Monday, September 20

An Exercise from Story Drills: Theme

Todays fiction writing workout is an excerpt from my book, Story Drills: Fiction Writing Exercises. This one focuses on style, the central message and deeper significance of a story. Take pleasure in!

Style is often explained as the message of a story, however this description doesnt do it justice. Theme is also the main significance of a story, its moral core, its subtext.

Theme: a fiction writing workout.

The mockingbird is a sign in To Kill a Mockingbird:

” Mockingbirds dont do one thing except make music for us to take pleasure in. They do not consume peoples gardens, do not nest in corn baby cribs, they dont do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. Thats why its a sin to eliminate a mockingbird.”

Style surpasses theme, exploring deeper significances and asking concerns about topics that are raised by concepts; when a storys theme and concepts are connected in meaningful methods, a story becomes richer and deeper.

This dialogue uses a mockingbird to discuss why its wrong to found guilty, harm, or punish someone whos innocent; the allegory of the mockingbird speaks with the novels theme. The story includes numerous innocent characters who are treated unfairly by their community– a theme that underscores and strengthens the theme of systemic and social injustice.

When examining a storys theme, there is often no outright or objectively appropriate analysis; a storys style might be subjective, depending on how a reader translates the story. Any of the following statements about the theme of To Kill a Mockingbird would be right:

Its about racial oppression in the American South during the 1950s.
Its about bringing change to a neighborhood.
Its about taking a moral position that contradicts custom, standard thinking, and pop culture.

Taking a couple of minutes to consider a storys styles and motifs is a good workout to do with any film, tv, or book program. You do not constantly require to jot down your findings, but doing so will assist you clarify your thoughts and much better understand the story and its inner workings.


Pick one book, one movie, and one television show youre familiar with. Recognize one main theme in each story. Compose a detailed sentence explaining the theme, beginning with the words “Its about …” Then write a paragraph to support your argument as to why this is the appropriate theme.


For example, motifs could be profession, love, and cash, and the theme could be making individual sacrifice for love. Your story might be about a moms and dad who provides up a huge income and a prominent career to invest more time with their children.

Make a list of 3 to five motifs, each revealed in a single word. Develop a style from your list of themes, revealed as a sentence. Modify your motifs and styles till they are all nicely adjoined. Write a couple of paragraphs describing a story that would encapsulate the concepts and style youve chosen.


Theme is often explained as the message of a story, but this description doesnt do it justice. Style is also the central meaning of a story, its ethical core, its subtext. Identify one main style in each story. Write a comprehensive sentence describing the style, beginning with the words “Its about …” Then compose a paragraph to support your argument as to why this is the proper theme.

When reading a book, viewing a movie, or seeing a television program, do you ever contemplate the concepts and styles that are presented? Has a theme ever leapt out at you as too apparent? Have you ever understood months and even years after checking out a book that it included themes or styles that you didnt at first observe? When developing a story, how typically do you think of style? Do you believe theme is present in all stories? Can you think about any stories without any theme?

Write a few paragraphs explaining a story that would encapsulate the themes and theme youve picked.

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