The Author's Craft on #RomanceBeckons: Messages In My Writing #amwriting #HEARTandSOUL

Do you place messages in your writing? Is there purposeful meaning to your stories?
When I began writing, I was compelled by the idea of sharing messages through stories. Sometimes these were obvious but other times, I inserted these unaware. What I discovered though is that I can create a more meaningful story -one that readers are drawn to- by being purposeful, by knowing the message and intertwining it into my book's theme.

Having a message -something readers can take away from the book- takes a story from good to great. A meaningful message stays with the reader after they close your book. Don't get me wrong... a story without a message can still be an entertaining read but it's less likely to be memorable to the reader. Think about it. Consider a book you've read that has stayed with you. Then consider what it was about that book. Was there a message that spoke to you?

The messages come from deep inside the writer. Writers are deeply thoughtful, introspective people. Our feelings run long and our values deeply rooted. So it's no surprise that the messages in our stories are reflections of our values. Sometimes the messages drive the story. They serve as inspiration, or we may use a story to explore an issue. They key though is making sure the story is primary to the message.
If the story is a quilt, the message is the batting. The batting is important to making the quilt but isn't what the eye is drawn to. The batting is covered by the fabric, or in writing terms, the story's characters. The batting just makes us want to snuggle with it a little while longer.
I keep the message in the back of my mind as I write. As the plot unwinds and there are decisions to be made, the choices reinforce my message. More often than not, I find myself infusing the message -or the value set- into my characters and allowing them to choose their path based on these values.
In the Heart And Soul series, Aubrey is discovering who she wants to be as a young
adult. Coming from a home with a verbally abusive father and a withdrawn mother, and her only mission ever being to escape, Aubrey has never really lived. When she meets William, a man who knows who he is and what he wants, she begins looking forward to the future. 
The message that I hope to convey is that while our childhood defines us, we determine that definition. Self-determination takes strength. We can continue a circle of abuse or we can stand against it. By the end of the series, Aubrey's choices are different than those in book one because she has grown into a stronger young woman.

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