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This Week on Writers Abraod
Category: Site News
Tags: NaNo theme competition

Steadfastly ignoring the approach of Christmas (can you hear those thundering reindeer hooves?), WA members are concentrating solely on their writing:

Looks like we have at least 3 NaNo candidates here at WA, all busy plotting, planning and writing, despite head colds and excess chocolate consumption. Keep going, ladies!

Crilly has supplied some intriguing Monday Muses, which somehow (in my opinion) all have a Halloweeny touch about them. Note to self: must get musing again.

Jill`s blog about focussing on theme will set us thinking again about how we construct our works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry. A chicken-or-egg question which any writer can identify with.

Paola has set up a Sagging Stool, as opposed to the Bragging Stool, where we can post our failures and get some encouragement. What a great idea. Not that many WA members will be using it and I hope it gathers lots of dust.

For those who haven`t seen it yet, please take time to read Glyn`s poem, inspired by spring. A moving, personal piece of work, and one of the first entries for our Spring e-zine.

Don`t forget our November Challenges:

* Writers Village Short Story contest. Closing date: 31st December.† www.writers-village.org/competition-rules.php

* Jeremy Mogford prize for food & drink writing (fiction). Closing date: 1 Jan.† http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org

* Flash Fiction, maximum 500 words, Closing date: 15 January

†† http://mashstories.com/competition/

* December Short Story Competition, closing date: 12 January

†† www.henshawpress.com.uk

* Writers Bureau flash fiction, closing date:30 Nov

††† www.wbcompetition.com

See you all at our Informal Chat on Skype, at 11 a.m. on Sunday, 9th November!

Focusing on Theme Tags: writing fiction poetry non-fiction theme

Focusing on Theme

Since inspiration and fresh ideas seem to have flown off on holiday together Ė hopefully, only for a short break Ė Iíve been digging into the archives of my short stories. Some of them are unfinished, or finished but unpolished. Others have been unsuccessful in competitions. Rather too many! Reading over them, what struck me most was their lack of a clear theme.†

As a reader, when a story grabs me itís because it leaves me pondering afterwards. I may have learned something that I hadnít thought much about before, or at least can relate to. A strong theme is what makes the story memorable. I think Iím safe in saying poetry depends on theme too Ė poets will no doubt correct me if Iím wrong. Even non-fiction, in some cases, has a theme. In a novel, more than one theme is possible, and just as important. For me, anyway.

So whatís the best way to go about it as a writer? Letís fast forward, as Iíve taken the easy way out via my best friend Google to find out what other writers thought.

Some thought it best to start with characters and plot and a theme would emerge organically. Lucky them. Preconceived themes often seem contrived. Stephen King apparently agrees. Certainly looking at one story I wrote, I saw that by choosing the theme first I had made it sound a bit preachy. Others say that theme has become a lost art in fiction, sometimes considered old-fashioned.

Other writers didnít care about theme at all, preferring to just stick to plot-driven action. Of course, all our tastes are different. Thankfully. I can understand that the world-building qualities of science fiction might be as satisfying as theme, but Iíll leave opinion to the experts in that genre (you know who you are!) †

An Australian academic site suggested a theme was of great importance, but that it shoud be 'underlyingí and Ďsubtleí and then went on to explain how to develop this. As youíd expect, showing not telling came into play. At the same time, it did suggest beginning with a theme, although perhaps this was†aimed more†at novel writing.

Personally, I think a theme is important. What do you think? And how do you approach it?

Mid Week on Writers Abroad
Category: Site News
Tags: this week writers abroad

A little late, but here is a snapshot of what's happening on WA this week:

Laura has supplied us with lots of motivation for our Monday Musing, so if you need a little inspiration check them out.

Nicola's Blog on the use of English or American is promotoing lots of discussion. (And she's also updated her profile picture and is looking fab!)

Our WA meeting was very well chaired by Dianne on Sunday, the notes are up in the Meeting Room so if you couldn't attend, check them out for news on the WA Mag.

Alyson and Jill have submitted October Challenges, so if you have a mo, please provide some feedback - it's on my to-do list for today!

The Bragging Stool is being warmed by Paola who has yet another story published in The Oldie

And we're nearly into November, the drastic drop in temperature here has left us with heavy head colds so please excuse the rather dull summary. Happy Writing!

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