You’ve probably heard lots of writers talk about themes, but if you’re a beginner, it can be pretty tricky! I know when I first started writing I kept thinking “What is Theme??”, but now after writing more I can’t even imagine writing a story without thinking of theme! In this post, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions about theme and gathered other writing resources so that after today you can understand theme like a pro!
What is theme? Is it necessary? 🧐
The theme of a story is what the author is trying to convey throughout the story. Every event, emotion, and situation the characters go through all relate to the author’s message.
Theme is necessary for EVERY good story because without a message the story doesn’t have any meaning. Luckily, most stories have a message even if we don’t recognize it, but as a writer, we must know the theme of our story to better write!
Why is theme important? 😒
Writers need to know the theme because the message of the story is the MOST IMPORTANT part of any story. While we’re writing, we need to be able to identify what message we’re trying to convey through the story, so that the story can contain that message.
Themes are essentially the core of any good story and without a message, your story isn’t meaningful. They’re also important because it’s the message that will stay with readers, and hopefully a message they’ll use to live a better life.
How do I use theme in a story? 🤨
First, you have to think of a “Thematic Statement”. This is the theme in a sentence (aka, the message in a sentence). The best thematic statements aren’t too general. For example:
Statement A: Love yourself
Statement B: Love your strengths and your flaws because you are enough
The second statement’s better, isn’t it? Because it’s more specific and detailed!
When you’re thinking of a message for your own story, think of something you think the world should know and believe in!
After you have a thematic statement ready, you’ll want to work on your story idea, developing it to fit your new message.
Pro Tip 💡 – Search for quotes based on themes you want to write about (loyalty, love, healing etc.) if you’re having trouble making a detailed thematic statement. Try using one of those quotes (make sure to credit the creator) or combining quotes to make your own thematic statement
What if my story doesn’t currently have a theme? How do I identify my story’s theme? 😰
If you’ve already written your story without a theme, that’s okay! (Just make sure you use theme next time 👀)
As you’re editing and revising your story, think of what your characters overcame throughout the story. For example, your character could have slain a dragon using their smarts despite everyone telling them they weren’t physically strong enough. They overcame what they thought was their weakness, so a thematic statement for the story could be; “Being smart is a strength”. Though you may want to create a more detailed thematic statement if you’re writing a longer story.
What your characters realized and what the reader will realize reading the story is usually the theme! If you struggle to find the theme of your story try having someone else read your story and ask what they think the message is!
Most importantly, remember if you’ve already written a story without thinking of the message, to EDIT and REVISE!!
Can you have multiple themes in a story? 🤔
It depends. If you’re writing a longer story (like a novel), yes, there can be multiple messages. Actually, there probably should be multiple themes. These “smaller messages” within a story are often referred to as subthemes. However, there should still be one main overarching message of the story.
If you’re writing a shorter story it’s probably best to have only one theme, mainly because having more than one in a shorter story can be difficult. Additionally, writing too many messages at once might cause them to have less of an effect on your readers.
🥳 I know what theme is, now what? 😕
Now that you know the basics of the theme it’s time to start brainstorming messages and writing themes into your stories!!
Want more information on themes? Contact me HERE
Did I miss something? Share your knowledge on themes in the comments below and let’s help each other out!