Saturday, March 16, 2013

Reflections: Thematic patterning

Hi, folks, I'm continuing my series on theme.  I've defined theme and then talked about "leitwortsil" which  means "leading word style",  the repetition of words and and roots to support a theme. This week I'm expanding to thematic patterning or motif.

One big way to get theme on the page and through to the reader is by repeating imagery. This is the world of types and shadows, and I have a particular love for it. Imagery involves all the senses. You might repeat a sound, a texture, a visual, or even a movement. For example, perhaps you repeat a scouring wind to evoke a sense of the emptiness of life or repeat a buzzing sound to echo your character's inability to fulfil her obligations. If you have a particularly powerful sensory scene in your WIP, consider repeating an element of that scene throughout the work to shore up what you are trying to say. How do you know which element? Go with what is provocative or feels right.

You might move beyond the senses, and repeat something organic like a sense of fatigue -- this might come out in a worn-out couch, shoes with holes in them, a character who can't get out of bed, a town dying, and bird floundering in the backyard because it's too tired to continue on its migration journey -- all images of fatigue. Upon examination of your work, you might see that you have naturally added two or three pieces to a thematic pattern, but could add a few more for effect.  Look for these opportunities to strengthen your theme.

What is important is repetition throughout your book. (If you are like me, you might find that some images are repeating across your work!) The subconscious is a part of storytelling and you must allow it to rise and spice your work with patterns. You won't always know what you are about when you are repeating an imagery. It may just give you a sense of completion. I say go with it.

There is no way I can cover everything that has to do with theme in this series but I hope that you are gleaning tidbits to help your work.  As always, seize the day. I will be back next week with more.


Here is a doodle: "Yellow stars."



A quote for your pocket.

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life. Robert Lewis Stevenson.

4 comments:

Kjersten said...

Whenever I'm reading a book and I notice something come up more than once I seem more likely to notice anything even remotely similar too. Nice post!

MollyMom103 said...

Hi Kjersten, I so agree. I see thematic patterning in art, writing, filmaking, music, so many places... This is the stuff of art that stays with me. It enriches my
experience of life. Glad you enjoyed the post!

Faith Pray said...

Great words. I love how well-written books have deeply woven threads that tie everything together. Makes me want to keep a better awareness of it as I write!

MollyMom103 said...

Hi Faith, I do love coplex weaving.