Writing a Theme: Insight into Writing a Book

One of the biggest questions I am asked when people find out I wrote a book is, “So how do you do it? How did you write the book, what is your process?”

The number one thing I say back to this almost as often is, “I sat down and wrote!” But that isn’t the only thing we as writers do. In fact, just sitting down and writing a bunch of words might not work out so well. Without an outline, a process, a form of some sort we would be aimlessly writing scenes that never interconnect and won’t make sense in the end. IF there is even is an end…..it remains to be seen until you are done.

Here’s the thing: You need to start first with a THEME! There are other terms for this of course…..a statement or by-line, a purpose, an underlining emotion….they are all the same. Your characters need a theme to live by in order for the story to make sense. Without a theme, there is just utter chaos!

When I first started writing my book I felt myself struggling with my own self identity. I wanted to understand what I wanted but also what I wanted others to see me as. I have always focused pretty intently on who I am and what makes me….”me”. This was something that prevails through most of my writing.

I want to focus today on one of my lead characters, Camille Scipio. She finds herself in the village of Aspera without any idea who she is, where she is, or where she came from. This is literally the center point of her entire existence. “Who Am I? What Am I?” It starts the entire series off with a strong note of self discovery. She must search not just throughout those around her for answers, but she must also delve within.

One amazing piece of advice I was given in the earlier years of writing my book is that the lead character (and sub characters) must overcome their internal struggle before they are able to overcome the external issue. This inevitably goes hand in hand with your stories theme. The overarching “problem” must be internally solved prior to the external problem coming to fruition.

Jon Snow must BECOME the King of the North before he is able to defeat the Army of the Dead.

Harry Potter must walk into the battle between him and Voldemort completely alone before he is able to vanquish the Dark Lord.

Overall, the way you start a good story is by having a solid theme that can be carried throughout the extent of your book. Whether it be 1 book or 7 books, there has to be a defining purpose to the story. Once you have that, the rest of the writing is just pulling a Hemingway.

Whiskey and Writing, it’s how it gets done my friends.

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