Worst Advice Ever for this Writer
I’m sending a loud hello to my fellow MFRW bloggers and readers of this blog. I’ve been missing in action for the first seven weeks of this blog hop! I had an editing deadline for the next book in my Regency series, a thorny tax problem to iron out (not my own, thank God), and a Leap Day story that was one of my 2018 goals to write. And–yay! A Leap Into Love released yesterday.
But back to the Blog Challenge topic:
The worst advice I ever received was this: You must decide on the theme of your story before you ever put fingers to the keyboard.
Getting zapped with that advice was like being stung by some exotic insect that renders the victim unable to move, talk, or SCREAM. In other words, my muse and I were completely frozen for the period of time it took me to shrug off that piece of advice and go back to what I was doing.
So is it truly the worst advice?
Maybe not for some of you. It’s something like what the fabulous writing teacher Lisa Cron recommends in Story Genius. But I like what Gwen Hayes, author of Romancing the Beat, Story Structure for Romance Novels has to say about this:
Many authors tell stories in order to explore themes of importance to them and maybe even persuade the reader to consider those ideals. Some just write stories and let the scholars of the future deduce theme from their works. I’m not concerned with the other themes. You are writing romance, so your theme is already picked out for you.
Love Conquers All
I have a BA in English and German literature (a double major) and so I’ve written many a paper that tore apart a work of fiction and analyzed it, and truly I HATED it. What I really liked about my degree programs was reading the fiction. And usually that involved the challenge of reading the hard-to-fathom English of Shakespeare or Milton, or the German of Goethe or Schiller. (I’m not bragging. That was a million years ago and I couldn’t do it now.)
But analyzing books to discover theme?
That was mostly bu****it. I was really hoping to hit on the theme my professor liked, so I could get a good enough grade to keep my grant.
Theme, when you come down to it, is very personal, IMO. And it doesn’t matter, except to the people to whom it matters. Let them figure out the theme of the story! My job is to entertain the reader.
Don’t let the Theme-Meisters strangle your muse!
Check out what my fellow MFRW authors have to say on this subject.