How Your Origins Shape Your Process

I’m fixing up one of my novels right now. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever written, stylistically, as a piece of fantasy. The first half is, anyway. The second half was written under emotional duress, and that’s what I’m in the midst of fixing right now.

Stripping Out Shadows

Basically I have unpleasant relations, and a lot of themes in the book woke up some demons I hadn’t finished working through yet. Having dealt death to said demons, I’m now working through the damaged second half of my book to repair all the little rents of misery and whatnot floating through the text.

The process is interesting, to me, because most of the ruined part of the novel just needs to be flipped over. Negative statements I reverse into positive ones, and the action remains nearly identical. It’s very interesting.

Two Samples Of Humanity

I knew a guy in high school who had a talent for diffusing volatile situations. Some punks tried to start a fight with him once when I was there, and his way of charming them into being friendly was absolutely riveting. He–my friendly, talented friend–did this sort of natural writhe, got emotionally under the whole situation, and rearranged things so that it looked as if he was already friends with the punks, and the whole fighting initiation was actually a mutually enjoyable joke.

He got the aggressors on his side by siding with them, basically, and then reframing their actions as a delightful prank, which he made hilarious to everyone else who was there.

Fight To Fun

The offer, as far as my friend changing the situation from an escalating fight to a flattering social success, was irresistible, and the punks laughed and had a great time and wandered away.

No one talked about it. No one made any show of noticing what had happened. It was one of the most evocative instances of human interaction I’ve ever witnessed.

The Second Sample, Worser Than The First

I knew another person around the same time period who was not at all my friend, and she was very psychologically unstable. She tried to destroy people, and she had a few adults in power on her side, because of what family she’d been born into, so she functionally had teeth, even though she was a harmless idiot when it came down to it.

I watched her take control of another social situation, this time in a classroom, and that was also very interesting. She got power because of her adult sponsors. No one was willing to engage with the phalanx of irritable and not-particularly-reasonable old people she could easily have brought to bear, so everyone sort of folded up and pretended to be rugs.

Both Powerful, One Rotten

My first friend, the fight-diffuser, gained social power because everyone around him gave him that power willingly, and even joyously.

The second person, my not-friend with corrupt connections, laid hold of temporary, transient power by dint of her well-placed sponsors.

Examples

BAD writing

Rosa left the water running when she left the building. She imagined it slipping down the stairs, wetting through the carpets, and gradually rotting the heavy wooden floors. Mr. Psorasus would turn off the water in five minutes, as he always did, but Rosa liked to pretend she was flooding the building. Seeing the old place soaked and logged with wet made her heart feel lighter inside, even if the picture was only in her mind’s eye.

Rosa sighed and took her pocket-sized weather panel from her jacket. She flipped the dial around until the clear blue sky turned green, then ochre, and finally a gentle pink. The sun looked dark and strange, a dull purple, with the atmosphere filters turned to pink, but Rosa liked a little bit of florid sentiment in her sky while she was walking home.

She kicked the heavy piles of leaves on the sidewalk as she went. Each thick, substantial leaf scooped up and danced lazily down before making a whisper of relaxation against the others. The sounds of the leaves were a cluster of almost silence, a blanket of noise following behind Rosa like a train of quiet importance.

GOOD writing

Rosa, acting representative for Death, who was a much friendlier person than she had first suspected, had foreseen old Hank Psorasus dying in the afternoon, and she went down to Hank’s office and slipped him a few drops of deadening potion, to keep him from feeling the heart attack that would strike in a couple of hours.

Rosa blocked up the sink and left the water running when she left the building. She imagined it slipping down the stairs, wetting through the carpets, and gradually flooding the heavy wooden floors. Mr. Psorasus had grown up on the sea, and she knew the sound of lapping water would soothe him, as he slipped into death.

Rosa sighed and took her pocket-sized scenic panel from her jacket. She flipped the dial around until the clear blue sky turned green, then ochre, and finally a gentle pink. The sun looked dark and strange, a dull purple, with the atmosphere filters turned to pink, but Rosa liked a little bit of florid sentiment in the sky when a good man lay dying.

