Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

June 17, 2013

How to Write a Novel – Stitching Together the Thematic Thread

Filed under: How to Write a Novel — Frank Fiore @ 2:39 PM

In my last post on ‘How to Write a Novel’ following the development of my next novel, I talked about creating the Thematic Thread.

But first, I’ve decided on the title – GAIJIN.

Gaijian is Japanese for alien, stranger, outsider – which aptly describes the hero of my new story.

Here’s the thematic thread that I am developing.

A young American boy is raised by Japanese family before WWII. He sees the discrimination against the Japanese family during that time and is drawn more and more into being Japanese. Because of this and discriminatory laws passed during 1930s, he had little love for the American establishment. He goes to Japan thinking he would be welcomed there but he is ostracized by the Japanese and is called a freak. He eventually is accepted after joining an ultra-nationalist secret society and follows their principals – leading to him to join the kamikaze to finally prove himself worth of being a true Japanese. Later, that same society goes after his adopted family for his father and mother and daughter’s liberal and democratic views of the militarists leading Japan into war. In the end, he sees that the nationalist establishment is just as discriminatory as the American establishment he left. He eventually learns from a Shinto priest the true meaning of what is means to be a Japanese.

So much for for the thread. Now I need to start knitting the pieces together. To do that, I need to work on three elements that will stitch together the story fabric.

Those three elements for Gaijin consist of what my hero has to learn and from whom. Another element is the action/adventure elements in the story to make it a more interesting read and used the backdrop of World War II.  Finally, I need to develop the elements that make his character evolve to actualize the thematic thread.

What to learn and from whom would include learning the Samurai code from his adopted Japanese father, the judo code that leads him to follow the Bushido code, learn the recent history of Japan and how the militarists were able to turn a nation into obedient and self-sacrificing servants, his attraction to the gangs used by the militarists for their political goals of assassination and intimidation, and the warrior monk who teaches him the true meaning of the Samurai code.

The elements that help him evolve in the story would include the persecution of his the Japanese housekeeper in the 1930s that substitutes for his mother who died in childbirth, the beatings she endures from his American father that puts her in the hospital, stealing a plane for a joy ride that almost kills him, stealing plane parts from the airfield to feed himself while housekeeper is in hospital, being adopted by a Japanese family, finding out that his mother was Japanese, learning the code of the Samurai from adopted Japanese father, his rejection from a martial arts school when he reaches japan and called a gaijin, his acceptance in the gang and his eventual joining of a kamikaze squadron.

The action/adventure elements would include his dangerous flying experiences, dealing with the Black Market, a ninja attack on his Japanese family, an earthquake and tsunami, early bombings by the US air force, the fire bombing of Tokyo, and the plot to foil the overthrow of the Emperor.

More to follow.  You can see the thread of these blog posts by reading the ‘How to Write a Novel’ category.







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