Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Symbolic Draft

In her excellent guide to writing novels - Beginnings, Endings, & Middles - Nancy Kress stated that the final draft, after all the other window dressing and plot shifting is over,  is where the symbolism makes itself known.  Her point is not that you slather symbolic import over perfectly good narrative as if it were another coat of paint, but that you have finally reached a point in understanding your story where what was unstated now becomes clear.  Of course, you have to make certain that the reader sees this too so, with a few tweaks, a word here and there, and a bit more description (or less) is all that is necessary to effect this transformation.

In going through the third draft of my latest I came to that symbolic realization while trying to put a bit more emotional color into the two protagonists.  Suddenly I realized it was not a simple, heroic story at all, but a comment on man's inhumanity to man and where the ethical boundaries lie when the stakes are high. With that insight I am now embarking on the fourth and hopefully final draft.

Wish me luck.

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