She kicked the heavy piles of leaves on the sidewalk as she walked. Each thick, substantial leaf scooped up and danced lazily down before making a whisper of relaxation against the others. The sounds of the leaves were a cluster of almost silence, a blanket of noise following behind Rosa like a train of quiet importance.

In Conclusion

Stripping out unhealthy influences and burning down old demons leads to the ability to objectively remove obstructive emotional nuance from your prose. Beware shadowy figures from your own past.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current work, John and Claire are contemplating the possibility of procreating in a reptilian fashion. Meaning eggs.

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Edit Your Writing For Clean Impulse-Development

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Editing For Clean Impulses

I cleaned off some emasculating incest energy, some spiritual possession shit, off one of my leading men during rehearsals for a show. He loved my guts ever after, and wanted to be best buds with manly kissing rights. He was a sweet and naive kiddo; he married soon after, and has not, I think, experimented with homosexuality since then. (If you were curious, I kept his greedy mitts off me, which he found infuriating.)

Editing Is Careful Work

Every time you write down any kind of thought, or description, or line of dialogue, your energy soaks into the writing, and imbues the phrases with a particular branding of emotion.

If your emotional packages build cleanly and organically, then the story flows, has excellent pace, and brings emotional satiety to the reader.

On The Other Hand . . .

If the impulse chains are broken, and the phrases are interrupted with wild, incoherent energy changes (which happens in most editing work, to be honest), the story becomes a mass of difficult-to-follow feel-nothing thoughts.

Was that paragraph confusing? Good.

The Editing Advice:

Now, how do you dig apart an organic energy chain? Take a piece of a clean draft, like so:

She had grown up near horses, when she had been a child in the far west, and though she had not been a horse trader herself, she was fond of the people who worked with horses. Horses reminded her of the time she had been free, before she had left her family, before she had been sold as a slave to the Eastern lands.

And Now, The Wrong Way

Now, here is some terrible editing that irretrievable disrupts the chain of impulses contained in that work:

The sweet child had grown up near many four-legged beasts. some of them horses, when she had been a little one in the farther west, beyond the oasis but not so far as the wilder places. Though she had never been closely associated with any horse trading families, or with those folk who bred and trained the riding and harness beasts used in those lands, she was still sentimental, and incredibly fond of anyone who worked with horses for their daily bread. Horses reminded her of the time she had been free, long, long ago, before she had left her poor family, and before she had been sold like a bundle of goods into the house of an Eastern merchant, to do his bidding and have no will of her own.

That was a shitty, painful piece of prose, wouldn’t you say? Unbearable.

And The Right Way

Now, by contrast, here is the same piece, edited with an eye to preserving the original impulse chain:

She had grown up near horses, when she had been a child in the far west, and though she had not been a horse trader herself, she was fond of the people who worked with horses. Horses reminded her of the time she had been free, before she had left her family, and before she had been sold as a slave to the Eastern lands.

If you look, there is only one word added. Of course, many paragraphs will need more adjustment than this, but for this particular chain of thoughts, one small correction is all that’s needed.

But Victor, My Writing Needs More!

What if your impulses are tangled before you started writing in the first place?

If you are like my wild stud-actor, the one who carried incest packages from his bitch mum, and who wanted to get in my pants more than anything in the world, you might be carrying impulse chains that scare you.

Victor, You’re Unbearably Conceited

Because, you see, when you were a tender thing, people touched your skin, and some of them were evil. The people were, I mean. When evil people hold a child’s hand, or tie their shoe, sometimes ugly energy soaks into the child’s skin. Children are incredibly absorbent, and are developmentally and psychologically designed to purge bad energy off their parents, in order to get grounding, rooted energy in their souls.

That’s Why Kids Love Unconditionally, At First

The part that’s important for today is that when you were a little kid, you picked up energy from people that was dangerous, and much of that energy is still tucked inside your aura.

So What Happens To That Energy?

When you write a genuine impulse chain, those dark energies loosen, and start to come free. You start, if you write what you really want to write, to chronicle frightening things.

In the process, the bad energy works free, and passes through your skin.

Yogis Call These Packages ‘Samskaras’

In an attempt to keep away from scary things, the vast majority of humans who write repress all their natural impulses, and write like frigid nuns.

And Now, The Editing Lesson

When you write, remember that you are, whether you try to or not, and whether you notice or not, writing down an unbroken chain of organic impulses, all in a row.

When you edit, remember that some of those impulses are foreign, evil, and genuinely frightening. If you edit them out, or away, or soften them, your work will suffer.

Many Of Them Don’t Come From You

If you try to heighten the effect of these foreign impulses, to make them seem more than they are, the work will suffer, and taste sour.

In Conclusion

Acceptance of the current state of affairs in your natural soul, and therefore, in your writing, is a good way to take a step towards cleaner work.

You’re reading Victor Poole. I’ve never written my little actor into a book. Happy writing.

The Utility Of Raw Gore In Fiction (With A Sample)

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To see how you are handling your violence, sex, and coarse language, it is important to first examine the reason for it being there.

I imagine you’ve seen films before where a lady is unnecessarily undressed, or a person hits another for no story reason.

Because Empty Action Pads The Script (I’m Serious)

Shakespeare brought heads onstage, and severed limbs; he gored out eyes, and openly referenced incestuous rape and the dismemberment of women and children. One of his plays occurs almost entirely in a brothel, in fact, but you will find, in any worthwhile production of Shakespeare, that there is no immodesty in his language, or in his actions directed for the stage. (Embedded stage directions; it’s a long story.)

People Who Ruin Shakespeare Should Be Given Paper Cuts On Their Faces

People, shitty people (yeah, I’m looking at you, buster-oldy George) love to mangle Shakespeare, to add brazen fondling and breasts, and weirdly orgiastic violence that is not in any of the plays. They also like to add little scenes–to make the action more realistic, or more compelling to the modern viewer, they think.

All Of Which Sucks, Almost Always

Now, on to the subject of the day (or night, as the case may be): raw gore, and the manipulation of flesh in the service of whole fiction, is cathartic and pure, when it is handled with grace and modesty.

The Greeks, for all their blatant phallic pieces, had dignity and respect for suffering in many of their tragedies. The purpose of Oedipus putting out his eyes, and Jocasta hanging herself, is to bring the audience to a pitch of pity and existential terror.

The Bringing Of Emotional Climax Is The Function Of Fiction

And now, since the Greeks and Shakespeare do not always scratch the itch of contemporary genre fiction, here is some blood, and a bit of gentle violence.

A Sample, As Promised

Ethan the cyborg, having cut his metal down, is carving up a couple of his fellows, and stealing their alien inserts. Observe:

“What you are holding is a base insert,” Ethan said, grimacing as he began to wedge the other cyborg’s insert into his own thigh. Mary’s eyes widened, and her lips parted. He seemed to be working the insert in between his own muscles; the shape of his thigh moved in deeply unnatural ways as he worked. “I already have base inserts; I need the top pieces.”

 

“Doesn’t that hurt?” she demanded, watching him force the end of the insert deeper into his upper thigh.

“Not as much as you’d think. You get pretty numb, after the first four dissections,” he said. He made a small sound, like a tense man relaxing into a bath, and the insert folded neatly into the top of his thigh. Ethan sighed and pushed the bottom of the piece the rest of the way into the slit. Mary thought that it was like watching someone try to move a large piece of furniture through a narrow doorway; first the top made it in, and then the bottom was swiveled and forced into the opening.

“Are you all right?” she asked. She felt increasingly squeamish.

“I’m fine,” Ethan said. The insert went in with a strange click, and he extended his leg with a deep sigh.

