Help! My Story is Misbehaving

Forums Fiction Themes Help! My Story is Misbehaving

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    Quinn O’Fallon

    So, after that strange title, I’ll explain what’s going on. So, I’m working on outlining this novel, and I have the theme nailed down. It’s loyalty. I’m starting to weave some elements of it into my plot, such as characters switching loyalties and my main character not knowing who to trust or if she should even stay loyal to her own cause. However, I just can’t figure out my focusing question/message. The creativity is just not flowing today. You all have any ideas for focusing questions/messages for my story? If you need any more information or clarification, feel free to ask. I’m often mildly incoherent.

    Quinn O’Fallon

    Umm… *tries to remember tags*

    @brandon-miller @skredder @pookiemonster @dekreel @everyone pleeeease I gotta learn more people’s tags

    Allison Grace

    Hi! I’m not sure I can help, because I have trouble with themes and stuff. But, @josiah did a whole course on theme. @daeus-lamb @warrenluther04 @elizabeth @theinvizibleman I’m just tagging you because I know your names and maybe you can help @quinn-ofallon 🙂

    "I cannot live without books." -Thomas Jefferson


    @quinn-ofallon That sounds like an interesting story! I like your theme! I’m a bit confused, but I think that it’s just because I am currently tired from school/a Scout campout. What do you mean by question/message? Could you give me your story outline? I think that that might help me help you. (That probably made no sense… 😀 )

    I understand what you mean by a “misbehaving” story. My characters do that a lot too! 😉

    House Vizsla, Clan Avis
    Member of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, Phoenix Squadron


    Knowing the story outline would be of immense help for this kind of question.

    If you make decisions out of fear, you are more likely to be wrong


    @quinn-ofallon By “focusing question/message”, do you mean the story’s moral? If so, maybe “Why does being/staying loyal matter?”

    If you make decisions out of fear, you are more likely to be wrong


    @theinvizibleman I totally agree with you, the story outline would be a lot of help.

    House Vizsla, Clan Avis
    Member of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, Phoenix Squadron

    Quinn O’Fallon

    @allison-grace Nice to meet you! (And thanks for tagging more people!)

    @theinvizibleman Sorry for the confusion–school fried my brain today. Yes, by “focusing question/message” I mean moral. It’s from a Kingdom Pen worksheet on theme. I don’t currently have the whole story outlined, but I want to get my moral nailed down before moving on so I can build the rest of the story around it. So I guess what I’m looking for (I probably should’ve said this before) are ideas for morals related to loyalty. Thanks for trying to help this poor sleep-deprived girl!


    @quinn-ofallon How about:

    Should you stay more loyal towards family over boss/ruler/king/emperor? (Or vice-versa)

    Does staying loyal matter, or is it right for one to be constantly changing sides?

    What determines what side you are loyal to? Is it money, debt, power, revenge, blood, faith?

    Hope this helps

    If you make decisions out of fear, you are more likely to be wrong

    Quinn O’Fallon

    @theinvizibleman Yes, that helps a lot. The last one especially is getting me thinking. Thanks!


    I agree with @theinvizibleman , an outline would be ideal.

    The creativity is just not flowing today.

    However if you’re problem lies in getting those creative juices flowing (that sounds disgusting if you think about it), here are some of the things that I recommend.

    1.) Get a sheet of paper and write down everything that pops up in         your head (my personal favorite)

    2.) Look up (insert your favorite genre) prompt on pinterest.

    3.) Chat with a little kid ( the things  they come up with amaze and scare…I speak from experience ᕳ૦ઁ‸૦ઁᕲ )

    4.)  Put one of your characters in a situation totally unrelated to                   your current WIP and see what happens.

    5.) Open a dictionary to a random page and pick a word to write         about.

    I noticed this was getting a little long, so I’ll stop. If those aren’t working for you, I have more options at hand.

    Hope this was at least somewhat helpful   🙂

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Violet. Reason: Spacing

    Just remember to... Trust in God, Stay Safe, and Eat Doughnuts 🍩🍩

    K.M. Small

    @quinn-ofallon Ooh, that’s a nice theme! Lots of fun potential there with possible betrayals 😉

    Hm… what about:

    – who deserves our loyalty?

    – what does it mean to be loyal?

    – how far should our loyalty extend? (i.e. to the point of killing someone?)

    – why is loyalty necessary?

    – what must we do to gain the loyalty of others?

    I really love talking about/brainstorming themes, so I’d love to help out more if you need it 😀

    "Beauty will save the world." - Dostoevsky

    Josiah DeGraaf

    @quinn-ofallon Audrey & the Invizible Man have some good recommendations on this front. My general advice on themes is to think about really difficult, open-ended questions about the topic. For your specific story, perhaps a good question would be: “How long should you stay loyal to someone?” or “How should you figure out who you can trust?”

    Once you know your question, determining the message is just a matter of using yours and others’ experience, knowledge of Scripture, and general philosophy to craft your answer to that question.

    Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.com

    Quinn O’Fallon

    @josiah @pookiemonster Thanks for the tips!

    Oh yes. Many, many heartrending betrayals planned. Mwahahaha… I really like brainstorming with other people too! It helps me think better.

    Rachel Rogers

    @quinn-ofallon Theme and “the moral of the story…” is not really my area, but it does sound like some other people had really great ideas. One thing I would add that might help you narrow it down is that you should always ask yourself why the point of the story is vitally important to your character(s) and how they, specifically, can be the means of communicating that message better than any other character in any other setting.

    Ambiverted INFP. Scribbles all the words. Names the plant friends. Secretly Edna the Piguirrel.

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