Your story, no matter how short or long, isn't a recounting of a series of events (even a love affair, or a war) but a commentary on the human condition. Your work becomes art when you have something to say* about life, about people.
Let's call it theme: to me, theme is the overall concept of the piece, which then turns a story into art. Here are some tips re: theme:
- Theme is best used in a novel or story when the internal theme (e.g. fear of ridicule) is mirrored by the external theme (e.g. saber rattling, war).
- Themes can give an interesting insight into a unifying thread through your body of work and can be personally revealing.
- You'll have to understand your themes to write a good description of your book.
Feel free to outline the themes of your work, in the comments section below.
For example, themes of my work:
- Aftershocks, control is a drug like any other
- The Price of Passion, the price you pay for both emotions you feel and those you refuse
- The Mandrake Broom, women's hidden internal strength vs external weakness and vice versa
- A Slender Tether: title, thin connection between what is and what can be; what is and what is imagined, the fragile tether that keeps us from harm and loneliness
- Novella: "Raptor Among the Bluebirds", the feeling of being a social outcast, vicious among the decorative; ambition can be like a drug; the consequences of female silence; the shock of how it feels when you finally get what you want
- Story: "The Gong Farmer's Tale", magical realism, excessive love of another is actually self-love; excessive self-abnegation is narcissistic; the bear's gesture is magical devotion
- Novella: "The Vat Man's Promise", the freedom in being invisible; how it feels to be seen; the joy of the un-judged life; work is a gift of agency
- TO BE RELEASED FEBRUARY 2020 -- Straight Uphill, the many facets of love; romantic love, fear of love, love of purpose; love of country, love of families in their various incarnations; sorrow as a form of love; the courage to choose love despite fear
- CURRENT WORK IN PROGRESS -- Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar, (w.i.p.) legitimacy; the fine line between legitimacy and illegitimacy, the validation and non- of social trappings and authority
*"All artists have something to say, Johnson," says Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, portrayed as the real Shakespeare in the movie Anonymous. "Otherwise they'd be making shoes, and you, (Ben) Johnson, are no cobbler."
BTW, I teach a workshop on the topic that can be booked for your conference or school.