13 July 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Plot and Theme in 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.
Language is a symbol. Excluding illustrations, symbols in literature are always composed of language. I mentioned that good children's literature should be composed with strong symbols. If you want other examples look at McDonald's children's books. Look at Treasure Island or C.S. Lewis' novels. Great children's literature is filled with powerful symbols. The reason is because children understand and love symbols. Children look for the complex in the simple. They see everything as puzzles to decipher. Language itself is a puzzle. Adults forget the work that was required as a child to discover and decipher the trick of reading. Children know reading is a work of seeking the treasure in the writing.
Adults can't ever forget this small fact--especially writers. Writing is producing treasure. Some of the treasure is evident on the surface, but there are levels in great writing. These levels come out of the theme and the plot. In any well written novel there must be two levels in the writing. The first is the plot--the surface of the story. The second is the theme--the deeper meaning.
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/.