Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Theme-Plot-Character-Worldbuilding Integration Part 2: Creating The Iconic Vision by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Theme-Plot-Character-Worldbuilding Integration
Part 2
Creating The Iconic Vision
Jacqueline Lichtenberg


Last week (April 7, 2015) we examined what a writer can learn from a Lego Set:

Remember, in this Tuesday blog series, we are in hot-pursuit of the reasons why Romance Genre is not given the respect it deserves as Literature and Art. 

Two features (or Beats in SAVE THE CAT! lingo) we identified as definitions of Romance are the "Love At First Sight" moment (sometimes manifesting as Hate At First Sight) and the HEA.  At some future time we'll examine the more complex "Boy Next Door" scenario, and "Second Time Around." 

In this 4-Skills Integration series, we're looking at "where you get those crazy ideas" and abstractions (such as why bother to be a writer at all?) made concrete and visible to others -- the process generally termed Art (Icons are Art).  You can say things with Art that can not be stated or conveyed in Words.  Since Words are our medium, we are combining skills to create Art that goes beyond Words, to create Icons.  Some word-icons are one-liners such as the Deepak Chopra quote above. 

You want to learn to write in such a way that quotes like that will be excerpted and danced around the internet over your byline. 

The March 31, 2015 entry was about Binocular Vision, coining the term Trinocular Vision.


Binocular Vision is seeing the 3 or 4 dimensional world we live in, our concrete reality, in three dimensions with our eyes gathering data and our minds interpreting that data.

Our animal bodies evolved to use that eyeball-brain binocular data-gathering to spot food, mates, etc. and attain necessities for survival  -- as well as avoid being eaten and other concrete hazards. 

If you include time, it's 4 dimensions that we "see."  We see in YouTube videos -- movement in space over time, mostly chopped into short-sequences (look both ways before you cross the street then watch where you put your feet). 

The space-time continuum (which is actually discontinuous but our eyeballs/brain can't resolve the definition at that level) is an illusion of our binocular vision. 

Trinocular vision would then be the binocular image with the "third eye" (the spiritual eye) open and adding a "dimension" to what we see with our binocular vision. 

Trinocular vision is not squinting the two-eyes shut to see only with the Third Eye -- but seeing with all three at once while going about working, shopping, cooking, driving carpool, painting the house, unplugging a drain. 

We are binocular creatures who occasionally, sometimes only once or twice in a lifetime, "see" with trinocular vision.  We can, for a moment, look at our regular 3-D world and "see" (apperceive) the Hand of God producing that 3-D image we think of as "reality."

Such glimpses of another dimension rounding out reality generally "change" people.  The person has the same Natal Chart, the same personality, the same memories and life-experiences from which lessons and conclusions and coping behaviors are derived.  It's the same person before and after that glimpse. 

But that person, post-glimpse, now either understands the world in a different way, or merely knows that they do not have a clue what's "really going on" but that there is a Higher Power doing all this.

That pivot point in Character is where you focus your PLOT -- where you find "the story of this character's life." 

Failing to find that "moment" in a character's lifespan is what leads writers to choose the wrong Point of View character(s) for a particular novel.  That pivot point is the maelstrom of CONFLICT -- the defining point of change in a character-arc that signals the presence of "story" and "plot" explicating one, clear, "theme" which is pertinent to that one, singular World in which the characters live, the world you build around them, termed the Setting. 

The story-beat Deepak Chopra pinpointed is usually termed "epiphany" -- an AHA! moment.  Or Revelation.

Writers, especially Romance Writers, deal specifically in that epiphany or revelation moment, the "Love At First Sight" moment.

That moment is the moment in a lifetime (a once in a lifetime moment) when the Third Eye is open, and another Person is seen to exist in yet another dimension - the dimension of Soul - and that Other Soul is recognized as one's own Soul's other half. 

Conflict, in Romance, is usually a conflict between bodies, between Lifestyle, Jobs, Careers, Aspirations, Self-images, but not between Souls. 

