Philosophy and Crafting a Tale

buddha-225x300The Buddha once said, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”  I believe this to be true, and try to live my life accordingly. I am a basically happy person.

I think a certain amount of my personal philosophy finds its way into my writing. It’s only human nature to want to make the world to fit your idea of what is good and beautiful. In my worlds, good people always find themselves in bad situations, but through the drama, heartache and violence, what I hope to express is the beauty of life, the emotions that are experienced when joys are contrasted against sorrows.

If you have never felt hunger, you can never understand what it is to have plenty. In the same context, if you have never known sorrow, how can you know joy? The contrasts of life are the flavors, the textures that give it meaning.

The LOTR advance posterBuddha also said, “There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.”  This is a fundamental truth for all writers of traditional fantasy fiction when devising plots, one that J.R.R.Tolkien understood quite clearly. After all, what would have been the point of Frodo and Sam going to the depths of Mordor, suffering the hardships they endured if not to destroy the One Ring and negate the power of Sauron? And why would they do this, if Sauron was not the embodiment of evil?

sam-frodo-frontdoorIn the Lord of the Rings trilogy, we have one of the most enduring works of modern fiction. It is an epic quest where through it all, we have joy and contentment sharply contrasted with deprivation and loss, drawing us in and inspiring the deepest emotions. This use of contrast is why Tolkien’s work is the foundation upon which modern epic fantasy is built.

If I can create a tale in which the reader experiences the full gamut of human emotion, I will have done my job.  The longer I am at this craft, the more I see that the rest of my life will be a training ground, teaching me new things, and widening my writing horizons everyday. With each thing I have written over the years, my work has evolved. Because the universe follows certain fundamental laws and nothing is static, my work and that of all dedicated craftsman-authors will continue to evolve.

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