My T in the A – Z challenge is for Theme. I remember when my literature teacher in high school asked us to find the theme of a story we were studying, a collective sigh went up in the room like if a gas line had burst. Ask us to summarize the plot, we could do that, describe the characters, that was easy, but find the theme? We could sooner find the Holy Grail.

Nowadays, we hear the word “theme” used a lot. There are theme parks, theme parties, theme restaurants. What the designers have done is to build the setting or occasion around a central point that no one can miss. The theme of your novel is not much different. It is that common thread that runs through your plot, and impacts your characterization and sometimes even your setting. It is a necessary element of the literary novel.

As an aspiring novelist, you may not consciously set out to create a theme, but if your story flows logically, you will have a theme. Sometimes a theme could be a place, a time period or a metaphor that adds depth to the story. Some common themes used in novels are: loss of innocence, coming of age, losing hope, pride, danges of materialism, good versus evil, lost love and many others. The next time you read a novel, try to identify the theme. If you have written a novel, what is its theme?