If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

To Theme or Not To Theme

After I finished my first novel, I attended a writing conference. A writing coach, who called himself an editor, a title I now know has no fixed definition, talked about themes in our stories, as if an author chose a topic like the subject of a term paper and embedded a theme within the manuscript. I wondered if I’d missed an essential element of writing since I had never pondered my theme.

After I returned from the conference and thought about my book, I realized that the theme in my novel was child abuse, the pivotal element uncovered by the main character enabling her to solve the murder. Symbolism in novels I’ve read always seemed hokey to me, something implanted for English teachers’ use to torment their students. Should I have planted symbolism or other cryptic code to carry my theme throughout the book? Perhaps I needed to add a black cloud appearing over the abuser’s head, shown pets shying away from him or given the abuser horrendous body odor.

I set my novel aside, after receiving negative responses from agents, and wrote short stories for a few months. Having written a few, I saw a pattern, a central theme of people abusing people in my work, sometimes focusing on child abuse, other times elucidating essential control and power issues of domination that are elements of abuse. (Read The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion, if you haven’t yet.) There was one other commonality, the setting. In most of them, I set the story at the beach. Laughing at myself, I knew I was a beach person, but didn’t know that unconsciously I lived there.

In my next novel, I tried implanting a theme. Through my characters’ dialogue, I made scathing comments about politics, and then realized the dialogue was totally out of character and unnecessary baggage that detracted from my story. Exorcising me from the manuscript improved it. Consciously writing a theme within the context of my story, as suggested by the editor, was the wrong advice and a lesson learned. Beginning writers are like adolescents, maturing and evolving, our identities unmasked and our values revealed by the process. Our themes emerge. There may be those writers who actually do choose a theme, but when they do, they handicap their story.

Now, I write the story securely knowing that I have burned any metaphorical nude photos in my past to haunt me, reconciled the stinky socks in my heart to taint, and sheathed the sharpened knives used to avenge past transgressions against me. In short, I have no personal agenda that will mire my work, an advantage that enables me to concentrate on presenting characters and plots to entertain my reader.

When I tried writing in my thirties, I felt my experience was too limited to write, not wise enough to put pen to paper, and in a way, I was right. As an adolescent writer, I am climbing the learning curve, but as a middle-age person, I’ve already attained the summit and that’s a huge advantage. It’s the song, not the singer, it’s get over yourself already, it’s the adolescent who grows up and realizes it’s not all about him. Writing is all about the reader.
E. B. Davis

P.S.-Check my page, link provided at the top of the homepage for opinions on my new novel’s concept.

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