Explore Your Theme in Creative Writing: Help It Grow With Each Character and Scene

In every story, there is a theme. A theme that is expressed in a single sentence or clause, such as:

Army Officers Can’t Fight the War
Smoking Is Injurious to Health
The Most Unlikely Being Comes to Your Rescue Most Often

The story’s backbone is this theme, without which the story can just be a bunch of words. The theme is the soul, and a writer should show maximum respect to it at every instant of it.

Explore Your Theme

Exploring a theme, and finding its separate ramifications is both an intellectual activity and a story building technique. For instance, if you have a theme like “One’s Health Is in One’s Mind” then you can crate several branches of this theme and use them in various scenes and characters in your novel:

Unhealthy characters suffer from mental problems.
People with depression are unhealthy.
The people who fail are usually unhealthy.
In a scene, mentally unhealthy character faces insecurity, though he is physically fit.

These ramifications of the basic plot may be used in various parts of the story.

Advance Your Theme

In every scene and character, make sure the ramifications of the basic theme is shown to the readers. You should help advance the theme by going deeper with it. You can create more and more plot twists with this. For instance, if your theme is “Arrogance Causes Disgrace” you can advance the plot by making an arrogant character in the story, growing more and more spiteful through several instances of humiliation he/she faces in public.

This is a psychological device that can bond the story’s theme in the readers’ mind. The theme should be developed through the character thoughts, dialogs, plot development, etc.


Theme plays major part in the success of a story. A positive, effective theme is as I said earlier, the backbone of any story.

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

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