Friday, June 25, 2010


Thx for the help lately… The names offered and your thoughts on the names I submitted helped a TON.

I have well over 100k words to cut down to around 85k and make fit smoothly, if that is possible.

The biggest issue I am having is seeing what the big picture is, I have not really thought about it until now. That’s a real hard question to answer. I am trying to understand it better so I can bring it out in my second ‘full’ edit.

Have you ever read a book that you really didn’t know what the “theme” of the story was, yet you still loved it?

And when do you think the reader should really get what the “theme” is?

In the last chapter, or the moment the reader closes the book after completion and pounders about it?

Should the “theme” be foreseeable, and easily noticeable…

Or should it be sneaky and kind of subconsciously transmitted to the reader?



  1. Depends on what you mean by "theme." As the author, you ought to know what you're trying to say, what you mean to convey (other than an entertaining time).

    Maybe a lesson or a point of view or a concept. The reader might not consciously know (and certainly doesn't have to until the end), but you, as the writer, probably should.

  2. I guess what I mean by theme is what it means at a deeper level. Like is my story trying to teach anything… beyond the story.

    What I am doing now is just write and tell my story the best I can. So should a “good” story have a deeper meaning behind it?

    Or is a good story good enough to get by.

  3. For a story to last (in my humble opinion), it needs something meaningful. Does that mean it needs to be didactic? Not at all. But it needs to say something of the human condition, something that resonates with you as the author and with your readers.

    The theme speaks more to a chosen pattern, almost as if the story speaks to one aspect of what life is or what it might mean. And as much as you may believe you know what that theme is or should be, you may find, as you revise, that the theme changes. Audiences may read a first draft and conclude that the focus is on one thing, when in reality you intended a different emphasis.

    Do you change it to suit your audience? No. Your audience is there to help you find out whether what you intended is what comes out. If it isn't, you may realize that you have far more work to do (as I found out with my most recent staged reading). You may also find that what the audience read was more profound and meaningful than your original intent, and then your revision can work to focus the words and energy of the text onto that theme instead, fulfilling something beyond what you'd hoped for.

    What resonates with you most in the novel? Why? That is the first question to answer.

  4. What Shakespeare said. I think stories that last, mean something. Not a moral, necessarily, but say something about society or people or the human condition (or rabbit, say, with Watership Down).

    I have a short story where our hero must choose a wife from masked women. One represents everything he thought he wanted. One represents something different he finds himself respond to, yearn for. In the end, he's afraid of the differences that call to him and turns his back on what he wants...and ends up with nothing.

    I didn't really think about what I wanted to say beforehand, but that's what I ended up saying. The message I wanted to send. I have to know it and make sure the story, short or novel, works to build up and fill in what I want to say.

  5. Thx all, great stuff... and keep'em coming.

  6. In many cases the theme asks a question. For example, the theme in the movie 48 Hours is whether the Nick Nolte character and the other ex con character can work together. They have to, but will they do what is in there best interest? So, that's the question asked in your book.

    In others, there isn't a question, but the theme is the aha moment at the end when you get the point of the story.

    I wold say, yes, usually the theme matters. I think it holds the book together.