Category Archives: Adventure

#amwriting: mind wandering

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Sea Stacks at Tillamook Head © 2016 Connie J. Jasperson

We have long known that creative people are often guilty of daydreaming, but researchers have shown that daydreaming makes you more creative. Right now I am on vacation, and my output of writing has been sporadic–it comes in bursts. Here by the sea I find myself thinking about…nothing.

Sometimes I realize I’ve been gazing at the scenery with no conscious awareness of thought for long stretches of time. This means my mind is completely at rest. With this relaxing of conscious thought, I become rested, and my mind is cleared of the white-noise that hinders my creative process.

Eugenio M. Rothe, a psychiatrist at Florida International University, says:  “Many times the ‘dialogue’ that occurs when the daydreaming mind cycles through different parts of the brain accesses information that was dormant or out of reach. Likewise, the daydreaming mind may make an association between bits of information that the person had never considered in that particular way.”

Intriguingly, the physiology of the brain itself, and not the “mind” controls our daydreams. Anthony Jack, a cognitive scientist at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio says,

“How we daydream and think depends on the brain’s structure. …(That) structure is constantly changing in small ways—as we learn new things the connections between nerve cells change.” (Read “Beyond the Brain” in National Geographic magazine.)

I usually work 10-16 hour days. I don’t do it intentionally, but it happens. Thus, taking a complete break away from my desk is critical. At home, I might go out to my back porch and observe the neighborhood. It’s peaceful out there, but here, where Ecola Creek meets the Pacific Ocean, I am away from my usual tasks. I have no schedule, and my editing work is on hold. I am writing this post via the stream-of-conscious method rather than preparing it ahead on Sunday as I usually do.

My mind has been defragging this week. I can feel my spirit growing lighter, less concerned about the small annoyances. I don’t need sunshine to free my subconscious thoughts–I just need the sea.

My husband is relaxing too. He has only called his office once, and on finding the small problem there was easily settled, he is relaxing and enjoying the peace of the moment.

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Sea Stacks in the Mist at Tillmook Head © Connie J. Jasperson 2016

The ocean right now at 5:57 am is shrouded in fog. The sea stacks are islands in the mist. For an hour or so more, the gulls and other sea birds will own the beach, and they are making the most of their time.

Soon early risers like me will be up, some letting the dogs go for a run, others just wandering the shore, thinking about nothing in particular.

Today we will go down to Haystack Rock with a picnic lunch and if the wind is right we’ll fly the kite. That is all the plans we have for the day. I may write when I get back, or I may continue reading. Whichever I do, it will be interspersed with long moments of staring out at those amazing rock formations where Ecola meets the sea.

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#amwriting: finding paradise

Amaranthus and Savvy at the needles by haystack rock cannon beach 2012My annual visit to the sunless Oregon Coast is upon us. For the next week I’ll be reading and gazing out the window at the ghostly rocks of Tillamook Head rising from the mist. Terrible Tilly, the most infamous lighthouse on the West Coast rises a mile out to sea, but is shrouded in fog and mist–I can’t see her today.  It is supposed to rain most of the week here–and that is what we come to this place for.

The many moods of the stormy waters, the seabirds–this place inspires me and clears my head like no other place.

I will be writing whenever the muse seizes me. Our condo is one we often stay at, and is perfect for us with a fully outfitted kitchen. I will cook many meals for my family, as being vegan, I can’t really eat in too many restaurants, although there are a few beginning to offer vegan options here.

As I write this at 06:15 a.m., the rain-slick streets are nearly empty, making this my town, my personal paradise. Despite the bad weather, people will soon be out, and it won’t be mine any more, but the hum and bustle of the streets brings a different vibe of excitement.

Walking along the beach in this sort of weather, one finds so many more things. The wave deposit sand dollars and the seabirds dine on them, leaving behind the hollowed shell for me.

The author goes kite flying in the fog, Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock , August 2013I may not have the chance to fly my kite until later in the week, but then again, some years I find myself kite-flying in the fog. Rather like my normal life, I suppose–with so many stories whirling in my head I’m always in a fog, so to speak.

