Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What Is Your Story's Take-Away

There are a lot of times when I have read a novel and, after closing the book, had to ask myself what the point of the book really was. OK, I have to admit that most of the time, I never make it to the end of the book when I have that thought. You may have experienced the same thing before. What we are talking about here is the theme of the story, or to bring it more to a modern day concept, the take-away.

Now, this concept is one that is normally seen if business but it can really be used with authors as they think about their novels. Let's start with the definition, right off of the ol' Internet:

noun: take-away
  1. 1.
    a key fact, point, or idea to be remembered, typically one emerging from a discussion or meeting.
    "the main takeaway for me is that we need to continue to communicate all the things we're doing for our customers"

Now, when it comes to your story, you need to be thinking of what you want the reader to be thinking about when he or she hits that last page of the book. You can also think of this as the thesis of your book. It is important to know that we are not talking about the type of book (i.e. this is a coming of age story, or a story of lost love found), we are talking about something we can learn from this story.

If you have that point in mind before you even start writing your novel, your story will have focus. All of the actions, dialogue and scenes that happen in the story add one more piece of the lesson puzzle you are providing for your reader.

What you will also find is that the take-away of your story will also feed the high concept and marketing you will use when submitting to editors or agents. This will also assist the people in the business and marketing departments of your publisher as they work on promotion work for your novel.

Please note that this is not likely something you can just put in after you wrote your story. Sure, you can likely manufacture a generic idea, but the problem is that all of  the things you put in the story may or may not support that message.

So, what is your take-away? Not sure? Find it before you write today!

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