What does the theme mean to a well-written story? I never really understood the concept and so I hoped I’d managed to incorporate it naturally and didn’t let it faze me. I guess I figured my editor would pick up on it if I’d missed it somehow. Yeah - I know - duhhh!!I knew that each character had to experience growth from the beginning to when they reach the final pages. That the conflicts in the plot should force this. And to me, that made sense.
Recently, I read a report about theme being one of the four pillars of a story: setting, characters, plot and you guessed it…theme. This threw me into a total spinout. I mean, have I missed out an important element in my work?
So I began to research what a theme is. Claudia Welch put it into words I could understand when she wrote a piece for the June Romance Writer’s Report. She wrote:
* Is a universal truth
* Is defined by a single word or an extremely short phrase
* Is not manacled to plot, character or setting
* Inhabits the plot, not vice versa
* Is what powers a book, it’s the fuel
And that back in the olden days, basic themes would be:
* Man versus man
* Man versus nature
* Man versus self
Nope - I still didn’t get it. So I checked the thesaurus and it says subject, topic, idea, subject matter, argument, premise and thesis. Well that was a big help - not!
So I’m off to do more research.
Any of you want to try explaining it to me in a thousand words or less?
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