Monday, October 13, 2008

What lies at the heart of your writing?

So many call it your voice, but I call it your THEME! Not the theme of your story, the theme of your life. We all have a unique perspective on the world that is our own and we write from that center. If you can articulate what that is for you--what you fight for every single day you drag your butt out of bed--then you can sell your writing!

Author Robert Renteria has the central theme of Chasing the American Dream. Every day he wakes up and works to prove to himself that he has the right to the American Dream, and now with his memoir, From the Barrio to the Board Room, Robert is working every single day to prove to at risk youth and others that they have the right to chase that American Dream, too! Not only is he challenging them, he is challenging those more fortunate to join the barrio movement for the sake of all our futures.

Sophie Mokhtari has a central theme as well. It’s creating a sweet life from sour circumstances, and she’s using her novel China Girl to do two things: empower young women who are in abusive situations to find their voice; and create a community of healing for women who have endured any form of abuse. Sophie believes that all women who have been abused have the right to not only survive, but to thrive!

It is Robert’s and Sophie’s ability to articulate their theme and build a manuscript around it that is allowing them to pioneer these much needed conversations. Their manuscripts provide a platform from which they are lifting others up. That is the power of theme. When we embrace our theme and realize that our struggles in life are actually our greatest gift, then we can actively commit ourselves to being an instigator of change through our writing.

What is your theme? Articulate it. Build a manuscript around it. Use that manuscript to change one person. Use that manuscript to change ten people. Use it to change 100 people and you can use it to change the world.

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