Hey writers, Annette here. Are you a fan of Scrivener? Recently, I created a new folder in Scrivener for my work in progress, title? What this book is about. There I listed all the themes, all the elements that might be messages. I find themes are often discovered more than they are planned. Today’s guest has brought us some tips on nailing down your book’s theme. Enjoy!
The Power of Theme
by Becky Wade
Remember elementary school book reports? They always began with the book’s title and author. Then shortly after, you’d be asked to specify the book’s theme. I remember grappling with the question of theme back then, thinking, Theme? I don’t know. What will my teacher accept here? Theme? Hmm.
What about you, author? Do you spend time, as you’re working on your novel, thinking about your book’s theme?
I once heard general market historical romance author Maggie Osborne speak to a group of writers. She told us that at the outset of each new manuscript she’d ask herself, What is this book about? She’d only allow herself a one, two, or three word answer. Occasionally, she’d wrestle with the What is this book about? question for chapters and chapters before the answer would finally clarify in her mind.
Ever since I heard Maggie’s speech, I’ve asked myself the very same thing each time I begin a new manuscript.
What is this book about?
This particular question has been a tremendous help to me. Why? Because the answer keeps me on track. It results in all kinds of new ideas. It tightens the book’s main storyline and subplots around a central subject. It gives me a vehicle for applying metaphors, which enrich a novel in conscious and subconscious ways.
For example, even before I sat down to write My Stubborn Heart I knew the story was about healing.
See? Just one word. Healing.
My Stubborn Heart takes a devastated, heartbroken hero on a journey of healing. But he’s not the only person/thing healed over the course of the story. A grand old house is renovated. A restored classic car is brought out into the daylight. The heroine’s scars from past relationships are healed. A lost career is brought back to life. A seventy-something couple overcome their issues and begin dating.
Do you sense how distilling your complex story down into a one-, two-, or three-word theme can serve as a great tool? The theme of my second book, Undeniably Yours, is growing stronger. The theme of my third book, Meant to Be Mine, is forgiveness. The manuscript I’m currently revising? Hope.
Can you hammer your WIP’s theme down into three words or less? If so, I’d love to hear your answers. What is your book about?
Becky Wade makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, My Stubborn Heart, was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards. Undeniably Yours kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series. Her newest contemporary romance, Meant to Be Mine, has just hit shelves!
Connect with Becky here:
Meant to be Mine
Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school--irresistible. When their paths cross again after college-- still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.
The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be her husband. He’s a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he’s long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he’s known since childhood.
Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.
How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia’s trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?