Original Fic Tip: Good stories have a plot. Great stories have a plot and a theme.
Today's original fic tip is about how to create an underlying theme for a story. Quoting for Well-Storied's article:
In most cases, our stories' themes — meaning their central topics — are rooted in our character’s flaws or in the obstacles that keep them from achieving their story goals. This is because our story’s thematic statement unfolds naturally as a result of our characters’ internal arcs.
Confused? Don't worry. We’re going to discuss arcs in far more detail in the weeks to come. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to theme: how your character changes (or doesn't change) as a result of the events of your story is what will allow readers to pick up on your story's thematic statement.
For example, in Pride and Prejudice, Austen’s thematic statement unravels as Elizabeth and Darcy come to recognize their character flaws and take action to overcome them, which in turn allows their love to blossom. In The Dark Between, my thematic statement comes to life as several of the main characters learn to step out from the shadows of their elders in order to begin building the lives they truly want.
Ready to integrate your own thematic statement into your story? Take a look at the main character(s) in your current work-in-progress, and ask yourself the following questions:
Who is my character at the beginning of the story?
What are their flaws, and what holds them back from happiness or fulfillment?
How do the events of my story shape my character for the better or the worse?
Do they overcome their characters flaws and the obstacles that stand in their way? How so?
Who has my character become by the end of the story?
Now go forth and write!