Theme affects Character and Actions


This is part of a series, 30 Days to A Stronger Novel

If the theme dictates much of the setting of a story, it also affects to the characters and actions of a story.

Remember, this is my theme:
Work hard because you love the sport, not because you love to win.

What actions are implied by that theme? A competition, probably several. Some, the character will win, and some, he’ll lose.

OK. Good. That was easy. What else?

Well, we know from the setting that Dad is the competitive one (Remember his den, the shrine to a life of competition?), so we’ll assume some scenes with Dad (and possibly Mom) about competitive attitudes. Perhaps the parents are pushing J. to enter a competition or train for a competition.

Anything else? Yes. If the parents represent the negative aspects of competition, then we some character(s) to represent the positive aspects. Will the Positive Character have conflicts with the parents? Probably.

Look for places where these things occur in the current draft and work to deepen the conflicts and polarize the positions of each camp–and your theme will shine brighter.

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