Four writers I regard as the best in my generation shared one thing in common. They viewed the world from my eyes. Sound strange doesn’t it? But not so much if you studied their characters carefully. These four esteemed writers believed and brought to life, in their books, noble characters who lived very ordinary lives that didn’t matter much for politicians, journalists, preachers or the so-called “upper-class nobility”. The Hobbits, the Mugbloods, the orphans, who dared to fight the power of evil all had humble beginnings and this is the important connection that means a lot to me, because I am from the common working class social category.
I used to think that writers sit down at a café with their “Apple” laptops and start firing away, playing with words like a Thesaurus was being revealed to them. I had the feeling that they “build” their story as they go on writing. This simple assumption might be the most important why most people never get to write a good book. At least seems that way to me. I did not understand the “thought” process that goes into weaving a good story. Writing is dam hard work. Its like a “pensieve” where one must fall into a world where characters unfold their stories and memories for the writer to glue them together into a nice package. Basically, writing a good book is HARD WORK.
Just to share an example, it took Tolkien 17 years to finish LOTR (Lord of the Rings)! He wrote his masterpiece “in between” work and family chores. Another great example, and my favorite one, is of JK Rowling, the charming writer who can throw spells on her readers from the moment they open the first chapter of her book. She was actually a single mother, bankrupt and on the verge of a mental breakdown. At possibly the worst moment of her life, she began to write Harry Potter series which eventually became the world’s best selling books with over 400 million copies sold world wide.
After reading Harry Potter, it dawned on me how much thought and effort goes into “imagination”. Of-course, words and prose are very nice to have, but that’s not the reason why readers fall in love with a story. A good story should have interesting plots, mysteries, adventure, humor, pain and excitement.
One more point, writers like Tolkien and Lewis read their stories to each other (the inkling club) where they challenged each other’s creativity, not their language, and that included books like LOTR and Chronicles of Narnia! Lewis didn’t think much about the Elves, while Tolkien was not too pleased about Lewis bringing Christianity directly. What I am trying to say is, lets instead ask the question, “can you think of a good story?”