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?