Thursday, November 25, 2010

Everything Old is New Again.

Like most other writers who started writing before the days of computers, I have file folders and bankers boxes filled with old manuscripts. A few of these efforts were eventually published, many were not. Probably twice as many went into the garbage where they belonged.

But every few years, something will cause me to browse through those old sheets of paper (Note to self: replace metal paper clips with plastic!)

Today, I'm looking for a Christmas story that I wrote many years ago. It actually made it to Peter Gzowski's show on CBC Radio, where it was read by the inimitable Shelagh Rogers.

I have no time to create something from scratch, and I need a seasonal story for my next writers' meeting. If I look hard enough, I may find more than one reusable idea in those boxes.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Looking For Symbols

At some point during my early drafts, if I am writing fiction, I'll look for symbols in the story. If I find them, and if they are significant to the story, I will work at reinforcing them.

I learned more about the use of symbols from the college English Literature course I took this past summer. One thing that was stressed was, beware of finding symbols where none were intended.

Last weekend, at a reading by author Jane Urquhart from her latest novel Sanctuary Line, someone asked her what was significant in her use of cut glass in the book. It seems to come up frequently in the story.

Jane replied that she really didn't know. She recalled that a few members of her family collect cut, or pressed glass. Its appearance in the book must have come from her sub-conscious. It seems it isn't a symbol at all.

Jane is sure that one day, however, some clever reviewer is going to be able to see its significance. And then she'll know what it means!

A delightfully honest answer. I'm not going to worry too much about symbols. They could signify nothing!

Write on!

(The photo above shows sunrise over Lake Flower, in late October. It was taken from our favourite little motel in Saranac Lake, NY.)

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Saturday, November 6, 2010