Every story has a theme. Without a theme you just have a series of random thoughts strung together. When writing your stories try to be clear on the theme of your story. In other words….what’s the point?
There is a great scene in a great movie, Limitless, where the protagonist (played by Bradley Cooper), who is a writer, is asked what his novel is about. He stumbles through several scenarios, “uummm…it’s about this man…well this couple…it’s really about….it’s complicated…” Hilarious. Writers, how can you write a clear themed story if you cannot even say what the story is about. You should be able to state what your story /novel/book is about in one line. Two lines tops. No exceptions. This does not mean you have to state all the side themes, etc. Just the main theme, two lines TOPS. Give you an example; Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds. There are many small themes in this movie. There are Mommy issues and Daddy issues and rich-girl lost issues and a romance going on. The main issue is The Birds. Rich girl buys birds, cages them takes them to small town where birds are not caged and the birds band together and attack. Rich girl takes caged birds and leave. Theme: Nature will prevail (birds say, “Don’t bring that shit here”). Ofcourse, more complicated books sometimes seem to require more compacted themes. Not really. Every book’s theme should be able to be stated in one line. Keep in mind we’re talking MAIN THEME, not smaller side stories that support the main story and help carry it to completion. A more modern example would be A Few Good Men. The main theme here is a boy’s desire to measure up to his father’s expectations. There are military issues and elitist issues and sexual tension but in the end, Tom Cruise’s character is scared shitless that he will never be as good a lawyer as his Famous Daddy. The character is tested and prevails and is in fact as good as his father was at law.
This may seem hard but it really makes writing your stories easier if you stay focus on what is the main theme of your story. Every character every plot line every event should support that theme. And if you cannot state that theme in one line you need to take some time and get clear on what it is you are writing. The lack of focus will show up in your work. That theme is your reason for writing your book, it is what you are proving with your work. One line…two lines tops. Or else…what’s the point?