Facets of Freedom

It seem fitting that I’ve begun working on my poor stalled novel at a time when we are celebrating freedom. This book was supposed to be my declaration of independence from the dictates of the publishing industry, a story so silly it had no chance of ever being published. Oddly, somewhere along the way, the book metamorphosed from a whimsical story into something deeply metaphysical with a heavy theme: freedom vs. safety. More specifically, the book explores how much freedom we are willing to give up for safety and how much safety we are willing to give up for freedom.

Robert McfireworksKee, author of Story, wrote: “The revelation of true character in contradiction to characterization (the sum of all observable qualities) is fundamental to all fine storytelling. What seems is not what is. People are not what they appear to be. A hidden nature waits concealed behind the facade of traits.”

If my hero doesn’t know what he truly wants until he gets it, it will add another dimension to this theme. He first chooses freedom because he believes he wants freedom more than anything. Next he chooses incarceration and safety because survival becomes the most important thing to him. Then he chooses the excitement and danger of freedom over the boredom of safety because he wants to feel alive, to participate in creation, if only to create himself. Finally he accepts responsibility, which is a different facet of freedom (without responsibility, freedom is merely self-indulgence), and it turns out this is what he wanted all along.

By giving Chip an inner character in contradiction to his outer one, he should become a richer character, which in turn will allow the story to explore all the facets of the theme rather than the simple one of freedom vs. safety.

At least that’s the plan.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

5 Responses to “Facets of Freedom”

  1. ROD MARSDEN Says:

    Not a bad plan. I hope it works out for you.

  2. shadowoperator Says:

    Dear Pat, I too made a declaration of independence from the publishing industry (of sorts, anyway) last year on July 4, the first day I published a post on my blog. This week, in observance of my one-year anniversary of publishing my works on my blog on my own and of writing articles on literature on my blog, I put up a collection of short stories. So far, I haven’t made a lot of money this way, but it’s satisfying because I know my stuff is out there and being seen. I hope you have success with your declaration of independence too, and with your new story. I don’t know if you’ve seen his site yet, but Joe Ponepinto on WordPress.com has a lot to say about the restrictions and unfairnesses of the publishing industry, and he too has declared independence, in his case by setting up a consortium of people writing to publish their stuff.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      In my case, I am currently declaring independence from the entire book world, which also means Amazon. I don’t want to have anything to do with Amazon — it’s as bad in its own way as the traditional publishers.

  3. Phyllis Ring Says:

    This was a wonderfully valuable post, for this writer — and this soul. Thank you for it.

  4. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Good luck. I bet it will turn out spectacular.

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