An excerpt from my script review for Tolkien which will be available 08/05/19:
2.) Plot Stability
What I’d like to focus on here is the idea of…
Flashing back inside a flashback.
Normally I’d warn writers off this, as flashbacks can be frowned upon as a general concept, but if utilized correctly can be done well.
It’s similar to the idea of implementing a non-linear narrative.
Despite their desire to be Tarantino-esque, more often than not the story jolts and jars the reader back into the real world.
That all being said, I enjoyed the flashback inside a flashback in Tolkien.
The initial story starts out with John Ronald Tolkien waking from a nightmare, and heading down to his study to try and write a story.
From there we flash back to World War I, an experience that led to his nightmares.
Going further back, and where the majority of the story takes place, we flashback to him being a young boy in South Africa.
It’s here that most of the linear portion of the story takes place, which is good, because if we kept bouncing around, the timeline would be hard to keep track of.
One of the reasons I liked this, and the Lord of the Rings films, is because when reading the books, if I remember correctly, the different characters’ stories were told from beginning to end in each book.
There was no cutting back and forth to read what everyone was doing in “real time” and instead you had to keep track of all of that mentally on your own.
Second, and what I was hoping to learn from the script, was I heard it rumored that Tolkien essentially wrote his stories to justify the languages he had created.
According to the script, not only was that true, but he and his real life fellowship wanted to create an entirely fictitious history and folklore for an “alternate England” if you will.
That’s fantastic when you think of it, and take for example The Silmarillion, imagine creating that sort of history behind each and every script you sit down to write…
Realistically no one has that sort of time, but talk about three dimensional characters!
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