Why Theme MUST be the Foundation of Your Novel by Martin Cavannagh

What are the hallmarks of an amateur novelist?

This is a question I get all the time and, of course, there are many answers: poor pacing, flat dialogue, a lack of believable character development. All of these things are a death kiss for any fiction writer.

However, even if all of these elements are in place and you have the most exquisite dialogue and beautifully realized characters, there can still be something missing in your novel. And very often, it relates to theme.

Theme is something that all readers will pick up on when reading a book, whether they realize it or not. At its core satisfying novels need to be about something — whether that’s something broad like ‘love’ or something as narrow as ‘corrosive corporate culture’. Even novels about gods or dinosaurs or space aliens will have something to say about the human condition — a vein that…

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