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All Posts By Gar Mallinson

Mood

Posted on 2 min read 11 views

Mood is just what it says; it evokes feelings in readers mostly through description. Mood is therefore buried in the setting; it’s part of the setting and setting surrounds readers with material that links the concrete world of things with the abstract world of feelings and ideas. Setting does this through the use of imagery, word choice, and tone, creating a kind of objective correlative, a linking of concrete image to abstraction. That’s how literature works. When you read a novel that’s heavy on mood, you respond to the language in either a positive or negative way. And language can be …

Write More of What You Know

Posted on 3 min read 41 views

I’ve been thinking about this topic again and I should add some stuff. It’s not enough to take your visual experiences, deconstruct them and rebuild them into what you need for the setting of your story. As important as that is, you need to do more. You remember a lot more than the places you’ve been from your childhood on. You remember people, you remember personalities, attitudes, expressions, language. All those things are grist to the mill. Settings built out of bits of what you’ve seen are only there in your story to provide a background for your characters, and your …

Imagery

Posted on 3 min read 103 views

I’ve been thinking about the settings that novels use. In my own stuff, I see a basic dichotomy in imagery, a polarization between positive and negative settings whether it’s a city setting of alleys and parks or a more natural one of forest and farm. And since I know that I use imagery to reveal characters’ feelings, I want to talk about how that works. I use the natural world as a kind of objective correlative for feelings, and I think that sort of image use gets into everything from literature to the kind of world we build for ourselves. Think …

Metaphor

Posted on 3 min read 178 views

I’ve been thinking about metaphor. But to talk about it, I have to at least mention simile. As I understand it, a simile is simply a comparison: something is like something else. And usually, at least in literature, similes are used to link something concrete to something abstract, like a feeling or an idea. Although there’s a big difference between a rose and a feeling, a simile can suggest what the feeling is like by comparing it with the rose. For example: My love is like a red, red rose. Something of how we respond to roses, their beauty, their colour, …

Literature and Identity

Posted on 3 min read 99 views

Reading fiction provides a foundation that initiates in us greater awareness of ourselves and of our culture; that helps to liberate us from provincialism;  that provides the potential for personal growth that leads to identity. We learn through familiarity, through repeated exposure, and it’s important to expose ourselves to the best that has been thought and said. Such exposure fosters open-mindedness and a respect for the integrity of systems of thought. Exposure to literature helps alleviate our own moral ambiguity by developing in us a disinclination to accept a relativism which tends to ignore moral issues. If we learn by example, …

Plot

Posted on 3 min read 156 views

I was listening to the radio a while ago and heard a writer talking about plotting a novel, a crime novel. He stressed the fact that he wrote out scene details on pieces of paper, different colours for different sub plots, and stuck them up all over the walls of the room he wrote in. He spent some time rearranging them periodically to see how the parts balanced and to discover what the order should be. He said, as well, that many writers use the technique. All of this was news to me.  I don’t plot anything, and I don’t use …

Narrative

Posted on 4 min read 92 views

Narrative is simply the flow of time in a novel or short story. Sounds simple, but it’s not, really. Writers can shrink time, stretch it out, make it bigger (more significant), make it smaller (less significant), fracture it, bend it, turn it upon itself, and so on. Writers can do whatever they want with time in the interests of story. The one thing time isn’t is linear and progressive.  Well, it is but it isn’t. It’s progressive in the sense that cause and effect can’t function if it isn’t linear. If any act carries consequences, then those consequences must be laid …