Building a story: Theme

I blogged here yesterday about my trials of starting a new project.

And today, I learned something else about successful story building… well for me any way.

Find your theme.

I’m usually a one word theme-ster. Chosen was Choice, for example LOL But there were variations on the word. Having no choice. Making the right and the wrong choice. I realised when I started writing Chosen, that having even a single word theme helped me with a stuck plot. When everything died, I went back to my theme and *bing* out popped the next part of the plot. Cool. I might have actually hit on something useful for me. For a change *grin*

I remember stressing over Past Lies and having no idea what the theme was. Then I had to think of a new title. Out popped the above. And guess what the theme of that book is?

I wish I had a direct line to my subconscious. It would make life so much easer…

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3 thoughts on “Building a story: Theme

  1. Olivia Lorenz

    I guess I’m lucky because the theme always jumps out at me. I usually ‘talk’ my plot to OH or condense it into a short premise. Maybe because I’m so (too) analytical LOL it’s easy for me to identify themes in my work and other people’s.

    I wonder if you find that you have certain favourite themes? There’s a whole bunch that constantly turn up in my stories (religion, honour, loyalty, duty… no wonder I write so many historicals!).

    If you look back at all the stories you’ve written, there’s usually a common thread tying all the themes together, which I think is helpful to know. It can help for future projects by building upon past themes, and it can also lead in totally different directions – for example, change ‘choice’ to ‘no choice’… although now I think about it, Kate had no choice in BMB, so in a way you’ve inverted a past theme for this new story, if you know what I mean.

    Fun, this writing malarkey, isn’t it?

  2. Kim Rees / Kim Knox

    LOL, some days are more fun than others… 😉

    Redemption and Balance are the ones that haunt me. Bone Magician and Alchemy both have them. I’m consciously trying to have one character invert the theme. Other’s have variations on it.

    I say this… then I start to write and all planning goes out the window!

    Off to think through a flour scene *grin*

  3. Olivia Lorenz

    Redemption is a good one. Actually I see shades of that in TBS and BMB, too – not just for the heroes (especially in BMB) but also in the way the heroines hope for a redemption from their siblings (again, especially in BMB).

    Haven’t read a Knox story yet so I’m interested to see how the theme plays out there!

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