Nancy's Books

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Theme/Call for Submissions

You’ve polished the character, the plot has twists and turns, and the dialog is snappy. When it seems that everything in the manuscript has come together in perfect harmony, it’s time to focus on the theme. Check your story for the broad message. Aim for a universal message with which many, maybe all, readers can identify. Writing about the loss of a pet, moving, fighting with a best friend, and controlling anger are themes that stand out and help young reader learn to cope. A story without an overall theme is considered to be too slight for publication by many editors.

The theme is not intended to sound preachy or teachy, nor is it presented directly to the reader, as in Jill learned to be nice to her friend. The theme is the underlying truth that evolves from the character and plot and recurs throughout the story. If the readers identifies with the theme, a stronger emotional connection is made with the story.

Is your story stronger because you have an identifiable theme or themes? If not, the manuscript needs more work.

Call for Submissions for adult writers:
Big Muddy, a literary journal, seeks new poetry, fiction, articles, photos (reproduced in b&w; high contrast is preferred) for its upcoming issue. Any topic, any style. Send unpublished work, cover letter, and SASE to Susan Swartwout, Big Muddy, One University Plaza, MS 2650, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701 .
Details at

Check out more contests on my blog:

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