i’ve never been much of a fan of Harry Potter. I’ve always said, however, that Rowlings should never write more after she finishes with the series. She should just finish with Harry Potter and never write a single story about that universe again.
I’ve also said that, no matter how famous of a series I was to write, I would never write more than I planned. It isn’t right. Just, finish with the universe and be done with it.
Why? Because I hate it when authors find a universe they feel comfortable in and just keep writing it, having everything tie back to the stories. (If you desire an example, Ted Dekker’s circle Trilogy. Pretty decent three books for mainline Christian. But he then writes a Paradise series that references it. (Horrid book, the first one BTW) And he writes two or three other series based off of that one. Ick, ick, ick, all of them. Will not read or recommend any of Ted Dekker’s series books again because of it.) It gets to the point that It’s like, give up already. Can’t you write something new and original by now?
Anyway, I finished watching Lord of the Rings today. (I’ve been watching all three over this Christmas break.) It’s strange. I started looking at it automatically from a literary point of view.
Just think of thinks. Tolkien designed a geographic location with such details as the plains, and those plains and cities and each city has its own history. My dad is explaining stuff the movie does not and it is amazing how much detail just goes into everything.
Then, he creates a language. At least one, where he has Elvish.
He creates each species of the people: men, dwarfs, elves, hobbits, orcs, the other ugly creatures, wizards, not to mention goblins, eagles, dead, mountain men, and anyone else I forgot. Each of these people have pretty much their own history developed as well, so example it is believable and awesome.
Now that Tolkien as created this world, he writes about it. And he doesn’t write about it for just one little story. He writes it in three, separate, huge novels, probably on a typewriter, so it isn’t as easy to change things as it it is now. He draws it together in such a way that the three novels, although, yes, they lag (i’ve only listened to Fellowship of the Rings.), but there is so much in them that it is stunning and beautiful and you can practically see it as you write and as you think about it.
Then it’s over. The maps go away. The dictionary guidelines you wrote get stored in the bottom drawer. The notes are useless now. And it’s over, just like that. Middle Earth slowly fades away.
But you still love it. Your home is back there amid the shire and the elves and hobbits and wizards. It’s like your special, magical place and the characters in the stories are your friends. You still think about them, even though the story is over.
As such, I understand now why authors go back to their masterpieces. Their masterpieces have their whole spirit inside of it. It’s like going home and writing about home. And even I did that with Kontyo. It’s the same universe; if anyone was to read Shad, they would see the similarities and they would recognize the story.
On another note, I’ve been thinking about creating my own Galaxy, since I write science fiction. The idea behind that is if I can create a believable enough galaxy, and have all my stories operate within this general area, I will eventually have such a complex universe that it is very believable, with all sorts of background and details and things. However, since it is as large as a certain area of the galaxy, the stories will never really overlap and become icky. Toss in different dates and things become even murkier, but just as awesome I would think.
I’m still playing with this idea, but I think it is something plausible. As much as I love creating worlds, eventually I’ll want to go back to something new I would think. Obviously, not everything would be. I still have a current world comedy I hope to write someday. But I think it would be interesting to pursue. (And I have the time too, to develop such a complex place, seeing as I have a good fifty years of writing ahead of me.)