Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy Author ~

Fantasy World Building. J.R.R. Tolkien


The vision and imagination behind The Lord of the Rings is hard to fathom. Written in 1937, The Hobbit was the first of Tolkien’s works within this series. The three remaining books followed over a span of twelve years. Tolkien gave me my first real taste of what high fantasy can be.

The Balrog, as seen in Peter Jackson's The Lor...

The Balrog, as seen in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

World building. It isn’t easy. Writers must create rules for their world to abide by, scenery perhaps never seen before, and creatures of vivid imagination. With fantasy comes conflict, and with conflict comes action. Action that makes sense, flows smoothly, and can hopefully be seen within a readers own imagination.

This can be the most difficult part of writing. Recreating the images we have created in our minds into words on paper. Words that resonate with the reader.

I see all my stories in my minds eye. Similar I’d say to a film reel. Scenes rush by in my head and try to catch them, and write them down.

Here is one of my favorite LOR scenes:

“The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from the nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm.

‘You cannot pass,’ he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. ‘I am the servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.’

“….Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell from his hand. A blinding sheet of white flame sprang up. The bridge cracked. Right at the Balrog‘s feet it broke, and the stone upon which it stood crashed into the gulf, while the rest remained poised, quivering like a tongue of rock thrust out into the emptiness.

With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. ‘Fly, you fools!’ he cried, and was gone.” ~LOR, The Fellowship Of The Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien

**Here is the film scene:

Rarely do I think that movies hold a candle of the magic that books do. Especially when recreating a classic such as LOR. LOR however, is one of my exceptions. There is as much to learn from this series of films as there is to learn from the series of books. Both are incredible.

Having trouble writing action, creating worlds? Read some Tolkien, and remember to keep it clean and concise.

Related article: Fantasy World Building — Thanks To Star Wars and Legend


11 responses

  1. Hi Laney, We share a similar experience regarding L.O.R. I never liked to read all through school. A friend gave me Tolkien’s books, and my world bloomed. My favorite passage was Eowyn, sword in hand, before the Nazgul. There were so few female heroines back then. Thank you for your wonderful blogs. Cheers, Lee

    June 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

  2. Sounds like you and I have good taste in books and movies. 😉
    LOR is incredible, I agree. Especially when you consider the publication date. Way before it’s time.

    Thank YOU for always taking the time to read my posts! I appreciate it. Have a great day, Lee.

    June 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm

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  5. nofosu

    I love this post. I am starting out a bit of writing myself, and this was a real inspiration. I love LOR though i confess i have not finished reading the book. Its an adventure in it self, and i feel exhausted after a few chapters. It will be one of those books i read through out my life.

    June 21, 2012 at 4:04 am

  6. Thanks so much. 😉 It’s hefty reading, I agree. A different age of writing.
    Glad you found the post inspiring.

    June 21, 2012 at 11:00 am

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