Themes as Little Darlings that May Have to Be Killed

Clarifications up front for terms as I use them in this post:

  • "Plot" refers to the story as an identifiable structure, a sequence of events from beginning to conclusion. This is the sort of thing that can be summarized or outlined, as in, "Prota Gonist leaves his house in the morning to go to work. He winds up fighting traffic, avoiding potential accidents, and overcoming similar obstacles on the way. When he gets there, his boss warns him about his lateness, and Prota Gonist quits at the end of the day. When he gets home, he puts a For Sale sign on his car and takes a job (previously offered) at a greengrocer’s next door to his house."
  • "Theme" refers to messages or meanings within a story. For example, "Wasted time, aggravation, and danger can outweigh the extra money you get from a job."
  • "Little Darlings" is a writer’s term (I forget who coined it, King maybe?) for things in a work that the writer has fallen in love with and cannot bear to destroy, no matter how bad it may be for the work as a whole.