Friday, September 18, 2020

Subtlety or Intuition?


Most novels have an easily understood point to make to the reader, do your stories ever have more subtle or intuitive themes?

This month’s topic is something of a tricky question. Writers, especially newbie writers, quite frequently worry how much of themselves they are revealing in their writing. It therefore follows that to write subtle or intuitive themes would suggest the author has those qualities and is writing from their own point of view or at the very least understands them in order to introduce them in their writing. 

Looking at all my stories, the heart of them concerns love, loyalty, and fidelity between my characters whether they are already married, as with Lord and Lady Buxton in The Buxton Chronicles, or become married which is the theme of all my Regency stories, Brides of Banff Springs and even my contemporary western romance, Loving That Cowboy.

During the Regency era in which I set most of my novels, women were not only expected to get married, but expected it of themselves with few exceptions, Jane Austen being one of them. Aristocratic families married not so much for love as economics. How does one enlarge one’s estate and holdings? Marry the heir or heiress next door. While that might sound cold it was just the way of things amongst the upper class. Once an heir arrived to complete the happy or not union, the lord was free to take a mistress (if he ever gave one up) and his lady, discreetly of course, took lovers while everyone turned a blind eye to their extra-marital shenanigans. Or, as in the case of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire who, later in her marriage to the emotionally distant Duke, was forced to accept his mistress Lady Elizabeth Foster into a ménage à trois which delighted the gossip-mongers of the day.

While love and marriage is not so much a subtle theme, it is nonetheless at the heart of most romances. The ‘aha’ moment of when the characters finally admit they have fallen in love is what romance readers look forward. If the characters are not married by the end of the book then you darn well know that a wedding will take place soon after. It’s the Happy Ever After that seals the romantic deal.

Subtlety is the art of making use of clever or indirect methods to achieve something while intuition is the ability of immediate understanding. If all our characters or story themes were based on intuition, would we ever have a story? A subtle approach offers much more scope for both characters and plot, and hopefully a happy ever after result for the reader.

I wonder what my fellow bloggers have to say on the subject? Hop on over to their blogs to find out.

Connie Vines
Judith Copek
Diane Bator
Fiona McGier
Dr. Bob Rich
Anne Stenhouse
Skye Taylor
Helena Fairfax
Rhobin L Courtright