Sun or no, this is my writing and reading paradise. I have the opportunity to do both here, in undisputed peace. Today, my husband and I will stroll along the beach, or visit the small shops, or just chill on the deck, observing the sea in all her many moods.

This is my piece of Heaven. Have you found yours?

 

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#amwriting: The Superhero

The_IncrediblesI just spent the weekend on grandma duty with a 3-yr old grandson. We did a lot of fun things, but when we needed some quiet time we watched The Incredibles…over and over….

It’s a great movie…honest…but now I know the dialogue by heart.

Superheroes are huge in our pop culture. I love them, and everyone loves them. So what is it that makes a story involving a superhero intriguing? First of all, this type of tale is speculative fiction. It is based on the power of “what if….”

When you open a book of speculative fiction, you will often find yourself reading a morality tale, a “there but for the grace of God” tale that keeps you thinking long after you have finished the book.

The main characters are usually flawed heroes, imperfect people who come through in the end, and win the day. Nowhere is the concept of the flawed hero more clearly drawn than in the sci-fi sub-genre of Superheroes. It is a branch of science fiction that has become a sub-culture.

Traditionally, science fiction involves the accurate portrayal of science as we know it, including the cutting edge of theoretic science. For the fans of this genre, plausible science is critical, along with a strong morality tale set in a futuristic setting.

“Superhero” stories take “what if” science speculation to an extreme: they tend to be a mix of known and as-yet-unknown science extrapolated out to the nth degree and heavily padded with uber-dramatic plots.

The spider bite that gave Peter Parker his powers. Amazing Fantasy #15, art by Steve Ditko.

The spider bite that gave Peter Parker his powers. Amazing Fantasy #15, art by Steve Ditko.

Mad science has free reign, threatening the citizens of a frequently unnamed metropolis. Sometimes, ordinary people are caught up in these experiments and granted super powers. Think about Spiderman: he is the victim of an experiment gone wrong. A bite from a radioactive spider triggers mutations in the teen-aged Peter Parker’s body, granting him superpowers.

The early series revolves around his maturing through teen-aged angst to married adulthood, while dealing with his super powers. He is one of the few working-class superheroes–he has no fortress of solitude from which he works, but he does live with his elderly aunt and attends high-school.

Sometimes their gifts are used for good (our superheroes) but more frequently the powers take away their “humanity” turning them evil (enter the supervillain).

It is the imbalance of evil super-ness to good that creates the never-ending string of villains for the superhero to battle.

Other superheroes have super technology.  Consider Batman: he possesses no superhuman powers. However, he has mastered the martial arts, developed espionage techniques, and understands everything from physics to forensics. What he lacks in super powers he makes up for in super-science.

Superheroes all have an exceptionally rigid, highly moral code of honor. They are eager to risk their lives in the service of humanity and expect no payment.

Batman by Jim Lee (2002) via WikipediaThey often work alone. The catch phrase “it’s complicated” completely defines the flawed superhero. Again, let’s look at Batman: he is dark, brooding. He is a man obsessed with the murder of his parents and is consumed with avenging them, taking to the streets to hunt down super-criminals. He is possessed of the money to enable him to fight evil with incredible technology, and he spends it like water.

All superheroes must have a fundamental motivation, a reason for their obsession. In many cases, it’s a sense of responsibility and guilt for a traumatic incident witnessed in their childhood.

Tales involving Superheroes are usually set in modern cities, and have a strong science theme, although the science is frequently fantasy-based. Magic is rarely used in western superhero stories, although Japan has a long tradition of combining science and magic in its manga (comic books).

Most superheroes and the supervillains they battle operate from a secret base or headquarters. These bases are usually equipped with state-of-the-art, highly advanced, and/or alien technologies. No amount of money is spared when it comes to designing a superhero’s (or villain’s) fortress. Let’s examine the Batcave: Batman’s secret headquarters, command center, and safe house. The cave’s beating heart is a supercomputer whose specs are on par with any of those used by our government. It’s capable of global surveillance and also connects to a massive information network including, but outside of, our usual internet.

