Monday, August 15, 2011

What's It All About?

As I labor through the early stages of writing my next novel, Proximity, I find that it’s worth considering the role that theme plays in fiction.

When we place a book in a genre, that can suggest a certain theme by itself. We can presume that a literary novel, for example, will give us some insights into human nature. A mystery will be a search for truth. Science fiction will treat the promise or consequences of technology. A thriller will demonstrate the resourcefulness of the seemingly overmatched hero. Et cetera.

But most successful novels, I think, have a central theme that transcends category. This may seem obvious when discussing literary fiction, but it is also true for most so-called “category” fiction. In all cases, the theme may be pre-ordained by the original intention of the author, it may flow logically from the overall subject matter, or it may arise on its own as a byproduct of the author’s efforts to lend depth to the story.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The End of the Hiatus

Can this really be only my second post ALL YEAR? Well, er, yes, unless you count my weekly posts on The Nervous Breakdown. Those posts will explain a good bit of what’s kept me away: being edited and designed and working out distribution arrangements for Primacy, and making good on my promise to bring that novel to the world as well as the Big Six publishers might.

Not that any of that work is finished, but it’s finally settling down into something of a routine, which means not only that there's a smidgen of time left over to get back to sharing my thoughts here on writing, but there's also finally a chance to get to work on the next novel.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Crap on the Path of Life

No, the above title isn’t a list. It’s an exhortation.

We’ve been having a lot of snow around here — who hasn’t? (O.k.: shut up, San Diego.) And this has necessitated more than a little shoveling around the house.

When I’m shoveling, I am ever mindful of our two dogs. I always dig a path across the patio to the lawn in order to facilitate their — ahem — doing their business away from the house.

Naturally they don’t comply. Ever. Even when the weather is perfect, more often than not they drop their load right near the house, sometimes smack in the middle of the garden path.