The leitmotif isn’t only used in opera and symphonic works. Today, it’s quite common in film scores, TV music, rock operas, concept albums and books.

To start, simply sit down with whatever instrument you’re most comfortable on and think about your subject while you improvise and try out melodic ideas.

Eventually, you’ll stumble upon a phrase, chord, or set of notes that feels “right.” From there, keep refining your idea by playing it different ways until you find the melody that sums up the essence of your character or theme.

An author’s catch-phrase is simply a ‘reused’ line, or recycled variation of a previously used piece of literature. It does not have to be a running gag, a shout out, a bad experience or a line of dialogue. It can simply be a descriptive phrase with a meaningful echo. I have my own recurring phrase, a little literary déjà vu, that lends itself from one novel to all the others. Some readers love to pin words down, even down to being psychoanalytic, and perhaps such a person, one of nature, will find my leitmotif.

Use of literary leitmotifs:

  1. help in conveying a story’s underlying message,
  2. can also aid in developing other aspects of the narrative,
  3. can be used to build on elements of plot, character and even settings,
  4. sets the scene, aids the reader in feeling what my characters are feeling,
  5. to get that sense of feeling about a person’s place in the world.

When I wrote the phrase in my first novel ‘The Twisted Spire’, I had no idea that I would repeat the literary déjà vu in my second, third, fourth…and to eternity, until I realized how fitting it was for every book.

All said: Don’t ask what my literary leitmotif is.

It is my secret and

if I told you, I would have to kill you.

Unleash the novel inside you

with compelling characters,

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“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish. She has mentored many authors and edited their work.” 

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