It’s been a while. I know. Sorry… I was doing a beta reading for my book and all of that. But that’s over and we are back to our usual weekday blogging!
Today I’m going to talk about theme. This was something that came up about a week ago in my English class. Pretty much every novel out there has a central theme that is expressed by the story itself. And for this theme to be expressed effectively, every single thing in the story should be contributing to it, whether directly or indirectly.
In case you aren’t sure what a theme is, a theme statement is pretty much a generalized statement about life or the world that centers around a big topic and can be seen in other pieces of literature (not specific to the story). For example, in The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the big topic is human nature and the theme statement would be something along the lines of “Human nature is innately evil and should be controlled by order and society”.
In the book, everything that happens points the reader to draw this conclusion. The story follows a group of boys who crash onto an island without any adults. It starts out where the boys establish a sense of order and roles, but soon things turn to chaos and savagery, which shows the idea of human nature being evil and destructive. Seriously, everything in the story contributes to it.
If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. It’s awesome for understanding out to effectively carry a common theme throughout a piece of writing and is overall very interesting.
Anyway, the theme is enforced directly and indirectly. For example, the island is literally lit on fire in the most intense moments of savagery that the boys create, which is directly contributing to the theme. However, a pure, innocent-type character named Simon is characterized as such because of something that happens to him later. Even if there is no immediate effect of what is happening, it all has an end goal.
(I find it interesting to look back on certain parts of the book and realize how much the theme was actually shown without me realizing it the first time. For example, Ralph was a character that always found himself in between good and evil throughout the book, and in one paragraph it described him as having a shadow only over half of his face.)
I’ve found that my theme in my book isn’t as clear as I want it to be… I sort of got carried away at the end of the book and didn’t really make everything point back to it. That’s definitely going to be one of my revisions.
Which leads me to today’s challenge for you. Take a look at your story. Firstly, what is your theme? Don’t have one? Get one. Seriously, even if the story is just about the thrill or the adventure, themes are one of the biggest elements of a story. You cannot just skip this step. Even if you go through your whole first draft and still don’t know what your theme is, then you can go back and redirect and rewrite things to create one (But that’s going to take you ten times longer. Just have one from the beginning because that way your plot will build on it).
Secondly, pick just one scene of your story. Even though you should be doing this throughout your whole story, let’s just focus in on one thing right now. Take a look at how you word things, how the characters act, what the characters represent, what the even represents. Literally just analyze your own writing. Then make adjustments to that it points towards that theme you chose.
(Because you do have your theme…. right?)
As always, good luck!
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Thank you for reading, and don’t stop writing!