Tag Archive - theme

Digging to Find the Theme in Your Novel

When you ask a fiction writer what her story is about, she will usually explain the plot. Yes, plot is what the story is about, but theme is what the story is really about, below the plot.

Do you really have to have a theme for your book? Not necessarily in a formal sense, but think about theme as some essential take-away thought you want to leave your reader with when they finish the book. Theme speaks to your plot, but more so to the heart of your story. One way to get to your theme is to ask yourself just why you are writing this book, anyway.

Do you have a message or something you want to say to your readers, some commentary on life, society, government, faith, or some other issue? Even if you are not trying to push a “message” per se, your book should be about something. Continue Reading…

2 Key Factors in Successfully Outlining Stories

Today’s guest post is by Andrea Turrentine.

If you intend to write a novel, I can tell you most publishers may ask you for an outline and a few chapters.

Outlining may be unavoidable, especially for new writers.

It is also pointless to debate the efficacy of outlining because no doubt most of the best pros do it.

Atwood. Rowling. Martin. Patterson. Gaiman. Sorkin. Rhimes (She doesn’t need to now but teaches her students how she did so when she started out).

If it works, it works. That’s right. I’m taking a hard stance.

What we are going to look at is about outlining in practice. So, while devout pantsers may wish to leave, don’t! I may yet convert you. Continue Reading…

4 Ways to Bring Out Theme in Your Story

Theme is such an important element of story, regardless of medium. Even visual arts, such as paintings or sculture, tell a story and often center on some theme. Yet, you’ll find few blog posts or podcasts discussing what theme is in a story and how to showcase it.

I feel theme is so crucial to a great story that I chose it as one of the four corner pillars of novel construction. And while some novelists may argue that the genre they write in really doesn’t require themes (suspense/thriller, mystery, for example), for a deeper, richer story, themes are the ticket.

To get to the heart of the themes for your story, ask yourself questions:

  • Why I am passionate about this plot I’ve come up with?
  • What issues speak to my heart or upset me?
  • How can I have my characters embody these opinions or passions?
  • What kinds of conflicts in values, morals, beliefs, and ideas can my characters have that will enhance my premise?

Continue Reading…

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