Friday, November 21, 2008

Christian Themes

Every story has a theme. Without a theme, the story falls flat like a limp balloon. The theme of a story is a little like the hypothesis of a scientist. A scientist states a hypothesis and then through additional research will either prove or disprove his hypothesis. Likewise, a novelist will state his theme early in the book and through the events of the story he will lay out his arguments to support the theme.

The theme is something like “money can’t buy happiness” or something similar. I have tried to think of what the uniquely Christian themes are. The one that really sticks out is “Jesus saves” though it seems that authors seldom use that as a theme but try to work it into the story in other ways. I think this is the wrong way to go. A theme should be interwoven into the tapestry of the story.


Avily Jerome said...

I was at a writer's conference recently where something similar was discussed.

Every story has a real-life "subject."

The one example the speaker used was of a woman who was writing a story where the MC kills her husband and tries to make it look like an accident to collect the insurance.

Her view was that the subject was revenge, but the speaker pointed out that in reality it was not so much revenge as insurance fraud.

Kinda not the same as what you're talking about, but in the same way, each Christian novel tells something about God (be that what we are trying to say or not, something is still said).

In your "For the Love of a Devil," I think the theme is probably true love/redemption.

In one of mine the theme is more vague, along the lines of "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," and in the other, it's less about a theme, and more about challenging worldview, particularly regarding sexual purity and also evolutionary theory.

Avily Jerome said...

On a side note, if you're bored today, come check out my Saturday Story.

I think you'd appreciate it.

Timothy Fish said...


You are correct about the theme of For the Love of a Devil. To put a finer point on it, the theme is true love never gives up I stated the theme on page 40 in a discussion between Geoff and his students about a homework assignment. He asks how we can recognize love in a story, to which Sara responds, "It's when people don't give up."

I stated the theme a little later in the story than I originally intended. It comes just a couple of pages before the inciting incident, but that's just the way it worked out.

Avily Jerome said...

I tend to find that things don't always end up where I originally thought they would.

I'm sure it works and is very poignant where it is.

BTW, I read your sample chapters- I'm definitely hooked. Some day I'll have enough money to actually buy it so I can finish it. :)