Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Plotting the Theme

A reader sent in an interesting question, but asked me not to use her name: I belong to an online writing group and they often talk about themes in stories. I can never work out what the difference is between plot and theme and don’t want to look like an idiot by asking someone in the group to explain. Aren’t plot and theme the same thing?

No, they are two elements dependent on each other to create a good story.

Think of it this way: the theme is the main idea being dealt with and the plot outlines everything required to carry that idea and make it into a story. Both are needed in order for the story to work.

Let’s say you come up with an idea for a story. To convert that idea into something others would want to read you would need a plot covering who, what, where and when. The theme would tell the reader why.

In simple terms, the theme is the message the author wants to get across to readers and the plot is the vehicle used to deliver that message in an entertaining way.

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