I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.
– Toni Morrison (American author)
This is very true for my current novel, and perhaps even for my first novel. But is it true for you? Last week we talked about the motivating purpose behind our main characters, and then some. But what is the purpose behind writing about those characters?
This is what I like to call the theme of the work. Why are you writing your book? What spurred that first idea? Who are you writing for?
These are questions that are as important as knowing that first problem that your main character must face. Why? Because it focuses your work. It gives you a breadcrumb trail to the second problem your main character faces, and then the third, and so on…
So what is your motivation behind writing your book? Are you writing it because you, like Toni Morrison, have looked for a book like the one you’re writing, and have found nothing similar? Or have you found one, and was so disappointed by it, that you simply had to give it a try? Or is it something completely different?
I’m writing my book because my parents have entered a stage in life where they are losing those they hold dear. And it occurred to me that I will enter that stage as well. What if it were to happen to me tomorrow? What if I were to lose both my parents? How would I handle it? How would I take care of my younger siblings? What would happen to us?
More importantly, what if I lived during an age where, as the eldest child, and a female, my options were severely limited? What if I lived during an age where death was an everyday thing, and to succumb to grief for longer than the prescribed amount of time was considered selfish?
What is my motivating theme? Understanding the grief that comes from adult orphanism. What is my genre? Historical romance. Will it work? Who knows. But this is the motivating purpose behind my writing.
Tell me in the comments about your motivating purpose, or the story behind your story. Why are you writing what you are writing?
As you can see, I’m relying on writing quotes to provide a thesis of sorts for each of my posts now that I’m in graduate school. It seems to be working out, would you agree?