Finding Theme Through Revisions


Sometimes the story we set out to write is not the one that wants to be on the page.

This isn’t a bad thing.

The first time I wrote my novel, the intention was to show a character use the trials of his life to grow from a young adult to an adult.

There was a place, halfway through the novel, I lost my groove. The plot seemed dull and the story stalled. I pressed forward and finished the piece. However, the people who read the completed story saw the error. The novel fell flat and they all commented on it.

I lost my theme.

In revision of the novel, I’ve noticed two things.

1. This novel isn’t a coming of age novel.

2.  It might work better as a short story collection.

I don’t see the first draft of the novel as a waste. I learned a lot of things one shouldn’t do when writing a novel as well as learned my first theme idea wasn’t what this character wanted to explore.

Through revision, I learned how to tell the story better and why the story needs a different theme.

MM Wittle

It is important for one to write. However, it is more important to not be afraid to go back into what was written and start dissecting it. Look at the characters. Look at the point of view. Then, look at the theme. Is it the one you really wanted to write? Does this character want to have that theme? Can you get that theme across in a better story?


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