2 July 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Language 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.
Language is the ultimate symbol. Words stand for ideas. If I mention the word "love," you can't picture "a love." You don't picture any thing. You might picture the word "love." Love is a concept that can't be a physical noun. Verbs are that way--they have to be pictured (if at all) through actions. The noun, "love," is equally not a thing that you can see. "Love" is a word, and it is a symbol. A person who can't understand love can't use the word properly and a person who doesn't understand love can't understand writing that includes it.
This leads to a very important anthropological concept. Do societies that are not literate have the capability to understand symbolic concepts? The answer to this is not known. Most non literate cultures that have been studied show that they do not understand symbolic concepts like love. Most early cultures barely have a word for love.
You might then ask, do people who are illiterate understand symbolic concepts, like love? Great question. I hope all of you are fully literate and fully comprehend the idea of symbols--writing is impossible without them and great writing is completely dependent on them.
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/.