In Romance, the Souls slam together like two pieces of magnets, forming a seamless whole, and the real-lives and bodies erupt in frantic objection.  In the vortex of that Trinocular Vision Moment, that conflict is joined.  The Trinocular glimpse may have faded away by the time the HEA is reached.  Inside that vortext, the plot hammers the characters with Events that re-shape their lives.

That moment (usually available under a Neptune Transit), is a personal experience that is a flash of spirituality penetrating the veil of religion.

You no longer "believe" in Souls.  You know. 

You become the three-eyed-woman in the land of the two-eyed.  And there's no way you can explain what you have seen.  But having experienced the flash of  Vision, you are now convinced.  Maybe you don't know what you're convinced of -- but you know that what you see is not what you get when it comes to a Significant Other. 

That three-eyed, trinocular woman, is the definition of what a Woman is -- what female-ness is -- in the Kabbalistic traditions.  The Feminine tends to hold onto the ability to apperceive the world with three-eyes-at-once more tenaciously than the Masculine.  (keep in mind that masculine and feminine exist in both human genders, one dominating the other, but both available as necessary)

This is one reason the Kabbalists insist husbands must listen to their wives.  The Feminine is endowed with the ability to apperceive their child's Potential.  A Mother's trinocular gaze upon a child can reveal whether their deeds will be famous or infamous.  The Feminine third eye sees souls struggling to inhabit the physical body.  That interface of conflict is always complex.  But such gazes are usually just glimpses, like Love at First Sight, and can fade and be replaced by binocular perceptions. 

Deepak Chopra is not a Kabbalist, but there is a Kabbalistic explanation of that Love At First Sight moment.  It's a long, complex, and powerful explanation because it also explains
a) why there is a Happily Ever After and
b) why most readers don't believe such an ending can be "real." 

The Love At First Sight leading to the Happily Ever After "ending" is the Character change from "religion" to "spirituality" that Chopra's quote nails.

Of course there are further life lessons that lead from mere spirituality to walking in the ways of the Creator of the Universe.  Those further life-lessons may (or may not) come with the birth of children, or with seeing the eventual Great Deeds of your children (or the Nefarious Deeds of your children).  Or grandchildren. 

So last week we discussed that shift in perception from binocular to trinocular.


And that built on the previous post on Depiction Part 10, Binocular Vision.


In that post, I wrote:
Why does about half of the world believe the HEA is nonsense?  Even in the face of factual evidence to the contrary?  Is that "scientific thinking" or "superstition?"
----------end quote----------

Here's some factual evidence to the contrary:  If The HEA Is Implausible, How Come It Happens? 


That "It Is Implausible" contention about the HEA is what we're up against when trying to convince the world that Romance Genre is worthy of the highest possible respect -- that the HEA is real, perhaps even common.

The central question behind the HEA is, "What is Happiness?" 

Where does it come from?  How do you get it?  How do you know you've maximized your Happiness?  How do you stabilize at the peak of Happiness? 

If you can't answer these questions, how can you figure out if you, or another couple you know, are in fact living "Happily Ever After?"  How do you recognize an HEA?

We'll work on defining "ever after" some other time.  Right now, we're doing 4-skill-integration.  "Ever After" needs a few more artistic skills. 

The artist's job is to make concrete and visible (Iconic) that which the Trinocular Glimpse reveals.  Art is about telling others that you know what they know, and therefore what they know is true and real -- and realistic -- even if nobody else they know believes it. 

Concrete and Real require icons, arrays of symbols that depict the Trinocular Glimpse.

The series on Depiction is here:











And Part 10 of Depiction is about Trinocular Vision.

To get to an iconic "The Same But Different" vision, an image, a show-don't-tell, we need a theme to form the central core for integrating Plot-Character-Worldbuilding into a seamless whole.  "Happy" is the kind of abstraction that forms the cornerstone of Theme.

So how do you tell if you're HAPPY??? 

"Happy" is a character trait, however transient. 

