Writing

Establishing A Theme In Your Writing

Establishing a theme in your writing.jpg

Your theme is what your book is based on. It is the subject of your book, not the plot, which is how your story will unfold. Your theme should be conveyed in a sentence or a word, such as forgiveness, loneliness, a young boy sets out to find himself, etc. Your theme ‘word’ may seem negative like loneliness, but that doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom for your protagonist. You have to use your theme and plot a way for your protagonist’s loneliness to become something more or to drive their actions and thoughts. They may find someone who alleviates their loneliness or maybe they make peace and embark on an inner journey.

Don’t forget to add conflict, because it will drive your plot forward and keep your readers engaged.

Choose to write a subject that you are passionate about. It is very difficult to write about a subject you have no interest in. You could write about a topic that solves your reader’s problems or answers their question, you could show how you would react if you were in a certain situation via your protagonist or maybe you have a book idea that keeps popping up that you have to complete.

Be bold and passionate about what you write. It doesn’t have to be sunshine and rainbows, the difficult, upsetting and downright nasty themes can be riveting to your readers as well.

But Lindsay, my book doesn’t have a theme…That’s fine. Not every book has a singular theme, some have multiple themes and that’s fine. Your theme may develop as you are writing your book and reveal itself in the end. The most important thing is knowing what kind of story you want to tell and how you are going to tell it.

Let’s take a look at 69 popular themes in literature to get more of an idea of theme ‘words’ and which apply to your work in progress:

  1. Acceptance
  2. Anger
  3. Beauty
  4. Beauty in simplicity
  5. Capitalism
  6. Change of power
  7. Chaos vs. Order
  8. Coming of age
  9. Companionship
  10. Compassion
  11. Cooperation
  12. Corruption
  13. Courage
  14. Crime doesn’t pay
  15. Death
  16. Displacement
  17. Divinity
  18. Envy
  19. Escape
  20. Family
  21. Fate
  22. Fatherhood
  23. Fear
  24. Foolishness
  25. Friendship
  26. Gender Roles
  27. Good vs. Evil
  28. Hate
  29. Honesty
  30. Hope
  31. Humanity vs. Nature
  32. Identity Crisis
  33. Ignorance
  34. Immortality
  35. Injustice
  36. Jealousy
  37. Kindness
  38. Learning
  39. Loneliness
  40. Love
  41. Loyalty
  42. Lust
  43. Malice
  44. Materialism
  45. Motherhood
  46. New Experiences
  47. Nostalgia
  48. Oppression
  49. Overcoming
  50. Perseverance
  51. Power
  52. Pride
  53. Quest
  54. Reality
  55. Redemption
  56. Religion
  57. Revenge
  58. Sacrifice
  59. Struggle
  60. Survival
  61. Technology
  62. The circle of life
  63. The rise/ downfall of a character
  64. Tragedy
  65. Vanity
  66. Vulnerability
  67. War
  68. Wisdom
  69. Youthfulness

A theme is the universal idea, lesson or overall message that is carried throughout your story. Which themes can you identify in your favourite book, book you’ve written or work in progress? My book Dancersaur includes perseverance as its main theme. Do you identify your theme before you write your book, during or not at all? Let me know by commenting below!

 

Love and Blessings,

Lindsay Sign Off New

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