Something really amazing happened to me this week. While I was revising my middle grade manuscript, I realized…my book has a theme! And the strange thing? The theme wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.
About half-way through writing the first draft of The Happiness Project, I decided the theme of the story would be about the importance of having opinions, and how having different opinions can be a good thing (in relationships and especially in society).
So, okay. Fine. That’s a fine theme.
But then this week, when I was working on approximately draft #347 of the book, I came across a sentence that jumped out at me. It was one line my main character said to her mom while they were talking about the family dog. And I realized: that one line is my theme!
It was one of those moments where fireworks went off and angels sang and chocolate was eaten quickly! I had heard of this happening to writers before—they write a story and many, many drafts later the theme presents itself to the author. Like magic! Then these lucky authors write another draft where they strengthen the theme and make one of those...you know…awesome books. I just never thought I’d be one of those authors.
Just like I never thought I’d consider myself a runner. I usually describe myself as someone who “moves her feet rapidly 3-4 times per week.” Not a runner. But I guess technically I can now call myself a runner because I've experienced that one thing that all real runners have experienced: Runner’s High. Know what I’m talking about? That moment where you’re running and you realize that your brain is not attached to your body and your lungs are on auto-pilot and you feel so good you think you could run forever…or at least all the way from Sarah Palin’s house to Russia and back!?
Well, it happened to me! (Once.) I was running on the beach in Morro Bay, CA and I literally ran so far I ran all the way to the next town. I ran so far the dog leash law changed!
So, I guess I can kind of call myself a real runner. And now I feel like a real writer. I wrote a story and the theme presented itself to me like magic!
Now that’s Writer’s High!