05 October 2008

The Middle

I recently worked with a writer who, when she hit the Middle, lost the passion for her story.

When the allure of the Beginning is over, the story starts getting messy. Characters act out. Everything she writes seems boring to her. All her fears about the unworthiness of her project interfere with her ability to create new scenes. She wants me to give her the scenes or at least give her ideas for the scenes.

My advice for this writer is to list the themes she's interested in exploring in her piece. I am NOT referring to the Thematic Significance Statement here. She isn't ready for that yet -- she hasn't even finished the first draft of her project and thus has no idea what her piece will end up meaning in the long run. But for now, she is aware of many of the themes that thread through her story thus far:

Life in this country as an immigrant
Her love and respect for older people and her ease in relating to older people rather than people her own age
Loss of older friends
Hurt that comes with loss
Women empowerment
Live life with a sense of humor
The guts and resourcefulness and resilience of a strong woman

This is just a sampling of the themes that have popped up in her story. By listing them, she hones the focus of the scenes she writes now for this added dimension = meaning. By exploring what she wants to convey, the scenes are no longer quite so episodic or boring to her.

The coherence that came with the sequential order of her story can now be deepened into coherence through theme.

What are the themes that most inform your writing?