Tolkien's works have been close to my heart since childhood. They're one of the reason I've become a writer and one of the reasons I'm the woman I am today. I'd give a synopsis for this trilogy but every self-respecting geek knows about LOTR. If you need one, just Google it or ask me in the comments. Middle Earth and its characters have inspired me deeply and there is much to glean about writing from this magnum opus of Mr. Tolkien's. As always this writing lessons post shall be filled with gifs!
Warning: This post contains spoilers.
1.) Cultures With Races - One of the biggest standouts of Middle Earth is the vast varieties of races: Men, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Orcs, Uruk-hai, Ents, and wizards, to name the basics. One thing Tolkien and Peter Jackson (Director of the Lord of the Rings) took into account was that there are cultures within each race. Humans aren't all the same in culture neither should any other race be.
|Friendly Rivendell elves.|
How this can be applied to writing: When creating a world in your story, think of how cultures within races can vary, not just by look and where they live but how they act and how their language varies as well. Doing this adds more realism to your story and can create some interesting conflicts and elements for your plot.
|Snarky Lothlorien elves.|
|I love the sound of Elvish. I've learned to speak some.|
|Aragorn is my dreamboat. Okay? Okay.|
|Saruman's baddie POV.|
|Boromir after he let the Ring take hold.|
|Frodo doubting himself.|
|Punch in the feels.|
How this can be applied to writing: When you kill off a character, their death should hit the readers. They should feel the characters' grief. Maybe it won't be until they see the characters grieve that it hurts them. Kill characters in such a way that it impacts the readers. Perhaps like Theoden and Boromir have them at a point where they are about to be redeemed. Perhaps have a character die suddenly and you didn't expect it. There are many ways to make a character's death resonate.
|Gah my heart hurts.|
6.) The Black Moment - The Black Moment is the part of your story where all hope seems lost, where everything is going wrong before the ending comes. The Lord of the Rings had some really great black moments that really made you doubt if the characters were ever going to succeed.
|Uruk-Hai at Helm's Deep|
How this can be applied to writing: When you write your stories you want to make your readers believe the goal your character is trying to achieve is very difficult. It shouldn't be a cakewalk. At the Black Moment is where you make your readers doubt that achieving that goal is possible. Raise the stakes in any way you can to make this effect work.
|The Battle at the Black Gates|
|This speech makes me cry every time.|
Yes, this post got long, but I'm covering a trilogy of movies with this one. I honestly almost cried a few times during writing this post because this series means so much to me. The Lord of the Rings are beautiful stories. Dare I say that anyone who finds them boring needs their head checked. (Diehard Tolkienite here. *coughs, coughs* I will defend this fandom to the bitter end above all others.) It has inspired thousands maybe even millions of people, including many writers. There is a reason why this film has become so timeless.
Have you seen these movies? Have you noticed these writing aspects? What movies have you noticed have good writing? Let's geek out together!
You may also like:Writing Lessons from Videogames: Assassins Creed II
Writing Lessons from TV Shows: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Writing Lessons from Anime: My Neighbor Totoro