Warning: this is a no-edit zone…
A certain harmony should be kept between actions and ideas if we want to fully develop the effects they can produce. –Francois De La Rochefoucauld
I came across that quote this morning. He was a French classical writer, and his quote struck me because in it is a key as applicable to writers today as it was when he wrote it.
At first glance It seems to be a simple statement. But it is one of those gems with many layers.
*** In constructing a story to be told. True.
If in developing a story, the novel elements themselves should act in harmony, be well suited to each other and to the story itself. To best serve that story, everything about it–characters, plot, setting, tone, voice–all should work in harmony. When all does, each element strengthens the whole and the sum becomes greater than the parts.
Without that harmony, no individual novel element can carry the same weight because each element is self-reliant. That makes for huge disconnects in the work, and disconnects prevent the building of momentum. Think of the novel as a bridge. Each novel element is a section. If the sections aren’t working in harmony, there are spans that are disconnected. You can’t zip across a bridge with gaps, missing, sagging or weak spans.
*** In constructing a body of work. True.
Harmony between actions and ideas in a body of work relates to building a career as a writer. The higher you get on the career ladder, the more “encouraged” you are by both publishers and readers to write the same type of story only different. As your standing as an author elevates, your cone of opportunity to experiment narrows. (Imagine a traffic cone, and you’ll have the right image of what happens.)
Now a writer can write many different types of novels that are at the core the same–if s/he sticks with writing that is in harmony with his/her author theme. I write healing books. I’ve written them in many genres, which has been fulfilling. My goal was and remains purpose and fulfillment.
Had the goal been strictly career-building, it would have been a wiser choice to narrow the cone further. To write healing books all in one genre. Harmony of actions and ideas have a direct impact on effect. The more intent the focus, the greater the impact. Consider the difference between a flashlight’s beam and that of a laser.
The flashlight’s beam is focused but its light spreads and weakens the further out it goes.
The laser’s beam is focused but shines narrow, its beam’s focus is sharp and direct.
Neither is right or wrong, but which kind of light you shine should be a conscious decision.
*** In constructing a fulfilling life. True.
We’re multi-tasked by necessity and often that leads us into becoming jacks of all and masters of none. We have a way of falling into that, not consciously choosing that path. Yet with gems of insights like the one this writer left as part of his legacy, we have awareness and that offers us the opportunity to choose to make our actions harmonious with the life we want to live.
Every one of us has obligations and responsibilities. Some are flexible and others are not. An important and often overlooked fact isn’t the obligation or responsibility itself, but the attitude and manner in which we fulfill it. In that fulfillment, we can act in harmony with what we believe, desire, wish to avoid. And in doing so, we create a life that is harmony with us and our vision of what we want our life to be. The effect is greater fulfillment, self-respect, inner peace.
I wonder if when Francois De La Rochefoucauld wrote that little quote, he realized that long after his death another writer in another country, living a much different life in a vastly changed world, would be strongly impacted by his words. I wonder if he realized the gift he’d left as a legacy: to make others think. I wonder if in his harmony of act and idea, he expected that effect…
www.bombshellauthors.com (owner)www.itgirlsseries.com (owner)
WRITERS IN HURRICANE KATRINA AREA CHECK IN: hppt://www.itgirlsseries.com/hurricane.htm