Naturally, a computer of that size stores vast amounts of information, both on Batman’s foes and his allies. He even has satellite link-ups that allow easy access to his information network anywhere around the globe. No matter where he is, he is connected. Of course, the systems are highly protected against unauthorized access, and any attempt to breach their security is immediately made known to Batman.

dragons in piecesAs an added bonus, while the superhero is often dark and brooding, the evil he battles is outrageously megalomaniacal. The supervillain’s ego is as large as his fortress, and so is his disdain for humanity in general.

Be aware, the science in these stories is “squishy,” and requires the reader to set aside their inner skeptic. For this reason, the superhero is a sub-genre all its own.

There is a lot of room for imagination when writing about a superhero. Lean prose is required, and an almost comic-book style of plot. A plot should have all the elements of a thriller, with a certain amount of mad science thrown in. When done right, the superhero book can be quite a fun read.

For an excellent example of books in this genre, check out Lee French’s novel, Dragons in Pieces. It’s as perfect an example of work written in this sub-genre as I have read outside of a comic book. It has great characters who are complicated and slightly flawed, plenty of mad science, loads of evil henchmen, and an epic plot.

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St Albans – stained glass and medieval paint

I have enjoyed this journey through the history and architecture of St. Albans so much! I can’t thank Sue Vincent enough for sharing it with us, through both her camera and her eye for the poetry in things. What I’ve learned from observing her as she experiences this place, is that writers must see the world through the eye of the artist.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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The very first time Stuart came down to visit, long before we had any idea we were at the beginning of an adventure and even longer before we had even thought about writing together, I had stopped outside the tiny village church of Little Missenden on the way back from the station.

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I would say, ‘don’t ask me why’ as we had never visited a church together before…and I knew so little of him then that he might have been completely uninterested… but the truth is, I do know why. It is a very special place, a good way from my home, and one I used to visit when I was working out that way, just for the peace and beauty… and it has beautiful stained glass like a Tree of Life…and ancient pilgrims crosses graffitied into the walls… and fabulous medieval wall paintings… But that wasn’t it either. I…

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St Albans – “Count the stars…”

Sue Vincent continues St. Albans, this time though the abbey itself. Seen through the eye of the photographer and the soul of the poet, we find ourselves in a holy place, where architecture meets the divine.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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We had finally made it into the Crossing at the centre of the Abbey… you barely remembered that the tiles beneath your feet had been made by Minton when you looked up. One incredible painted ceiling after another stretched away from the Tower Ceiling. The precise outlines of the stones on the white of the walls are an illusion created by medieval painters and the Norman arches that have stood a thousand years are decorated in ochre.

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Above them float the roses of St Albans. Although the bright painted panels we now see were only installed in the 1950s, they are an exact copy of the 15th C tiles that are still in place above them, now protected by their presence. One of the tiles can be seen against the painted stones of the aisle. The tiles show the red and white roses of the House of Lancaster and York…

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St Albans… ‘render unto Caesar’

Photographer and author, Sue Vincent, takes us on a journey through British history via the architecture of St. Albans. It is in this village where the real influence of the Romans can still be seen. Roman and Victorian building styles collide and create something uniquely British.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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Tuesday morning looked promising as we headed out early for St Albans. The beautiful sky soon clouded over, though, leaving us with a chill and persistent rain. We’d been meaning to visit the town for a long time, knowing that the history and stories associated with the place tied in heavily with many areas of our adventures…not least because of St Alban himself.

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Recorded as the first British Christian martyr, the saint was beheaded for his faith in Roman Verulamium, now the town of St Albans. There are many versions of his story and we had not really researched them before we left and had only the briefest of outlines. I remembered vaguely that he was a cephalophore, one whose voice had continued after the beheading…and that a spring had welled from the ground where the head had rolled; a common motif in the stories of the saints that seems…

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#amgaming: Review of Aveyond 4, Shadow of the Mist

Aveyond 4Before I get down to the nitty-gritty, let’s just get it out into the open:  I love RPG games as much as I love books. For a long time I was enthralled with the Final Fantasy games, but they lost me after the brilliant FFXII.

