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The Secrets of Story by Matt Bird

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Chapter Nine

Interweaving An Irreconcilable Theme

What is Theme?

Theme is often misunderstood and unfairly maligned. Some writers like to boast they purposely ignore it, because they don’t want to impose an overriding moral judgment onto their stories. But a theme is not the same thing as a moral. In the end, every story must have a theme, but it shouldn’t be artificially imposed on the story. Rather, it should arise naturally when irreconcilable values come into conflict.

Your audience doesn’t want to reach the end of your story and ask, “So what’s your point? Was this a meaningless series of events?” If your story is going to resonate, then you have to intrigue the audience with a thorny problem and draw them deeper into those thorns every ...

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