As I've said before, I'm new to writing about writing. As I am looking to deepen my voice, I thought we could examine how the method of story creation shapes voice.It helps to decide what elements are and are not included in the narrative.
By way of examples, I'll offer the relevant notes from two of my stories. "Freya" and "Mr.Evans" So you may make a comparison and to help spark discussion.
For "Freya" I used a modified version of the Shantaram Story Architecture. Here are the notes (I am reusing info I sent someone as it is already organized.)
SSA was developed for novel creation so I had to modify it for Short Stories The purpose of SSA is to help you take a subject that moves you and build a story from it. Think of it as building a skyscraper. The subject is the foundation that the story is built upon.
Freya is largely autobiographical. In my mid-twenties I fell in love for the first time. I immediately overinvested in the relationship. When it ended I was devasted. In a 72 hour period, I lost my woman, her children, most of my friends, the church I attended, my faith. All of it gone. "Freya" was her best friend. She seduced me (while allowing me to believe I was seducing her) and healed me. She helped make me more than I was before the ill-fated relationship with her friend. I wanted to write a story honoring her and honoring the feminine as expressed through the Norse Goddess Freyja. Now let's use SSA on this. I'm pulling this from my story notes.
My relationship with Freya
Everything within the work will relate in some way to the theme. What are the aspects of the theme? Which ones shall you use? It's the theme that determines the contours of the narrative, the devices and mechanisms of the plot, the number and qualities of the characters, and the emblematic symbol of the novel. Moreover, the theme of the novel determines the contours and characteristics for all of the other twenty layers of allegorical, symbolic and imaginal depth.
For Freya, the Theme is Sexual Healing in the aspects of
LAYERS OF ALLEGORICAL DEPTH
Roberts purports that having two other enduring works that can be alluded to will provide a depth to the work. (I still don't know why I choose these other than a woman can fuck you up and like David, my religion took a major hit over one. lol)
1. David and Bathsheba 2Samuel 11:2 - 18
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite." 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant."
6 So David sent this word to Joab: "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master's servants and did not go down to his house.
10 David was told, "Uriah did not go home." So he asked Uriah, "Haven't you just come from a military campaign? Why didn't you go home?"
11 Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents,[a] and my commander Joab and my lord's men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!"
12 Then David said to him, "Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 At David's invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master's servants; he did not go home.
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, "Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die."
16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David's army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
2. Song by Climax Blues band: I Love You https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObG48PZHU2k
3. Len Berstein's Hallelujah
THE MOSAIC IMAGE – A representational image for the whole novel, which gets broken down into the book's chapters. This emblematic mosaic image has the purpose of unifying the imagery and symbolism of the novel.
The Emblematic Symbol:
Desert Oasis at night In Freya the symbol is that of an oasis at night, to symbolize the refreshness of acceptance in the desert of relationship experiences of the protagonist. The bright Moon represents illumination not of Truth but of truth to find his way. The symbol should appear every time there is a major event, transformation, or period of emotional intensity in the piece image attached
in Freya is Authenticity, which is being true to one's own personality, spirit or character transcends low self-esteem and should vibrate through the piece. In some instances, it is the virtue which saves people.
in Freya is being fake/false. the vice will be the downfall of the characters and shape the negative aspects of the work.
The (Two) colours The colors you choose for your piece should be from the emblematic image, and again, will show themselves during important moments.
Dark Brown = nourishing, life-giving place to grow roots Hint: sex scene
Forest Green = Growth, new way of looking at life
The (Two) Cardinal elements
Water the third element of the alchemical tradition.
Water is the essence of love and fertility, the element of the nature of emotions.
Astrological Signs: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.
Represented by: Water, lavender fragrance, Fish, coral and sponges.
Fire the second element of the alchemical tradition.
Fire is the essence of purification and change, the element of the nature of the will.
Astrological Signs: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.
Represented by: Fire, candles, lights, dragons and the sun.
Color: Yellow and Green
The (Two) Textures
The (Two) Tastes Every short story has two tastes that recur throughout the text, serving to reinforce the subconscious connection to moments of peak transition, transformation, and emotional intensity.
The (Two) Emblematic Animals I focused on this one a lot in the story!
Cat Cats are sacred to Freyja as such they are a harbinger of blessing and healing in the story Hint: Lion skin sex scene
Raven Note: every time Brett sees a Raven/Crow he gets FUCKED OVER in the story. I'm surprised he didn't start shooting the bastards.
The (Two) Perfumes or scents Every novel has two perfumes or scents that serve to reinforce the reader's connection with moments of peak romantic transition, transformation, or emotional intensity.
The Symbolic Number Every Short Story has a significant number, used throughout the text to subconsciously reinforce the moments of peak transition, transformation, and emotional intensity.
Example:In Shantaram, the number is eight. There are eight key members of Leopold's society of friends; there are eight members of the Khader Khan Council when Lin visits for the first time; there are eight survivors (after Khaled murders Habib, and leaves the camp) of the original thirty men who went to in Afghanistan, and so on. This number recurs throughout the text, working in the background of the peak
Symbolic Number of Freyja is 4
Freya Reynolds the sexual healer of the story is named after the Norse Goddess Freya whose number is 4.
— Freya means Lady
— ravens http://www.transceltic.com/pan-celtic/ravens-celtic-and-norse-mythology
Raven taps on window right before Deirdra's call
Raven sounds when Deirdra walks away in the park for the last time.
The cat stopping him from committing suicide and comforting him is a symbol of Freya doing the same
Freya in leopard negligee
They have sex on a lion skin
Freya gives him a kitten
End of SSA
When you take the above information it gives you a framework to weave your story upon. If you pull Freya up and have this side by side it will stick out and you will see that it acts as a skeleton for the story and more than that it can be used to weave webs of complexity to educate and delight your readers.
First Thousand - break down, dinner,,
Second Thousand -Park
Third Thousand - Freya and Brett Flirting,I want to, First time w/ Freya + relationship talk
Fourth Thousand - Jay begging, Playing while Jay's passed out, Meets Jane
Fifth Thousand - Relationship talk2, man 2 man talk
Sixth Thousand - , date with Jane, Freya's Moving
Seventh Thousand - 2nd date with Jane, Dinner And good bye
- fluffing pillows
- burning Memories
- Hel walks in
- take my hand
- the bar
- the approach
- making love
- the talk
- hotel hallway
- Richard Thanks Hel and asks to kiss her Grey cheek
- hotel door way
- finds the body, receipt, necklace, The Letter.
- birth name
Now for each story, the main characters had character sheets.
Freya is a longer story than Mr. Evans and in fact, spawned a trilogy. Yet, some would argue that Mr. Evans is better.
What do you think the drawbacks are of each of the methods? The benefits? Is there a synthesis that would be useful?