1 July 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Cultural Literacy and Symbols
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 focus of all writing is in language and culture. This is the primary skill necessary to write well. You must know your language well, and you must understand your culture. Culture is derived of symbols, language, history, and etc. all the subjects I listed yesterday from Hirsch, et al. The understanding of these subjects about your culture determines the depth and power of your writing. A writer who is conversant in their own culture can write well within it. This is why just knowing another language isn't usually enough to write well in that culture. An author needs to know the details of the culture to put together the symbols of a language.
This is also why the author determines the full understanding of the content and not the reader. The reader may never completely understand the full meaning of the author. This is what makes Shakespeare so powerful. His writing uses the symbols of his culture on many levels and must be understood and evaluated on these many levels.
I try to write this way. I am not trying to put myself on Shakespeare's level, but any adult author should be trying to build their writing in this manner. The power of writing is the control of symbols and language is the ultimate symbol.
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/.