I am going to share a little bit from my religion, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because I love it, and because it relates wonderfully to a writing concept I want to share. In The Book of Mormon, there is a story of a man named Nephi. He becomes a teacher and leader to his family, even his older brothers. When he taught, he chose to read from the scriptures. 1 Nephi 19:23 says that he read much to them and he related the scriptures to them for their profit and learning. When charged by God to be a leader and teacher, he chose to teach with stories. In the bible, Jesus Christ, the greatest of all teachers, taught by using stories or parables. (Luke 8:10)
I will forever stand on my soap box and talk about the significance and power of stories. However, only when the stories are developed and prepared, will they have an impact. Consider the first draft of the result of a writing prompt outside of your genre. Compare this to a fable like The Tortoise and the Hare. The level of development is completely different, and so is the level of relatability. Find the common factor of your favorite stories. They all have a message that speaks to you, this is the theme, or like Nephi found, the part that likens to your life.
Themes in writing are what guides the storyline and what makes the story deliver a relatable message. Examples of themes can be good vs evil, friendship, love conquers all, etc. They can also be about humility, a utopian society, or any other topic that relates to life in possibilities, idealism, or reality. We all have talents and tools of influence in our lives, and we’re able to express our ideas that way.
On the flip side, we are all able to learn from one another. With unique views and perspectives, we all have things to learn. The story of an olympic athlete has a specific ability to teach about hard work and perseverance. Nephi from the Book of Mormon has wonderful experiences to teach about being proactive and having faith (1 Nephi 16:17-31). Successful businessmen have the qualifications to share successful habits.
Share your unique messages, and learn from others. We can all relate to one another by sharing our own themes. Find what is important to you and share it by showing the contrast of that theme. Relate your experiences or those of a character to each side of the theme. This is where the power comes from. I’ll be writing more about themes soon, until then, tell me what you find you can relate to!