Saturday, June 25, 2005

RNA Northumberland meeting

Yesterday, I did the trek up to Alnwick for the RNA Northumberland meeting. One nice thing is that my car is full. This time I had Anna Lucia on a navigator duties, Gwen Kirkwood, Prue Philipson and a new member Shirley Dickinson in the back. It made for lively writerly discussion which is a change from the folk music I would have had on otherwise.

As usual the meeting was motivating. Peg Gardner who used to write for M&B years ago brought one of her revision letters from her old editor. It is no wonder that her ex editor went on to become a celebrity agent type. He had a wonderful eye. There again MY editor at M&B has a wonderful eye and sets things out much the same, giving page numbers where things are not really working.

Peg also did a mini workshop on symbolism and using symbols in your work. That reminded me of the Donald Maass exercise about symbols. It is all about making objects recur, gather meaning and then releasing them.

It made me think about the objects Kate and I used in The Lady Soldier (most obviously the watch and the bell) and the objects I used in the Gladiator's Honour (the wooden sword, the figurine and the brooch). It is now a matter of weaving in, making sure certain objects recur in TSD... So yes, I know my symbolism is there at the end, but sometimes I wonder if I am a deep enough writer. Other writers I know such as Julie Cohen do symbolism much easier.

Anyway, what about you -- as a writer do you put symbols in? As a reader do you look for them?
Is it best if you don't notice them unless you are actively thinking about them?


Julie Cohen said...

Ahhh I don't know if I do them easier, it's just that my mind works that way and not the way that your mind can work easily, integrating research with character and story. I can write a symbol, but I couldn't write a historical in a million years.

Glad to hear your meeting was inspirational!

Anonymous said...

I could never do a symbol consciously. Sometimes they pop up and later I realize what they are, but never intentionally.

Dumb question for you--is RNA the UK version of RWA?