Monthly Archives: October 2013

Writing to a Theme

Authors are often advised to decide on the central theme for their story. As a rookie author it seemed odd, possibly even grandiose. All I wanted to do was to pen a good yarn (that would sell for a fortune obviously …) Unlike real life where I will rarely listen to advice, I decided to try it.

Amara’s Daughter HAD to have a black hero. The stereotypes of the genre perturbed me. White male, with heavy-chested females to provide a bit of interest (or maybe it was just my imagination made them that shape!)

I wanted to take the idea farther. I wanted strong female role models, but not at the cost of joining the “all men are useless” brigade. I hate the trend to “reverse sexism” voiced by so many women. To see a six year-old roll her eyes and say, “Men!” is genuinely sad.

Finally, sexuality. If my intended readership is 16+ I wanted to offer more than the Disney sanitised approach used in most of the modern stuff for this age range. It might come as a shock, but kids have sex, think about it and talk about it. In my mind, chaste kisses and cutaway scenes are a cop out, an attempt to please the agents and publisher gate-keepers of this industry. I’d certainly rather have sex presented to the age range in a loving relationship, than via internet porn.

I’m one of those writers who uses a plan. It might not be rigid, but I try to stick to the general direction.

Having formulated the themes I was working with, I found that these pulled my thinking back as it strayed from the guidelines I had set for myself. Did I over-cook the sex? Was I erring onto the side of my opinions, rather than a good story? Did a new character conform to the brief?

I’ve tried to write by the seat of my pants and failed, I found adding the guidelines worked for me.