Five Steps to Theme

I recently was listening to Robin Perini‘s Layering Complexity – great writer workshop btw – and she mentioned Bruce Ballenger and Barry Lane and their book Discovering the Writer Within. The authors include a writing exercise where you write down the title, first line, last line, sentence or passage with the most unusual or significant detail, and the most important line. This helicopter view of the book allows you to look at theme.

Brief example: High Fidelity (2000) 
“What came first, the music or the misery?” The movie is about a playlist. A powerful movie score to the drama that is love.

So I thought I would try it out. Here are my five things from Waking Jamal

Title: Waking Jamal

1st line: Activation for Jamal Zumati started on a Thursday morning.

Last line: Yeah, well worth the wait.

Unusual or significant detail: “But that’s what I’m saying. There is no such thing as bonding heat.” / “I just spent two hours defending out bond, and you’re telling me you’ve never felt that? Don’t even believe we’re supposed to be together?” (at least I think it is unusual for there not to be a fated/mated element to paranormal stories these days)

Most important line: If they give you carte blanche to to this Valhalla program the right way, you can make a difference.

Can you list (feel free to paraphrase) your latest book or favorite book’s five things? Or maybe a favorite movie?

Also, Robin Perini is doing a Master Class workshop here in Boise in September. Here are the details.