Monday, February 9, 2015

Finding Your Theme, and Writing It

Quick Announcements/Shameless Plugs:

  • I'm running a giveaway on Twitter that lasts until this Saturday. Check out this giveaway tweet for a chance to win some books from moi!
  • I fell into the void that is tumblr. So, I plan on posting not only blog posts, but many photos/quotes/music videos and other things that inspire me when I write, as well as bookish news that comes from the webisphere. Interested? Check out the pink tumblr button on the sidebar, or go to

Alright, now let's get back to business (and if you sang that in Shang's voice, you get a cookie).

So I kind of feel like I'm cheating with today's writing post. The reason is because I had this idea, and then Hannah Hunt talked about this same exact idea on her blog. And she said it really well (as usual). However, she and I have already figured out that we're brain twins, so this is okay. So, before you continue, I recommend checking out Hannah's advice on Finding the Core of Your Story, because it's fantastic.

As my title suggests, what I find really important--before you begin writing a novel--is figuring out some sort of theme for your novel. Now, hear me out (and I apologize if I'm bringing up nightmares of English classes), but here's the thing:

Figuring out a theme will help you figure out what kind of story you want to tell; once you know what kind of story you want to tell, you'll be able to write with some kind of coherency. Your characters have motivation; once you figure out the theme, you'll know your motivation, as well. And the writer's motivation is very important.


When I started writing THE HOLLOW MEN, I knew one thing: I wanted to tell a story of friendship between two girls who weren't in the least bit the same, who were both battling their own demons. I wanted to create a family between characters who have lost everything. And I wanted to tell a story about the ugly side of war and rebellion.

Keeping these things in mind (and I listed them in the order of most important down, although they're all important) gives me a goal; keeping these things in mind, every scene and sentence I write will lead to the fulfillment of these goals. I think it gives my writing a coherency, and any time I get lost I simply have to remember these themes to help me get back on track, or help me figure out where I went wrong.

These aren't superficial ideas. These are the ideas that should exist right at your novel's core.

What are the themes in your novel that keep you on track?

Tweet It:

Before you write, "figuring out a theme will help you figure out what kind of story you want to tell" (Click to Tweet)

Your characters have a motivation, but what's yours? @Rae_Slater explains the importance of finding your novel's theme (Click to Tweet)

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