Influences of a Writer: From where does inspiration spring?

To quote a character in a Rodger Zelazny novel “If I knew I would walk over and stand there”. I love that line, although I do have an idea where my inspiration comes from. It is a short walk to my bookshelves. The things I love to read and the genre’s I prefer to write in creatively are tied together. I was thinking about the stories and authors I love to read and how I got turned onto them at a young age.

I was interested in fantasy from an early age having read and enjoyed the Narnia series. Then I was given the Hobbit, followed by the Lord of the Rings and my love for fantasy was cemented. I have read those once a year since I was about 11 years old. By the time I was 15 I was reading the Silmarilion yearly as well. Then I was introduced to the aforementioned Rodger Zelazny. He wrote both sci-fi and fantasy and sometimes both, (which is difficult to do well.), in the same story. His Amber books are what hooked me. After the late great Zelazny I found Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, Frank Herbert’s Dune series and sci-fi became cemented in my favorite genres for reading pleasure. After sci-fi I was then introduced to classic horror or gothic romances with Bram Stoker and Mary Shelly, Frankenstein and Dracula in the original forms. I branched out to Stephen King and my love of the horror tale was cemented at that time.

Creatively that is where my obsession lies. Fantasy, sci-fi, horror, they all are genres I have played with and enjoyed doing so. Some would say they are all in the same realm as the fantastic stories. Either way those are where I get my reading pleasure and inspiration to write. Interestingly enough I was introduced to all of those mentioned and more by my brother John. The first book I read in any of the genres I listed was given to me by John starting at an early age. He was the one who passed on the knowledge of these wonderful worlds that I could explore and have explored ever since. Thanks John, it is appreciated every time I sit at my computer to write, or pick up a book to read.

These are thoughts on some of my own inspiration and influences, what about yours?"Alas! Poor Yorick...I knew him well"



The Desolation of Smaug: Rant 2

Ok, here is my last major complaint about The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The big battle with the dragon, Smaug, inside the dwarven city. It was exciting, spectacularly directed, acted and the special effects were mind boggling. Unfortunately it never happened in the book. None of it. In the book, for those who have not read it, Bilbo is sent down the secret tunnel to spy out the dragons lair. His first trip he steals a golden cup, and the second is when he has his conversation with the dragon and almost gets torched. They showed some of the conversation in the movie and then it all went into left field. In the book, the dwarves never see Smaug. Smaug can’t find them and decides that they must have came from Lake Town. It is then that he flies off and goes after the town. There is only one reason I can think of for doing it the way they did. Smaug himself. They knew they had a masterpiece with Smaug and decided to really show him off and stretch out his screen time. They were going for a great adventure movie, just not a great adventure movie named The Hobbit. Even with all the back story from Tolkien’s appendixes, two movies would have been sufficient to tell an amazing story that would have done as well. I am thinking that Hollywood got too much influence and really wanted to milk it for all it is worth. It is well known by now that The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit, are the only stuff that they have the rights to. So once the movie, The Hobbit is done, they are out of Tolkien material to make money off of. So if the bottom line and not the material is their main focus, of course they would twist things into whatever they believe would make them more money, and it certainly looks like it will work for them. There are many more things that happened in the movie that I could complain about, but Tolkien fans know what they are, and the rest of you get the point anyway. Once more, thanks for letting me vent.


If anyone is wondering, yes I will see the last installment. Like I said, it is a good adventure movie.



The Desolation of Smaug: Rant 1

When The Lord of the Rings came out I was amazed and pleased. There were only a few plot points changed, but the feel of the movie was the feel of the books. Previous to those movies I had been sure The Lord of the Rings could not be done correctly in movie form. So I had high hopes for The Hobbit. Unfortunately, instead of just a few plot points changed, they only kept a few plot points and changed the rest. (That is an exaggeration, but not a big one.) I will only go over a few of the really big ones in this review, (rant?)

Azog the orc. In the book The Hobbit, he was only mentioned a few times. In a description of the history of Thorin’s family and at the end when Azog’s son showed up at Erabor for the battle. The reason for this is that Azog was killed by Thorin’s cousin Dain many years, chronologically, before the events in The Hobbit take place. Azog was not even alive for Thorin and Companies adventures! As for the orcs chasing the company shortly after the run in with the trolls? Never happened in the book. (Or the appendixes in The Lord of the Rings.)They were not being hunted from the word go.  They left Bag End and then ran into the Trolls, and then made it to Rivendell. All of that took little time in the book. The only time they were hunted was after they escaped the Goblin King under the Misty Mountians. They certainly were not chased by orcs in their escape from the elves prison in Mirkwood. That too never happened.

When I heard that Legolas was in the movie version of The Hobbit, I thought that could be conceivable since he is a Prince of Mirkwood so he might have been there. Instead of just being there he is a part of a lovers triangle with Tauriel and Fili, the dwarf. Seriously? I know Hollywood thinks every movie needs a love affair, but seriously? I do not have a problem when changes have to be made for movies, it happens, and mostly it can be ignored. This though is fairly extreme. I will have one last complaint tomorrow and finish up my little rant. I have been holding it in for a long time, thanks for letting me get it out.

Until then,