The Real Meaning of Show Don’t Tell (Daisy Jones)

Listen to the lesson:
  • Astrid Egger says:

    I have often read that “theme” is something at the emotional core of the piece, but that in a first draft, a theme may not be truly clear to the writer. It emerges over successive drafts, and because it is an abstraction- often one word- its statement doesn’t mention the characters in the piece. And we can find more than one abstraction in a piece of writing. In an ideal situation between writer and reader there is the image of co-creating meaning, with the reader filling in the blanks (some of them very obviously constructed like clues and foreshadowing) to assist with interpretation. The author’s and reader’s interpretation approach one another but don’t always match completely.
    The theme is the pebble in my back pocket that pokes at me as I sit down to write; instead of taking it out and setting it aside, I try to connect characters and their specific actions to this theme too soon in the draft. And because I want to avoid pain, I avoid collisions between characters and their actions all in service of the theme when a bit of risk taking might lead to a more exciting story.

  • It took watching the miniseries for me to really nail down what I felt the theme of DJ&T6 was because in my humble opinion, the writers of the show missed the mark entirely. As I watched and noticed the changes they made in the narrative(s) I realized that this story is a romance, a love affair, but it is less one between two people and more a destructive/tragic romance about two people’s love of rock ‘n roll. I think the “will they/won’t they” construction of the Daisy/Billy storyline is meant to underscore this fact–of course they won’t get together because they are too much alike. They seek the same sort of affirmation from the world that they didn’t receive as children for them to make a good coupling. ***SPOILER ALERT*** I feel the note from Billy’s wife about “they owe me a song” reflects that she was the only one in the the love triangle that understood this and is the reason why she stood by Billy despite the circumstances.

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