Linda Maye Adams

L is for Life is an Adventure


I’ve been wrestling with the theme for my book, Miasma.  It’s lesson 2 in Structure Safari.  When I took Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel, I must have gone through about a half dozen books, trying to figure out exactly what it was.  None were particularly helpful because they mostly said the same thing.

I ended up in a conversation with the instructor (yes, I do seem to be a troublesome student in any writing classes I take), and we came up with Life is an Adventure.   It’s an adventure story, which was my reason for writing it.  I specifically have a female character as the sidekick so she can go on adventures, too — real adventures.  It came out of all these books where there’s a woman protagonist, and the guy gets all the action scenes while she falls down stairs and off page.

Now I’m working on my Internal and External Themes.  If you see a puddle of ooze, it’s probably my brain melting from all this.

QUESTION FOR YOU:  If you’re a reader, how do you identify theme in a book, or do you not notice at all.  Writers, what is theme of your book?

2 Comments

  1. Wow, this is hard stuff! So important, though. I teach writing to middle schoolers and I keep telling them that “plot” is what happens in the story, but “themes” are the bigger messages that resonate with the universal human experience: love, loss, betrayal, hope, faith, etc. They’re what make books classic 🙂 I see themes of faith, overcoming fear, and seeing v. believing in my WIP. But sometimes I wonder what themes others will pick out…

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  2. Theme is tricky, but as Alina said, it’s the bigger picture of what your story is about. My theme is resolution, resolving the carryover issues that continue to plague my protagonist from a past life.

    I just pulled a book off my shelf by Bill Johnson (A story is a Promise). He doesn’t speak of theme, but says, “Dramatic story-issues revolve around issues of human need.” He says you need to name in your own words, the dramatic issue at the heart of your story and sometimes you have to write the story to discover the issue at the heart of it. Hope that helps.

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