Day 20: Theme

In addition to identifying certain subjects in your work, when you look back over what you have already written, you will notice certain themes emerging. Theme is important in a novel because it ties the various elements of plot and character together. If a plot is the sequence of events, the theme is the big idea of the book.

Theme is at heart of that all-important truth about fiction: we get to the universal by means of the particular. While your theme can be expressed in broad, universal terms, it must be revealed through your specific characters in their very specific and particular situation.

Maybe you novel actually began with the big idea: you wanted to write a book about how we hurt those we love, or a book about good triumphing over evil, or a book about how the truth is so much different from what it appears to be on the surface.

If you already know your big idea, write it here. If you have more than one, that’s okay. Write down as many as you have. You can narrow it down later.


The big idea behind the book is:




Additional themes worth exploring are:


Now, take the BIG IDEA and write a scene that bears that theme out.

For example, if the theme is, “We never really know the ones love,” and your protagonist is a married man, you might write a scene in which a man discovers something about his wife that makes him realize that he never really knew her. Whoever your characters are, they are the vehicle through which you will reveal your theme.

Comments are closed.