WW1 and J.R.R.Tolkien

by , Wednesday March 25, 2015
WW1 and J.R.R.Tolkien

Learn from the best, how to write about War like Tolkien.

The battles, some of the characters, and some of the plot line were based on Tolkien's experience of World War One. When the war broke out in 1914 J.R.R Tolkien didn’t immediately enlist in the army instead he endured the public torment of not enlisting. He waited until 1915 after he had completed his degree in English Literature. *Stay in school kids!* Tolkien was trained with the 13th Reserve Battalion. He was a Second Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers. Some of his first ideas of the Lord of The Rings were thought of when he was in an English hospital suffering from trench fever.


When Frodo suffers from hallucinations and seizures from side affects from The Ring, much of Tolkien's inspiration could have come from the people who suffered from shell shock from the trenches. The despite the horrific mental effects of shell shock most men were sent back into war. Though he never meant to base directly base his writing on WWI his experiences meant that it unintentionally slipped into the writing, but there was one thing that he did base LoTR on. The Battle of Somme. Tolkien fought in the Battle for a short time. During the time he contracted Trench Foot and Stress. When he went down with Trench Fever and was out of the war permanently.


What works and What doesnt when writing about war.


You MUST research to get to know what you are writing about. If you don’t research it will not work. If you are writing about particular battles get the dates and as many details as possible correct. Even when inventing your own war and battles, reading about actual eye witness war reports will help build the war that you're trying to describe. 


Write from different perspectives. Write from the soldier’s point of view, or a family member of someone who went to war, maybe an evacuee from London during the Blitz in the Second World War. Don’t always write from the same perspective in each scene, it will widen the lense of the drama and allow your readers to see the whole of the battle and it's effects. 


Use all your senses when writing about War. Imagine what everything would smell, feel, taste and sound like on a battle field. Not just the blood or bodies, but the split earth, the moments of cold fresh air between the suffocating swirls of smoke from guns and fire. 


Contrasting light and dark can work brilliantly when writing about War. Writing from other perspectives or letting your characters remember happier times in the midst of war can help build the tension of the scenes. 


Zoom in and out. Move from the details to a birds eye view, embed smaller scenes into the larger over view of the battle or the war itself. 


THANKS FOR READING! @Annabeth Kenobi

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