Writer Guy’s Tip #6: Some Minor Components

So far, we have completed our discussion on the four primary components of fiction writing  namely SettingPlotNarrative, and Characters, and two of the minor ones, Tone and Mood.

If you have missed any of the above, I’d strongly urge you to take a look at them…

In this post, we take a look at some of the components that do not necessarily need to know, in order to employ them. You may just learn how to use them through natural disposition, or through experience and practice.

After all, catapult weapons were invented more than 1500 years before Newton was born, and the stones would still hit the fortified walls, not fly into outer space…

This is, to be honest, the least important tip, so far, but you never know what may end up helping you…

So, to summarise, you should, at this stage-

  1. Have a rough idea of the plot.
  2. Have created the primary characters, and preferably even some secondary ones, of your story.
  3. Have a fair idea of the setting of your world.
  4. Have considered the possibilities regarding your plot structure and style of narrative.
  5. Have not written any length of your manuscript, and are looking to enhance just it.

Theme

This is usually considered a very major component of fiction writing, and I honestly don’t see why… I suppose that does reflect in my own manuscripts…

Basically, the theme is a wide, central idea behind the  story.

If people ask me what my book is about, I stutter for a few moments, before diligently reciting the entire back page blurb…

Whoever, if someone asks me what Wuthering Heights is about, I can immediately say that it is about dark, obsessive, tragic love…

A theme, supposedly, helps a writer concentrated his often scattered thoughts, and funnel them into a single, cohesive story.

But then again, the theme need not necessarily be defined by the writer. A single book may touch multiple themes, and the reader may take what works best for him.

The themes for different character arcs may vary as well.

Motif

In a narrative, a motif is a recurring element that has symbolic significance in the story.

People often seem to confuse between Theme and Motif, for some reason, though the distinction is quite simple: Theme is the effect, Motif is the means…

How To Get Away With Murder uses certain objects, or the mood of a character, to connect events separated by space and time.

In various movies and television shows, certain motifs are used to consolidate the setting and/or the mood.

They are overly used in horror movies, be it creaky doors, sudden gusts of wind, unexplained noises…

In books, they are more subtle, such as the many symbols used by Edgar Allan Poe. However, due to excessive repetition over the past century, such symbolism has come to be seen as unoriginal and cliched.

Therefore, use it wisely, or not at all…

Irony

This is a fun one…

Irony is basically a rhetoric device, wherein the words express something contrary to their usual meaning. Sounds confusing, I’d agree…

Here, we refer to Mark Antony’s speech in Julius Caesar, wherein the words seem to approve of Brutus’ actions, but instead perfectly leads the commoners to riot against Brutus, Cassius, et al.

That, of course, is an example of literal irony…

Dramatic irony is when the reader/audience knows an important piece of information, while at least one of the major characters does not.

For example, Othello murders Desdemona, suspecting her of infidelity, while the audience knows it to be untrue.

Also notable is Situational irony, which is a fairly modern use of the term, and describes the contrast between expectation and reality.

A real-life example was the attempted assassination of then US President Ronald Reagan. All 6 bullets that were shot missed the president, but the sixth bullet ricocheted off the side of the armoured limousine and hit him in his left underarm, stopping 25mm from his heart. Also, the bullets were rigged to explode, but for some reason, only one of the 6 did.

So the car that was built to protect him ended up almost killing him, while the bullets made to kill him somehow failed…

Sarcasm is a special use of Irony, used to mock, or to convey contempt.

Of course, using sarcasm is easier in speech, as it is then easier to identify, as compared to printed media.

Use only where and when it won’t be misunderstood…

Deus ex machina

This is a plot device wherein a seemingly unsolvable problem is solved through “divine intervention”.

Yeah, it literally means God from the machine, as in, the existence of a mechanical contraption that would use the director of the play to summon God to do his bidding.

This is often used by the writer when he sees no other option, and is forced to introduce a new event, character, ability or object to resolve the situation…

It is often criticised for being too convenient and irrational.

However, while writing the book, the writer may choose to retroactively leave certain hints towards the seemingly unforeseeable incident, thereby making it slightly more palatable.

This happens very often in Anime, such as Dragon Ball Z; more so in the movies than in the original anime series, where one of the minor characters would always appear at the perfect moment, even when it should have been physically impossible to do so, and defend the main protagonist…

And, after all, most shounen Anime characters do have the gift of receiving a significant boost in their abilities by simply screaming and shouting, so I really should not complain much…

Still, use this sparingly, and well, or you will leave too many readers displeased…


Okay, that is all, for now…

This was the last post in the Initiation section of this segment…

Hereafter, we will take a brief hiatus, as I prepare for the launch of my own book. When we return, we will begin our discussion about how one should actually go about writing.

Thank you for reading…

Now, start writing…

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Published by

Yashas Mahajan

Author of Arrkaya: Origins, now available online... Increasingly being referred to as The Writer Guy...

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