We should always know why were telling the story were writing.
The word theme may scare some but it really does help us know what path is right for our story and what is not. The idea of theme comes from what is called priority of techniques.
The major elements of storytelling is:
1) Plot as theme: this book is for action junkies and escapists. With plot as main theme, no serious attempt is made at social commentary or human condition. These books make money because it allows the readers to escape.
2) Mode as theme: the writer tries to make an emotional effect on the reader. Terror, suspense (like Hitchcock's The Birds), love, romance or comedy. With this, make sure you clearly understand the expectations of the audience before you write.
3) Style as theme: Not many stories are written with style as theme because it's more like reading poetry. The elements take a backseat to the style. The style will have a profound effect on every other element as scene through it. Like a colored lens in which everything is shot.
4) Character as theme: Often 'The Great American Novel' or 'Literary Masterpiece' is one that has a name in the title. Like David Copperfield or Anna Karenina. People like books about other people, they find it fascinating.
5) Idea as theme: The moral of the story is the theme...(fairy tales often have ideas as theme) and themes fall into 6 main categories.
- The moral statement - the writer is often trying to preach or get across their ideas. The problem could be that the characters and plots often fall flat.
- Human Dignity - The fight for human dignity. Ex. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
- Social Comment - I recently read a book with this as a theme, it was called The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. The author, Anne Bronte, preached about the woman's condition the whole time. She was trying to make comments on life at the time. She was often called the beginning in the woman's liberation movement.
- Human Nature - In this category, the characters often represent universal human types.
- Human Relations - The author is concerned with understanding who we are as people and the difficulties people have when it comes to getting along with others.