Master Theme

This picks up after I make an analogy of writing and cooking.

That said, there are a couple of ingredients in a story that if done properly, can compensate quite a bit for other shortcomings in the recipe. They are the master theme and the characters. If you nail your theme and establish great characters you’ve dodged two major pitfalls of writing. We’re going to talk about characters later (page 53), so for now let’s briefly focus on theme.
Theme is the moral message of the story—it’s the fundamental point you’re trying to make.

Complex stories may have a few different themes, but among them one will always be dominant or as I like to call it, the Master Theme.

Stories that don’t have a solid master theme, don’t engage us at a deeper level. Even if the emotional ride is a good, at the end we’re left with a feeling of futility, like there really wasn’t any point of it all.
Stories without a gripping master theme are quickly forgotten.
Anytime I get an outline or script from a new writer on my desk that doesn’t have a clear master theme, that’s the first thing I address.

It’s allllll about theme. Theme connects ALL the other elements of the story. Don’t write a comic relying on the characters and plot alone to engage the audience. Say something worth saying.▪

About the Author —
Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, amazon and in select stores around the U.S.  Visit for social media contacts and news on his latest releases.

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© 2016 Nick Macari. No reproduction without written permission.