9 October 2012, Development - more Unique Theme Ideas
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.
A unique theme doesn't mean a silly theme. Bathos simply won't do. I have to admit, I've seen more silly plots than silly themes. Usually silly plots mean almost no theme or a mixed up theme.
How can you tell that you have a silly plot or theme? I really haven't touched on plots much lately--I'm slowly moving there. So a silly theme is characterized by... I'm not sure how we can characterize a bad theme. I've looked at overused themes in the past. I consider some themes trite and not worth writing about. I do think that themes that focus on human interaction during real human events or subtle interjections of the fantastic make the most powerful themes (and plots). What does this mean?
Themes that rely on any cataclysm that means the end of the world: a meteor hits the earth, the moon hits the earth, a nuclear war, a robot war, a plague, a anything that means the end of the earth. These are just overused themes. Just because an author uses one doesn't mean they are silly or have no hope of success, but they are self limiting, and I got tired of reading them when I was in the sixth grade. I don't want to write about them.
The most powerful themes, in my mind, are those that take human normalcy and make it different. I point to the Bronte Sisters as an example. In their novels, the themes are about normal humans who have normal but exaggerated flaws. Those flaws and their interaction in the normal world create the beautiful power within those novels. This is an example of a theme that focuses on human interaction and real human events.
An example of a novel with a theme that focuses on human interaction with a subtle interjection of the fantastic is Aksinya. In Aksinya, the demon and the sorcery of Aksinya are the subtle interjections in the theme. These interjections focus the interactions of all the characters. There is no cataclysmic tragedy of the end of the world--there is the cataclysmic tragedy of the end of an individual(s) hope.
This is my basic point about a good theme vs. a poor theme. A good theme is about human interaction and the forces that propel it are internal and basically historical and cultural. A poor theme uses forces external to human interaction and the forces that propel it are external and not historical or cultural. I'll explain more tomorrow.
Once you have a theme, you need to begin to visualize your plot, stabilize your theme, and focus your characters. More tomorrow.
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.
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, http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.