QUESTION: My college lit instructors always annoyed me by saying there were levels of meaning in most novels. How can they know these things. They aren't the author. Can't a story just be a story? When I write, I just write a story, not layers. Am I doing something wrong?
If you saw AVATAR, I bet you didn't see everything on the screen. There were simply too many things going on visually to see everything, but you still understood the movie.
A really good book is like that. It has a simple layer that almost anyone can understand, but there are other layers that others can see, as well, which add a richness and depth to the book.
Some of those layers the author creates deliberately, others the author has put in subconsciously, and others are created in the imagination of the reader who brings her own world view and experience into the reading experience.
Some genre books are very simple with just plot, character, and description, and that's okay. Other genre novels can be as layered with meaning as so-called literary novels, but they are fun to read, too.
If you are interested in creating layered books, my course on "The Big Question" is primarily about that. I'm teaching it again in November.
Marilynn's Workshop Schedule and Information LInks
"The Big Question: How to Create a Powerful Novel from a Few Ideas and One Big Question" November 8-13, 2010. writersonline.com.
Have you ever read a story then felt dissatisfied by it as you put it down? All the story elements--plot, characters, romance, and suspense--were there, but something was missing. That something is often called depth or resonance, and it's that element that turns an ordinary story into one you couldn't put down.
How do you write a story like that? It starts with the creation of the story. I?ll show you how to take a simple plot idea, premise, or character and turn it into a novel with resonance.
"Deconstructing Jim Butcher's STORM FRONT" November 8-13, 2010. Savvyauthors.com
Jim Butcher's "Dresden Files" series is one of the best-written and most successful urban fantasy series today. I will analyze STORM FRONT, the first novel, as an urban fantasy, as a genre-blending mix of fantasy and detective noir, and as a great model for worldbuilding for a series. I will also show how the hero, Harry Dresden, is a perfect mixture of other worldly powers and human strengths and weaknesses. Paranormal romance authors will also find this analysis of interest.