FFXIV was a huge failure in my opinion. If I can’t make headway beyond the first 4 hours of play, the game isn’t worth the investment of my time.

And for me, investment of time is a huge factor. I don’t watch television, but when I want entertainment I read or listen to audio books. For relaxation, I play old-school PC RPG games, because they don’t require as much of an investment of time to complete, and are immersive and fun.

Amaranth/Aveyond Kingdom and John Wizard are my 2 favorite game makers, and they frequently collaborate with each other. Their games are reminiscent of the old Square Soft games, for the Super Nintendo with strong stories and fun sidequests. They are as much fun as The Legend of Zelda or any early Final Fantasy game ever was.

Aveyond Kingdom’s Aveyond 4, Shadow of the Mist is in many ways, a more polished production than their earlier work.  The graphics and backgrounds are the best they have produced by far. The storyline is both deep and hilarious, and the characters are, for the most part, engaging.

But first, the Blurb:

boyle wolfbane aveyond 4 by amaranth gamesBoyle Wolfbane wanted to rule the world. He failed. Miserably. Forced into retirement early, Boyle now spends his days arguing with haunted trees and scaring off the occasional knight. At least he still has Fang, his loyal storm wolf. Things could be worse. He could have been born a hero.

My Review:

This game incorporates the traditional elements of puzzle-solving, action, and adventure into a neat and enjoyable package. There are the usual elements of high fantasy, with the characters ruthlessly poking fun at themselves. The enemies are creative and fun to fight.

Because they are failed villains, Boyle and Ingrid are unhappily in love, and that storyline adds ongoing humorous elements. Myst and Robin are naive and make good foils for Boyle and Ingrid. Hi’beru and Rowen arrive later in the game, and Phye arrives so late I did wonder why he was included at all. As a Draghar, Phye does have some power, but I think like a writer, so in my opinion, all the characters should be in place at the midpoint. Because he arrives so close to the end, we don’t get to know him as well as I would have liked.

I purchased the game the day it was released. I have played the game through to the end four times. The first time through, I had Ingrid join Lorelei’s coven and married her off to Boyle. With that scenario the game played smoothly with no glitches. I was in love with the game!

The second time through I had Ingrid join Jinx’s coven, but when I tried to complete the task of selling the craft in Robin’s store, the game froze and I had to take drastic measures to close the game down. No matter what I did,  in this scenario the game froze at that point every time.

So I went to their website and, following the suggestions in their forums, I reinstalled the game. I never got past that point on that particular attempt.

So I started a new game, and that time I had her join the transformations coven. This went well for the most part, but with one major flaw. Ingrid gained the ability to transform into a dragon, but the skill didn’t appear in her menu. When I went out to the forums to see how to solve that, the answer was that it would be resolved in the next build. I was disappointed, as I did want to have the ability to play her as a dragon.

Aveyond 4 ss-enviroment-3

The environments that the games is set in are lush and beautiful, dark and moody. The music is amazing and really contributes to the enjoyment of the game.

Overall, I can only give this game 4 stars at this time. Aveyond Kingdom clearly felt pressured by the fans to get the game out there. They didn’t do as thorough a testing period as they should have. I understand feeling rushed to publish, but that is never a wise thing.

If having to reinstall the game at various points bothers you as it does me, my recommendation is to wait until they come out with build B, and then buy it. The game is fun, hilarious, and when it works properly, it’s a great way to spend 25 or so hours.

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Cover Reveal: Mountains of the Moon

Mountains of the Moon will go live on June 26, 2015.

I know! What took me so long!?

Well, it’s still the wild west here in the indie publishing world. Ya gotta get your book written, then rewritten, then beta-read and revised accordingly, then edited and revised accordingly, and the cover designed and the blurb made–it all takes time!

Four years, to be exact.

A great many things conspired to hold up publication of this novel, which was actually supposed to be published before Forbidden Road, but the day is finally here.

Mountains of the Moon is a prequel to Tower of Bones. The book follows the adventures of Wynn Farmer as he discovers who he is and what he is meant to do.

