An idea, concept, or lesson that appears repeatedly throughout a story, reflects the character’s internal journey through the external plot, and resonates with the reader.
So… Why Is Theme Important?
It’s great that we know what theme is now, but that’s only half the answer to our two-part question. Why is theme important in novels and writing? Simply put: If a story lacks theme, the reader might not connect with it.
Remember that theme is connected to the protagonist’s internal journey. It ties the character’s concerns and passions – the character’s soul, figuratively speaking – to the external plot, while giving readers something to care about and someone to root for. What happens when that link is missing? What if the protagonist doesn’t have a goal to strive for? You’d have a plot that goes nowhere and readers losing interest – in other words, a story without a soul.
Theme helps a good story become a compelling one. It represents Katniss’ incentive to fight her way through The Hunger Games and Frodo’s motivation to destroy the One Ring in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Most importantly, theme allows readers to relate to the characters and their struggles – and to feel invested in the outcome. That’s why we read novels and write stories to begin with, right?
How to find a Theme
1. Checkpoint #1: Jigsaw (green)