I recently met another writer who said something along the lines of: 'I need to know if I have anything to say.'
This made me think. When I studied Shakespeare, Chaucer, Austen, Wordsworth etc for English Literature A-Level at school, much time was spent analysing what these writers were trying to say. Often someone in my class would pipe up with: 'But I'm sure [Shakespeare] wasn't intending to say that at all.'
Stephen King says in 'On Writing' when talking about 'the first read-through' of a novel he's written: '..I'm asking myself the Big Questions. The biggest: Is this story coherent? And if it is, what will turn coherence into a song? What are the recurring elements? Do they entwine and make a theme? I'm asking myself What's it all about, Stevie, in other words, and what I can do to make those underlying concerns even clearer. What I want most of all is resonance, something that will linger for a little while in Constant Reader's mind (and heart) after he or she has closed the book and put it up on the shelf.'
When I analysed my Book 1, 'The Grandson' whilst editing I realised that the themes had more or less written themselves, coming from my subconscious whilst I focused on the plot.
Some of the themes are ones which appear often: love, the role of women, marriage and family relationships. I'm fascinated that a difference in time can influence how someone lives their life. Currently I'm engrossed by the eighteenth century for Book 2, 'The Painting' and how this impacted a woman's choices. For 'The Grandson', I found I'd compared a woman's options during World War II to the 1990s.
Which themes have you written about without realising or do you have any other comments?
Ps. I had a great time at the RNA Winter Party last week. There are a few photos on my Facebook page: Anita Chapman Writer
Pps. Best of luck to everyone finishing NaNoWriMo this week!
Is it worth sharing a work in progress with a writing class?
Do your characters have a Twitter account?