10 page story. 1. Employ structure and plot in a piece of fiction 2. Utilize good writing techniques including grammar, mechanics, syntax, and organization 3. Employ theme in a piece of fiction 4. Utilize dialogue in a piece of fiction 5. Develop voice in individual writing 6. Employ description, images and sound in a piece of fiction 7. Explain process of submitting fiction to journals. Overview Theme: Writers write to entertain, to inform, to persuade, or to journal privately, but in addition, most writers have a message or a comment that they wish to share. Fiction, whether short stories or novels, conveys the truth about life as an author sees it, and the writer is offering you a vicarious experience to learn something about life without actually having to live through problems and turmoil. It is also common for the author to have one intention, but the message does not need to be a huge lesson. As an author, you might read a story about two bitter enemies that are forced into a situation where they learn about each other and realize that the enemy was not as bad as was first thought. Usually, as you become a more critical reader/writer, stories that offer entertainment but also offer opportunities to learn or think, are more engaging and enjoyable. OVERVIEW: ELEMENTS OF FICTION: THEME Theme – the controlling idea or central insight. It can be a revelation of human character but a theme is not the “moral” of the story. A. A theme must be expressible in the form of a statement – not “motherhood” but “Motherhood sometimes has more frustration than reward.” B. A theme must be stated as a generalization about life; names of characters or specific situations in the plot are not to be used when stating a theme. C. A theme must not be a generalization larger than is justified by the terms of the story. D. A theme is the central and unifying concept of the story. It must adhere to the following requirements: 1. It usually accounts for all the major details of the story. 2. It must not rely on supposed facts – facts not actually stated or clearly implied by the story. E. There is no one way of stating the theme of a story. F. Any statement that reduces a theme to some familiar saying, aphorism, or cliché should be avoided. Do not use “A stitch in time saves nine,” “You can’t judge a book by its cover, ” “Fish and guests smell in three days,” and so on. G. Theme— Another look… Theme has to do with what you see as the story’s point, message, function, or implied view of life and conduct. The “theme” is always a generalization gathered from the collective effect of all elements of a story. Remember that there may be multiple themes in a story that often reinforce, but sometimes even contradict each other. Enjoy the pleasure of making compelling connections and the responsibility that comes from questioning and critiquing the story as a whole. ** Theme relates to purpose. I have found that I have begun a story thinking that the lesson or message was going to be one thing and as the story evolved, the message changed. Also, don’t be surprised if the readers glean a totally different message from the one you intended. So, I would say it is important to have a message in your work but don’t get too hung up on it. As Burroway says, let it evolve as you write. 1. Complete sentences 2. Consistent verb tense 3. Consistent point of view 4. Appropriate descriptive detail to “create a picture” in the mind’s eye 5. Avoid repeated detail 6. Include dialogue with correct punctuation 7. Drafts with obvious evidence of revision (Read material out loud to spot errors or awkward phrasing or missing pieces of information.)
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