15 September 2009

Plot Your Story's Theme

The Thematic Significance of your story is the thread that holds your story together. The more clearly you can define your thematic significance statement, the tighter your story. Once you have identified your Thematic Significance statement, your scene choices and word choices throughout your story will follow theme. The theme then serves as your compass, determining what fits and what doesn't.

Writers generally begin a new project writing in their strength:
Dramatic Action
Character Emotional Development
Thematic Significance

The writers who begin with an idea they want to explore or a concept they want to prove through their story are beginning with Thematic Significance. For the rest of us, the theme of our stories bubbles up from the story itself in later drafts. No matter what we write, the process of writing is an exploration into ourselves, our own personal themes.

Either way the theme comes to you, the themes we write about most often originate from our own personal past -- at least for the first several stories this is true. Our own belief system and the themes we live our lives by pop up in our stories when we least expect them. Unless, that is, we are aware of the themes we live by and are on the lookout for them.

Make a list of the themes you find that seem to consistently come up in your writing.

Next post, I'll discuss how to take that list and shape those themes ideas into a Thematic Significance statement for your project.