Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: J. R. R. Tolkien

A Blog Conversation about Writers’ Groups . . .


Our previous conversation here was about Book Promotion; but, it ended due to a lack of reader comment… Writers' Groups

I’ll begin this new discussion by sharing that I’ve only attended two writers’ groups in my relatively long life and didn’t see the benefits of the arrangement.

My not appreciating the experience could have been due to the way they were conducted or the particular people attending; though, now that I’m quite a bit older then when they happened, I could add my individual “disposition” to why they didn’t work for me.

However

My best friend is and has been for many years quite faithful in her attendance and participation in her writers’ group; and, she happens to have quite the independent mind; so, there must be something worthwhile in certain writers’ groups, for certain people…

I’m sure there’s a profusion of different kinds of writers’ groups in the world since, in the first place, writers are usually quite unique folks; and, in the second place, a group of writers couldn’t very well form a group without it also being unique; though, I suppose there are a few groups out there that copy the structure and behavior of other groups and either fail or limp along helping none of the participants…

And, I should mention, this discussion isn’t about writing “workshops” (usually, limited-time events); but, there could be workshop elements in a regularly-meeting group…

As far as the “right” kind of group, I could only imagine it would need to have a first meeting with the immediate group of writers; and, those writers would need to “write the first draft” of what their particular group needed to accomplish for the members—a collaborative sketching out of the type of “organism” the group could become—the group’s “story”…

Naturally, if other writers were admitted to the group, the “story” would need some sort of “revision” based on the new “characters”—not necessarily a complete recasting of the group; but, at least, some adjustments for the creative nature of the new participants…

So…

Maybe I’ve just drawn up a plan for a writers’ group I could join :-)

Then again, being a septuagenarian, I’ll continue plotting my writer’s voyage alone; yet, certainly, stopping in my best friend’s port of call for a bit of writerly banter and, perhaps, from time to time, a sounding out of a new way to set my sails…

Though, from what I’ve just said, you might think my friend and I have a writers’ group; but, in my definition of “group”, there must be at least three people…

However, recently, I’ve been visiting a “writing community“; but, due to the intensive nature of my personal writing activities, I only check in for short spells of friendly chat…

And, no matter what I may say about our discussion topic, folks who’ve attained some renown in writerly pursuits have belonged to writers’ groups.

According to an article on Inked Voices the following writers found value in the group experience:

J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Virginia Woolf, EM Forster, John Maynard Keynes, Robert Frost, Rupert Brooke, Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald…

And, even if you don’t want to pay to join Inked Voices programs, they still have interesting pages on different types of writers’ groups and various elements of successful groups

Finally, I should mention there are online writers’ groups, as well as a few in virtual worlds…

So…

Are you in a writers’ group…?

What do you most enjoy about your writers’ group…?

Do you think you need to join a writers’ group…?

Are you sure a writers’ group could never fit your needs…?

Have you formed or are you about to form a writers’ group…?

What do you think is most important for a successful writers’ group…?

All it takes is one reader comment to continue this conversation :-)
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Almost Missed It ~ National Tolkien Reading Day


Well, it’s already over in places like Tbilisi, Georgia or Melbourne, Australia but, for most of my readers, it’s time to CELEBRATE !! 

Tolkien

Dramatic Reading from “The Hobbit” ~ Click This Image…

And, I got tipped off, while doing my Google News scan, with an article on NJ.com—“New Jersey’s largest website for local news, sports, entertainment, jobs, autos, real estate and information…”.

Would Not have thought to look there… :-)

From the NJ.com article (do go read the rest...):

Tolkien Reading Day, the day of remembrance honoring the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit author J.R.R. Tolkien, was set up by the Tolkien Society in 2003 and is celebrated annually March 25. 

“Each year, the society celebrates the high fantasy writer, poet and Oxford professor by encouraging fans to promote the legacy of Tolkien’s work by reading or revisiting their favorite passage.

“In particular, the organization wants libraries, museums and, above all, schools to participate in the Tolkien day of remembrance.

