Fiction Editing - Exploring Your Theme

A well edited story can mean the difference between the slush pile and the contract. But besides proofing for correct grammar and spelling how exactly can you take your manuscript to the next level? You can start by editing your books theme for consistency and structure. To begin this editing process you will have to start by asking yourself two simple questions.

1. What is a theme?
Breaking it down to its most basic definition; The theme is the overall message or idea that you the author want to convey to your reader.
2. How do I find my theme?
If your not sure what your theme is start with your characters. Question their motivations, needs and desires. Who is the story about? And more importantly, why does anybody care? Once you answer these questions within the question you should see your theme start to appear.
3.Is my theme consistent?
Beginning to end is your theme consistent throughout your story? This has to do more with continuity and direction than anything. A theme that is to vague or fades out to be replaced by another leaves readers confused. A theme that loses direction in a story can take a reader from point a to point c without any mention of point b.
4.What's more important my story or my theme?
Story always takes precedence over theme. Always. If you sacrifice elements of story to teach a lesson your readers will hear you. The object is to get your readers to hear you without knowing your there. Any time story is sacrificed it is the author interrupting the reader. The more subtle you are the better. Let your read draw their own conclusions to your lesson and the impact will be far greater. Let your theme appear and disappear with the natural ebb and flow of your story.

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