by Jennifer Archer
So . . . I'm reading through my current novel-in-progress (which I plan to self-publish as an ebook, by the way -- see Jordan Dane's post here)
and I notice that birds play a huge part in the story. I mention birds A
LOT. One of the characters even has the nickname "Chick." Plus, there are
many gardening references. And the thing is...I didn't do this
intentionally. Obviously some hidden themes are struggling to emerge in
this book. What is the deal with the birds and the gardening? Are those
birds really birds? Or do they symbolize something else? Freedom,
perhaps? Loyalty -- because although birds migrate, they always return?
Honesty and truth? Maybe.
A Bible verse in Ecclesiastes says:
"Curse not the king, no, not in thy thoughts; and curse not the rich in
thy bedchamber; a little bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter."
Hmmm...I wonder. Who is Chick, really? As for the gardening, do those
flowers and vegetables sprouting up in scene after scene signify growth
in my protagonist, Maggie? Are all those weeds she's suddenly desperate
to pull really the clutter in her life she is finally ready to uproot
and toss aside?
Or is this all a bunch of baloney?
Maybe I've just been craving Popeye's fried chicken while working on this book and that's why I'm mentioning birds so often. And it could be that I've been subconsciously obsessing about gardening
because my thumb is far from green, but I've been trying to beautify my backyard with flowers to celebrate spring.
Either way, I'll find
out soon enough as the book comes together and begins to reveal its secrets -- what it's really all about. That's what I love about revising: Having the first
draft -- that huge lump of clay I've been mixing -- complete. When it's ready, I can
really begin experimenting with it, carving away what doesn't work and revealing the hidden
surprises. Molding and smoothing until I find the true shape. That's when the story
and people in it become completely real.
How about you? As you write, do you ever notice a theme or a symbol emerging in your story that you hadn't planned or expected? Do elements of your story reveal themselves to you gradually as you write? Or are you the sort of writer that has to have everything worked out before you put your pen to the page or your fingers on the keyboard?
On another subject -- My very first published novel BODY AND SOUL, a romantic comedy, was re-released in ebook format by Samhain Retro Romance on Monday. Check out the fabulous new cover on my blog and read all about it!