26 July 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Opposing 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.
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.
Sarcasm and satire are very powerful writing tools. They are driven by symbols and generally, those symbols are opposite to their literal meanings. We recognize this in sarcasm and irony. The writer makes a statement that is literally the opposite of the intended meaning. Satire and irony are evident in great essays. Johnathan Swift was considered a master of this form of writing. His essay A Modest Proposal suggested the Irish eat their own children to survive the great Irish famine. It is quite clear from his writing, that the modest proposal is irony and satire. The symbols of the writing mean precisely the opposite of their literal words.
Authors many times miss the ability to properly use irony, sarcasm, and satire. They are not the usual tools of the modern writer. They are the tools used in Aksinya. Aksinya is a novel about a girl who calls a demon to save her family. The irony is that the demon can't save her family--they die anyway. A further irony is that we discover near the end of the novel, that the demon himself delayed his arrival so that Aksinya's family would be murdered.
Again irony, the demon who was supposed to obey Aksinya instead temps, controls, and commands her. And where Aksinya is supposed to be a novel about a demon and a girl, it is instead a novel about how a girl is redeemed from the power of her own sin and temptation. The use of symbols through irony, sarcasm, and satire allow such an opposite theme. That is the point I made yesterday: nudity, nakedness, sensuality, and sexuality can become incredibly powerful symbols that through the adept use of irony, sarcasm, and satire can be used to present a redemptive or even a theme opposite to nudity, nakedness, sensuality, and sexuality. In fact, the contrast itself can be instructive and useful. Don't be afraid to use these tools in your writing and especially the symbols.
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/.