Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lets talk Innuendos.

Okay, not really innuendos but how about symbolism in writing instead.

I used to stress about what someone would read into what I write. What kind of things they could pick up about me or the intent of every letter I put down when I didn't actually intend more than what was there. What about all those things psychologists, philosophists, crazy people, etc see that I don't? Do writers intend on half the messages that people pull from their work?

What if they think I'm writing about the inadequacy of orphanages, the decline in society, or trying to push SIN and SEX on children.Or worse still, killing children! When none of that is what I mean in INTO, I could see validity in the what ifs. And if I can pick up on those things, surely I'm going to be put under a microscope and judged as being evil by every parent, church, organization dedicated to book-hate in the world!

What will a careful analysis of my story get? Anything? More than enough? Things I didn't intend? Probably.

Crawford Kilian wrote: "Nevertheless, as soon as you start writing, you start writing on some kind of symbolic level. Maybe you're not conscious of it, but it's there: in your characters, their actions, the setting, and the images. (Some writers are very powerful symbolists, but don't realize it; that's why authors are often poor critics of their own work.)"

I wonder if that is true. Do we, as writers,  make decisions about what goes in on a symbolic level without realizing it? I hope so. I'd feel a lot smarter, either way, if my story is deeper than I think it is.

******************This is where I stopped writing this post and put it aside for a few days. Check this junk out>*****************************************************

As I was working on my characters last Friday, sketching my MC(it helps me see her better) and wondering about them all -- if I had enough of them in my pages to be real to anyone but myself -- a song came on Pandora Radio. It hit me, like a wet hand to my face and I felt SO STUPID!

It was one line: "We lost our love somehow". And there, on that page that I scribbled that line down on was a sketch of my MC and her man. And I got it!  Just that simply!

My Story is ABOUT something! Yes, it's about what I intended to write it about but more than that IT HAS A THEME!!! Wow. I wrote and entire novel, been editing, staring at, editing some more, hating, threatening disembowelment, loving, editing it for months, almost a year, and never noticed the theme that runs through the whole thing - ties every character together! *facepalm* And it's good. I'm not bragging on myself at all. I'm not trying to be all "damn I'm awesome." Because, as I just mentioned, I never saw it. I didn't even know it was there. I just think it's cool how it worked out.

More Advice on Novel Writing by Crawford Kilian is HERE. 

Do you think your story has some deeper meaning? Did you mean it to?  What messages can you see in your own novel you don't mean to be there?

(I did warn you about random HP movie images) 


Andy over at Writing Myself Crazy has honored me with another One Lovely Blog Award! How freakin' cool is that?! 2 in 2 weeks! I feel like one special gal today so thank you Andy for that. Be sure to check him out. He is witty, smart, and always has some awesome info going up on his blog!

I try not to pay much attention to the stats of my blog, but sometimes I just get curious, like today. That's when I discovered someone/some people found my blog by searching "for private" and "for private reading". So I just wanted to give you a big 'ol one-eyebrow-raise in your honor.

The lady who checked me out at the bookstore looked like the albino from The Princess Bride. I don't mean that to be mean but...she totally did. On the plus side -- found Everlost by Neal Shusterman for $3.50.

I blazed through If I Stay by Gayle Forman this weekend while flying hither and tither. Ate up every wonderful word. LOVED this book! BUT: Never bring a book you KNOW is going to make you cry on a trip unless you are not ashamed to be a blubbering idiot in public. I cannot tell you how hard it was to master my girl-side when reading this. My eyes teared up, got sniffley, the whole bit. If anyone saw me they surely thought I was a freaking lunatic. I could just imagine people praying they didn't sit next to me. All of this I mean in the best way possible. I loved it.

If anyone missed the J.K.Rowling on Opera episode its HERE

Have you ever been eating a bowl of cereal and notice a dark speck, then worry for a moment that it could be a bug. But don't investigate farther because you just started eating and the cereal is really hitting the spot. So you just ignore it for a while until you just can't stand yourself for justifying possibly eating around a bug? Me neither. (It wasn't. It was an over-cooked frosted flake.) 

