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News And Your Views

A smattering of this and that today. An update on our First Ever Spec Faith Writing Challenge, then news for For fantasy lovers. Finally, your views, in two parts.
| Jul 30, 2012 | No comments |

A smattering of this and that today.

First, regarding our First Ever Spec Faith Writing Challenge, I thought we had a good group of writers participate. I was hoping for more comments, however, so have decided to table the suggested part two of this particular challenge. I’m inclined to revisit a similar sort of activity in the future, however.

For fantasy lovers: the group of dedicated fans, led by author Robert Treskillard, who have created book trailers for Jill Williamson‘s Blood of Kings Trilogy (Marcher Lord Press) just released the third in the series–the trailer for From Darkness Won (see below).

Today Peter Jackson, followed by an official press release from New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Warner Bros. Pictures, announced a third film in what is now being referred to as The Hobbit Trilogy. Yep, you read that right–a third Hobbit movie!

Peter Jackson will make a third film in his upcoming adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit . . .

Jackson, the Academy Award®-winning filmmaker behind the blockbuster “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, recently wrapped principal photography on what he originally planned to be a two-film adaptation of The Hobbit, which is set in Middle-earth 60 years before The Lord of the Rings.

Jackson stated, “Upon recently viewing a cut of the first film, and a chunk of the second, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and I were very pleased with the way the story was coming together. We recognized that the richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, gave rise to a simple question: do we tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as filmmakers and fans was an unreserved ‘yes.’

And now, your views, in two parts.

First, what do you think of the idea of three Hobbit films instead of two?

Second, and completely unrelated? What, in your opinion, is the number one reason you would not finish a book? Have there been any of late (no titles necessary) that you have not finished?

Looking forward to your answers. Enjoy the aforementioned book trailer.

Best known for her aspirations as an epic fantasy author, Becky is the sole remaining founding member of Speculative Faith. Besides contributing weekly articles here, she blogs Monday through Friday at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. She works as a freelance writer and editor and posts writing tips as well as information about her editing services at Rewrite, Reword, Rework.

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Three Hobbit films sounds great!  Love the idea of more Middle Earth, especially when Peter Jackson’s talents portrays it!  On the other hand, three films do allow room for unnecessary character arcs or added angst/trauma/romance that doesn’t fit with the story.  That I wouldn’t want.  So I guess we’ll just have to see how it all pans out.
As for why I wouldn’t finish a book, the main reasons would be: it’s poorly written, it moves too slowly, and it lacks beauty, wonder, and integrity of the characters. 
You asked some great questions, Becky.  I’ll be curious to see other people’s answers!


Hang on, something went wrong with the edit function and my revised comment didn’t show up.  May I try again?
The main reason I wouldn’t finish a story: it’s poorly written.  The flaws differ from book to book, but I’ll get disgusted if the theme is overt, if the description is overwritten or feels forced, if the characters come across as flat or stereotyped and their dialogue matches their flimsiness.

Kessie Carroll

I’ve been canvasing this topic on Facebook with great excitement. Jackson mentioned wanting to do the parts where the White Council drives the Necromancer out of Mirkwood, something that’s only alluded to in the book. But it’d be great on screen. Kind of like Gandalf’s first confrontation with Sauron, and we’d get to see Saruman using his powers for good. It’ll make his defection in LOTR that much more damaging, since it’s Saruman’s arts that let them defeat the Necromancer/Sauron in the first place.
I’m in danger of writing a book on the subject. tl:dr version, I’m excited. The more LOTR goodness, the better!
As for books I don’t finish–Usually I slog away and finish whatever I start. I’ve put books down for being:
Too dirty (I’m afraid Valdemar by Lackey takes the prize for this one)
Too predictable (Oh wait, I’ll bet it’s his dad! YEP! No need to read this anymore!)
Too boring (How much farther are they going to walk? I don’t care about all this backstory!)
A genre I’m not interested in (why did I start reading a memoir of this boring person?)
Too disturbing (violence-wise)
A laughable premise (the elves are Nephilim? Really? I’m done reading now).
Aside from the first, all of these examples are exaggerated examples not based on any particular book.

