Theme is a loaded word. In fiction, it aroused the suspicion that we’re preaching about something. Can’t we just give the story a compelling plot and great characters? Why should there be a theme?
The answer, I’ve been learning, is that theme is to help clarify for the writer, why she or he is writing the book. And what the book will be about, boiled down to its essence.
I usually come into a novel’s theme after working on concept and characters for a couple weeks at the outset of my planning process, I develop/recognize the book’s theme about then, and it guides the major decisions of the plot and much of the execution.
In fact, theme has guided every book I’ve written since 2008. Because of Brian McDonald. Read More…