Theme

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

ExiledStar

Baby penguin of DOOM
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So I've been reading a couple of really good books about memoir, and they all tell me that memoir has to be a theme, that a memoir is basically an argument. And my problem with the memoir I'm writing is this: My theme seems to be the opposite of what I want it to be.

In my memoir, I struggle with the government of Slovenia to stay in that country, despite being deported three times, and ultimately I lose.

So the unintentional theme of all this is: don't fight the power, because the power always wins. That is NOT what I want my theme to be. I want my theme to be something like: Fight the power, because fighting the good fight is worth it even if you lose.

I'm just not sure how I actually implement this in my narrative.
 

Emily Winslow

Do Not Walk on the Grass
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I agree that theme is important, but I think it may be better to discover it after you've got a first draft rather than to decide beforehand. I wouldn't find it helpful to think of my story as an argument for a point of view; I get what they're saying, but I think that's too emphatic. My book is first a good story, I would hope.

Much of life is intending one thing and something else happens instead. You don't have to make the terms of your story, "I wanted X; I didn't get X; I therefore failed." It could be, "I wanted X; I got Y instead; isn't that interesting and in some ways maybe wonderful" or "I wanted X, and I got it for six whole years against the wishes of a powerful government; what an amazing adventure!"
 

ExiledStar

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That's a good point, Emily. I've got like 80% of my first draft done, but I feel it lacks cohesion somehow, which is why I'm paying more attention to theme.
 

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