“That looks so painful,” she said. The two insert pieces she held were hot and slick in her hands; she found, quite suddenly, that she didn’t mind the blood, but she minded the heat.

“It’s very good to get my old shape back,” Ethan grunted, working the metal deeper under his muscles.

And So,

Interestingly, tasteful swearing, and modest use of nudity, violence, and raw language and action opens the reader’s heart, and makes them receptive to the story, and the characters.

The gore must serve a core plot purpose, and be fully justified. Gratuitous violence, and all the rest, cheapens your work.

You’re reading Victor Poole. I have to rewrite almost the entirety of my cyborg sequel, because Vicard turned interesting, and developed unexpected backstory that I now get to incorporate through the threads of the previous parts. 

How To Get More Out Of Your Metaphors

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Metaphors are a powerful vehicle for sensory work and imagery in story-telling; particularly when working on science fiction, metaphors often make all the difference between an exciting read and a boring sludge.

For Example:

Interesting Story, But No Metaphor:

My sisters were horrible people. I sold them into the hands of the conquerors using the anonymous tip kiosk, and they have made me very rich. I’ve seen images of their children; my sisters, of course, don’t talk to me, but the Ilyemni are big on social media, and I have followed both of their mistresses there.

My oldest sister has four alien children now. She is pictured with the youngest on her master’s home profile, and I can tell they’ve had her surgically altered, to put extra space in her ribs and womb. I think they will plant seedlings for joined twins in her next, human twins. I’ve heard of the aliens doing such things on the news. I hope my sister dies when the babies are born.

And Now, With Metaphors:

My older sisters were a pestilent infection in my life; they tried to erase me, to make me into their mindless plaything. When I was old enough to register, I sold both my sisters into the hands of the fish-like conquerors. You have to be blood-related to offer human slaves on the live market; the pinprick of blood in the sealed registration kiosk drained my sisters’ poison from my veins.

One woman sold for reproductive work brings a high payout; two fertile humans made me very rich. The papers say you feel guilt; this was not the case with me. Every ounce of gold I use makes thick balm flow in my spirit. I’ve seen images of my two sisters’ monstrous children; my sisters, of course, can’t talk to me, as their tongues are gone and their eyes branded, but the Ilyemni masters are big on social media, and I have followed both of my sisters’ mistresses there.

My oldest sister has four alien babies now. She is pictured with the youngest creature on her master’s home profile, and I can see by the ballooning in her skin that they’ve had her surgically altered, to put extra space in her ribs and womb. I think they will plant seedlings for joined twins in her next, human twins. I’ve heard of the aliens growing exotic playthings in their slaves, after they’ve obtained the desired number of their own children. I hope my sister dies when the babies are born.

What Have I Learned Today?

Sprinkling metaphors through your prose can add impactful imagery, strong sensory grounding, and detailed interest to a story. As an added bonus, writing metaphors is fun.

You’re reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books have a lot of metaphors. Rose is napping on my feet (and purring).

The 7 Qualities Of Energetically-Whole Writing

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I first realized that I could see auras when I was sitting in a darkened theatre on my university campus, studying the seniors performing their auditions final. I see movement of the energy field around bodies. If I concentrate, I can recreate within myself the sensation of being anyone else, as long as I have a picture or video (or real-life interaction) to work from.

Quality 1: The Writing Moves Forward At Or Above The Pace Of A Human Heartbeat

A lot of the time, it sort of looks like I can read minds.

There I was, watching Geoffrey perform monologues back-to-back. All the students in the class had to compile and then perform contrasting pieces from different eras and styles, and then they had to sing a funny song and a sad song.

Quality 2: An Inner Lining Of Burning Integrity In The Writing Cleanses, Or Scrubs, The Upper Layers In The Reader’s Energy Field

Geoffrey was singing the prince’s letter from Aida when things started to click into place for me; I could literally see, traveling through his body, flares of bright, animating energy. What is more, I could see when and where those flares were diverted and blocked by muscular tension around his solar plexus and in his arms.

