Theme For Your Novel

Can having a theme for your novel help you write it well?

I think so. I’m halfway through my fourth novel and a theme helped my name it –

Look The Other Way

 The theme: Is it murder if you look the other way?

What I mean by this is: Say a character could stop a death by taking some action but doesn’t. By the character’s inaction, the person dies. Is this murder?

Does the character . . .

  • Believe he’s committed a murder?
  • Suffer for his own inaction?
  • Alter his future behaviour to make up for his inaction?
  • Think that his inaction was justified? The right thing to do?

By focussing on the theme, I have lots to think about when developing not only the character that let a death happen, but the other characters who are affected by the death.

The name reminds me to think of the theme when I write each scene. That’s gotta be a good thing. 🙂


13 thoughts on “Theme For Your Novel

  1. Like the theme idea:) The question I asked myself when writing my novel, 18 Things, is . . . can 18 Things save someone’s life? In answer to yours, I think yes. I’m a public school teacher and we tell the kids that even if they aren’t the one bullying, they are equally guilty if they see it happening and do nothing to stop it.


      1. 18 Things is something the MC’s therapist suggests for her to help grieve the loss of her best friend . . . a life list for her to complete the year she turns 18:)


  2. What always fascinates me is when I set out to write about one thing, and subconsciously end up writing about something deeper. The deeper thing is usually the one I really wanted to write about, but just didn’t know it yet. 🙂
    In my current revision, I began by exploring secrets we keep and what it might be like to really see what is inside the minds of those we love, and ended up writing about how everyone has a talent, whether hidden or explored, that is unique to them and no one else.

    I really like your theme, and all the conflict it brings to the story!


    1. Kirsten, Your first sentence is what’s most fun about writing for me At the end of the day I love to look back and see what I created it. Everyone loves a secrets and I can see how the would lead to interesting writing. Thanks for the positive comment on my theme.


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