Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Novel Approaches: Underlying Themes

There are a series of tests I believe writers encounter involving what underlying themes or  perhaps even, purposes and meaning,  unfold in the course of writing a novel. We may not, in fact, until a novel is finished or cl0ose to be finished realize how many themes we address.  For me, at least these have arisen while working on Shaman in Exile: Spiritual, Metaphysical, Philosophical, Scientific,Psychological Creative.
 I've written a good bit over the unexpected long weekend, close to 5,000 words now and am  close to the end of Shaman in Exile. I've had a lot of weird dreams - perhaps thanks to reading a number of books all at the same time in fits and starts, The Thunderer by Felix Gilman (steampunk/fantasy novel), Wicked Plants by (nonfiction, a compendium of poisonous plants), The Disappearing Spoon (nonfiction a tale of the world through the period table) and Man's Search for Meaning by Carl Jung(nonfiction - psychology, metaphysics). 
So this reading list is a straight forward invitation to dip into not only my own subconscious, but perhaps even the primordial universal mind proposed by Jung.  Strange weird dreams -which in fact are quite helpful, as this part of Shaman in Exile has a great bit to do with mysticism, prophecy, ripping the veil and tapping into something larger than ourselves. Its a bit strange, but all three current novels in progress have been veering into spiritual/metaphysical/philosophical waters - lots of correspondences with Jung, Nietzsche, and Heraclitus - so obviously there's some need for me to examine these writings.  

I've had little to no social life since The Upstate Steampunk Con due to the holidays and family stuff and in fact, have seen only one friend over the entire holidays except friends from work.Otherwise, I'm in major hermit mode, rethinking a lot about my life, feeling overwhelmed at times and wondering how to make it all go hand in hand. Work, family, writing, art, social life. So the social life falls by the wayside since I have few hours of alone time. I don't particularly feel the need for influences at this time in my life. There are times when I'm desperately hungry for them, the need to attend concerts, go to art shows, engage in writers meetings, see people and have experiences.  But it seems I'm in one of those consolidation stages, where I need to pull inward, organize the inner swirl of thoughts, concepts and visions and put them out on paper, canvas, mixed media, metal.

I'm not complaining, just thinking out loud, because some of the directions of my writing have surprised me even more than when a character takes charge.  This is a bigger picture than one character's approach.  A broader expanse seeking observation.  
I'm actually able to switch gears from the steampunk book I was writing to first draft Shaman in Exile with little effort and that was a surprise - there's the rub. What do I do then? Edit Shaman in Exile, finish Foxglove Broadsides (which will have a new title) or both at the same time?  I'll decide when at a later time.

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