Thursday, September 10, 2009


Most of the time I focus my writing for publication for mainstream markets. I've gotten fairly good (in my opinion) at the mechanics of writing a novel, of plot, characterization, narration, dialog, grammar... but often I feel like I'm lacking anything deeper. I'm telling a good story, a rich story, but not one that reflects the deeper element. So, I decided I needed a project not aimed at my further career as a children's author, but something just for me, something to explore spirituality, mysticism, and writing, something that would let me play and explore in an area that normally takes a great deal of care.

Essentially, I decided to write an allegory.

For the process, I decided to borrow from a Christian mystical tradition of Iconography. This is especially popular in Orthodoxy. The icon writer prays and fasts while drawing and painting the image, seeking through prayer to find the inspiration to create an object that will be used directly for prayer by other people. I couldn't help thinking, wouldn't it be lovely if you could use a novel for prayer as well? In a way, you can with some of the more powerful allegories… I learned so much from "Hinds Feet on High Places."

Now, I'm not a real disciplined person. Unfortunately, extra prayer and fasting tends not to happen, but I did come up with a simple way of trying my experiment. My plan is to write a little each day after my meditation on the allegory. I'm allowed to rip off as many bible stories as I like, as much religious symbolism as I like, etc. By playing this way, I can explore both my faith and my writing further. I named the project Icon.

I'm not terribly consistent (rather like this blog) but I do have 16K words so far. Each time I write, I end up turning to the bible for inspiration, and end up reading as much of that as I do write. Can't be bad for me, can it? I'm hoping to finish the book before I do Nanowrimo in November with a secular project. When I'm done I hope I've learned some good things from it I can reflect on and take with me to my secular projects as well.

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