How New Authors Can Keep Their Manuscripts Coherent
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.
That's literally, as well as figuratively. I wouldn't 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 wasn't because the speaker didn't have a topic, but rather it was because the speaker didn't have or didn't take the time to develop a theme. If you want your story to be just as disjointed -then don't 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 shouldn't 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 book's purpose? How can you be certain that it is more than a good story? Your book's 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 thisquestion: 'If I knew my life purpose, what would it be?' Don't just ask it once. Keep asking this question until you get the answer. It may not come the first day, or even the first week. But it's there, and it will show its face if you earnestly ask."
Hansen states that this should be repeated every morning and every night for 15 minutes until the answer comes to you, and then write it down. He continues, "Be open to the answer, no matter when it comes to you. Remember, it wants you just as much as you want it."
A good theme does three things: 1) it describes the story or book; 2) it captures the uniqueness of the story or book; 3) it motivates the author. If it accomplishes these three things, it will also make your outline easier to create. In business-speak, an "elevator speech" is a brief description about your company that you should be able to give to someone in the time it would take to ride up an elevator. I hold that everyone writing a book needs an elevator speech, or theme, for it.
Marvin D. Cloud is founder of http://mybestseller.com and author of "Get Off The Pot: How to Stop Procrastinating and Write Your Personal Bestseller in 90 Days."
The journey to having my first novel for children published has been riddled with road blocks and shonky bridges. The good news? At every rickety stage I've picked up tips (and anti-tips) which I'm happy to share with everyone...
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(excerpted from the "How to Use a Journal" audio series by Jim Rohn)
Is Your Title Compelling?
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10 Secrets For Everyday Writing Success
During my 25-year career in a variety of professionalpositions in both the private and public sectors I have written literally thousands of letters and memos andhundreds of reports. If I had to boil-down everythingI've learned about practical day-to-day writing for bothpersonal and business purposes into 10 key points, thiswould be my "top 10 list".
The Writers Identity: Exploring the Writer Within
Les Edgerton writes in his book, Finding Your Voice, that the best way to find your voice is to write autobiographically. "Writers will never find a powerful, evocative voice until they learn to be bone-deep honest with themselves, open and vulnerable." I believe that Mr. Edgerton is on to something. In my experience, the best writers are the ones who dig deep within themselves and pull out the rawest pieces of who they are, filling their pages with words that leave their audiences wanting more. If I could interview an author whom I admire, I would most want to know what helped him or her get to that magical place.
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Today Norm Goldman, Editor of sketchandtravel and bookpleasures is honored to have as a guest, the nationally published newspaper columnist and author, Cindy LaFerle. Cindy recently published a book entitled, Writing Home, a collection of essays focusing on home, family and motherhood.
How to Relax Your Writing
Q. My writing sounds stiff and stilted. Help!
Write Your Way To A Better Brain
Boost Brain Power Through Writing
Mama Dont Allow No Fighting in Your Writing
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The Untold Secrets of Writing Best Selling Childrens Books
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Writing Internal Newsletters: How to Build Your Network and Your Reputation
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Benjamin Franklin: His Ageless Writing Tips
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Overcome Writers Block with Snake Dancing
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Screenwriting is a competitive trade. To distinguish yourself as a prize-winning writer you need to master organizational skills, take creative risks, and learn how best to present your final product. For the aspiring screenwriter, Tom Lazarus' book, "Secrets of Film Writing" is one of the best. An exceptional screenwriter with five produced screenplays, Lazarus developed this book for beginning writers enrolled in his classes at UCLA.
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