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A Pig with a Thematic Purpose

Here’s another post on theme from 10 years ago. Theme is so important to your story, so I hope you learn ways to incorporate theme into your pages!

As we’re exploring theme here, I want to add a little aside about symbols. Tying symbols in with a theme is very powerful, and the movie Babe does a great job with the gate as a symbol throughout the movie. I imagine few people ever really notice the bit about the gate other than the way it adds a bit of plot and humor, but it serves as another theme by way of symbolism.

Symbols as Theme

Symbols are generally a visual object, but they can also be a thought, idea, phrase, or gesture. These can also be considered as motifs (Check out my blog posts on motifs and how to use them to enrich your story). But the great thing about symbols is they pack a lot of meaning in a simple way. When you use a symbol as a thematic element, you want it to reappear numerous times throughout your novel. Continue Reading…

Getting “Slick” with Your Novel’s Theme

I thought, for fun, we might revisit some posts I wrote 10 years ago on theme. Enjoy!

I want to talk a little about universality with theme. Having a theme is great, but if a lot of people can’t relate to it, you’re not going to interest readers.

You want your themes to have universal appeal—which means they should be common to the human condition. If your theme is weak and simplistic, it won’t have impact. But if you build it over the entire novel, weaving it in as your characters experience life and learn and grow, the theme will deepen and become entrenched in the heart of the story.

As you plot out your scene, you’ll want to always ask yourself how you can tie your theme in with that moment in some way, however subtly or blatantly. It’s not so much the universality of the theme, though, that determines how powerful an effect it will have; it’s how well you develop it throughout your story. Continue Reading…

The Art of Masterful Fiction Dialogue

Writing great dialogue is probably the hardest skill fiction writers need to acquire.

If you’ve tried your hand at it, you know it’s tricky because dialogue in fiction is not at all like real-life dialogue. Which seems counterintuitive because fiction often is meant to present “real life” in a realistic fashion.

However, ordinary dialogue is usually boring and wordy. Or vague. Or all over the place.

Fiction writers need to write strategically and purposefully, every line, whether it be narrative, action, or dialogue.

So what are some tips to writing masterful dialogue?

I’ve compiled what I feel are the most important and succinct aspects of masterful dialogue in fiction, and if you struggle with writing snappy, engaging, believable, and fresh dialogue, these tips are for you. Continue Reading…

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