Monday, June 28, 2010

Why Are You Telling Your Story?

Here's a big question for you...

Why are you telling your story?

This one should make you think a bit. There shoule be a purpose to your story. Simply telling me you have these great characters you want to see together is not enough. Simply having a hot scene you want to have in your story is not enought. What are we talking about here? This is theme.

The theme of your story is really the guiding purpose to what you want your reader to leave with once they finish your story. This is what adds the meat to your story. Unfortunately, there are many stories that I simply ask myself, "why did this person spend their time on this?" No, the writing isn't bad. Sure, there might be some interesting scenes, but there is no satisfaction once I finish the story.

The theme of your story doesn't have to be major, but it needs to be the guiding force that gives purpose to all of the events and character interactions in the story. Think of a thesis statement in a research paper. In fiction writing, we work with the same idea, although, in this case, it might not be clearly stated from the beginning.

I am working with a debut author right now with a story following the 9 months of her pregnancy. I love the theme on this book because it gives the reader a lesson of being a stay at home mom and all the things that are important about it. We learn there is nothing bad about this, but something really worthwhile.

So, what is your theme? Think on this one.


1 comment:

  1. This is an awesome post, Scott. But frankly, when I started writing my first novel, I was truly writing the story that came to me w/o worry or care about a message. My characters were literaly begging me to write their story. It was not until the end that I had my "aha" moment and the theme became apparent or that I as fully capable of articulating what the book was really about. Having said that, I come across so many writers who have no idea what their books are about, what theme runs through them and as a result end up simply writing incongruent paragrphs tied togegher roughly by recurring characters. Great post.