Novel Writing 101: Theme–Unlocking the Heart of Your Story

Simple yet profound thoughts. Encouraging.

Kellie Michelle Parker

This week’s topic may seem like a throwback to high school English class–how many of us struggled to come up with 5-7 pages explaining the theme of some book we barely understood? But I’m happy to report that the idea of “theme” isn’t nearly as confusing as your English class may have led you to believe.

Truth is, our teachers had it right–theme is a critical part of any story. Maybe the most important part, because the theme is the heart of the story. The why behind the writing. The best stories don’t just entertain, they show us something about ourselves. And after reading them, we leave subtly different, changed.

How do writers accomplish this feat? Not by preaching, moralizing, or outright telling the reader what’s important. Nothing turns a reader off faster (unless your name is Aesop) than being told by the author what you’re supposed to…

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