A hodge-podge of thoughts on writing from my favorite authors ….
Plot or Theme Driven?
The trend in popular fiction these days is for a novel to be plot driven rather than theme or character driven. To chose the later is to walk the path of the dreaded literary novel (translation – not profitable). The argument is that writing from a theme is too “preachy” and heaven forbid that happen. Is there a workable balance between plot and theme?
Athol Dickson -”It is widely advised in literary circles that one cannot write good fiction by beginning with a theme and constructing a plot and characters around that theme. This is often said to be the path to propaganda. Some read “Catholic Novelists” in Flannery O’Connor’s Mystery and Manners and arrive at just this point. The author, they say, must allow the theme to grow from the natural interaction of the characters, trusting that the author’s world view will flow organically from the plot and characterization. That is art, whereas to methodically construct a plot and characters to express a predetermined theme is artificial. But I believe Ms. O’Connor would have agreed that the difference between art and propaganda has to do with the end result and not the method …”
Athol Dickson takes his own advice in writing carefuly crafted novels with complex characters and unforgetable themes. His novels include River Rising, The Cure, and Winter Haven. Athol’s novels deal with basic themes such as forgiveness and God’s soveriegnty in unobtrusive yet profound ways. Learn more about this author at AtholDickson.com.