Wynn is a bundle of contradictions. He is in over his head, and he knows it. Naive beyond words, and ignorant of the world in general, he says the first thing that pops into his head, does not understand the difference between sarcasm and a direct order, and tends to follow instructions to the letter. His habit of answering rhetorical questions seriously is quite aggravating to his companions.

Wynn gets his act together, though, and that is when the fun really begins.

The book also follows the paths of Jules Brendsson and Rall Ivarsson, seeing them as young men. It also introduces Devyn D’Mal, an earth-mage and (unbeknownst to him in this book) uncle of most hated villain in Neveyah.

In the meantime, here is an excerpt:

The horn blew again, and the four tired mages trooped out. “Please, Aeos, just make this misery end,” muttered Jules. “Heaven only knows what that evil woman has planned for us next.”

“That was a real thunder-lizard,” said Devyn, horror tingeing his voice. “I can’t believe they had a real thunder-lizard. What is wrong with that woman? What if it had gotten loose?”

“It was only a baby,” said Rall, sagely. “Even the holy mother’s not mad enough to bring an adult inside the city.” Internally, he was shaken. “I hate fighting those things because you can’t use magic against them.”

“I thought it was fun,” said Wynn with a tired grin. The others stopped and stared at him then resumed walking. “She’ll run out of creatures pretty soon.” He tried to conceal his disappointment.

“I hope so,” said Jules, brightening up. “I can’t think of anything she hasn’t trotted out yet.”

As the four mages reached the slope opposite the amethyst tent, a thunderous roar shook the field and the night was suddenly lit as if by the sun. An enormous dragon emerged from the dark mists, landing directly in front of the group. Flames leapt and danced along the length of its immense back. Waves of heat like that of a large house fire rolled off it, making the questers unable to get close enough to use a sword, had they been so inclined.

They were not.

“Holy…where the hell did she get a firedrake?” Rall, Jules, and Devyn scattered, giving the beast too many targets concentrate on. Fiery breath roared toward them. Blazing claws reached and slashed, first at Jules and then Devyn. The horrific head swung, looking for a victim.

Overwhelmed by the horror that now stared down at him, Wynn reacted instinctively. Without even thinking, he cast his steel-cutting bolt to crack the creature’s shields and followed up immediately with a large ice spell.

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And now, the cover:

MOTM Front Cover Final 6-18-2015

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MOTM Back Cover Final 06-18-2015

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And here is the YouTube link to my World of Neveyah, epic fantasy trailer, featuring Sway, written and performed by Margaret.

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Baiting the hook

450px-Flyfishing wikipedia dot com

Flyfishing on river Sava Bohinjka, Slovenia photo by Ziga (PD)

You wrote the book. Your friends read it–you hope. At least they said they did, and they still like you. They tell you it’s a good book. They think it’s publishable, so you decide to go indie and self pub it. You spend the next year getting it edited and having a flashy cover designed. You even have a launch date picked out and feel reasonably sure you can get the book through the pipeline at CreateSpace by that date.

Now you are at the point where you must come up with some sort of a blurb.

This is where it gets fun.

Not.

There are many wonderful blurb-writing gurus out there on the internet, offering advice to those intrepid indies who would write that catchy morsel of blurbiness:

www.blurb.com

Marilyn Byerly 

Digital Book World

The Creative Penn

Yes, there are many websites offering us insight, and they all have great advice for us.  But putting that plethora of knowledge to practice is a bit daunting. 

They each approach it differently but when you distill it into a simple, linear form, it all boils down to variations on these concepts (in no particular order) for you to have in your head before you begin:

  • Use words that clearly evoke the genre
  • Keep it short– 100 to 300 words
  • Get the protagonist’s name out there early
  • Introduce the core conflict
  • Make it intriguing, mysterious–can this conflict be resolved?
  • Use a little hyperbole–stunning, denouement, and so on

The Internet Gurus also offer us this advice:

  • Don’t say what a great book it is
  • Don’t give spoilers
  • Don’t summarize the book (or even the first chapter)
  • Don’t be long-winded or wordy
  • Don’t say what a great writer you are
Back Cover of Mage-Guard of Hamor

Example of what NOT to put on back of book in lieu of proper blurb.

