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Introducing the theme of my book

In this post, Michelle talks about theme vs. plot, and reveals some details about the direction of her book. This is an inside look at a first-time writer, in progress. // from Michelle Hickey Design

June 12, 2020

I’m Michelle.
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I’m writing a novel! In this post, I introduce the theme of my book.

In this post, Michelle talks about theme vs. plot, and reveals some details about the direction of her book. This is an inside look at a first-time writer, in progress. // from Michelle Hickey Design

So someone you know is writing a book.

“What’s it about?” is the normal first question you would ask that someone.

Now that I’m the writer in this scenario, there’s a different question that I wish people would ask: “What is the theme?”

The plot, in a way, is superficial. Like if you were being set up on a blind date, and you asked “what do they look like?” before inquiring about the person’s character. Attraction is necessary, of course, but it’ll only keep you engaged for so long if you don’t like what’s on the inside.

With a book, the cover catches our eye, the synopsis hooks us, the story reels us in. And the theme is the line— the invisible thread that strings us along through our journey. Don’t think too much about the fate of the fish in this analogy as I am now realizing that it is problematic.

The theme is the soul of a book. Better?

And just like falling in love with someone, a good theme will keep you enchanted from beginning to end, and leave you wanting more.

Introducing the theme of my book

In my story, I’m exploring a variation on the theme of change vs. tradition. There are the things we’re raised to do, and the things we are born to do. Sometimes these are one and the same, but more often, they are not.

Something happens when we come of age, and enter adulthood. We begin to question the truths that we’ve been raised to believe.

In this period of discovery, we’re given the chance to learn who we really are, at our core. For some of us, this happens in our teenage years, for others, not until further into adulthood.

Do you accept things as they’ve been presented to you? Or do you forge your own path?

Some of these truths are simply preferences that we’ve adopted from our upbringing that we gleefully carry into the future. For me, pasta on Sundays. That was a tradition worth keeping.

Other influences are more impactful and play a role in where you’ll live, or what kind of work you’ll do. At the age of 30, I realized that I wanted to live in a different part of the country. The decision to relocate was one of the most difficult I’ve ever made. You don’t just get up and move when your family and friends are all in one place— the place that everyone knows. But that’s what we did, and our lives changed for the better as a result of following that instinct.

Exploring possibility in the wake of freedom

In the story I’m writing, we follow the journeys of four college freshmen. Like many 18-year-olds, they arrive on campus, anxious to exercise their independence. But with that freedom comes a challenge: they must learn to think for themselves.

One by one, the characters begin to question their choices. Did they select the right major? Are they on the right path? Are they in the right place?

Do you remember feeling this way when you were 18 years old? Some of us never stop asking these kinds of questions. And after reading this story, I hope you’ll be inspired to ask more of them.

I would be so grateful if you signed up below to join this segment of my email list. I have no special opt-in incentive, only the promise to keep you up to date on all things writing and publishing.

Photo by Laura Foote

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  1. Dad says:

    Happy Birthday Michelle! I’m so excited that you’ve decided to take the risk of writing your book. In my estimation, there is no higher calling than putting thoughts onto paper for all to see. The tug of war between the preservation of tradition and the call to change is something that challenges us our entire lives. This is a worthy theme for your first book (yes, I believe there will be more from you!). Wishing you all the best and thank you for inviting us on your literary journey. Please remember to have fun too!
    ❤️Your very proud Dad

    • Michelle says:

      My favorite comment of all time. Thank you for your love, encouragement, and for sharing my excitement for this new project. I love you!

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