I’ll Take Theme for $1000, Alex

I'll Take ThemeThe continued editing of my novel has been an equally wonderful and painful experience. One of the points I wanted to make sure I had cinched up was my story’s theme. It was time to revisit one of my favorite posts by writing guru, K.M. Weiland. Then I realized that I should probably share this one in my Writing Toolbox.

What’s the Difference Between Your Story’s Theme and Its Message? posted on December 14, 2014, by K.M. Weiland, Helping Writers Become Authors.

The Boxes in Which We Put Ourselves

The Writer Has the Last Word

The Writer Has the Last Word

It is my very great pleasure to share an article by Mela Saylor of The Greater Canton Writers’ Guild, Inc.  The following article was featured in the September newsletter.  Information regarding the Guild can be found at:  http://cantonwritersguild.org/

Mrs. Saylor’s personal blog can be found at:  http://paintandpens.blogspot.com/

The Boxes in Which We Put Ourselves ~ Mela Saylor

First time writers are always told “write what you know” and they dive into their pool of knowledge head first, taking their first tentative strokes with their pens. But after a few years and many laps of swimming in that subject matter, writers may feel the need to expand. To be brave, writers must get out of the pool and take a dive into the ocean.

Explore new topics, learn new things. 

The world of writing is vast, and I find that exciting – and there’s no need to stay on the same topic all the time. To be honest, your readers might be bored hearing the same topic all the time. Understandably, writers may discover they have a tendency to stay within certain comfort zones. But it is always good to step out of what we so often find ourselves writing. Learn something new and play with ideas – push them around, see how far they’ll stretch. We do need to keep in mind that there is a difference between having a recurrent theme and redundancy.

Writers may wish to ask themselves what they have learned as a writer this past year – your writing needs to grow right along with you. If your writing doesn’t grow, if it stays the same, it becomes stale. Make a promise to yourself to take a chance or two with your writing style and subject matter, explore and reach out into new horizons. Starting something new – topic, idea or story line – is exciting and keeping to what you’ve done before is limiting. Take a chance. Who knows where you’ll go.

Dripping Ink – Questions for Self-critique

The Writer Has the Last Word

It is my very great pleasure to share an article by Caroline Totten of The Greater Canton Writers’ Guild, Inc.  The following article was featured in the September newsletter.  Information regarding the Guild can be found at:  http://cantonwritersguild.org/

Dripping Ink by Caroline Totten

Questions for Self-critique

Do your demons imitate the gods by grabbing and holding attention? (Your demons are ideas that keep poking you in the eye. If the idea arouses laughter, tears, paranoia, fright, curiosity or indignation, etc., you have acquired a point of view, which may boil into a plot.)

Does the plot offer an opportunity to provide fresh insight into the theme? (Ideally, the plot begins with a distress signal in the middle of the story. The action is already in progress and tinged with an emotional element in the main character. Usually, the setting fits the character and supports the viewpoint.)

Is the character(s) consistent in the context of the plot? (Draw the emotional tone from your personal experience and place it in the persona of the protagonist, the main character. The conflict may be psychological, physical, or ideological, or a combination of these elements.)

Here are a few aspects of the reader/author relationship to keep in mind. By being a writer, or hoping to become one, your entire self becomes an instrument to observe and record human experience. When you extrapolate heartache, joy, fear, whatever, and put them into your character, you are actually putting the reader in touch with his emotions. (Numbness, repression, or suppression are emotional factors.)

Psychologically, mystery, or suspense stories excite the mind of the reader.

Horror stories, by a circuitous route, help the reader release his fear.

Adventure stories encourage bravery.

Love stories release hormones that tenderize the heart.

Fantasy encourages imagination by offering another way of perceiving the resolution of conflict even though at the outset, the reader may be looking for escape.

Humor may release attitudes that might otherwise be socially rude or crude.

Actually, stories that contain violence, corruption, and greed may contribute to the reduction of these elements and/or act as a catharsis for the reader.

Reading fiction is not an idle past time. Its factual component may differ from nonfiction, but the result is similar. The point of view alters the reader’s perceptions.   Effective writing heightens awareness of the subject by allowing the reader to participate in the physical and mental experience of the character. Most effective stories show the character in action. In some cases, “thinking” by the character rather than dialogue or confrontation may be the entrance into a story. The approach depends on the genre, your style, and editorial desires. (At times, magazine and book editors don’t know what they want until they see it.)

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