Writer’s Workshop: Tips About Theme

Friendship and rebirth are topics in my life right now. I wanted to talk a little bit about theme. What is the theme?

Writer’s Workshop : keep a journal

Writer’s Workshop: don’t just write about what you know

I need to bring theme up now in our Writer’s Workshop series because it is something that I think develops before even getting the words on paper, but it isn’t something you write about. The theme is the story written between the lines. It’s like the feeling you get when you listen to music – the story will evoke a feeling, and you get what the book is trying to tell you – that’s what all stories do. If you aren’t sure what your theme is I recommend fleshing it out, flood out as much of the story as you can and themes emerge.

In the book I’m reading Just Listen, the theme is the title. The fictional characters start taking on patterns that elude to topics of honesty and listening. Listening to yourself and speaking from the heart is freeing. She repeats a few times in the book:

“Don’t think or judge. Just listen. “- Sarah Dessen

(SPOILER ALERT, SKIP PARAGRAPH) The main character really misjudges Owen in the beginning until she listens to his music tastes and the topics he talks about. Her sister with an eating disorder avoids topics on food, and is usually tuning out or leaving the scene. No one is honest with the mom even though they all want to quit modeling, and not being honest about how you feel leads to consequences.

Look for the themes in the stories that really capture your imagination. Look for the deeper meaning under everything that causes a rise out of you. From books, movies, songs – what is the bigger story that connects everything?


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