My best friend and I were sitting in a hookah lounge together, one wintery evening. It was the first time he and I hung out outside of work, and we got the opportunity to talk about Doctor Who, Star Wars vs Star Trek and Lord of the Rings. As he blew smoke rings into the air (and as I tried and failed horribly), he asked me about my writing. I flew into a frenzy, spilling a lot of my current project (more about that in the coming weeks!) with him. He mentioned something to me, that I’d love to share with you all. He asked me if I’d ever read The Silmarillion. Being the ever nerd that I am, of course I’ve read “The Silmarillion!” For those of you who don’t know, The Silmarillion is J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythopoeic narrative that of the universe of Eä in which are found the lands of Valinor, Beleriand, Númenor, and Middle-earth within which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place.
And I thought to myself…
And thus began my new adventure in writing! And boy, what an adventure it has been! Writing down the history and lore of my universe allowed me to dig deeper into my characters and the way the world worked. From the behaviour of certain species of characters, to the history of my heroes and villains. I understood why the world worked the way it did.
As I began to carve out the history of my story, as I began to whittle the mythos of my world, a deeper, richer plot began to emerge itself from the wood shavings of imagination. I began to have a clear depiction of the story from beginning to end.
When I go back and begin the writing process, I don’t have to world build along the way. I can look back at my mythos, my Silmarillion and the story is that much clearer to me.
So I challenge you, fellow writers to do the same! Write your Silmarillion! Write out the universe of the world first. Before you plot, before you write that first chapter, carve out the lore of your universe, and watch the story unfold on its own.