Thursday, February 21, 2013
Connect With Maps
“Theme in literature is the idea that holds the story together, such as a comment about society, human nature, or the human condition. It is the main idea or central meaning of a piece of writing.” Rebecca J. Lukens
Although theme is an integral element, it is not always visible, or at least not on the surface. Yet without its natural thread weaving throughout, the story will remain unfinished and unfocused, regardless of the expertise of the writer. Something will emotionally remain undone.
Think of the maps we follow faithfully down city routes, turn a corner and discover where a road should be is a very tall brick building. The road was there but has been cut off, perhaps decades earlier, and only after much trial and error do we find a way around and back to the squiggly lines the map says will get us to our destination. Only now we are completely frustrated and no longer trust the ink directions.
On the other hand the theme that quietly draws us through shadows and back alleys and into hidden compartments feels more like a treasure hunt and when we see theses lines shape into their pattern, our response is an ah-ha moment.
In the mystery series Midsomer Murders, it is not unusual for the investigators to have maps up on their boards to help mark out routes suspects may have taken within a time frame to commit the murder. Since Midsomer is a fictional county there are many rural hamlets, villages with paths and alleys, busy towns, and sometimes hidden underground tunnels. The guilty knew their lay of the land well and used it to their advantage. Often though the physical map and the psychological map were intertwined in the theme.
So also for the character Calli, in The Crystal Scepter, who after a shattering experience flees up a deserted coastline, but through the journey is restored to her true nature. Then when disaster comes again she is able to stand firm to her heart’s truth.
Look at possible physical maps in your story line. Which characters walk them? For each person, link the external map to their internal emotional arc and the overall theme.
Share: Did your choice add a deeper context to your story?