Why Theme Matters #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #Amwriting

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

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Herman Melvin Quote on theme

When writing, speaking, or listening to a podcast of something you love, isn’t there usually a bottom line? Isn’t there a point you want to make or hear? This is theme. Theme is the backbone of storytelling. I never realized the importance of interlacing key theme in thoughts and dialogue until I met my editor, and boy, did she really show me how to make it shine.

 

So how do you make theme shine as you write? The first thought I’d like to point out comes from the website “well-storied” by Kristen Kieffer. She states: “However, a story’s most important thematic statement is often that which lives at the heart of its characters’ experiences.”

 

So how do you get to the heart? Kieffer mentions the difference in theme and a thematic statement. Examples of literacy themes might be: coming of age, prejudice, discrimination, courage and heroism. From what I understand, thematic statements are more about the character your showing to the world.

 

Questions Kieffer asks when writing a specific statement are:

  1. “Who are your characters when the story begins?”
  2. “What conflicts will they experience?”
  3. “Who do they become when the story ends?”

 

An example of a theme in lord of the rings might be war and power, immortality at any price, even forgiveness. Taking it deeper, I can’t help but think of how many times Gollum could have been killed and yet he wasn’t. How the Elven princess gave her own immortality away so freely for love. How grander power means more hunger for more power and causes the loss of heart, of soul. So maybe a thematic statement might explore the price of immortality on the loss of the soul and the only way to remain rooted in soul is to give the power back. In any case, check out the article for all sorts of great examples. Happy Hop Day 🙂

About Erika Beebe

Author, dreamer, and a momma to a couple of wonderful kids, I try to live life everyday in hope and inspire others along my way.

Posted on August 19, 2020, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Theme was something I didn’t consider when writing my books, but once the stories were complete, a theme emerged for each one.

  2. Natalie Aguirre

    That’s great that your editor helped you understand theme. Kieffer’s questions are great ones to ask about our stories that can help us figure out the theme.

  3. Good Post Erika. I find theme is useful for deciding how to approach historical fiction, as it connects otherwise disparate events.

  4. Theme seems so basic to writing a story, but it’s also so easy to misfire and be all over the place!

  5. Great tips! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. I’m in the middle of editing, so any craft article like this sends me over the edge. Oh no! Something I’ve done wrong! I like the three questions at the end to keep up on track. I’ll keep those in mind while writing from now on.

  7. Theme sounds like it’s connected to the character arc.

  8. Great post. It ate my first comment so trying again. Sorry if you somehow get two. Being a romance writer, I’m not sure I’ve focused on theme so much as tropes. But I guess it could be similar.

  9. In the past, I’ve spent hours scouring blogs for a consensus on theme versus thematic statement definitions, and I wish I’d just read this post lol. 🙂

  10. Good info. I hear a lot about universal themes–meaning that many readers can identify with the theme so they will be interested in the story.
    JQ Rose

  11. Thank you for the suggestions here. I’m hoping that it will help me develop the theme I have in mind for my WIP

  12. Theme is often so hard to identify. And I wonder sometimes if readers see a different theme in the writing than the author did. But it is certainly something to be kept in mind to keep the story travelling in the right direction.

  13. I went through an exercise a couple of years ago when asked what my main theme was across my books – eventually I found it was love. Not just romantic but for family, friends the world around us. It threads across all my books. Great post.

  14. Ronel Janse van Vuuren

    Great post. I like adding themes for fun 🙂

    Ronel catching up for August Author Toolbox day DIY Booktrailers

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