A narrative theme can be described as the core meaning or message behind your story. It serves to tell your audience what your story is about as well laying groundwork for its context. Establishing the core theme early can help you keep your comic grounded and focused as you begin to unfold your characters and plots.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to have one core thematic idea, at least in the beginning. SOme common themes include, “coming of age”, “individuality vs the collective” or “scientific discovery vs religious devotion”. A clear theme also informs the overarching conflict of the story from which your characters can explore both within themselves and their interactions with each other as well as how they relate to the theme.
Communicating the theme of your comic is often done through your choice of first or third person perspectives, including the voice of your narrator. Will the focus be on an individual’s struggle with the core theme or will you use multiple points of view to explore a range of perspectives on the theme? Your theme should sit at the core of each character’s struggle/conflict.
For example, the theme, “crisis of faith” can be applied in this way.
“A rogue paladin whose faith is challenged when they are joined by a travelling companion who performs what look to be miracles, but belongs to a different religious order or warring country.”
This character is having a “crisis of faith” and is further challenged when faced with a miracle performed by the enemy. Has their god forsaken them? Did they fight for the wrong side? How do they now relate to an adversary after witnessing their covenant with their god? These are all interesting questions all springing from the core thematic concept.
A narrative theme grounds the story in reality, the genre providing the execution and set of expectations of how to explore that theme. Once your audience knows what the theme of your story is, they can evaluate the character’s motivations and interactions and come to their own conclusions.
What is the theme of your story?Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!
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Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, July 3, 2020
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