Trillium: A shy flower that flourishes here in the south. It’s everywhere but often missed.
With your current writing project what is your intention? Why is that important? Well, let’s talk.
We authors have an intention in mind, as we furiously peck out word after word of our grand narratives. Intention is obviously very similar to theme.
I intend for this work to show:
- the futility of war, or
- the futility of peace, or
- love does conquer all, or
- all men are dogs!
The problem is that, more often than not, we “intend” more than we realize.
When Robert Frost wrote “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” he probably didn’t intend to write a poem about Santa Claus delivering gifts on Christmas Eve, but there is a published essay to that effect.
Another interesting take on Frost’s iconic poem is that he, Robert Frost is obsessed not with death or art, but with land ownership! Indeed, the very first word of the poem is a possessive, “Whose.”
Who is the “real” enemy in your novel? Are you so sure? Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar wrote a great essay on the fairy tale “Snow White” wherein they effectively show that Snow White is a docile, submissive girl who for the most part lies flat on her back and waits for a man to kiss her. Whereas the Evil Queen is a schemer, a plotter, an impersonator, an artist, and a woman of tremendous creative ability…does any of this ring a bell…writers?
I could mention any number of authors whose works reveal ideas, concepts, themes, that the author surely did not intend. So why are they there? Because when we write, we reveal our own idiosyncrasies or in the worst case scenario our own fears or hidden desires!
Hey, Steven King in his excellent memoir, ON WRITING discusses how at one point he looked back on his early novels and noted his own fascination with blood.
One may not see a pattern until one has completed a large number of novels. We, in the process of writing, discover bits and pieces of ourselves. Writing is self-discovery and what one discovers can be revealing in a positive manner or it may be quite difficult to accept. Or you discover absolutely nothing, and it all comes to light after you’re good and gone! Whoops!
So what’s my point? Well, we can’t always control everything in our works, but we can at least in this “information sensitive” age be on the lookout for what might be construed as racist or sexist or jingoist or whatever and deal with it as one who wishes to leave something of worth for the never-ending world of readers to cherish.
Are we really facing our fears? Or are we hiding them…in the attic…like Jane Eyre’s Madwoman. Well, be careful; someday soon, she will come out.
What are your thoughts on this?