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What began on December 22, 2015 came to an end on May 19, 2017–My first book in my first trilogy ended with Thranduil boarding a ship headed for the Undying Lands with what was left of his court. With 30 chapters telling his story in 497 pages (three shy of 500 but there are a few things I have left to add to it), it is an impressive body of work just for the effort I put into it. I cannot say whether or not it is good–that is for others to say so or otherwise, but I can say I’m proud of myself for making it through to the end.

Now, I move on to an even more challenging feat–telling the story of Thranduil’s ancestors as far back as the Sundering of the Elves at Lake Cuiviénen. Anyone who has read The Silmarillion know that in order to understand it, you have to keep referring to the Appendix your first time just to keep track of the characters–much less what they are doing. I decided to tackle that by reading the Appendix like it was a story upon itself. So far, it has served me well just working on The Saga of Thranduil.

The first book may be done, but I am by no means finished with Thranduil. The daunting task of editing is ongoing as well as changes made in backstories, history and the like has yet allowed to call The Saga of Thranduil done. The first draft is done and it has been the most read to date (estimated 2000+) based on followers on its blogs across the web. It is the least of all Tolkien fan fiction reads–mostly because I add very little frills and thrills and keep to Middle-Earth exclusively. So much so, I’ve spent 17 months convincing people Tolkien didn’t write this story. I don’t know if that is because of the sheer size of the work, it was written by a woman of color, it was written by a woman in general or because the words are reminiscent of Tolkien himself. Whatever it is, I still haven’t decided if that is a good or bad thing. My job, I feel, is to tell the story to the best of my ability and make it work.

Either way, I posted the entire book on-line for the world to have its first look-see. It is available from May 20, 2017-May 27, 2017.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5aEKM0HC5bcTUkzZzdWT0UtcFk

After seven days, it will go down as I begin Book I: The Epic of Eryn Galen. Time to move on. I know that moving on will involve further work on Book II–because done will mean complete and that is not what it is right now. It will get there eventually as will all the books in this trilogy. I realized I still have errors to correct here and there, and I don’t mind. It’s part of the process.

Writing isn’t a finite talent. Even the most established writers–the ones that know better–know that you are never done learning or finding new ways to tell a story. You don’t stop at the first good or bad review. You move on. It’s not about how many readers there are but the quality of the readers. If they are not discussing your work, you are not doing your job. Writing requires thought to do it and even more to read it. Good is relative to the subject. If I make people think and ask questions, then I’ve done my job. Those readers make writers grow their art. I want to know why you think its good or bad–more than just a review of the subject or even the topic.

I have an insatiable desire to learn that is only equalled by the same desire to write. I’m still learning and I don’t want to stop learning. I’ve been writing longer than most and longer than some have been alive. I don’t know everything there is to know about writing and I’m fine with that. It is said that a Master has failed more than the pupil has tried. They don’t make failure an option; they make it a touchstone to think about how to improve on what they know. I’m not a Master yet, but I know that I can’t be if my only goal is to be famous rather than good.

I wouldn’t mind being known for writing something so long as it was something worth reading. That takes work and the strength to endure the process. I take the challenges like an athlete in training. I write the work like I’m running the race. I made it to the finish line, but I still have races to run.–J.

Image: ©2014. Warner Brothers Pictures. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. All Rights Reserved.

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