(Step 1 – Select the Ubertheme)
After reading thenovel theory used in this course, you may be surprised tolearn that the first activity in designing a novel is
to selectits uberthemes
. While uberthemes do not seem to playa vital role in the novel mechanism outlined in the theory,they are the reason the author writes the novel. They arethe opinions that he wants to inculcate into the reader'smind. The rest of the novel is just a vehicle.If you have no strong social opinions, which could beuberthemes, then you should borrow some fromsomeone else.
(Step 2 – Create Thema)
Thema will be your nextdecision. Thema and uberthemes are related, and workin tandem in the novel. Thema is a broad socialstatement reduced to a schema. As the textbook informsus, schema are a formula for survival devised by anindividual based on his experiences. In our samplenovel,
, the ubertheme was the greed andselfishness of the American post-war generation. Thethema, on the other hand, reduced that social statementto the schema that one cannot expect all mothers to benurturing.
(Step 3 – Create Startema)
A startema follows next.Startema is a dysfunctional schema that the author willreplace before the end of the novel. The author will usethe mechanism of the novel to overturn the startema andsubstitute the thema. The thema and startema can be anantithesis of each other, as they are in
: for nurturance you can always look to your mother;
: not all mothers are nurturing. However,the thema need not be merely a negation of the startema,but can be a constructive one, for example, "the State isthe best source of nurturance", or "religion is an idealsource of nurturance".
(Step 4 – Designate Antag's Inner Guilt)
The previous3 steps have been closely related, having to do with"themes". With the fourth step we move into providingelements to create an artificial experience (that will endwith reader embracing author's thema and uberthemes).The great mover of a novel's action is the antag. So wewill start with that character. Antag's baleful actions are