Sunday, October 21, 2012

on writing - author anecdotes

These are always to fun to read - the small beginnings to great ends.

1. The Hobbit:
J.R.R. TOLKIEN was grading college exam papers, and midway through
the stack he came across a gloriously blank sheet. Tolkien wrote down the
first thing that randomly popped into his mind: “In a hole in the ground there
lived a hobbit.” He had no idea what a hobbit was or why it lived
underground, and so he set out to solve the mystery.

2. Treasure Island:
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON painted a map to pass the time during a
dreary vacation in the Scottish Highlands. When he stepped back to admire his
handiwork, a cast of imaginary pirates appeared. Stevenson recalled, “They
passed to and fro, fighting and hunting treasure, on these few square inches of a
flat projection.” He promptly traded his paintbrush for a quill and began to write.

3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:
L. FRANK BAUM was telling his sons a story when he abruptly stopped.
He’d been swept away to a land unlike any his imagination had ever conjured.
Baum ushered the young audience into another room and, page by page, began
to document Dorothy’s journey along the yellow brick road.

By Neily

4. Charlotte’s Web:
E.B. WHITE had decided to write a novel about saving a pig's life, but wasn’t
sure who would be up to the heroic task. He was walking through an orchard, on
his way to a pigpen, when inspiration hit. He thought back to a large gray spider
that had woven an intricate web in his house: She was perfect for the part.

5. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe:
On an otherwise ordinary day, 16-year-old C.S. LEWIS was seized by a peculiar
daydream. A frazzled creature, half-man and half-goat, hurried through snowy
woods carrying an umbrella and a bundle of parcels. Lewis had no idea where the
faun was heading, but the image was still with him when, at age 40, he finally put
pen to paper to find out.

6. Around the World in Eighty Days:
JULES VERNE was flipping through a newspaper in a Parisian café when an
advertisement caught his eye. It offered tourists the chance to travel the globe in
just 80 days. This was an amazing feat at the time, and Verne’s imagination
immediately began to fire.

7. “Rip Van Winkle”:
WASHINGTON IRVING had been suffering from writer’s block. His brother-
in-law, Henry Van Wart, was trying to cheer him up by reminiscing about
childhood adventures in the Hudson Highlands when, in the middle of the
 conversation, Irving dashed out of the room. The next morning, he emerged with
a new story inspired by the talk.

8. Animal Farm:
GEORGE ORWELL watched as a young boy steered a massive cart horse along a
narrow path, and he was struck by an unusual thought: What if animals realized
their own strength? His hypothetical question evolved into a metaphorical novella
about animals taking over a farm.

9. Anna Karenina:
As he lay on a sofa after dinner, LEO TOLSTOY had a vision of an elbow. The
image expanded into a melancholy woman in a ball gown. The mysterious lady
haunted Tolstoy and he eventually decided to write her story.

10. One Hundred Years of Solitude:
GABRIEL GARCÍA MARQUÉZ was driving his family to Acapulco for a
vacation. As he gripped the steering wheel, the opening line to a novel popped
into his head. García Marquéz threw his foot on the brake, turned the car around,
and cut the trip short to work on the rest of the story.  (Via Writer's Digest)

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