How New Authors Can Keep Their Manuscripts Coherent
Category : Writing | 1066 views | 2006-10-12 00:35:02
In large publishing houses, many manuscripts penned by first-time authors, never make it past the "first reader" who for all practical purposes is a gatekeeper of sorts. This person's job is to weed out manuscripts that do not fit certain established submission criteria. However, many never make it to the editor's desk, simply because they are badly disorganized and downright incoherent.
But even if you are self-publishing, you owe it to yourself as well as your readers to develop a theme. Not only will a theme tell what your book is about, it also serves to hold your book together. Every other element - your chapters, for example - should support your theme. It is what keeps you from rambling all over the place, and if you should stray, it is what can bring you back - if you keep it in front of you.
Thats literally, as well as figuratively. I wouldnt begin to write or give a talk without having a developed theme. Have you ever been to a banquet or meeting where the speaker went on and on with a speech that was all over the place, talking about everything under the sun, except the topic the audience was waiting to hear about? Most likely it wasnt because the speaker didnt have a topic, but rather it was because the speaker didnt have or didnt take the time to develop a theme. If you want your story to be just as disjointed -then dont develop a theme for it.
Unlike a working title that may change to something else entirely different or even several times before a manuscript is finished, a theme shouldnt change during the course of your writing. It may become more obvious during the writing process, but I advise writers to spend serious time developing their theme so that they are clear about the message they are trying to convey. If it is not clear to you, how can you write it in such a way that it is clear to your readers?
Unfortunately, you cannot find the answer to why you are writing your story in this article, or in any book for that matter. You cannot even find it in a classroom setting. Books and classes can only serve to help you bring the reason(s) to the surface, but the answer must come from you. How then, do you determine your books purpose? How can you be certain that it is more than a good story? Your books purpose is, to a great degree, intertwined with your purpose.
Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of the Chicken Soup series suggests meditation, or deep, controlled, concentrated thought. He says, "Relax and tap into your mind, way back there in the deepest,
secret compartment of your mind, by asking yourself this