If you put the word 'Tolkienesque' into Google and then filter by 'blogs' you will find any number of posts disparaging people like me. I came across a couple that called writers who write Tolkienesque fantasy 'lazy' and 'unimaginative'.
I view the Middle Earth works of Tolkien like a painting that a great master began, completing just a tiny portion of it before dying and leaving it unfinished. That one tiny part is so brilliant that some fall in love with the possibilities that it offered. It is so vivid that we can accurately envision what the finished painting might have been like.
The critics have a right to their opinions, but they are wrong to consider writers like me lazy or unimaginative. They don't understand the depths of passion we have for that incomplete painting. They would be right to say that only that master could have finished the painting, but they miss the point. Those of us with the deep love for the tiny portion of the master's work that exists are pained at the thought that no more of the painting can be revealed to the world. We desperately want to see more of it and not just in our imaginations. So the painting can never be finished. However, it eases the heartache for us to even add another tiny patch to the painting, to bring to life another story that adds just another brush stroke to illuminate a tiny bit more of the master work.
Let the critics say what they will, I intend to spend the bulk of my writing life working on my own imaginative, non-lazy vision of what I see in that beloved painting. Most writers out there want to go their own way and create their own paintings, even knowing that they can never rival the great master. I have already found the one painting that I love more than all others. It's just a few brilliant brush strokes in the bottom corner, and I want to try my best to fill in just a little more of that empty canvas.
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