Quality 3: A Steady, Rhythmic Diet Of Intensely Intimate Moments In The Writing Draws The Reader’s Trauma To The Surface Of The Body

Actors (well, all human beings) compensate for blocked impulses by creating facsimile emotions in many different ways–by raising their eyebrows, by thrusting out their jaws, by holding their breath, or by puffing up different parts of their major muscle groups (Geoff pulled back his shoulders and engorged his pectoral muscles when he felt exposed or vulnerable.)

Quality 4: A Consistent, Internally-Sound Moral Framework And Worldview Is Gradually Revealed Within The World Of The Writing

What does energy reading have to do with fiction? Soon after I finished high school, and about the time I started studying acting in university, it occurred to me that I was being overwhelmingly affected by the books that I read.

Quality 5: Deeper Traumas In The Reader Are Assigned Symbolic Meaning Within The Writing, And Isolated From The Main Personality Of The Reader (Which Is Bonded To A Pure Main Character)

Previous to this, I read pretty much anything. It was not uncommon for me to get through eight or more books in a week, depending on when I went to the library. As my energy-perception skills grew, I found that some books–Dante’s writing is notable here, as well as Mamet’s plays–degraded my own spiritual elements with unbearable toxicity. Some books were poisoning me.

Quality 6: The Symbols In The Writing Which Are Attached To The Deep Traumas In The Reader Are Systematically Cut Away And Destroyed Entirely, Thereby Purging The Damaged Energy From The Reader’s Energy Field

It took me a while to believe that this was happening. I stopped reading anything that slowed my own energy cycles (I have advanced internal machinery–one of the perks of being sensitive to impulse chains). When I stopped reading toxic fiction, I found that there were other books, not many, that enhanced my internal experience (Shakespeare and PG Wodehouse are the most notable examples of this).

Quality 7: Once The Energy Field Is Cleared Of Severe Trauma, New Energy Structures Are Constructed In The Reader By Symbolic Triumphs And Culminating Relationships Of The Bonded Main Character

I started reading more carefully, and as I continued to write, I began to experiment. I asked myself if I could alter another person’s energy through a written medium. I had, by this point, become remarkably adept at altering the sub-structures of other people’s energy fields in real time.

These 7 Qualities Are Incorporated Into Every Energetically-Whole Piece Of Writing

You see, I found that I could change people enormously while I was near them; I could, in fact, loan out massive amounts of my own cultivated energy, and then take it back after a time. I experimented twice with more permanent loans; these were disastrous, and I took my energy back.

 

A Convenient Summation

To sum up, the seven qualities of energetically-whole fiction are:

  1. The pace moves at or slightly above the speed of a human heartbeat.
  2. An inner layer of burning integrity from the author scrubs the upper layer of the reader’s energy field.
  3. The reader’s internalized trauma is pulled to the surface by rhythmically-spaced moments of intense vulnerability in the writing.
  4. An internally-sound moral ideology is gradually revealed through the world of the writing.
  5. Trauma in the reader is assigned symbolic meaning within the writing, and isolated from the main personality of the reader (which is simultaneously bonded to a main character).
  6. The reader’s trauma is cleansed as the bonded symbols are systematically and thoroughly eliminated in the fiction.
  7. New, constructive energy fields are built in the reader by symbolic triumphs or relational climaxes on the part of the bonded main character.

You’ve been reading Victor Poole. All seven of these qualities are incorporated into this series, which will cleanse and rebuild your energy field. Climate specialists probably think that reading Caleb on Mondays will probably save the rainforest.

People Say You Should Write What You Know. Is It True?

Don’t write what you know. Write towards what you need to find out. This will both fuel your desire to write, and imbue your storytelling with urgency, meaning, and passion.

What Do You Mean?

Writing what you know, in my case, would involve me writing a lot of really boring, dark fiction where nothing ever happens and there is a lot of whining. I don’t want to write this kind of material, because I am already living my reality.

