Battling Themes Causes Bi-Polar Character

02.19.10

Image by colemama via Flickr

I’ve realized why I’m stuck in my writing this week. After a few weeks of frustrating writer’s block, and having to delete several chapters and revise several scenes, I read at my local writer’s group who gave me another reason to be frustrated. I’m not frustrated with the writers group- not at all. They pointed out another serious flaw that I have to go back and fix. But it gave me the first insight into my much bigger problem that spurned all the others I was fighting.

My theme is all screwed up in my current project. Some days my theme is about my heroine trying to reclaim the life she wanted before her injury. Other days my theme is focused on the anger and frustration in trying to deal with the pain of her injury. And other days is all focused on going after the love of her life. So when I sat back and compared the scenes, my heroine seems strangely bi-polar. Extreme highs and lows in her emotions and behaviors from one day to the next, its hard for me to keep track. I can only imagine what the reader would think.

My writer’s group told me that in the scene I presented, my main character is too nice. She was boring. I needed to *itch her up. And they were right. In that particular scene, she was trying to be too polite and accommodating.  But in the next scene, she was a raging, chemically imbalanced drama queen that sparked from a phone call. And the cycle seems to repeat itself over the next few scenes.

After perusing a few author’s blogs I follow and a several other sites, I narrowed down on my overall issue. I have too many themes and they’re all battling each other. I need to get a handle on which theme I want the most prevalent in the book and write the scenes that way. In fact, its suggested to write my theme on a piece of paper, and tape the paper to my laptop or on my desk while I write. That way I’m constantly reminded of the MAIN THEME throughout my piece. Because the other themes are present in my mind and in the overall situation, they’ll be lingering in the background, but I can’t let those overpower the main theme.

So now my problem is picking the major theme. I posted a poll a week ago on my blog getting other opinions to help narrow down my choice. I appreciate those who’ve participated.  I’d always love more feedback. But I thought I’d keep you all posted on my current WIP (work-in-progress).

Writers: have you struggled with the theme in any of your manuscripts? How did you overcome it?

Readers: have you read any books that seemed to struggle too much between themes? What kinds of themes do you like best to read?

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