What’s the theme for Tolkien Reading Day 2016? — Life, death, and immortality.”

Share it on Twitter by using the hashtag #TolkienReadingDay :-)

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The Publishing (And Editorial) History of Some Extremely Famous Fiction


What “…was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during World War II…It [being] the second best-selling novel ever written, with over 150 million copies sold.”?

And, to give a few folks a bit more time to think about that question, I’ll point out to the grammar-folk that I fully intended the .”? at the end of the previous sentence :-)

And, from the Wikipedia article I’m quoting from, here’s another clue:

It “…was initially intended…to be one volume of a two-volume set…, but this idea was dismissed by [the] publisher. For economic reasons [it] was published in three volumes over the course of a year from 29 July 1954 to 20 October 1955…”.

O.K., I can only give those racking their brains as long as it takes to say I also fully intended the …”. at the end of the previous sentence :-)

By the way, my maverick punctuation is nothing compared to the spelling idiosyncrasies of the author of the work in question

The Answer Is:

The Lord of The Rings

Jrrt_lotr_cover_design

“Tolkien’s unused cover designs for the three volumes which would later be used for the 50th anniversary editions of the books”

This classic work of literature had a rather torturous publishing history with some hair-pulling editorial episodes.

Again, from Wikipedia:

“A dispute with his publisher, George Allen & Unwin, led to the book being offered to Collins in 1950. Tolkien intended The Silmarillion (itself largely unrevised at this point) to be published along with The Lord of the Rings, but A&U were unwilling to do this. After Milton Waldman, his contact at Collins, expressed the belief that The Lord of the Rings itself ‘urgently wanted cutting’, Tolkien eventually demanded that they publish the book in 1952. Collins did not; and so Tolkien wrote to Allen and Unwin, saying, ‘I would gladly consider the publication of any part of the stuff.'”

And, to indicate some of the editorial challenges, from The Tolkien Society’s Site:

Tolkien “…was wondering who might want to read such a book, but cheered up on one point about the publication: ‘At any rate the proof-reader, if it comes to that, will, I hope, have very little to do’ … However, Tolkien had not reckoned with a problem which had already occurred with The Hobbit: ‘I use throughout’, he wrote, ‘the “incorrect” plural dwarves. I am afraid it is just a piece of private bad grammar, rather shocking in a philologist; but I shall have to go on with it’…”

“He did ‘go on with it’, and as a result, he comments on The Fellowship of the Ring: ‘the printing is very good, as it ought to be from an almost faultless copy; except that the impertinent compositors have taken it upon themselves to correct, as they suppose, my spelling and grammar: altering throughout dwarves to dwarfs, elvish to elfish, further to farther, and worst of all elven- to elfin. I let off my irritation in a snorter to A. and U. [the publishing firm] which produced a grovel’…”

The link to the Tolkien Society leads to a bewitching tale of the trials and tribulations of bringing this Epic Tale to the public and I heartily recommend writers and readers take the link and learn the shaded and twisting facts—one more quote about publishing and editorial shenanigans:

“Tolkien was re-editing because…Ace Books in the United States published an unauthorised edition. The Fellowship came out in May 1965, the other two volumes in July. 150,000 copies were printed of each volume! The main text was reset, and introduced new errors, but the appendices were reproduced photographically, and thus contained only the errors already there. Ace Books were exploiting a copyright loophole which meant they did not have to pay Tolkien or his publishers any royalties. Houghton Mifflin appears to have imported too many copies, and the notice they contain, ‘Printed in Great Britain’ meant that the texts were deemed to be in the public domain in the United States.”

There are those who claim literary knowledge who also claim TLoTR is trash.

One thing is certain about its history—struggling against incompetence and impertinence to become a much-loved reading experience for millions…

One last quote (bolding mine):

“There is no time today to do more than note that The Lord of the Rings has been translated into Russian, and numerous other languages. Those translations have been made from various, more or less error-free English editions, by more or less competent translators, with more or less competent typography.”

Something for those struggling to self-publish their own book to remember, eh?
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