Only a month to go until the release of the book that has taught me more than just about anything I’ve ever written. Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic comes out August 1st, 2014 (stay tuned for info about my biggest drawing yet–with some absolutely insane prizes sponsored by Writer’s Digest). In the meantime, here’s a peek at the workbook in the back of the book–what advance reviewer Melanie Martilla says is “worth the investment alone.”
Starting this week and running throughout the month, I’m also going be hosting three “mini” prize giveaways as a little warm up between now and the launch. This week, I’m giving away two copies of marketing guru Rochelle Carter’s new book The Seven Step Guide to Authorpreneurship–for which I was honored to write the foreword. If you’re in the beginning stages of trying to figure out how to take your writing from passion to profession, this book is a great place to start. Check out the Rafflecoptor widget at the bottom of the post to enter.
And now the sneak peek at The Annotated Jane Eyre‘s workbook!
Theme and Symbolism
1. To discover your story’s main theme, analyze your protagonist’s character arc and whittle it down to its core discovery (e.g., “love conquers all” or “finding contentment”).
2. Watch one of your favorite movies or read one of your favorite books. Can you identify the theme? How is this theme presented through the subtext? Is it ever stated outright?
3. What moral questions does your story raise? Does your story insist upon any definite answer to any of these questions? If so, consider how this either strengthens or weakens the power of your theme.
4. Take a look at a scene that doesn’t initially seem to have any important thematic resonance. Is there something under the surface you can magnify to better reflect the theme?
5. Write a list of images you associate with your theme. Now do the same for each of your main characters. Keep these images in mind as a way to present your theme metaphorically through symbolic motifs.
6. What’s the weather in your most important scenes? Does it reinforce or contrast the tone and thematic underpinnings of the scenes’ events? Could you bolster any of these scenes by altering the weather?
7. Is there a place in your story that means one thing at the beginning (e.g., sanctuary), but which will evolve into something else (e.g., prison)? Write a description in which you present these contrasting views metaphorically.
8. List all character, place, and animal names in your story. How many of these names offer a hidden significance to the story? Can you reinforce tone or foreshadowing by giving some of the names a deeper meaning?
9. Write a scene in which your character wakes up from a dream. Without directly referring to any events in the story, sum up the dream in a way that symbolizes your character’s inner conflict.