28 September 2012, Development - Symbolism Question #3
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. Entertain your readers.
2. Don't confuse your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
I'm going to answer the following reader questions in the next few days. These questions have to do with symbols. I've listed the entire question set in blue, and I'll answer in black.
1. Is symbolism primarily (vs only) intended to enhance theme?
Answered 26 September
2. Is symbolism more (or less) effective than allusion?
Answered 27 September
3. Do you have more detailed guidelines for it's employment and effectiveness?
I'm writing about figures of speech in my blog at www.novelscene.wordpress.com. What is significant about figures of speech is that we almost always use figures of speech in our writing and speaking--we just don't realize that is what we are doing. By the way, the last sentence was a figure of speech. The second statement clarifies the first.
Just as figures of speech are ubiquitous in English so are and should be symbols in both speaking and writing. Part of the problem is education and part is cultural ignorance. For example, the number of times I hear someone say "pun not intended" when they make a pun disgusts me. Puns are wonderful symbols and figures of speech. If a person isn't willing to acknowledge the intentional or unintentional use of a pun, then they certainly aren't willing to acknowledge the use of a symbol--yet, they use symbols all the time.
As I wrote, all language use is symbols--they language stands in place of the things it describes. Further, as I wrote, without a written language, you can't think or write about non-physical things such as "love" or "wisdom" or "intellect" or "peace" or the list goes on and on and on. Unless you have a written language, you can't imagine such things. You can only imagine those nouns that are physically real or verbs that have obvious actions. In this sense, all complex language use becomes symbols. It should not be a leap for the author to use more complex symbols.
As to guidelines. It is likely possible that someone could overdo symbols. They must be used cautiously, subtly, and pervasively. I put up the novel I provided on this blog, Aksinya, as an example of the use of symbols in a literary work. If you go back through the commentary, you will see where I highlighted many of the symbols--and still you can find more and more and more. They pervade the novel. They infuse the writing. They are the novel. (another figure of speech).
I use and I would advise you use symbols extensively through any literary fiction or essay. They provide entertainment, and they add power to the writing. They are also one of the singular methods to get to the theme in any complex writing--that's another answer.
I'll continue to answer the following questions tomorrow.
4. Is symbolism considered a "text-linking" literary device, or not?
I'll move on to basic writing exercises and creativity in the near future.
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.thefoxshonorhttp://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.