Thursday, April 05, 2007

Finding the Spine

The draft of Flynn and Sara is proceeding fairly well. In part I owe this to the 4 months of gathering material and false starts and backstory pieces and the collage. In part I owe it to finally being able to articulate the spine of the story.

Maybe you would call it the "theme" -- but I'm never entirely sure what theme means. Well, sometimes, if it's something that hits me between the eyes, like "redemption" I understand. But otherwise, it's like I'm "theme challenged." The books aren't -- at least I hope they aren't. But my being able to articulate it is.

Twyla Tharp doesn't talk about theme so much in The Creative Habit as she talks about "the spine." It's important, she says, to find the spine of the work -- the structure that supports it.

And so I've been checking through my back story and my notion of where the book is going and into my "box" for Flynn and Sara's spine. And I think I've got it now -- it has to do with trust and the value of human worth and the power of love. Every time I try to narrow it down to one of those three, I find I can't do it.

So it has evolved into sort of a rock-scissors-paper spine. Love, worth and trust all exist together in a sort of creative tension that allows them to give validity to each other. And without all three, everyone is short-changed, and the relationships fall apart.

That's as good as I can do right now. But it's keeping me on track.


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