Writing with Hobbits


Author and professor Jonathan Rogers of Grammar for Writers teaches high school students how to improve their own creative writing by examining Tolkien’s literary elements in The Hobbit.

Part of the new Creative Writing with Jonathan Rogers series. This product is only available in a streaming digital format.


Writing with Hobbits instructs students in creative writing through compelling lectures. Jonathan Rogers will guide you on a journey through The Hobbit to learn how to create distinct character voices from Gollum’s grammatical peculiarities, observe how a single scene sets up and solves plot puzzles, and incorporate other genres—like travel writing—into your fiction. Dr. Rogers has written The Wilderking Trilogy, The World According to Narnia, and other books.

Writing with Hobbits is part of the new series Creative Writing Through Literature. Purchase the whole series or explore one of the lecture sets for your homeschool:

Additional information




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Jonathan Rogers



Lesson Length

about 24 minutes



Addl Mtls

Supplemental Writing Exercises (PDF)


6 hrs 51 minutes


  1. Scene-Setting and the Inciting Incident (33:25)
  2. Dialogue (22:22)
  3. Travel Writing (23:36)
  4. Narration and Point of View (22:42)
  5. Grammar and Sentence Structure (19:17)
  6. Creating Distinct Voices (15:15)
  7. Some Thoughts About Plot (21:54)
  8. Freytag’s Pyramid (19:43)
  9. Character Development (28:52)
  10. Creating Problems, Solving Problems (34:16)
  11. Managing the Reader’s Attention (20:54)
  12. Choosing to Tell Instead of Show (29:38)
  13. Conversational Dynamics (Part 1) (23:00)
  14. Conversational Dynamics (Part 2) (18:22)
  15. Some Thoughts About Description (24:10)
  16. From Rising Action to Crisis (24:07)
  17. Disordered Loves, Reordered Loves (30:07)

Sample Lessons

Sample Exercises

Writing Exercise #1

It is not unusual for external, non-character-driven events to happen to the characters in a story. But a good story can’t be driven only by external events. It’s not enough to have things “happen to” your characters. Your reader always wants to know  what the characters are going to do—how they will exert their wills, pursue their desires, alleviate their fears. That is the essence of character-driven action.

For this lesson’s writing exercise, you will practice mixing external action with character-driven action. Write a scene in which two characters experience the same external event, but act very differently in response to that event.

Writing Exercise #2

Write a scene in which dialogue leads directly to physical action.


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