Thursday, August 11, 2005


Why is it that some stories stick with us, while others are soon forgotten? Having a point gives your stories resonance. Do you recall the saying, “A fool speaks because he must say something and a wise man speaks because he has something to say?” This is true when one is crafting a story as well.
Let’s look at the story of King Midas. If you recall, he was a king who loved money above all else, or so he thought. He was granted a wish that all he touched would turn to gold. This was great until he touched his daughter and she was turned to gold. The king learned that some things are more important than money.
One way to look at your armature is what is called, in children’s fables, “the moral.” The armature is your point. Your story is constructed around this point.

With King Midas, the storyteller wanted to teach people that some things were more important than money. What were his tasks as a writer? First, he had to create a character who was greedy. Then he needed to set up a situation wherein the character gets what he wants. Then he needed to turn this wish into something that would teach the character a lesson. Everything in this story is designed to make the writer’s point. This should be true of your work as well.

Some of you may think this definition of theme too simplistic. It must be harder than this, you think. It isn’t. You are also worried about being perceived as too preachy. Over the years, I have encountered many students concerned with being too preachy or blatant, but never one who was afraid of not being clear enough or that their point would not be understood.

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