"What is the nature of Happiness?" is a theme (big enough for a series.) 

"Happiness is Harmony between Soul and Body" is a theme which is novel size. 

Take the Theme, create the Character who lacks Harmony between Soul and Body at the beginning of the Plot, and then attains Harmony at the End, because of the impact of Events (Plot) on Character(s). 

Character Has Epiphany And Sees That Happiness Is Harmony Between Soul And Body -- is a story.  The Series of Events (connected on a Because-Line) triggering the epiphany is the plot.


Mary Finch sets out to prove to her Mafia Dad that she's the best Hitman the Family has, gets away with Murder/Assassination several times, bids on and gets the job of Assassinating a US President, then finds she can't make herself do it.  Mary Informs on her Family, goes into Witness Protection,  applies for and gets a job as a security officer in WitSec itself, Meets her Soul-Mate, and feels Happiness for the first time.  --- that is a Plot. 

Of course there's a sequel where it is revealed to WitSec that she's a former contract killer - a minor detail that didn't come out at the trials because her father is loyal to her?

But how will the Reader/Viewer know Mary Finch is digging herself deeper and deeper into Misery with her successful Hits? 

How will the reader/viewer know that in Witness Protection she's found true Happiness?  What does a HAPPY PERSON do differently from a miserable one?


The Huffington Post published this article for New Year's 2014/2015.

Here's the headline list:
You don’t sweat the small stuff...
...In fact, you appreciate the little things.
You’re proud of other people’s successes.
Living in the moment is very important to you.
here's a TEDTalk on happiness living in the moment: http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_killingsworth_want_to_be_happier_stay_in_the_moment.html
You’re in a healthy relationship (and not just with your significant other).
When something is stressing you out, you know how to calm down.
You’ve gotten your “affluenza” shot. (not too caught up in seeking material wealth)
You’re constantly adopting a glass-half-full mentality.
You have a sister.
Making new friends seems to come easy for you.
You’ve reached a goal (and you have more you want to accomplish).
You say cheese. (you tend to smile for a camera)
There’s nothing keeping you tossing and turning at night.

So, we started out with a THEME ELEMENT (Happiness), created whole cloth a definition of Happiness that is a theme (Happiness is Harmony between Soul and Body), used that theme statement to create a character, used the character to create a story, used the story to create a plot -- ended with the outline (remember last week, I pointed you to the items on OUTLINE at the end of the long post full of links) -- we ended with the outline for a series of novels, and maybe a TV series if we detail Mary Finch's hits while working for her Dad.  And there's all her lovers along the way -- no stable relationships, until the end.

We built her entire world with a single word in that outline -- Mafia.  (Finch?  Mafia? Interesting story about how a Finch got involved with an Italian family?)

The word "Mafia" is an Icon - it stands for a tight-knit Family which provides financial and operational Security.  It is safe to be a member in good standing, and very unsafe outside.

Mary Finch's Happiness comes when she moves outside of the Mafia, into danger, into where it's not safe.  What does that tell you about her Character?

We could create a longer, deeper and richer work of art if we challenged the Theme.

"What if there is no such thing as an Immortal Soul, and therefore there is no such thing as Happiness?" 

Well, it is unacceptable that there be no such thing as Happiness.  Even the anti-Romance faction believes in Happily For Now (HFN).

But there is another view that "happiness" is just an electro-chemical brain-stimulus to the pleasure center, which proves that humans are just a physical body. 

In fact, that article from the Huffington Post is predicated on the assumption that God does not exist, that your Happiness is up to you to craft with your own two hands, and there is only the Body that has to be Happy.  The Happiness definition lurking un-articulated behind that list of signs you are happy excludes the issue of Harmonizing body and soul.

Take two Characters - one with a mostly-open Third Eye, and one blind in the Third Eye (reasons could be interesting details to Depict) - set them into a Soul-Mate Situation, add Setting, Theme and let the Conflict unfold.

Live Long and Prosper,
Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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