May 8, 2013: Theme in Fiction

When someone asks about the novel you’re reading or writing, how do you respond? Do you say: “A middle class woman too smart for her own good and a proud aristocrat fall in love despite their initial first impressions.” Or do you say: “It’s a story about the fallacy of first impressions and how love conquers all.”  If you say the first example, you would be describing the plot. But if you say the second example, you would be explaining the theme.

Plot is what happens in a story: character + conflict + resolution. Theme is what goes on between the lines,  the subtext or meaning drawn by the reader. Theme can be meticulously woven into the fabric of the story, or it can develop unintentionally in simply telling a good tale. Today in #litchat we’re discussing theme and how to identify and weave it into your fiction. Listed below are some resources to refresh your understanding of this important element of fiction.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg: Index of Theme-Plot Integration

Lerner.org Interactives: Analyzing Theme

The Editor’s Blog: What is Theme

Purdue Online Writing Lab: Theme

Holly Lisle: Finding Your Theme

Writing Forward: Fiction Writing Exercises for Exploring or Developing Theme, by Melissa Donovan

Find Your Creative Muse in Ficiton: Elements of Fiction–Theme, by Dave Hood