New DIY MFA Article and Worksheet on Premise Themes

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Last month at DIY MFA, we launched the four-part series “Developing Themes in Your Stories” with a piece on consciously developing themes using the protagonist’s character arc. Today, it’s all about premise themes. Believe it or not, that single sentence that sums up your story (a.k.a. your 140-character Twitter pitch) actually hints at potential literary themes. How is this possible? And, how can you build your premise sentence if you don’t have one yet? All of that is covered in “Developing Themes In Your Stories: Part 2 – The Premise.” Click here to read it.

New Worksheet on Premise Themes

Why not? 🙂 A number of readers were excited about the Character Arc Themes Worksheet when it posted. So, I thought I’d make one available for premise themes as well. This new worksheet is comprised of the three activities in “Developing Themes In Your Stories: Part 2 – The Premise” and can help you go from story pitch to premise sentence, and finally to themes.

Click here to visit Worksheets for Writers and download a PDF copy of the Premise Themes Worksheet.

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.

New DIY MFA Article and Worksheet on Character Arc Themes

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So far at Theme: A Story’s Soul for DIY MFA, we’ve featured articles that deal mainly with themes and reading. However, since DIY MFA is first and foremost a resource website for writers, it’s time we tackle how to write with themes in mind – or rather, how to consciously develop our story’s themes without forcing them.

Today I’m excited to launch a special four-part Theme: A Story’s Soul series called “Developing Themes in Your Stories.” Part 1 focuses on character arc themes and features a brainstorming activity to help you discover potential themes in a story idea before you start writing the story. That way, you’ll know your story’s themes upfront instead of digging for them later. 😉

Click here to read “Developing Themes In Your Stories: Part 1 – The Character Arc.”

New Worksheet on Character Arc Themes

Yes, I’ve posted a brand new worksheet for you today! The Character Arc Themes Worksheet is formatted as a table to help you complete the exercises given in the coinciding DIY MFA article. This worksheet was a last-minute idea, so that’s why I’m making it available here without the DIY MFA branding.

Click here to visit Worksheets for Writers and download a PDF copy of the Character Arc Themes Worksheet.

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.

New at DIY MFA: How Mirror Characters Can Illustrate Literary Themes

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When two characters use similar traits or functions in opposite ways, they’re known as “mirror characters.” These pairs are a great way of creating conflict or relationships – and, oddly enough, a frequent source of literary themes. In the latest Theme: A Story’s Soul article at DIY MFA, we discover how mirror characters can help illustrate theme, using examples from Kristin Cashore’s Fire and Sara Litchfield’s The Night Butterflies. And, if you read closely enough, you’ll see how both examples mirror one another. 😉

Click here to read “How Mirror Characters Can Illustrate Literary Themes.”

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.

New at DIY MFA Today: A Case Study on Trust as a Literary Theme

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Trust is an essential building block in relationships of all kinds. However, for some people and in certain situations, trust isn’t won or earned easily.  Today’s Theme: A Story’s Soul article at DIY MFA examines how trust is explored as a literary theme, using two very different novels (Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins and Karina Sumner-Smith’s Radiant) as examples and discovering techniques from both stories that develop this theme. Click here to read “A Case Study on Trust as a Literary Theme.”

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.

New at DIY MFA Today: Identifying a Novel’s Themes Using the Title and the Blurb

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Normally we can’t tell what a novel’s themes are until we’ve actually read the novel. However, did you know that with some stories, you can identify potential themes by looking for clues in the title and the blurb (a.k.a. jacket copy)? We explore that idea in “Identifying a Novel’s Themes Using the Title and the Blurb,” the latest article in my Theme: A Story’s Soul column at DIY MFA. We’ll even do some detective work together using the jacket copy of Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See. Curious? Click here to read the article.

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.

Joining DIY MFA for “Theme: A Story’s Soul”!

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Today I’m thrilled to announce I’m joining DIY MFA as one of their new staff writers! My primary focus will be Theme: A Story’s Soul, a column geared toward helping readers and writers alike gain a better understanding of theme and its importance in stories. Click here to read the first article, “What Is Theme and Why Is It Important?”, which went live earlier today.

Future articles for Theme: A Story’s Soul will post on DIY MFA every 5 weeks. I’ll share the links here when they’re available, and at a new DIY MFA index page you’ll be able to access from the sidebar.

A little bit about DIY MFA (which stands for Do-It-Yourself Master of Fine Arts): This site was created by Gabriela Pereira to give writers a more affordable option for an MFA program that they can work into their busy lifestyles. Besides the blog, DIY MFA features weekly podcasts, a Writer Igniter that generates random writing prompts, writing mentorship packages, and a 10-week DIY MFA 101 course for writers who are committed to taking their writing to the next level. All aspects of DIY MFA focus on three core values: writing with focus, reading with purpose, and building your personal writing community. If you’re looking for another online writing resource that’s both informative and and engaging, I encourage you to check out DIY MFA!

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.