Themes and the story.
Theme is what your story is about. Theme gives your story a below-the-surface deeper meaning.
Recently I’ve begun thinking about different themes that run through stories. I love it when I’m reading and the theme begins to emerge and by the end of the story, I get it. I go, “Wow.” And the story stays with me even after I’ve reluctantly read the last word.
Have you read any stories like that lately? I’m reading one now. I was asked to read it and consider it for an endorsement. I’ll definitely be endorsing this book. It’s about helping others. Serving others even when it’s not convenient for you. And it has a great murder mystery woven throughout. That’s was a great book does. It has the reader examining his/her own life because the theme has touched her. It’s made her go, “Oh, how am I doing in this area?” Or is has the reader saying, “Wow, my friend, Ann, needs to read this because she’s struggling in this area.” A book like this is much more than just a story. It’s power. Power to change lives. The power to offer encouragement, to fill someone with determination, to offer hope.
And that’s just amazing to me.
As a writer, sometimes I start with an idea for the theme. Other times, it comes to me as I write. It’s absolutely possible to start a story with no theme in mind, but I’ve found that as I fill out my character sketches for the hero and heroine, and sometimes a secondary character, a theme will emerge. Because as I learn about my characters, get to know their pasts, their baggage, their likes and dislikes, their hurts and triumphs, the theme of the story is related to that. In my stories, theme is character driven. I might have a sketchy idea of the plot, a few scenes that I know I want to incorporate, who the villain is, and what’s going to happen by the end of the book, but if I don’t know my characters, I find I have no theme. I know a lot of authors write their stories around a theme they’ve already picked out, but I’ve never done this.
What about you? How do you decide on a theme for your story? Does it come as the story progresses or do you decide before you start writing? And if you’re not a writer, but a reader, what kind of themes do you like to see in the stories you read?
Thanks for stopping by!