*Nonfiction* and *Fiction
You’ve reread your work and come upon a startling realization.
You’re a literary genius!
Whether it’s accidental symbolism, a theme you wove through the book without realizing it, or a parallel to real life that you inserted into the story unintentionally, your book is way deeper than you originally thought! Everyone will say you’re a master of the written word and a sage of social commentary!
If you’re in that mental space right now, calm down. Go make yourself some soothing tea, drink it while listening to music, and then come back.
Are you calm? Good. Take a deep breath, because you’re not going to like this.
Your book is probably not way deeper than you thought.
Yes, you may discover throughout the writing process that your book contains themes, symbols, and ideas that you didn’t consciously write. That’s wonderful. But it’s not enough to say, “Yup, that’s awesome!” and let it alone.
Accidental brilliance can deepen your manuscript, but once you discover it, you need to make sure it fits, and that it weaves throughout the book as a whole. A single chapter that parallels a societal problem will feel out of place if said social commentary doesn’t play a role in the storyline as a whole. A few paragraphs in your nonfiction book on current events will feel like a soapbox moment if you don’t transition into it smoothly. (See June 20th’s post on The Candle on the Stage for more on this.)
When you discover something brilliant in your book that came from your subconscious, embrace it. Explore it. See if it belongs in this book, or if it needs to go in a different piece. If it does belong, then write the rest of the book with one eye focused on that theme, integrating it into the entire manuscript. When it’s time to edit, thread it through the parts you’ve already written as well.
Cherish your unintended moments of genius. Then make them intentional. That’s the only way to ensure they look as shiny to others as they do to you.
*This Week’s Word Count*
Your book is as long as: Bleachers by John Grisham
Your book is as long as: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley