Tag Archives: themes

Do You Write Leitmotifs?

People seek storytellers who can meet their need to find patterns in life.

Leitmotif is how this is done.

leit·mo·tif

also leit·mo·tiv (līt′mō-tēf′)

n.

1. A melodic passage or phrase, especially in Wagnerian opera, associated with a specific character, situation, or element.
2. A dominant and recurring theme, as in a novel.

[German Leitmotiv : leiten, to lead (from Middle High German, from Old High German leitan; see leit- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots) + Motiv, motif(from French motif; see motif).]
Source: American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Irish Firebrands features both thematic and character leitmotifs, perhaps because I like to write to music, and developed a “soundtrack” over the three years it took to write the novel. But this kind of writing certainly doesn’t have to be confined to Literary Fiction, just as melodic leitmotifs don’t have to be confined to Wagnerian opera. Below is a famous example of specifically leitmotif-based music that’s combined with a story: Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. (And the cat in the picture looks just like mine!) 🙂
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