This week, Alida, Kathryn welcome Mike Stop Continues back to the show to discuss prewriting theme. We cover: 

  • why you should find your theme before you write,
  • why themes that are too timely are no good, 
  • being human,
  • the role of the character arc in theme,
  • how does theme work in your plot,
  • avoid writing propaganda,
  • writers’ relationships to the themes they write,
  • returning to the same theme over and over in our writing,
  • how readers connect to a writer’s work because of theme,
  • the role of journaling in finding theme,
  • universal questions—looking at story from the top down,
  • making sure every movement addresses theme,
  • the role of the subconscious mind in writing theme.  





Should we have a theme in mind before we write our first drafts? How do we work it into our pre-writing? How do you avoid the trap of propaganda? How do you know when you have a good theme? Do we write the same themes over and over? And how do you factor theme into your supporting characters, plot, and even antagonist?

What we talked about:

Do we think about theme before we start to write? (1:20)

How do you come up with theme in the early stages of writing? (4:10)

How do you know you have a good theme? (5:03)

Theme is a part of our character’s arc. (7:40)

So how do you factor theme into the creation of your character arc? (8:20)

How do you choose your theme? Where does it come from? (11:48)

Do we write about the same theme over and over? What about within a series? (13:35)

How does theme factor into your outlining or storyboarding process? (18:40)

Expand your theme out of your protagonists character arc. (21:50)

How are the supporting characters reflecting the theme back to your protagonist? (24:30)

So how do you draft with theme in mind? (28:00)



Things we mentioned:

On Writing by Steven King
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris 
Harry Potter 
Breaking Bad 
Macbeth by Shakespeare 
Hamlet by Shakespeare 

Want more about these topics? Check out:

SWRT 028 Emotional Wound Thesaurus
SWRT 029: Emotional Wounds & Character Arcs
SWRT 066: Theme

Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

Get Your FREE Guide to reVision

Join hundreds of Word Essential Writers to receive inspirational writing tips and advice.

Thanks for subscribing! Look for a confirmation email in your inbox.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This