Monday, November 17, 2014

Fiction Theme

Music Mystery Series, Vol. 1

by C. M. Albrecht

Detective Steve Music is a disillusioned cop with problems. Shelly Lambert is a woman who lost her son to a predator eight years ago. Continuing to suffer from grief and feelings of guilt, Shelly works with a coalition that helps locate missing childresn. When eleven-year old Jerry Beakey goes missing, Shelly and Steve join forces in their search for Jerry. That is, until Steve begins to unravel lies about Shelly's past, lies that rip them apart. Now, each separately continues to search for Jerry, but Shelly and Steve have to overcome their own demons if they hope to find Jerry—and catch a murderer.

 Question from the E-mail:  How do I know what the theme is in a fiction story? Does it really have to have one?  Do I have to know what it is, before I start to write?

Answer:  The theme is the universal truth contained in a work of fiction.  Any complete piece of fiction will express a theme by the time it is finished, whether you plan one or not.

Most of my face-to-face students look at me as if I sprouted warts when I say, "Fiction has to hold real truth." and "Nobody can tell your truth, but you." But, basically that's what I believe.

All fiction (yes, even crime novels) must have something to say (i.e. Crime doesn't pay!). The key for you, or any writer, is to figure out what you want to say. That's your theme. Even if you don't plan a theme, there will be one.

How you get it across is a matter of technique, and a matter of telling your shared truth in a way that only you can tell it.  For instance, "Cinderella" says "Love conquers all." I doubt it if really did. But in the story, love conquered all and that can be summed up in one line. If you can't one-line the theme, it usually means you're not focused enough on what the story really says.

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