I would also offer this advice: keep it to less than 150 words and don’t skip writing the blurb. It has become popular for the Big 5 publishers to skip writing a blurb and just go with praises for the author’s other works, expecting that their name and fame will sell the book. This tells me that blurb writing is hard and even the the big guys don’t like it. Most big publishers, like Penguin, will have a marketing department.  Penguin puts blurbs on their books, so why the others can’t come up with a proper blurb is a mystery to me.

That might work for Stephen King or L.E. Modesitt Jr., but it won’t work for an unknown indie who is trying to build a reputation and a fan base.

Readers want to know what they are buying, and if they have no idea who you are, they don’t care what your friends think about your work. They aren’t going to touch it.

The blurb is a teaser.  It’s one part of a three-part lure, the only purpose of which is to entice a customer to buy your book.

Remember, you are fishing for readers and that blurb is part of the triangular bait:

  1. Part one is the flashy cover–even for ebooks that cover gets them to stop and look a bit closer, and
  2. the blurb is part two–the part that hooks them and gets them to crack it open.
  3. Part three of this lure is the words they read once they open the bookthat is when you land your fish, whether by ebook or by paperbook.

But until they have read your blurb, they won’t open the book, so they won’t know what wonder awaits them.

I am currently working on a blurb for a stand-alone book based in the world of Neveyah, the world the Tower of Bones Series is set in.  Where the Tower of Bones series can be rather dark, Mountains of the Moon has many comic elements.

Right now, this is my blurb. My head is numb, so I’m letting it sit for another week or so then I will revisit it and have my homies at Myrddin Publishing go over it one more time:

MOTM MAPHidden away in the Mountains of the Moon, the ruins of an immense castle harbor a dark secret: entire families have vanished from the valleys in the shadow of the mountains, leaving no trace. The elderly Baron Hemsteck hasn’t been seen for two seasons.

Four mages are sent to investigate. Wynn Farmer and his companions embark on a trek to learn the truth. Along their route, they must battle against the strange beasts controlled by a rogue mage and ultimately face an evil they never thought possible.

Danger, dark magic, and mystery await those who seek the truth in the Mountains of the Moon. The Gods are at war, and Neveyah is the battlefield.

We kept it down to 114 words, and managed to get the World of Neveyah series tag-line in on the end of it.

Sigh. I admit I am not good at writing blurbs for my own books, but I do have a large posse of author-friends who are more than willing to help me hone that blurb. When the back cover is finished, I will have a concise blurb that will hopefully entice readers to read my book.

Finally, at the end of June,  I will reveal the cover.  I am pretty excited about this new book. I can hardly wait!

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Elements of the Story: Allegory

allegory

Proper use of the allegory is an integral tool in the author’s toolbox. An allegory is a metaphor, but it is not merely symbolism, although it is definitely symbolic. Authors, painters, and musicians can convey hidden meanings and discuss complex moral issues through the device of allegory.

Literary Devices.net describes  Edmund Spenser’s “Faerie Queen,” a moral and religious allegory, in this way:

RAK9388 Faun and the Fairies, c.1834 by Maclise, Daniel

Faun and the Fairies, c.1834 by Daniel Maclise

“The good characters of book stand for the various virtues, while the bad characters represent vices. “The Red-Cross Knight” represents holiness while “Lady Una” represents truth, wisdom and goodness. Her parents symbolize the human race. The “Dragon” which has imprisoned them stands for evil. The mission of holiness is to help the truth, fight evil, and thus regain its rightful place in the hearts of human beings. “The Red-Cross Knight” in this poem also represents the reformed church of England fighting against the “Dragon” which stands for the Papacy or the Catholic Church.”

The Faerie Queene is an allegorical romance, and contains several levels of allegory, including praise for Queen Elizabeth I, who was Spenser’s great patron.

Elizabeth-I-Allegorical- painting  c.1610  by Unknown. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Allegory of Queen Elizabeth (c. 1610), with Father Time at her right and Death looking over her left shoulder. Two cherubs are removing the weighty crown from her tired head. Artist unknown.

