Through the magical magic of the internets and blogger’s ability to schedule posts in advance, I write this on Thursday! That’s yesterday! This is a time-travel post! Isn’t that cool? I think it is. Anyway, because I’m writing this yesterday, I’m thinking about Michelle’s post about single-sentence pitches for novels and that gets me thinking about what my novels are actually about. As Michelle said yesterday (which is actually today as I write this but yesterday as you read this because it’s a time-travel post), any book worth reading cannot be reduced to a single sentence--or even three sentences—without ignoring most of the elements of the novel that make it special and cool and unique. It’s those elements that I’ve been thinking about lately.
A few days ago (a phrase which still works in a time-travel post because it doesn’t matter if I say that today or yesterday, thanks to the vagaries of the construction)…Okay. I have to just let the whole time-travel thing go, or I’ll never get through this post. Which is supposed to be all filler anyway, but I’m leaning at a serious angle which is a problem but let’s just ignore that for now. Where was I?
A few days ago (etc time-travel etc) I sent the MS for a new novel off to my agent, to see what she thinks about the book. On one level, the new book is a fairly straightforward story about 18th-century criminals in a love triangle. The plot, I think, is very linear and I don’t do “plot twists” anyway so all of the surprises come out of character development. But it occurred to me that, just below the surface, this is a really freaking weird book because it deals with religion and God and moral compasses and slavery and ideas of ownership and control and I ask a lot of questions about all of these things without supplying even the barest hint of an answer and I begin to wonder if the book comes across as a sort of rant, which surprises me a lot. I didn’t realize, when I was in the thick of the actual writing, that I was so concerned with some of the themes of this book, but apparently I was. About which, huh. You could knock me over with a feather. I’m just hoping that the themes don’t oversway the groovy adventure story and that this book can still be read as a sort of historical fiction piece about 18th-century criminals in a love triangle.
Anyway, kids, there’s all that on a Thursday/Friday (time-travel, you know) morning. Because I always generalize from my own experience (who doesn’t?), I assume that I’m not the only writer here who’s been surprised to find themes in his novels that he wasn’t really aware of at the time of writing. Have you been shocked to find something coming out in your writing that you didn’t realize you were thinking about or felt particularly strongly about?
Also, this is a time-travel post because Mighty Reader and I are traveling today and I will not be around to read your amazing comments. I will read them later, I promise, but today Michelle and Big D will have to amuse and amaze you in my stead. I have full confidence in them.
Also-also, Sunday in the USA and Canada, we set our clocks forward an hour. I despise thee, Daylight Savings Time. I don’t want to get up an hour earlier on Monday. That’s the worst possible sort of time travel.