What Are You Writing, Then?

I want to have a great deal of money. I want to have power over my life, and I want to stop being haunted by demons that I don’t understand.

Oooh, Demons?

Unless you are perfectly balanced, content, and happy in every relationship in your life, you probably are a little like me–or I’m like you. Unbalanced, and sometimes miserable (I’m getting less so all the time, because of writing this way.)

Writing What Way?

Towards what you need to know. Here is an example: I am very tired, almost all of the time, and I have a hard time falling asleep. After much study and meditation, I have come to the conclusion that I have several repressed traumas that are haunting me. Bad memories, if you will. Everyone has them. Very few people deal with them. I am dealing with mine, slowly, with writing.

Are Your Books Full Of Bad Memories?

No, they are whole stories. I do a lot of free-writing aside from my fiction work. Working through my bad memories with what amounts to journaling is allowing me to process my lived experience and continue to write strong, impactful fiction.

Are You Going To Tell Me How To Do It?

Inside of you is an amorphous cloud of pain that is driving a lot of your emotional life, and thereby controlling many of your actions. To write stronger fiction, take a few minutes, like, say, eleven, and write down anything that comes to mind when you place your consciousness into this painful area of your soul. After you have done this, go to your work-in-progress, and jot down a few words–fifteen words would do.

Fifteen Words Is Not A Lot, Victor

I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but what we are doing is priming the pump, as it were, of your natural creative capacity. When you successfully link your repressed bad memories into a fiction format, your body will become able to dream consciously–you will, essentially, be writing stories that transform bad feelings into deeply symbolic and coherent stories.

Don’t Write What You Know; Write Towards What You Need To Know

If this idea sounds interesting to you, know that my fantasy series is a cleverly-disguised creativity course that will transform the way you think about your pain. Start at book one, and feel your pain and anger surge to the surface. But if I were you, I’d wait to pick up my books for a least a week, because I’m buying Vellum today, and the covers are getting a major face-lift as soon as my files are upgraded.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books, which are about to be updated (so don’t buy them today) are here. Monday is the day when Ajalia often dyes her hair, and straightens it, so that she can maintain her status as look-alike to her master, Kedar.

How To Make The Move From Simple Storyteller To Complex Literature-Maker Today

Use metaphors and symbols to deepen your writing today

Literature is heightened storytelling; established writing of this kind utilizes sophisticated rhetorical devices to create a tapestry of words that not only conveys story, but also reinforces the meaning of life, and imparts a coherent philosophy.

When you change from a teller of tales to a maker of literature, your work and your readers dive to a deeper level. You become an artist, and your words take on significant weight. You start to edge into the big leagues.

Moving from storytelling to literature-making is surprisingly simple, once you begin to think in terms of symbol and extended metaphor. To begin with, let’s define our terms.

Symbol And Metaphor

A metaphor is an item or a description that creates an echo, or a comparison, for a scenario unfolding in the wider story. In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the repressed priest is in his secret alchemy-studying office, and a spider on the window sucks the life out of an innocent fly. The scene functions as foreshadowing for how the priest is about to descend upon the gypsy, Esmerelda. The spider, its web, and the fly form an extended metaphor for the priest and the situation that follows.

A symbol is an item that represents something more than itself. In Cyrano de Bergerac, the white plume of de Guiche becomes a symbol of Cyrano’s integrity and his unstained honor. The plume functions most powerfully when de Guiche abandons it in the battlefield in order to escape death or capture, and Cyrano goes back over the open ground and picks up the officer’s scarf, bearing it back to the fortifications unscathed.

A symbol is fixed, and a metaphor is often momentary.

But That’s Classical Literature, Not Science Fiction Or Fantasy

Great fiction, especially great science fiction and fantasy, borrows functional devices from established literature. The stronger the use of metaphor and symbol, the more lasting an impression your genre writing leaves behind.

