Escaping Tolkien clichés

Everyone sees them, but no one does anything about them. They are the silent menace, stalking after the unwary fantasy writer like wolves after a lamb.

Tolkein is not to blame for the way that people have taken his books as the model for fantasy. His own writing on the subject of fantasy recommends "mining the past" for useful story-writing tools, not taking the pattern that someone offers you unaltered.

Most of the time, those imitations are themselves imperfect, ignoring a lot of what went on in the beginning story...