Michelle R. Wood

One: if The Hobbit is now going to be three movies, can we finally get the scouring of the Shire filmed?

Two: the books I can remember finally putting down (at times to pick up again, at times to abandon forever) usually involve either poor writing to the point of illegability, or such a poor story that I feel too embarassed for the characters to continue reading. I can hold my nose and stomach quite a bit of either if I have even a hint that there will be a payoff (I did manage to read all of Eragon, after all). The biggest problems I see are when a story wants to be Dramatic but is laughably flimsy, or when it wants to be Funny but just comes across as a stale loaf. In either case the story is trying too hard or takes itself too seriously rather than naturally flowing.

Finally: not a word on the geeky Opening Ceremonies? I have unfortunately only seen smatterings of it since NBC refuses to stream a full version online (grr) but surely an event that brought together Bond, Rowling, and Peter Pan should get a mention. Of course, they didn’t use my idea of Smaug the dragon flying out of a Tardis to flame the Torch, but since his contract just got extended I suppose we’ll have to give him a break. 😉


Too bad there won’t be a part two to the writing challenge 🙁
But it’s okay, I totally understand. Please do try again though!
As for books that I haven’t be able to finish, there’s been very few. I generally keep slogging through to the end hoping that the story will improve. I’m stubborn that way, I guess 🙂
In fact, the first time that I can remember giving up on a book happened only a few weeks ago.  I had to give up on a new historical/romantic fiction. In that case the characters all seemed to be one-dimensional, and the plot was WAY too predictable. I was just expecting a little fluffy chick lit, nothing profound, but when I couldn’t make myself care about either the hero or heroine, and there was no mystery as too how the book was going to end, I had to give up. I made through the first 100 pages, then realized I was dreading having to pick it up and read it.  So it went back to the library, less than halfway finished. I was especially disappointed because it had been an author I trusted for well-written light stories. 
Generally, I don’t mind a slightly hokey plot, if the characters are good. I think the characters really make or break a book for me.

Tamra Wilson
Tamra Wilson

I know this is off topic, but can anyone tell me anything about the Ringworld  and Chronicles of Earthsea series? They LOOK interesting but as we all know, not everything that looks good is good!


A third Hobbit movie? HALLELUJAH! I am slightly concerned about the possibility for unnecessary plot element (Tauriel, anyone?) but the mention of the Silmarillion makes me more comfortable with the idea. I’m also crossing my fingers for an appearance by Aragorn as a young boy, because he was fostered at Rivendell under the name Estel. 
As for what makes me put down a book:

Explicit sexual material (I can skip over a paragraph or two, but if it keeps happening)
Excessive confusion over the plot
One-dimension characters with no potential for change
Unnecessary/unexplained abilities (here’s to Maximum Ride)
Poor grammar/formatting/capitalization, etc
Not a preferred genre

The second-to-last is more common with fanfics, but it stills happens occasionally.

Morgan Busse

Good question Becky 🙂

I am now thinking of the books I have stopped reading and here are the reasons:

Language. I was reading a book a while ago and loved it, but there was so much language that I found it coming up inside my head. I finally put the book away without finishing it because I didn’t want those words in my head, and eventually coming out my mouth. And that was so sad because, like I said, the book was good. What a waste 🙁

Sexual scenes. Automatic put the book aside. If the author is going to go there, I won’t go with him/her. Not that I don’t like a good romance, I just don’t need the steamy, show everything scenes. And I believe firmly that it is no different than pornography and definitely not good for my marriage.

Preachy worldviews. And I’m not talking about Christian either. Every writer approaches their writing with their worldview. But when I feel like they are hammering me with their point of view, I will put down their book. One author I have particularly loved started doing this concerning marriage. It seemed all his characters had to say something about how marriage doesn’t matter and love only matters, and it doesn’t matter how long it lasts. Okay, fine. But bringing it up constantly in the book? Sorry, but I’m done.

