NaNoWriMo – Challenge Met

I would imagine that the news has already passed among my most faithful readers through other means, but for those of you who may have missed it: I finished my second NaNoWriMo challenge a little over a week ago, on November 23, 2011.  I don’t know exactly when it happened, because I updated my word count at 11:47 PM and it was already there–50,147 words.  In all, I tallied 2,622 words that night, in one of my strongest and fastest periods of sustained writing this November.

I now run into the problem of trying to wrap everything up.  In terms of my outlining, I’m 80% of the way done with the book.  In terms of NaNoWriMo-dedicated outline, I’m 57.1% (give or take) of the way through that outline.  As of this writing, it is December 1, 2011, and I haven’t written anything of substance since Sunday.  All things considered, I’m fairly pleased with my progress and my writing from the past month.  Editing will be interesting, but I’m possibly another 25k from that.

At any rate, thank you, gentle reader, for being patient with me as I continue my drive towards novel #2.  I am still trying to find the right title for it, but as it stands “Big Man” is most in line with the topic and the theme.  I’d like to expound a little upon topic and theme, as it has been drilled into my head through teaching and reading, but I also want to be brief, as I am itching to dive back into my 12th of 15 sections.

Stephen King isn’t alone when he says that theme is best left to editing, as with symbolism.  Others believe that theme should be the first thing you have, before you have a story. What is a theme?  Well, it is a good guide.  The only issue is this: if you start out with a theme in mind, what happens when your characters defeat your theme, flout it, or do nothing more than go about proving it?  King deals with theme admirably, though he also has Mother Abigail serve as a ‘living’ reminder of the theme of “The Stand.”  He isn’t always that transparent, and even though Mother Abigail discusses the theme of The Stand at length, a tome of that tonnage has room for more than one theme.  Some tales don’t delve into the theme, and that seems to become more and more prevalent as time marches on. Perhaps that is preferable to Hawthorne, whose themes were always discussed in essay-like detail at either the beginning or the end of his romances.  All of this ranting serves one function, me thinking out loud: how do I deal with theme?  How would you, gentle readers, if you were to write a novel?

For quick reference: I’m using “theme” in the sense of ‘what an author has to say about a topic.”  Themes are not definite, though some authors will make themes overtly definite (“Be True! Be True! Be True! [etc] for example]; there can be more than one theme, but there has to be evidence to support each.  e.g. To Kill a Mockingbird’s theme might be “Prejudice condemns innocent men,” as Tom Robinson is condemned because he was a black man who felt sorry for a white woman, which ruined what little chance he had of being acquitted by a white jury.  

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