(Craft) Finding Your Theme

Author Holly Lisle says that “writing fiction is about telling stories . . . but what is telling stories about?”  She goes on to explain that writing stories is about the writer’s search “to create order in the universe.”  This search involves the exploration and challenging of the author’s belief system to reveal the themes that rule the author’s life and worldview.

For the Christian author of fiction, the search to create order in the universe begins and ends with the Word of God. Out of this foundation arise the themes of our stories, themes that pertain to every aspect of the human condition. 

Some fiction writers know their theme before they start writing.  Others discover their theme during the writing process. Still others recognize their theme after their story has been written and, in some cases, even after it has been published.

Theme is to your story as ingredients are to your recipe. Just as you cannot create a recipe without specific ingredients, you cannot create a story without a specific theme.  The theme of your story is its heart. It is the transformational message that you want your reader to take away with her and keep with her after she reads your story.  It is a message that will transform her life for the better.
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Copyright 2013 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD. All Rights Reserved.

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