Rule Number 2 for Novel Writing

Every novel must have a theme.

If there is no theme, the story is unfocused. Theme will keep the story on track as the characters act in ways to support the theme.

So what is theme?

Theme is an underlying statement about life which expresses a universal truth with which the reader can identify.

Theme is not plot or subject.

Plot is the series of actions which move the theme forward.

Subject, by itself, is not theme. To make subject into a theme, add a verb. For example, a romance novel is about the subject "love." To make "love" into a theme, expand it into "love heals," "love endures," etc.  To focus it further, elaborate. "Love endures" becomes "Love is stronger than death," "Love outlasts the years," or "Love but  one, and that one forever."

Theme is terribly important -- take it from someone who has (inadvertently) tried writing without it.

 

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