As you articulate your theme, ask yourself if this theme is really yours–does it reflect your present understanding of your story and of life itself?
Theme is what you are trying to say—whether banal or sublime—beyond the facts. It is the spirit or the soul of your memoir.
It and it determines what, within the bounds of telling the truth, you include in your memoir.
Theme also determines how the narrator of your memoir presents the story. To support your theme, you will select one narrator or another.
Theme is closely influences voice and tone.
You must not resist writing a more personal memoir. You want to write your memoir, but you resist getting too personal, going in too deep. Your guarded secret that you wanted to have your own business one day or your hope that your father would apologize eventually for his denigration of you—this has happened and […]
How important is theme in a memoir? Theme in a memoir is absolutely important! Here’s is a distinction between a family-focused autobiography and a memoir that, I hope, will help you to appreciate the value and the role of theme in a memoir.
Theme influences choices for every element in the story: plot development, characterization, and setting.
Here’s the shell of a plot: your father was laid off; a difficult time followed for the family; your father received additional training and obtained a different job.
Your treatment of this plot will vary according to your theme.
Let’s suppose the following is your theme: “events whose consequences we can’t understand happen gratuitously to us in our lives, but we can always make the best of things.” In the elaboration of this particular theme (message), you will find it natural to set your father’s being laid off not only with his reaction at the time but also with its consequences. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Writing about religious beliefs can be a quagmire for the memoir writer. How can you write about religious beliefs without sinking your memoir? The answer that I can offer you comes down to the same old suggestion: show and don’t tell.
Underlying all of your stories is its theme. The theme is really a message, the global way in which you understand your story — either in its entirety or in its
The theme is the message—the why—of your writing.
You imbue the whole of your story with your theme and it, in turn, influences the choice of every element in your story—even when you’re not aware of it. In fact, all writing carries a message from the writer, an index of the motivation of the artist. Theme can be as broad as “There are good guys and bad guys, and you can tell them apart” and as subtle as “I want to tell others what it was like to live at a certain time of my life.”
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