How do you arrive at a theme for your story?
You can have an idea in mind. For example, you may want to write a story about love being stronger than hate. So, now all you have to do is craft a story around this idea.
Sometimes you have a great idea for a story but don’t have the foggiest idea what the theme might be. You can write your story and in the creation discover your theme.
But, what happens when you’ve completed your story and still can’t see a theme? It can just be a matter of going back over your work examining it for the idea or ideas that stands out. You can have more than one theme in your story. Suppose your action adventure story featuring a secret agent has him putting himself in harm’s way for others. Then your theme could be sacrifice. Or, what if you write about a heroine who’s husband divorces her leaving her with nothing? She then goes on to dig her way out of poverty to found a successful Internet company. Here your theme could be perseverance in the face of adversity and/ or success is the best revenge.
Is theme really that important? Couldn’t you write a perfectly entertaining piece without worrying about theme? The answer, of course, is yes.
So, why worry about theme? What advantages, if any, does having a theme provide?
Theme is important for several reasons:
• Theme helps you organize your plot around a central coherent idea and avoids just having a random collection of actions.
• Your main character’s world view as shown by what he does in your story is better expressed around a central theme.
• If your goal is to express a main idea in your writing they you’ll want to have that theme before setting out.
• A theme can elevate your writing. By writing around a theme you can create more memorable characters and plots.
I’m sure if you thought it over, you could come up with several more reasons.
For more on theme check out my previous blogs “Find Your Theme” and “What’s Your Theme?”.