A few weeks ago I was very fortunate to secure a place in a workshop at The Queensland Writers Centre through The Australia Council for the Arts. The presenter of the workshop – Market Development Skills for Australian Authors – is a publicist for one of Australia’s largest trade publishers.
One of the questions she asked us was:
What are the themes/messages in your work?
Apparently we should aim for seven themes, and if they are not immediately evident, then we need to ask others who have read our work. Our themes need to be succinct and clear, while the most obvious ones aren’t always the most interesting. Keep brainstorming until you have uncovered all seven. The last two or three will make the most catchy hooks when it comes to writing your book’s pitch.
With a short novel of only 12,000 words, I thought this might be an impossible task. But, surprisingly, there were in fact seven themes hidden within my new book Snap Magic.
And here they are as they relate to the characters and plot:
1. Trust – Twelve-year-old Lily is not sure whether she can trust her best friend Maureen with her secret. And the cute new boy in school… Is he just like all the other boys, or is he OK?
2. Bullying – Lily does her best to avoid the overt bully Rick, but it is the covert bully, Ellen, she should be watching out for.
3. Fears – A tween’s life is filled with anxiety and fears: fear of not fitting in; fear of your secret being found out; fear of the whole school laughing at you.
4. Embarrassing parents – Lily’s mom and dad seem oblivious to her problems. Dad keeps giving away pumpkin soup, and Mom’s new passion for Snap ‘n’ Snack is particularly cringeworthy.
5. Onset of puberty – There are some things Lily would rather pretend aren’t happening – like shopping for a bra with her mom; having her first crush; and that bothersome excess hair on her chin.
6. Humor – Life is full of funny and magical moments. Unfortunately for Lily they all collide in one long sequence of hilarious events.
7. Consequences – For every action there is a reaction. The bullies Rick and Ellen learn this the hard way. And even Lily knows not to trust her old neighbor Mrs Swan’s magic solution – something bad is bound to happen.
And there you have it, the seven themes of Snap Magic. It would be interesting to hear whether others are able to find seven themes or messages within their own work too. Leave a message in the comments.
About the Author:
Angela Sunde is the author of the light-hearted fantasy novels Snap Magic, and Pond Magic (an Aussie Chomp - Penguin Australia.) Awarded a May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Fellowship in 2013, Angela represents the Gold Coast as a committee member of the Queensland branch of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is the editor of the Redlands City Council’s Junior Redlitzer Anthology 2014. Formerly an award-winning language and literacy teacher, she is also a children’s writing judge and offers workshops at libraries and schools. www.angelasunde.com
Listen to Angela Sunde’s interview on 612ABC Brisbane radio about the release of her new children's book Snap Magic : http://blogs.abc.net.au/queensland/2014/10/angela-sunde-releases-new-childrens-book-snap-magic.html
Snap Magic Blog Tour Dates:
Monday 13 October
Kids Book Review
Tuesday 14 October
Wednesday 15 October
Robyn Opie Parnell
Thursday 16 October
Friday 17 October
Chris Bell – From Hook to Book
Saturday 18 October
Boomerang Books Blog
Sunday 18 October
Sandy Fussell/The Reading Stack
Monday 20 October
Tuesday 21 October
Wednesday 22 October
Angela Sunde’s Blog Tour Wrap Up
Robyn Opie Parnell
About Snap Magic:
Something weird is going on...very weird. Long black hairs keep sprouting from Lily’s chin and her dad is looking more and more like a Yeti. Just what’s behind this fuzz fest? And is Lily really turning into a witch like her neighbor, Mrs Swan?Now the prettiest and meanest girl in class is threatening to tell the whole school, including the cute new boy. Can Lily put her desperate plan into action before the school bully strikes?And will the magical solution Mrs Swan offers work?After all, what’s the worst that could happen?A bewitchingly funny coming-‐‑of-‐‑age story about secrets, bullies and pumpkin soup – ideal for 9-‐‑12 year olds.
“Snap Magic began while recalling embarrassing tween memories one Sunday morning amidst laughter and aha moments.” Angela Sunde
Edited by Catherine McCredie – former senior editor with Penguin Group Australia, specializing in children’s and young adult books.