Friday, June 13, 2014

Writing To A Theme Is Not Easy

smiley down in the dumpsYep, this is the way I look and feel this morning. Not because of any catastrophe in my life. It's all my own doing. Our state authors club sponsors an annual writing contest with several categories to enter and I've created my own problem with it.

Each year, the theme is different and has its own category to enter either prose or poetry. This year's theme threw me for a loop. I've been thinking about it for months now, trying to come up with a story or a poem to fit Salt of the Earth. The district hosting our annual convention selected the theme because they happen to have a salt mine in one of their cities--Hutchinson, KS.

I've considered the scripture about salt as the basis for a story. I've toyed with the meaning of a person who is the salt of the earth. Nothing! Working in a salt mine. Nope, I know nothing about that. Writing to a particular theme is not easy. Interpretation enters in a big way. My interpretation and that of the judge may be miles apart.

But then, last night, an idea for a story started to form in my mind. I used The Great Salt Lake in Utah as the setting, placed a girl there who had just muffed a suicide attempt. Melodramatic? You betcha! I had no idea where the story would take me and how I'd bring salt of the earth into it. I knew that making the story happen by The Great Salt Lake was not enough to wow a judge.

I started writing and let the story take me with it. I questionned myself more than once. Was the bit on salt overdone or not emphasized enough? Did the part about salt appear contrived? Would anyone else 'get' what I was attempting to say?  Questions but few answers. So I went to bed hoping I'd wake up this morning with the light bulb on.

This morning, I still had the questions and no answers. This thing was not working. What to do? Scrap it? Start over? File it away for another day?

The deadline to mail entries is Sunday so this is my own fault, isn't it? I started too late. I should have pushed myself harder on coming up with a theme story sooner. No time to take the limp first draft and polish it into something that I might consider to enter. I didn't heed my own advice on this blog.

You might look as glum as the clipart guy above when you have a story idea that doesn't work out. We're not going to hit the bullseye every time we take aim. Even so, it's not the end of the world.

I plan to put in a little more time on my story today and if it doesn't work out, I'll put it in a file for another time. It's time to move on to a new project. I'm looking forward to seeing what others will enter in the theme category this year. What will they come up with that escaped me totally?

No comments:

Post a Comment