Sunday, January 08, 2012

"It's those books. Filling your head with...ideas."

 I have been thinking. Of course, you might be able to say this, "A dangerous pastime," which it probably is, but I've still been doing it. I've had a huge debate with myself that is going to lead me on a quest to find the answer. 

 What makes a book Classic? What is it about "Pride and Prejudice," "The Lord of the Rings," and "Sherlock Holmes," that has kept them around for so long? Other books were written during those times, books we know nothing about, titles out of print and forgotten. Sometimes they are found with their worn out covers and dusty smelling pages - I have three of these myself - but how many are never found? How many are buried in the past, never to be heard from again? And what kept the books we now call Classics from joining them?

 I wonder this because, as a writer, it is my goal to write something that will remain a Classic. No one wishes to write the book that gets forgotten, that is never an author's dream. But how does one write a Classic? I am sure there are other keys to Classics, but I think one of them - maybe the most important - is that these were written from the heart. These stories are, in a way, the author's own stories. Their dreams, hopes, wildest ambitions. 

 Jules Verne was a man who lived in the future. He told us of travel on the moon long before it was possible. He gave us hope that those impossible adventures could be possible. He didn't hold anything back, he asked, "Why not?" and did it. He did the impossible and because of it we still like him. We still pick up his books and travel to the center of the earth, we travel to the moon and crash on mysterious islands. We go around the world in eighty days without one amount of disbelief that these things are impossible. 

 J.R.R. Tolkien told us a story everyone can relate to, but in a world no one had ever seen. I had heard it said that much he wrote about he based after his own life and experiences. The Shire was based after his home town. Is that why, when we visit there, we feel as if it were our home as well? Is that why, when we walk down those dirt streets and pass the small homes that we know everyone and have our whole lives? He understood the importance of a hometown and he was writing from what he had seen and lived in. 

 As for the battles, I also heard that he was basing these battles after ones he himself had fought in. He knew what war was like, he knew the horror and fear of it. Who didn't feel their heart start to race in the Mines of Moria when they start to hear the drums go, Doom. Doom. And the loss of Gandalf. How sad it was to loose that dear friend. It was a pain Tolkien likely knew all too well and was able to pass on to his readers. 

 Jane Austin wrote of families. Why? Because of her understanding of her family. Is that why the Bennets are so real to us? Why Mrs. Bennet sounds like so many mums we know, or the sisters so much like our own siblings? 

 In a world where the style of writing is sounding less and less sophisticated, these books carry on. Though the March sisters lived during the Civil War we still relate to them, in the midst of a world filled with technology, cars, and constant rushing. Why? Because we can relate to them. We can understand Jo's anger when Amy destroyed that which was most dear to her. We know how it feels, the excitement of going to a party. And watching your sibling moving out and starting their own life, oh yes, we all understand that sorrow. 

 I've not read many modern books so I am not much of a judge on them - they all sound nearly alike so if I've read some why read them all? But now I find myself wondering. Books come and go now, certain books are very popular for a few years and then they are gone. Is this because no one puts their own experiences in them? Their own feelings, things they are familiar with and understand? One doesn't have to just write about their life, look at Tolkien. He created a whole new world, but he still wrote about things we can relate to. 

 Right now, this is my goal. Of course, this is easier said then done. Putting your own feelings into a book is frightening. Letting the whole world see right into you is disturbing. But, even if it doesn't make a Classic, it makes a book much much better. 



  1. Wow... Amazing blog post! I never thought of writing like that before... You are completely right! I think you just hit the target with this blog post.
    A lot of books now a days are pretty much the same I'm sad to say. That's partly why I want to write books. I think of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. They wrote Lord of the Rings and the Narnia books partly because they thought that there was no good books for teens to read back then. Well, I'm sorry to say... But there's nothing good to read now either. That's one of the biggest reasons I write. I want to write stories that people will love and because of the stories and adventures and the characters. Not because it's mindless fluff like most of the stuff out today...

  2. Your books are amazing, and I know that they will become classics. <3

    Your loving DLS,
    Emma River Rose Watson


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