Sunday, January 8, 2017
Selling a novel without using words
Selling a novel without using words. Okay, Bob has finally gone nuts. But, here’s my point. All the writing books tell us to write with clarity. Use the who, what, where, why, how, when wherever you can and make sure to add in the senses, even paranormal ones. Don’t forget emotions, etc. But that’s not enough. Most writers know enough to get to the truth of their characters’ essence, by trying to remove their own motivations and replace it with as honest a portrayal of another person as one can. Most authors don’t want their audience to say they can sense the author’s point of view, because it may take the reader out of the story. Subtle or not, this is author intrusion.
However, there’s one place where it is usually necessary for the author to “intrude.” It’s his story and it is very likely he has a point or a theme that he wants his audience to feel, not hear very loud and clear. Otherwise, the author would be accused of being heavy handed. To me, Michael Crichton was heavy handed in his 2004 novel, State of Fear, about eco-terrorists. Perhaps I found the concept absurd because I believe in environmental issues. I enjoyed the story but couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth.
I think the best way of handling these problems is to keep your theme under your hat, write honest characters and write a damn good story. I compare this approach to weaving a musical composition through your work of fiction. It can be a symphony or a minor composition, but it must be wordless. How? Let your characters and their plights come alive in your readers’ mind. Do this and the inner harmonies of your story will be unforgettable.
I was only going to play for you Track 10 of The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), a true symphony within the Oscar winning music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, but I realize that if you have not seen this spectacular and beyond romantic movie you wouldn’t quite get it. So, I’m also including the cute, funny and unforgettable theme of Blake Edwards’ The Pink Panther 1963, gorgeous music by Henri Mancini.
First Robin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4yg7hq8GUs
Would’st thou need words to paint this rose?
Second, Pink Panther: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OPc7MRm4Y8
No words here either, just a pink rose and a silly panther (that my girls loved).