Allegory is not always something that works well if you desire commercial success with your novels. This is because allegory is the sort of thing that only becomes apparent on further contemplation by the reader–which many casual readers don’t usually want to do and modern action-based literature does not encourage. A great many of today’s readers are action-junkies, so if you choose to present a moral concept through the use of allegory, you must take a page from Stephen King‘s work and  wrap it up in such a way that the average reader will enjoy it for the entertainment value, while the discerning reader will look deeper and find more layers to enjoy within your work.

ClassroomSynonym.com says: “At the foundation of a well-constructed allegory are carefully crafted parallels between two separate issues. To properly analyze an allegory it’s important to identify these parallels and explain why the parallels are such strong indicators that an allegory exists. Even though “The Crucible” is literally about a witch hunt, the unfair tactics for deciding who is a witch and who isn’t parallel the claims made during the McCarthy Era with little justification other than rumor and hearsay that certain people were communists. The unfair method of designation is the parallel.”

Crafting an allegorical narrative requires planning and intention. Clarity of thought on your part is absolutely crucial if your deeper story is to become clear to the reader. I suggest you outline so that the beginning, middle and end are clear before you begin.

An effective allegory narrative will have a clear moral or lesson that will become apparent at the end of the essay. Even if it is not stated directly the message will be implicit in the final resolution. You want to be sure that the ending reflects your final thought on the subject.

  1. Use Symbolism

The allegory is the symbol of your idea. This means your narrative or poem conceals the true theme you’re symbolizing. In other words, you are writing a cover story that will contain the primary one.

  1. Planning Your Characters Is Essential

Each character in an allegory represents an underlying element to your theme. Because the reader is expected to interpret the whole story and find what it means, no character can be introduced that does not directly pertain to and represent part of the underlying story. The moment you introduce a random character into it, your allegory devolves into chaos and your deeper meaning is lost.

  1. Planning Your Action is Essential

The arc of the scene becomes tricky. Every action is crucial–action must show something that pertains to the underlying theme, not just push the overlying story forward.

  1. Insert Hints Regarding the Deeper Meaning Into The Overlying Story

What that means is, you’ll be expected to leave evidence in your story for the discerning reader to grasp. Some authors have used irony, and sarcasm.  Others use large metaphors. No matter what you choose, subtle clues will guide the reader to the deeper story, and you want them to catch that underlying meaning, or you wouldn’t have written it. You don’t have to explain it baldly—readers love figuring out puzzles. But you do have to make sure a trail of breadcrumbs is there for your reader to follow.

E-how gives us this perfect, concise example: “For instance, if you want to show the damage done to the environment by humans, then the character symbolizing “everyman” could end up harming or hurting the character symbolic of the environment.”

animal farm george orwellI love allegories, and I have written a great deal of poetry that is allegorical.

I have read The Faerie Queene and The Crucible, and was challenged by both, for different reasons. One reason for that challenge in The Faerie Queen is that Spenser used many words that were considered archaic even in Elizabethan times, so you have to interpret it as you go.

Some other famous allegorical novels I have read are:

Animal Farm by George Orwell

An allegorical and dystopian novella by George Orwell, first published in England on 17 August 1945. According to the author himself, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalin era in the Soviet Union.

The Trial by Franz Kafka  Kafka’s descriptions of law and legality are considered allegories for things other than law, but it does clearly show how law and legality sometimes operate paradoxically.

Thinner by Richard Bachman (Stephen King writing under a pen name) Horror: An allegory about what lies beyond the limits of prosperous American complacency and where the responsibilities of human actions ultimately lie.

I will just say that allegorical novels are not written to be comfortable, cozy reads. They can be quite disturbing and thought provoking, as both Animal Farm and Thinner were to me. They were extremely disturbing, if you want the truth, but that was what makes them great literature. I was in the mood for a meatier read, and they took me out of my comfort zone, showing me disturbing aspects of the world I live in. These were things I could not change on a global level, but which I could possibly change within in my own sphere, thus my horizons were widened by reading them.

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