How to Choose the Theme of Your Book?
Updated: Oct 23, 2020
Why do you need a theme?
There are billions of books in the world.
There is a really high chance that your “brilliant idea” has already been written as a book. Probably decades ago.
Then why should you write, you ask?
Oh my humble minion, allow this socially awkward Gru to tell you why.
Because you want to, you nincompoop!
That and the fact that with a little secret, you can make any idea your own.
Yup, you read that right.
Theme over Idea. Any day.
Sure it’s fun to read about intriguing new ideas. But at this point in history almost every idea has been recycled in some form or the other.
Prince rescuing a princess. Done. (No more, please!)
Evil King hunting a farm boy who goes on to save the world?Done.
Teenagers fighting to death? Done.
Sparkling vampire? Done.
A fish who gets lost in the freaking sea? Done.
Magical worlds? Done.
Tragic stories? Done.
Enemies to lovers? D.O.N.E
Reading stories about magical lands and fire breathing dragons or teenagers falling in love are cool. Yet once you put down the book, if all you got from it were some cool action sequences, there is a chance that you’ll forget the whole darn thing in about 2 seconds.
If you are an author writing a book like that, then Congratulations!
You can wave your lost time goodbye as it makes it way down the drain. Wheeeeee!
This is why themes are as or maybe even more important than ideas.
Why does your story matter to you?
Now listen! If you are going to spend all your time writing a book from scratch , forgoing all those movie dates and parties and music festivals, why would you write something that has no personal meaning to you.
Your primary goal with each book should be to ask yourself what unique touch you can add on to this idea (that probably a hundred others have already had) and make it completely your own.
This is what is going to leave an impression in your readers’ minds.
This is what is going to make your book interesting and relevant even if your core idea has already been done a million times.
This is where your heart's truths come into play.
How to find your heart's truths?
More often than not, there would have been some moments in your life where you had wanted to hit others on their heads and explain why their perspective is clouded. Those instances happened because someone questioned your heart’s truth.
For example, have you ever felt angry when you witnessed someone insulting an innocent just because he/she is of a darker skin tone? Or when a woman was catcalled on the streets? If yes, and I hope to god that the answer is yes, you felt that way because those mean slime-balls had acted completely against your heart’s beliefs that people should not be discriminated against based on their skin colour or that women are not sexual objects.
There you go.
Those are some of your truths.
How to use your truth to find a compelling theme?
Write down five truths that you hold the closest to your heart.
Choose one that you think is the most relevant one that the world needs to hear now.
See if you can combine truths or find truths that go well together.
There you go! Now you have the overarching theme for your wonderful novel.
Come back to see how to use your theme in your book!