This can also be extended to Christian books. I want authenticity, not just someone praying a prayer of forgiveness and moving on, or attending church, or a bible study and that is the only way I would know the character is a Christian. I don’t believe those people in real life and don’t really want to read about them in a book. Please give me a character who is genuine.

As far as formatting and misspelled words and such, the book has to have a ton of errors to make me put it down. And usually it is accompanied by a bad story. If the story is good, I will forgive almost anything because, for me, story trumps.

E. Stephen Burnett

First on The Hobbit. (Some of this is taken from material written elsewhere.)

I share concerns about The Hobbit being expanded to three films instead of two, which could change the series’ tone beyond that of the book. However, the producers have said they hope to flesh out the backstory according to The Return of the King Appendices, while also preserving the lighter tone and fun quest-motifs of The Hobbit. Any advance criticisms of these films must address that claim.

Faithfulness to the books would dictate longer, more drawn-out stories; in fact, most of the changes even in the extended versions of The Lord of the Rings were removals of “pointless” sequences like Tom Bombadil. Notice I put “pointless” in quotes, because in fact the Bombadil sequences, and many other “wanderings” away from the Plot are in fact part of Tolkien’s goal in writing. His work is World-Driven, not merely Plot-Driven. Naturally some goals need to shift when adapting the written work to a visual work, but toward this goal, longer can only be better.

However, any additional material would need to come from the Appendices. The Silmarillion is out; the Tolkien Estate has made clear that no more Tolkien books will be given film adaptation rights, and Peter Jackson recently confirmed at Comic-Con that no Silmarillion movie could or would likely be made in his lifetime.

Brazil guy: Thank-you. Thank-you very much. It’s a T-shirt signed by [Brazilian mixed martial artist and current UFC Middleweight Champion] Anderson Silva as he parted from me and I would like to give it to you. And my question is for Peter. I’ve gotta know this. Will you make a movie about Silmarillion?


PJ: I think the chances of me living to about a 110 are very remote. No, the Silmarillion is totally owned by the Tolkien estate. It’s not owned by Warners or MGM like The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings are. So, I don’t think the Tolkien Estate liked these movies at all, so I wouldn’t imagine that the Silmarillion’s going to go anywhere for quite a long time.

[Awwws from audience.]

From Michelle:

One: if The Hobbit is now going to be three movies, can we finally get the scouring of the Shire filmed?

I don’t think that would be possible. 😀 It would not only jump forward to the end of The Lord of the Rings, but contradict movie “canon” in which no Scouring occurred. I do wish, however, for at least a mention of Tom Bombadil!

Still, we already knew The Hobbit, even as a two-film version, would show us more of the minor heroes of Middle-earth, such as exploring more of Radagast the Brown. The most recent production video showed the set for his house, described his appearance, and showed actor Sylvestor McCoy (the Seventh Doctor) having a ball.

Jill Stengl
Jill Stengl

I heard that the added scenes in The Hobbit come from Tolkein’s extensive notes–but this was just word-of-mouth, so place no confidence in that info. I’m excited about these movies!

Reasons why I DNF a book? Just this year, I have failed to finish reading five books after giving all of them a fair shot (one more than halfway through). Two were from genres I don’t generally care for, so this must also be taken into account. All were CBA books from major publishers. The reason? Boredom. If I don’t care what happens to the characters by chapter four, I’m likely to put down the book, start another, and never return. 

Exceptional writing makes all the difference. Even a well-used plot and stock characters can be intriguing and endearing in the hands of a truly gifted writer. I discovered Elizabeth George Speare, Elizabeth Marie Pope, and Elizabeth Goudge (what is it with Elizabeth’s?) this year and love them all! All three ladies write with charm, wit, and beauty that is seldom seen in modern literature.