Happy Wednesday!



  1. I know exactly what you mean.

    In fact, it's a running joke between me and my Gran (who has been publishing books and poetry for decades) about how people over-analyse works.

    A lot of literary types really look for things that aren't there. And you know what? If you torture paper hard enough, it will confess anything you want it to.

    I think of it this way. Writing is an intensely personal experience, but so is reading. Anything we read is interpreted based on our own personalities and reference frameworks. (that's why people have different favorite characters.) So any reading of the same book will be unique. Every reader will get something different from it.

    We as writers can't make people read the book completely the way you intended it to be when you wrote it. Unless, of course, you add an instruction manual.


  2. I worry about it sometimes, but then I figure- every author gets that. I remember reading one of Kristin Cashore's blogs where a fan read all this stuff into her book, and she was like- I never even thought of that. But I guess thats the cool thing about books- every reader gets something different out of it. If it speaks all this symbolism to one person, but is just a great adventure to another, than no matter what the author set out to do, I think he/she has accomplished their goal just by simply intriguing someone enough to read it.

  3. Hahahaha. OMG your randomness makes my day. I totally eat my cereal even with the doubt lingering. Then later i'm like, that HAD to be a bug. But I already ate it.

    And funny story-I HATED If I Stay...

  4. I think your hidden message in this post was "I love Harry Potter" and I bought that... so already you're brilliant and you didn't even know it!

    The point is that you caught the theme, that is something to brag about!!!

    PS - I hate when I get a burnt frosted flake, they should send me a new one, I mean I love frosted flakes and not one should be wasted.

    Note to Candyland: That was a super funny story :)

  5. I worry about people reading into my stuff too, especially with me being younger. But, on the other hand, I also feel like if I ever DID want people to read into something, they wouldn't. Because why would a teen be thinking Deep Thoughts And Such? :)

    Great post! And I recentely read If I Stay too and HOLY GIRAFFE IT WAS SO GOOD. I went on a trip out of town with my fam, and the whole time I was locked up in the hotel room bawling my eyes out O_o

    Hah, anyways I just wanted to stop by and say that I was going to give you an award, but you've already recieved it like, twelve times over now. :P

  6. Misha I can't agree with you more on pretty much all you've said.

    I really like your torture paper line. It warms the cockels of my heart.

    I'm pretty sure to this day that Animal Farm was really just a kids story that got a little too dark so Orwell made up bit of a side note to go along with it.

  7. I'm with Candace, your randomness is a highlight of my blog reading. I've also *not* done the same thing with a questionable bowl of cereal or two.

  8. Thanks all! You guys always add so much wisdom to this place.

    Maggie, you're so sweet! Thanks a bunch. I can't even say how much it means to me to get awards! Just blows my mind.

  9. Colene!!! I had frosted flakes as a late afternoon snack and had a dark flake bit in mine as well. How funny is that!?! Must be a frosted flake thing.

    You can't control how people take things. You can only write them and leave them open for interpretation. It will drive you nuts trying to focus on it (trust me, I went through a phase). I love your blog and I can hardly wait until your first book gets published as I'm sure I will love that equally as well!

  10. Wait? Who wants to kill children? And then put them in corn flakes? Is it Perez Hilton or Harry Potter??? Slaps knee.

  11. Maybe I'm strange but I really stare at my work and meditate on it and try to figure out all the things that I get from it. My books came out of a depression and my characters, their individual stories is a way of dealing/coping with some event in my life. It's how I balance my own emotions so I have a very strange connection with it. I don't know what someone else will get out of it but I know what i do and what I see.

  12. I'm all for layers of meaning, creating a rich tapestry of ideas and intent. That said, in the end, the symbolism has to advance the story in some way lest it devolve into symbolism for sybolism's sake.


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