07 June 2014

Thematic Significance Statement Defines Every Story Decision

Writers toss out story themes. Theme words grow into what one romance writer aptly labels as tropes = common or overused themes or devises. Tropes typically become overused or cliched because they squarely connect with a universal truth.

A thematic significance statement intended to embody the heart and meaning of your own particular story often begins with a trope. After writing a couple of drafts and with a better understanding of what all the words in your story add up to, now tack on at either the beginning or the end of the trope a qualifying phrase that turns a common theme specific to your story and your story alone.

During a plot consultation, having plotted out all the scenes, we reach the re-development, deepening and refining of that ever elusive thematic significance statement phase. Having starred and circled theme words that popped out during the consultation, I add them to the list he rattles off that his critique group, quite familiar with his story, helped generate (and seem to breath through the speaker at the other end of the phone).

He articulates a thematic statement that is character-centric. Yet his story is so much broader and more meaningful than simply the change to the character. Yes, dramatic action that changes and transforms a character over time makes a story meaningful. However, what that change or character transformation brings to the culture and the community and the family at large is the true thematic significance statement in a story that revolves around the culture and the community and the family and brings thematic significance to the story as a whole.

A thematic significance statement attempts to unite broad universal truths with the specific words you choose for your own individual story. Suddenly, characters snap to attention finally with a clear intent of their own unique contribution to the overall story, confusing subplots crystalize with meaning and symbolism, random incidents become deliberate, minor moments grow sublime.

Write a couple of drafts, smooth the thematic significance into a coherent and meaning statement and then let the real fun begin. A thematic significance statement for your overall story turns the challenge of making every word perfect attainable.

For specific exercises to develop your own individual Thematic Significance Statement: The Plot Whisperer Workbook Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories)
Need more help with your story? 
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