Going Full Tolkien.

Strangely, I don't read much fantasy these days, even though it is my first love, my first impulse. I find myself dissatisfied with most fantasy, and this has been true since I read LOTR's at 13 years of age. Of course, back then, there was very little of what we now call fantasy, and what came out was pretty bad at first. There have been some modern fantasy writer's who do it pretty well; Martin, Rothfuss, Bujold.

But most mess the mark.

I started reading a well regarded fantasy trilogy last night, and immediately had that familiar feeling of disappointment. On reflection I think it's because the world just isn't fleshed out. It just feels too arbitrary.

This is what has kept me from writing fantasy. I don't like world building (except by writing) and yet I feel it is utterly necessary for the full experience.

Another reason is that I've always been afraid of being too derivative if I indulge in my impulse--there have certainly been plenty of fantasy that I think has shamelessly copied Tolkien.

Tellingly, I haven't even attempted to write heroic fantasy in this second go-around.

But I've been working up to it. Someday I'm going to go full Tolkien, just indulge in the deep nostalgia I have for that period in my life. In a way, all the writing I've done up to now has been leading me to this.

I'm not as worried about being derivative because I've learned that I tend to put my own spin on things no matter what.

The important thing is to tap into that life-changing feeling I had with LOTR's. Here I am, a bookstore owner and fiction writer and life-long nerd. I may have been that way anyway, but LOTR's sealed my doom.

It's like--I'll know when I'm ready, and when I'm ready I'll go all in.