Story Craft: Book Themes
By Natalie Bright
Throughout the art of story craft, you may have noticed common story threads or themes that are used over and over. This is most often observed in movies. Multi-published writers that I’ve talked to usually have an overall theme that might not be that obvious to the reader, but it helps keep the plot line consistent to the end.
A NYT bestselling author told me that she used a common theme for her main characters, as well as applying it to sub-plots and minor characters. For example, the pain of loss was a theme of a recent book. Every major and minor character had to deal with loosing something or someone.
A theme for books can be used in both fiction and nonfiction. It keeps the author on track and prevents them from deviating from the basic story structure.
For example, the hero’s journey is a popular theme that is used in a lot in books and movies. The hero is reluctantly called to adventure, faces insurmountable obstacles, and ends up saving the day. There are several excellent books on how to craft a story using this popular theme.
Listed below are some other examples of overall themes for books:
*Cinderella: down trodden girl is rescued from her dull existence and finds true love with her prince.
*Perseverance: characters never give up, even when faced with impossible obstacles.
*Honesty: always tell the truth, no matter what the cost.
*Kindness: generous, considerate, friendly characters, even when treated differently.
*Acceptance: differences and beliefs are overcome and characters find respect for each other. Or, maybe it’s an acceptance of love lost, crushed dreams, or life’s path.
*Romeo and Juliet: star-crossed lovers against the world.
*Loyalty: trusting each other, friends to the end or trusting yourself and your heart’s desire.
*Cooperation: a problem is solved or a goal is achieved through everyone working together.
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