Perhaps, a grand symbol links a story together. Or, a theme. For a short while, I used arguments of tragedy and pathos. Bedtime for Seneca is saturated with tragedy. And pathos.
But what are they? Tragedy is more than good versus evil. As readers, we’ve moved beyond the ancient storytelling days of the Greeks when heroes were always good and villains were always naughty. Now, we recognize that a villain may exist within all of us. And a story can bring out this villain in the form of an argument.
A tragic argument sort of works like this: The main character has potential but also a flaw; The character enters a conflict with someone else; The character is obsessed with winning and may commit immoral acts to obtain his heart’s desire; Finally, the hero has a self-revelation, but it comes too late.
When I wrote Bedtime for Seneca, I wanted the main characters’ self-revelations to be as subtle as it might be in real life. In a way, the book says, “Be honest, reader, we all have a bit of naughtiness in us even though we don’t want to admit it.” We’ve all hurt someone, whether it was intentional or not, whether we admit to this or not. We’ve had our reasons.
My reason for writing the book was to explore some reasons. The book was an interesting project. But, sometimes, a dark journey. Sort of like walking down a narrow tunnel and a small table lamp waited somewhere far behind me. But I kept walking. Fortunately, I made it out to the other side.