30 June 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Cultural Literacy
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
Here are my rules of writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
The most important type of cultural understanding is your own culture. This is why "Cultural Literacy" is so important. Cultural literacy means understanding the symbols and language of your culture. If you don't have cultural literacy, you have no hope of writing well.
Hirsch, Kett, and Trefil defined cultural literacy as: the Bible, Mythology and Folklore, Proverbs, Idioms, World Literature, Philosophy, and Religion, Literature in English, Fine Arts, World History, American History, World Politics, American Politics, World Geography, American Geography, Anthropology, Psychology, and sociology, Business and Economics, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, Medicine and Health, and Technology. They even produced a dictionary and curriculum for cultural literacy. These are the basics you must know to understand the Amerenglish Culture.
Hirsch, et al, make the argument that if you don't have a basic understanding of these topics, you are culturally illiterate. I'll go further, if you don't understand the basics of these subjects, your can't understand literature and you shouldn't be writing literature. If you try to write, you will just confuse yourself and your readers.
There is much more to writing without confusing your readers. I'll write about that tomorrow.
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.