This week’s quote is from one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s letters. Tolkien is a favorite author of mine, and I’m sure most of you know that he wrote The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. This quote isn’t so much about writing advice as it is about Tolkien’s own writing style. Most writers I’ve heard of always say they use outlines to plan their story. I, personally, don’t. It was really cool to hear that the great fantasy master himself apparently wrote his epic without knowing exactly what would happen next!
“I met a lot of things on the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree. Strider sitting in the corner at the inn was a shock, and I had no more idea who he was than had Frodo. The Mines of Moria had been a mere name; and of Lothloriene no word had reached my mortal ears till I came there. Far away I knew there were the Horselords on the confines of an ancient Kingdom of Men, but Fanghorn Forest was an unforeseen adventure. I had never heard of the House of Eorl nor of the Stewards of Gondor. Most disquieting of all, Saruman had never been revealed to me, and I was as mystefied as Frodo at Gandalf’s failure to appear on September 22.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, in a letter to W.H. Auden, June 7, 1955