Every so often, I come across a book series that really intrigues me with elements of the setting. Because I really enjoyed his “Keys to the Kingdom” series, I put some faith in Garth Nix and picked up “The Seventh Tower” series.
The Cub Scouts of America earn a belt loop for master the Map and Compass requirements. Its more than just learning how to use these tools; this belt loop signifies that the scout has the skills to know where he’s going and how to get there. The writer undertaking a novel needs the same skills when embarking on his story. Novels follow several very general lines of construction, mixing and matching them more often than not. Strictly outlined stories have all the action and character points laid out before the story even begins. Some stories set goals that the characters need to accomplish in order to progress the plot. Character-driven stories rely on their characters to provide the bulk of the plot development.
Over the years, the aphorism “Know Thyself” has carried many meanings. The Ancient Egyptians said, “Know thyself and thou shalt know the gods.” The Ancient Greeks inscribed it over the temple of Apollo at Delphi, as a maxim to remember one’s place in comparison to the gods and in public perception. Modern philosophers from Hobbes to Emerson proclaimed knowledge of one’s self to be the highest form of introspection and the foundation of personal empathy. Coleridge essayed a poem on this maxim that ended with, “Ignore thyself and strive to know thy God!”