How to Create a Great Theme For Your Book
Updated: Aug 30
Do you have an idea for a fantasy novel but your story is falling short? Do you think your story has been done a thousand times before? Or maybe you are lacking a point to your story, an initial theme. You are not alone! I was in your place too, and I have just the tips and tricks to get your fantasy story to the highest standard! Let's get started!
1. Begin with Emotion
When you are lacking a theme or point to your story and are struggling with the plot, it will benefit you to pick one emotion you want your readers to feel when they finish your book. You can even pick several emotions as long as they all coincide. For example, at the beginning stages of writing my book, Hale: The Rise of the Griffins, I decided I wanted my readers to experience shock at the end of the book.
I advise you to start with the emotion the readers will feel at the end of the book rather than the beginning, because this will direct you as the writer to the point of your story.
Every story needs a point, otherwise, why write it? What are you showing your audience? What lessons do your characters learn? Now that we have our emotion, we can...
2. Build it up!
What series of events need to happen that bring you to this emotional conclusion? Start creating timelines, a series of events, your character(s) need to go through that will bring them to this peek at the end. Do this even though you are not yet sure of the theme. You can always correct your time lines, but it might prove more difficult to correct your finished writing to fit a certain theme. Always start from the ground up! Don't worry that you might never finish this way or fall short, as it is important to have everything fully thought out before you truly begin your book.
3. Still stuck? Start from the beginning
There are many, many sources online that can spark your creativity, such as opening line generators. You don't necessarily need to copy them, but you can use them to get a feel of how you want to begin your story and where it is heading. I personally used opening line generators countless times as a short writing exercise. It really helps with writers block because the opening line that speaks to you may spark an image in your mind and you might find yourself forming your story. You can use this for your book or as an exercise to get your juices flowing. Who knows, maybe the first few paragraphs you write about using this might help you with your theme and direction of your book.
This method is similar to looking at a picture as writing inspiration.
4. Use pictures as inspiration!
As a fantasy writer who often experiences blocks, I always look for something that sparks my imagination, and art is a significant source. There are so many talented artists in the world, and my favorite art to look at for my writing is digital fantasy art. Even if you are searching for unique architecture, something that emits romance, or unique magic, you might find what you are visualizing already interpreted in a picture. Pictures are great because they will have details that you might have overlooked while thinking about your topic or scene. For example, when gazing at an image of a person in an environment I was interested in, I noticed their expression and my mind suddenly jumped to what it must be like to live in such a dated place, and what this person must feel like when experiencing the burdens of living there.
Using music as a source of finding your plot and theme is actually a great idea. Why? A song is a display of emotion, showcased by the tune, melody, and the way the singer uses their voices. The lyric displays the point or the story. Not all songs are about love. Many songs are about pain. And then there are songs about everything in between. There's even a song about chicken noodle soup, which includes a soda on the side, haha. If you're
stuck on finding the right song, you can use your emotion that you picked for the end of your book and google "songs that are (insert emotion)". The experiences of the artist can inspire the situations your character will experience. What is amazing about music is that it is poetry, and poetry is open to interpretation by the reader. And that is amazing because your take on the song's meaning will be unique.
6. Want to avoid the being cliche?
Yea, me too! However, it is important to know that there are trends in the literary world. Big publishers are looking for trendy topics because they need sales. You might get lucky and find someone who understands your vision. But what is always in style are wholesome topics that keep this world from going into the gutter. Like: LOVE, ROMANCE, KINDESS, GENEROSITY, OVERCOMING ADVERSITY, SURVIVING HORRIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES, CHOOSING GOOD OVER EVIL. You can explore one or more of these topics in your writing, but develop them. Developing these topics into something specific and unique will be the theme to your book!
Did these tips and tricks help? Leave a comment below!
YA Fantasy Author of Hale: The Rise of the Griffins |
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