10 April 2013

Thematic Significance of Stories

First, he writes a rough draft of what sounds like an exciting middle grade novel filled with external dramatic action, likable characters, rich historical events and meaning.

Next, he's slogs through a re"vision" process that includes re-plotting his story after attending a plot workshop with me, reading The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master and The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories and, before pulling the entire story together in one massive rewrite, he signs up for a plot consultation.

He sends me his first stab at a thematic significance statement for his story. I recommend he pin the statement on the wall where he'll see it, write it on the bathroom mirror, whatever. Every time he works on his rewrite, he'll consider the statement and revise as he sees fit. By the end of the entire rewrite, the exact thematic significance statement will have emerged.

As he rewrites and evaluates his statement, I encourage him to ask himself if the general themes are reflected throughout the story. For instance: if the need for telling the truth is needed for the protagonist to prevail at the end and included in his thematic significance statement, ask himself if that is spot on. Is it telling the truth or is it something else, deeper perhaps that she must learn?

Look throughout the story for instances or references to the themes you mention in the overall thematic significance statement. Your story isn't so much about digging deep so perhaps that isn't a true fit. Your story doesn't reflect the idea of digging deep as much as letting go, taking the plunge?

Keep exploring themes in a similar way. What other themes do you find in your story. Do any of those belong in your statement? What about forgiveness? Whatever you add or subtract to the statement needs to be reflected throughout the story.

I don't want him to perfect his themes now. Rather, I want him to organize his notes and then rewrite the story from beginning to end. He's more than ready. He knows his story and characters and setting and plot. As he writes, themes will emerge and he'll acknowledge and further incorporate them. I encourage him to challenge himself to complete the rewrite on a specific date. Then work backwards to determine how many pages he intend to write daily to accomplish his goal / challenge.


Knowing what to write where in a story with a plot allows for a more loving relationship with your writing. Whether writing a first draft or revising, if you falter wondering what comes next in a story with a plot, follow the prompts inThe Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing

Today, I write.

To familiarize yourself with the basic plot terms used here and in the PW Book of Prompts:

1) Watch the plot playlists on the Plot Whisperer Youtube channel.
2) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3) Fill out the exercises inThe Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
4) Visit:
Blockbuster Plots for Writers
Plot Whisperer on Facebook
Plot Whisperer on Twitter