Themes Just Happen

Next up, is identifying the theme of your novel. Most likely you’ll be able to apply a universal them to your novel, something that is a widely known and easily relatable. Examples of these themes are: coming of age, unrequited love, sacrifice, good triumphs over evil, money doesn’t equate to happiness, and so on. The first book in my series will have the main theme as coming of age, but it will also have other themes dispersed throughout it. Don’t be scared to have multiple themes in your novel. You can make a fantastic story by threading different themes together, sometimes we do this without even realizing it. Also, don’t get hung up on determining or choosing a theme for your novel. Don’t change what you already have written or tweak your premise to match a certain theme. The theme should come organically as you think about and write your novel. Your novel might come out sounding forced if you do that. Just let the theme happen naturally as the plot reveals itself. Be patient in determining theme, is my advice.

In saying all that, since we are only discussing the beginning of your writing efforts, I would suggest that you don’t determine or decide the theme, yet. As I said in the above paragraph, take your time. Think it over. Maybe even wait until you’ve at least planned your novel from beginning to end. I am only able to identify my theme because I began to plan out my ideas for The Meer before I ever put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. Like a wave surging to shore, your theme should be evident in your writing but should retreat into the distance while you actually write. It can become the main focus for short bursts, but in order to for it to flow and be evident throughout all of your novel you might have to put it on the back burner for now.

Though, if you already have your heart and mind set on what you want your theme to be, go with it. Let it effect the story and work its way into what you already have planned for the plot. As long as it answers the question of ‘What is ultimate message or goal or reason or main idea, that the reader should take away from this novel?’ then it’s a theme. If you chose this route I would suggest that once you finish the first draft of your novel, you revisit what your theme is and list the proof of it being the theme in your novel. If you cannot find sufficient proof to prove that that is your theme, then it isn’t your theme.

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