The Controlling Idea – Not Your English Teacher’s Theme

Category: Writing Craft, Theme

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My last post about Theme turned out to be a little contentious. Not everyone agreed with the definition, which isn’t surprising considering we were all taught in English class that theme is a) usually distilled down to one word, like “salvation” or “death”, and b) open to interpretation. This approach to theme works in a classroom setting where the point is to explore a work of fiction, but it’s not very helpful when trying to write.

Theme can be used to strengthen every scene in your story. To learn how, click here to read the full post on