25 July 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, more Nudity as a Symbol
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.
All language is symbols. Therefore it shouldn't surprise you that your writing should include higher level symbols. What are higher level symbols? I mentioned before the cross as a symbol. The cross is a higher level symbol--a symbol that doesn't depend on language. Symbols can be ready made or author made symbols. Some symbols are a mix.
Nudity and nakedness are both very powerful symbols--as long as they are not overused. Sensuality is best accomplished by what to can't see as much as what you can see. This is why the most sexually charged scene isn't one of description but one of conversation--think about it. On the other hand, a wise author who intends to turn nudity into a passe' image can do that too. Most of the time, the incompetent try to titillate and end up boring their readers. That is the problem with nudity, nakedness, sensuality, and sexuality. A little bit can go a long way--too much turns into pornography or is silly.
Many might imagine there is no place in certain types of literature for those four concepts. The lessons of the past tell us that isn't so. Some of the most sensual poetry and literature from the 18th and 19th centuries is religious but chock full of sensuality. Burke, Pope, and Shakespeare are great examples of this kind of writing. Although Shakespeare might not be thought of as a religious writer, many of his themes are classically redemptive--and they are entertaining.
Let's put it this way. Let's say you are an author who wants to present a powerful redemptive theme that communicates a religious thought or message. Would you choose to write an allegory, a powerful multilevel novel, or a straight forward two-by-four type sermon. Which would be read and which would have more effect on the world. Simply, the more a novel is read, the more effect. The allegory or the multilevel novel would have much more appeal to most than the sermon.
Aksinya is this type of novel--that is it is a powerful multilevel novel that uses sensuality, sexuality, nudity, and nakedness as symbols to make important points in the theme. The novel isn't about sensuality, sexuality, nudity, or nakedness, but it uses those ideas as symbols to communicate. Additionally, anyone who reads the novel can't miss the point of each symbol. This is the most powerful nature of symbols. It is possible for a symbol to relate a concept nearly opposite to its literal meaning. I'll write about this tomorrow.
There is much more to writing without confusing your readers. I'll write about that tomorrow. The following is a question asked by one of my readers. I'm going to address this over time: Please elaborate on scene, theme, plot, character development in a new novel creation....ie, the framework, the development, order if operation, the level of detail, guidelines, rule of thumb, tricks, traps and techniques. To what extent do you outline the historic context, culture, mannerism, speech, dress and thought process of the main characters, in a historic novel...in order to maintain integrity, and gradually (help) reveal attributes of a character in the story, or otherwise clarify the plot, scene, transition, tension or resolution?
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/.