It’s thirteen days into NaNoWriMo, and I’m stuck at just under 3000 words (I should be near 25,000 by now).
Part of it is because I’m just so busy: stupid job that allows no time for writing, trying to get to the gym a few times a week, searching and applying for jobs, helping my brother with the GED, and beginning my application for grad school.
But I realized today that a big reason for my procrastination is that my story has no overarching theme. Right now, it’s just a steampunk mystery thriller.
My other two novels both had universal themes. The Lone Wolf is a story of love and betrayal, forgiveness and redemption. A Handful of Wishes has two themes: growth over a lifetime following Kolberg’s stages of moral development, and the destructive power of pride, through the genie Paribanu’s story.
When I write short stories, I don’t focus on theme; I just write, and usually something emerges. Then it’s picked up on by critiquers, and I develop it more deeply during edits.
But my novels are different. I need a deeper purpose while writing. My NaNo novel has nothing, and until I figure out its message, I don’t know how far I can get.
Do you prefer books with meaningful themes, or do you want a story to be just a story? For the writers out there, do you try to put a theme in your works? And once it’s there, do you try to develop it more deeply, or do you keep it subtle/barely noticeable?