A story without a theme is little more than a list of events. The events themselves may be very interesting, or exciting, but without the universal human connection they will not engage our attention in any real way.
Not only must it appeal to the reader, it must also appeal to you. You must want to, or even need to explore that particular theme for you to keep writing.
Many people tend to confuse the theme of a story with the plot. So I have written a post about this to help you. To learn about the difference between theme and plot click here.
THE PULSE OF THE STORY
Theme is the pulse of the story and if you choose correctly you will feel compelled (in a good way) to complete your story.
If your theme is not compelling to you, it will certainly not be compelling to your readers and you may produce limp, dead writing.
So think very carefully, not just about your themes but about how you intend exploring them.
EXAMPLES OF THEMES
- Alienation – The effects of, the loneliness of, to cure it.
- Ambition – getting what you want, stunted by, thwarted.
- Betrayal – the pain of, in love and friendship.
- Coming of age – loss of innocence.
- Courage – courage to deal with conflict, lack of, developing, conquering with.
- Deception – how to deceive, results of.
- Discovery – what does it take to discover new places, inner meaning, strength, even treasure.
- Escape – from life, routine, prison, family pressures.
- Death – how to escape, what happens after, consequences of.
- Fear – driven by, dealing with, conquering.
- Freedom – loss of, gaining, handling, fight for.
- Good versus evil – survival of one despite the other, triumph of one over the other.
- Isolation – physical and emotional.
- Jealousy – trouble caused by, denial of, driven by.
- Justice – the fight for, injustice, truth versus justice.
- Loss – of life, innocence, love, friends, to avoid.
- Loneliness – no man is an island, or hell is other people.
- Love – love fades, is blind, can overcome all obstacles, can
- Lust – for power, for sex.
- Power – the search for, the loss of, what we are willing to exchange for.
- Prejudice – racism, bigotry, snobbery, dealing with.
- Security – the loss of, the finding of the need for, how we act when security is shattered.
- Spirituality and God – the struggle to find faith, live without faith etc.
- Survival – man versus nature
CHOOSING YOUR STORY THEME
Give a lot of thought to choosing your story theme. Remember you will need to be obsessed with your chosen theme to keep writing about it for long periods of time.
Being aware of your themes can help you sell your books. If you would like some help choosing a theme click here.
CHOOSING YOUR APPROACH
We all approach our writing ideas differently. My own methods vary from time to time. Sometimes I decide I want to write about a particular theme and then find the story.
At other times I find the story first and the themes become apparent through the process of writing.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PREPARATION
Undertaking this initial preparation will save you from having to put too many of those unfinished stories in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet.
I personally put a great deal of thought into my themes and there are some themes, like betrayal, bullying, survival and loneliness, that resonate with me particularly.
I have explored those several times both in non-fiction and fiction. To learn more about choosing your story theme click here.
BULLYING, JEALOUSY AND ISOLATION
You can see how I worked with the theme of bullying, jealousy and isolation in my children’s story ‘The Tree Hugger.’
I really hope these examples of themes help you. All the information throughout the site is free of charge. All I ask is that you please ‘like’ or ‘share’ this page, or even say hello in the comments box below.
If you have any questions or comments please use the comments box below and I will be happy to help.
Best of luck with your writing.