1. vcarson
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    vcarson Member

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    How do you feel about using allegory?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by vcarson, Nov 11, 2013.

    I am currently working on a 14 chapter novel that has an allegory within the plot. I don't want to hit readers over the head with my message, but I do want them to notice the allegorical question that the novel asks. Is there a way of using allegory and not making it obvious. The novel is set in 1906, so everything seems very literal and straightforward, however all of the characters and the plot are supposed to be symbolic of modern society. This is my first novel and I am just learning about the fiction-writing process. I've always liked writing, so I decided to write a novel of my own. Do you dislike the idea of a plot having an allegorical subtext or do you find it interesting?
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    The only way to not hit a reader over the head with your message (Whether philosophical, moral, modern-issue, or whatever) is to state it dozens of times over and over and literally saying it.
    Lots of writers do it in fiction by giving characters a cause to champion or an enemy with familiar ideologies.

    Like... Terry Goodkind with his "Right is Right" mentality and his hate of communism (represented by the empire) and Buddhist (by the social pacifists). At least, that's what I got.
    The oldest of fables championed a moral like dragons were based on greed.
    Or monsters taking the shape of humans. Trolls could be bullies, succubus could be seductive women, and so on.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    isn't that contradictory?... did you forget to add a second 'not' after the second 'to'?
     
  4. Aurin
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    Aurin Member

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    To be honest I usually don't pick up on allegory if it exists in the novel - I just read it for enjoyment and "as is", so to speak. I'm the sort of person that if you want me to pick up the allegory, you need to constantly state it over and over in the novel. If it's just between the lines I won't pick up on it. But that's just me.
     
  5. Sheriff Woody
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    Sheriff Woody Active Member

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    Worry about this after you're finished writing it. The most important thing is to finish the story. Get notes later.

    And I'm not certain if this applies to what you're talking about, but when dealing with themes as factual statements, such as "money is the root of all evil" for example, it's important to make a case in the story *against* that idea as much as it is to make a case in favor of it. Theme should be a battle waged as the story plays out with parties on both sides of the argument. Throw the idea out there, but let the reader decide to agree with it or not.
     
  6. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Yeap, totally messed that up.
     
  7. jg22
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    jg22 Member

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    Try to argue the message of the allegory through the story itself (rather than just have characters spout it). Use imagery and symbolism abundantly, but don't explain it.

    Sheriff Woody pretty much hit the nail on the head.
     

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