Because your writing is THE BEST. =)

    1. THANK YOU! So glad you liked it!
      A magician does not share her secrets (and I would say authors have their own kind of magic) - unless they're in a really good mood XD. BUT THANK YOU, I'm glad you like my writing!

  2. Awesome post! :D Yes, Middle Earth has AWESOME worldbuilding. o.o (I always look at worldbuilding first after the characters in fantasy because basically it's my favorite part. I have so many worldbuilding ideas. so many.)

    1. Thank ya, Emily! YES all the epic worldbuilding. J.R.R. Tolkien is a master *nods*. (I so wish you had a blog - then you could share all your ramblings about worldbuilding :D)

    2. Yes, he is. *nods*

      (aww, thank you! <3 Maybe... someday. -.- I know I always say that, but... :P)

  3. Hello, Savannah, fancy meeting you here! This post was lovely!! And yes, Tolkien is a genius on five hundred levels.
    I love that picture collage! You got enough pictures of Aragorn to satisfy even me. ;)

    Um, Mary, did you really just ask me that? Are you ready for this? ;) My favorite thing? ARAGORN!! And elves, and hobbits, and nature, and epic battles, and, and, and, and, and. Seriously though, I love the characters (who wouldn't love them?), and the world-building (how could Tolkien even do that?), and the writing style. His style is bea.u.ti.ful. I love how he's able to give details about the fight scenes without making them overly graphic, and I love how he has enough description so you feel like the picture in your head is legit, but little enough that everyone can picture it how they like it and play with choreographing the scenes in their head. If that makes sense?
    Anyway, I loved this post, and I need to stop now. NEVER start me on LotR unless you really want to talk about it. ;)

    1. Hello, Hanna! Thought you would enjoy this post *nods*. And what would a LotR collage be without Aragorn son of Arathorn? Of COURSE I had to get enough pictures of him! :D

  4. As I was reading through this post I found myself nodding in agreement with everything she was saying. I'm a huge fan of Tolkien and his works, so when I saw the title of this post in my blogger feed I MAY have squealed. *cough*

    1. You're a fan of Tolkien, too? Then I guess we'll have to be friends! :D

  5. LOTR!!!!!! Great points, Savannah!!! Such a fun post!! :D

  6. I'm reading Lord of the Rings right now and yesss.

    #1- all the way. If I ever write a fantasy novel, I want my world building to be half as good as his.

    #2- yup! He created all sorts of obstacles and impossibilities and still resolved the whole story most satisfactorily.

    #3- YESSS. THESE PEOPLE. Aragorn, Eowyn, SAM. I love them all. :D (Well, not Denethor but you know what I mean.)

    Good post Savannah! I hope Mary isn't too traumatized from being strapped onto a ferris wheel. ;)

    1. ALL THE PEOPLE, YES *hugs all the LotR characters* ('cept for Denethor. At least Tolkien had well-crafted villains :D).

      Thanks, Meredith! ... yeah, I hope so too XD. *scampers off to check on Mary*

  7. Savannah on Mary's blog. THIS IS SO FUN!!! :D And not only is it Savannah on Mary's blog, but IT'S A LOTR POST. *SQUEEEEALS*

    I agree 100% with EVERYTHING you said, Savannah! Tolkien is THE master worldbuilder. hurts my brain just thinking about how much time he put into worldbuilding. o.o And his stories certainly stood the test of time! And I know they always, always will. Our great grandchildren will probably be fangirling/boying over the LotR stories.

    I love your point of the high stakes and no cheating. That is a very good point! I've read a ton of books where everything felt so easy for the charries; I was never nervous for them because I knew they'd find some easy way out. And well, that's not fun to read! But in LotR you're literally fearing the fate of EVERY SINGLE PERSON in Middle Earth. I!

    AND THE CHARACTERS!!!! I could fangirl for a million years but I'll spare everyone because you already know. Just...THE CHARACTERS. <3333

    I loved, loved, loooved this post!!!

    1. EEP SO GLAD YOU LIKED THE POST! It was quite fun to hijack Mary's blog, I must say (thanks, Mary!!).

      YEAH books where everything is easy for the characters really aren't much fun *shrugs*. I'm SO glad LotR isn't like that!

      *hugs all the characters* They're epicness XD.

  8. Thanks so much for agreeing to raid my blog, Savannah! Don't worry, everyone, I survived my trip on the ferris wheel. XD

    I WOULD reply to all your lovely comments, but it seems Savannah has it covered. Rest assured, though, I read them ALL. <3

    Now...I should get back to my massive comment-replying spree. Somehow comments build up when you don't reply to them for months. :P


Hey, look at you. You found the comments section. *applauds* So proud.

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