7 October 2012, Development - 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.
I really don't think ideas or themes are that big of a deal--what I mean is the average creative person should have about one a day (or more)...I do. I don't get one novel length creative idea a day, but I'm not working at it--I have enough to write. When I sit down to write this blog every day, I don't spend a lot of time agonizing over what I will write--I write. I start with a basic idea of what I want to write about, then I put something on paper--er, the aether.
Ideas come to me all the time--the trick is to harness them. You harness good ideas through writing.
I gave you some basics of themes and generally how to concoct them. This is the basic starting point of any novel. Even if a writer doesn't think they are writing to a theme, they are--they just don't realize what they are doing. Everyone starts with a theme. This is the basic concept of the novel. As I've shown, a theme doesn't have to be a high and mighty idea. A theme can be as simple as boy meets girl and then something happens.
I already wrote about my unpublished novel, Dana-ana. This is a novel characteristic of my style. The basic theme is this: boy meets strange and bullied girl, boy's family takes in strange girl, strange girl exhibits odd Anglo-Saxon characteristics, boy falls in love with strange girl, strange girl proves to be more than anyone expected, boy is separated from strange girl through his mistrust and the actions of the strange girl's enemies, the strange girl is willing to give her life for the boy, and finally, the strange girl is redeemed and reunited with the boy. This is a unique and very complex novel, but the theme can be outlined very simply. It can be simplified even more to this: an Anglo-Saxon maiden in the modern world.
Dana-ana is about as complex a novel as Aksinya. The point is that the theme of Aksinya can be simplified very radically. The simplest description of the theme might be: a girl conjures a demon and is eventually redeemed. A more descriptive statement would be: a Russian girl conjures a demon to save her family, the family dies and the girl is tempted by the demon, the demon entices the girl to use sorcery, the demon entices the girl to affiance a young man, the girl's lady-in-waiting seduces the girl's fiance, the girl is prosecuted by the church for sorcery, the girl is redeemed by the willingness to give her life for another. Very simple sounding, but the novel itself is very complex.
My point is this: again, don't sweet this stuff too much. I know you have a story you want to write. The trick is to identify the theme and get writing.
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/.