Write Like a Painter

Sunday night I decided to annotate my first draft, tracing the motifs, metaphors, allusions, etc. (this stuff is always subordinate to story- especially in y.a.). Turned out to be a tremendously helpful process, and helped me strengthen character arcs as well.

There are a lot of (deliberately) repetitive images in the new book. I love using this technique. I believe a novel can and should have its own symmetry, like certain paintings. Repeated images and motifs create harmony, and give the story a cohesive structure to house the plot. (I guess you could call this a formalist idea.) This “hyper-plot” also reveals character and story by drawing the reader’s eye to certain details which might otherwise seem incidental. But, of course, nothing in fiction is incidental.

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