WRITING DOWN THE DRAGON: Now available at Smashwords

After long delays, Writing Down the Dragon and Other Essays is now available at Smashwords for the absurdly reasonable price of $2.99. It will be appearing shortly at other ebook retailers, as the files propagate through the distribution system.




‘This book is not for the Wise, but for my fellow beginners in the craft of Fantasy, who are trying to learn some of the master’s techniques and want to compare notes.’ — From the introduction

There are shelves full of books about the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, most written from the perspective of academics and literary critics. Here is one from the point of view of the working fantasy writer. How did Tolkien produce his effects, and what can we learn from his methods? In this collection, Tom Simon investigates topics from the uses of archaic language to the moral philosophy of Orcs.

The book contains eleven essays on Tolkien:

The Riddles of the Wise
The Tolkien Method
The Rhetoric of Middle-earth
Frodo’s Vaunt
The Method and the Morgoth
What Is Elf?
The Terminal Orc
Writing Down the Dragon
Moorcock, Saruman, and the Dragon’s Tail
The Abyss and the Critics
Lost Tales, Unattained Vistas

Some of these pieces have previously appeared on the author’s website in slightly different forms.


  1. I hope you’ll provide links when it’s finished propagating. I don’t really want to set up a smashwords account right now, but I definitely want to buy this when it gets to Amazon. I’ll recommend it to all the creative people at the MyMiddle-earth network as well.

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