If you ever took a course where you deconstructed an array of literary devices, you may have gotten the impression that writing serious fiction is fraught with complication, and likely involves a copious amount of note-taking, meditation, and studious straining for super-impressive exhibitionism with words.

Well, It Is, Isn’t It?

Not according to me, it isn’t.

What Do You Know About Writing Serious Literature?

Here, I’ll prove it to you. Let’s look at an example. I’ll write a simple story, and then I’ll write it again and insert an easy metaphor. You will be able to see for yourself how the writing takes on an insta-glow of importance and weight.

Today’s Example

Simple Story:

Sorsha had never been impregnated before, but the procedure was painless, and her body, for a long time afterwards, felt just the same as it ever had. She was not due for relocation until the sixth month of gestation, and she went about her days in a fog. That she was about to be sold and processed as a surrogate, a contractual item owned by a wealthy Drivage family, and that her sole purpose in the future would be to bear and nurse children for the alien beings, made no deep impression on her mind. It did not feel real to Sorsha, and she continued to scrub floors and read the evening news with a quiet focus that impressed her neighbors deeply.

“Sorsha is so brave,” the next-door wife murmured to her husband on the day after the midpoint procedure was completed. Sorsha’s fate was an open secret in the metropolis; she had come up in the national poll, and each family in her building enjoyed a glow of instant fame and glory, because of their near association with the chosen one.

And Now, With A Metaphor:

Sorsha kept a potted plant in her bedroom window, and the morning sun made the broad leaves translucent. An echo of the leaves, a shining green shadow, shone over her dresser on the morning she went into the government lab.

Sorsha had never been impregnated before, but the procedure was painless, and her body, for a long time afterwards, felt just the same as it ever had. She was not due for relocation until the sixth month of gestation, and she went about her days in a fog. That she was about to be sold and processed as a surrogate, a contractual item owned by a wealthy Drivage family, and that her sole purpose in the future would be to bear and nurse children for the alien beings, made no deep impression on her mind. It did not feel real to Sorsha, and she continued to scrub floors and read the evening news beside her potted plant with a quiet focus that impressed her neighbors deeply.

“Sorsha is so brave,” the next-door wife murmured to her husband on the day after the midpoint procedure was completed. Sorsha’s fate was an open secret in the metropolis; she had come up in the national poll, and each family in her building enjoyed a glow of instant fame and glory, because of their near association with the chosen one.

As the reptilian infant swelled slowly within Sorsha’s body, her potted plant began, despite her scrupulous care, to wither. The leaves, once green and firm, shrank into curls of brown, and on the morning the aliens were due to arrive for collection, the last leaf broke away from the stem, and drifted noiselessly to the floor. Sorsha watched the dead thing, and she pressed her palm to the plump rise of her abdomen.

Using Literary Tools Is Easy

In the above example, we have a climbing plant as a metaphor for Sorsha’s free life. As her independent “I can do what I like” status visibly diminishes with the growth of her implanted child, the formerly-healthy plant dies.

Any object can become a metaphor. As we continue Sorsha’s story, we can easily extend the metaphor by establishing a new, alien potted piece of fauna in her new home, and if, in the course of the story, she begins to regain her freedom and powers of volition, the alien plant will begin to thrive and flower.

What About Symbols?

A symbol, essentially, is a fixed metaphor. If Sorsha picked up her dead potted plant, and brought it on board the alien ship with her (they would confiscate it, and in the struggle, she would grab hold of a shard of the broken pot, and a smidgen of dead leaf), the pot piece would become, to Sorsha, an emblem of her previous life, and a symbol of Earth. She could carry the shard with her, and when/if she gains a happy ending, she could incorporate the shard into her costume or living space. The potted plant would, in this case, upgrade from a metaphor to an established symbol.

That’s All For Today!

If there are things in your story, as in, props, plants, pets, or weather, you can use them as metaphors. Establishing symbols and metaphors can be easy and fun, and you can deepen the impact of your writing with them.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books are here. Tuesday is a great day to start a new book!