Without a deeper meaning than just its plot, your story remains a shell of what it could be.
A story with a theme answers, what does this mean?
That’s the kind of a story that resonates with readers and stays with them.
Getting Started: What Is Theme?
Plot is what happens Theme is why it happens. Why you’re telling this story. It’s the message you want readers to take away.
In fact, I urge you to determine why you want to tell a story before you even begin. Know why you’re writing what you’re writing. Don’t just write to write. That’s not a good enough reason to be a writer. Write because you have something to say.
What will this story teach my reader about life?
If you write to merely entertain, don’t expect your stuff to be memorable.
Clear Theme Examples
- Aesop’s Fable "The Tortoise and the Hare" (The danger of overconfidence)
- George Orwell’s 1984 (The beauty of individual freedom and the danger of absolute power)
- Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien (Love and mercy overcome evil)
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (Endurance and perseverance know no age)
- "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry (The timeless beauty of sacrificial love)
- The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (The dearest things to us are often found at home)
Allowing Theme to Speak for Itself
Resist the urge to explicitly state your theme in the story. That may have worked in a quaint way with Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz, but readers today don’t need the theme writ large. Tell your story and it should explore your theme and make its own point.
Readers are smart.
Subtly weave your theme into a story and trust readers to get it. Don’t rob them of the experience.
Read the full article: https://jerryjenkins.com/story-themes/