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30 review for Writing Your Story's Theme: The Writer's Guide to Plotting Stories That Matter (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 9)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Josiah

    This is an ambitious book. There aren't many works out there that I'm familiar with that seek to unpack a comprehensive approach to theme-building in fiction writing. (The closest I've found is Truby's Anatomy of Story, and it isn't even a work primarily about theme!) You have several that touch on the subject and some--like Weiland's earlier Creating Character Arcs that do an impressive job of hitting certain aspects of theme really well. But I'm not familiar with many that focus specifically on This is an ambitious book. There aren't many works out there that I'm familiar with that seek to unpack a comprehensive approach to theme-building in fiction writing. (The closest I've found is Truby's Anatomy of Story, and it isn't even a work primarily about theme!) You have several that touch on the subject and some--like Weiland's earlier Creating Character Arcs that do an impressive job of hitting certain aspects of theme really well. But I'm not familiar with many that focus specifically on the subject. This book endeavors to change that--with an exploration of theme that draws from a number of great writers and thinkers, contains a variety of philosophical and theoretical insights into the nature of storycraft, and offers a comprehensive approach to the subject. The first thing potential readers should know is that this book is going to feel quite different from Weiland's previous books. It's not as "formulaic" or "model-focused" in its approach (as, say, Creating Character Arcs or Structuring Your Novel are), and it tends to spend more time unpacking the theory of storycraft than her previous books. (Which is not to say it isn't practical... simply that she talks more about higher-end concepts in this work.) In my mind, this fit the topic well, but it did take some adjustments on my end in what I was expecting. This book is less about presenting a model and more about establishing principles, and the chapters can sometimes feel disconnected from each other as a result. Enough, however, about what the book is generally like. What about its content? If it's more about establishing principles, what are those principles actually like? Unsurprisingly to anyone who's read any of her previous books or follows her blog, her principles are, of course, solid through-and-through. There are a lot of lists in this book that give a variety of helpful tips for tackling the various aspects of theme. I particularly appreciated her points about why themes don't need to be unique (simply powerful), how the plot of a story meaningfully grounds the exploration of the story's theme, and how theme effectively solves the plot vs. character debate. Her section on subtext was also quite excellent. So how well does this book live up to its goals? It's one of the best unpackings of the Truth/Lie model of thematic development I've seen--not in a way that's focused on simply providing a model, but in a way that's focused on unpacking the theories and principles behind the model so writers know how to use it effectively. As a storyteller, I still find the Experiment in Living model to fit my personal writing style better than the Truth/Lie model when approaching thematic development. But I still learned several useful principles and techniques by reading this book and for writers who use the Truth/Lie model, this is pretty essential reading in my book for how to expand that into your plot, subtext, and side characters. My recommendation would probably be to read Creating Character Arcs first to get the foundation of the character arc that will form the core of your character's theme. But after that book, this work is a very natural sequel to it that will be a fantastic guide for authors looking to take their story's theme beyond the character arc. My one complaint about the book is that I read the digital version and I really need the physical version so I can mark it up appropriately. (It's in the mail as I write this.) You'll want to go with a physical edition of this work if possible. Recommended. Rating: 4 Stars (Very Good).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    I write fantasy. I also play fantasy Role Playing Games (RPGs). In the typical RPG, a varied group of individuals, each with separate powers, abilities and agendas, somehow come together, explore an old castle, kill the monster and steal the gold. Lots of what K.M. Weiland may refer to as character and plot. Yet we are warned not to try and translate RPGs into a novel and the reason may be they lack KM’s third key element of a good story: theme. . Now, I have been reading KM’s emails, tweets, post I write fantasy. I also play fantasy Role Playing Games (RPGs). In the typical RPG, a varied group of individuals, each with separate powers, abilities and agendas, somehow come together, explore an old castle, kill the monster and steal the gold. Lots of what K.M. Weiland may refer to as character and plot. Yet we are warned not to try and translate RPGs into a novel and the reason may be they lack KM’s third key element of a good story: theme. . Now, I have been reading KM’s emails, tweets, posts and books for about as long as I have made writing a novel a life project (about two years). In all of her work she emphasizes the importance of each of the three elements, as well as such things as character and story arcs, the Lie and the Truth, conflict and the protagonist, and many other things. These are certainly represented in her book: Writing Your Story’s Theme. Yet with theme as the primary subject, what follows are a few specific tidbits I got out of the book. . Of all the things KM presents in her novel-writing theory, none has been as hard a nutshell for me to crack as understanding scene writing. She writes that what seems to be one idea (a scene) is actually broken down to six in two sets of three ideas. In Theme, much of the detail is set aside. Keeping it simple is done to accent how a scene is an interweaving of the inner development of the character (internal conflict) with the outer action of the scene’s plot (external conflict). KM thus demonstrates how theme is built upon by logically sequential scenes. Building the big theme of the story through the many mini-themes of scenes is a discussion I found useful. . I also found KM’s advice on the antagonist (in developing theme) sharpened my vision of just what he could and should be in my story. Reading Theme, I often drifted into how I could clarify my antagonist’s role, making him more powerful figure and relevant to the character arc of my primary protagonist. Once, I even had to stop reading in order to jot down a few ideas. Now, I dare say, my protagonist has a lot more on her plate than she did before. . The chapter on message was particularly striking. (To skip the spoiler below, understand that KM basically warns the writer from emphasizing message over theme.) From it I found a new perspective on what I believe is a shortcoming of Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. ***SPOILER ALERT*** Ben-Hur’s primary theme can be summarized by one word: Revenge. The theme is masterfully explored in the heart of the novel (Wallace uses sections he calls “books” each with its own set of chapters)—books 2 through 7. Yet in the concluding book 8, the theme is lost to the message of Jesus on the cross as it is commonly understood in mainstream Christianity. This overwhelms the theme and is thrust upon the protagonist (and reader). The story becomes preachy (KM describes this as didactic) and the protagonist’s development stagnates. It becomes predictable to anyone who attended Sunday School. By contrast, the 1959 movie adaptation does not make this story-telling faux pas. The concluding scenes focus on Ben-Hur and his personal discovery of the story’s Truth (using the word as KM does). In Ben-Hur’s case, it’s how a life spent seeking revenge is a life wasted (or something like that). This is exemplified by the foreshadowed “gourd of water” scene in the march to the crucifixion. ***END SPOILER*** . Likewise, KM’s chapter on symbolism had much to offer. KM reviews five different ways to incorporate symbols. For me, I use the trees and the forest for my characters home—especially making use of the word “root.” At one point, a tree breaks apart in a blizzard. KM’s tips have had me rethink these story features into something metaphoric along the lines of how their world is falling apart. KM doesn’t intend for a writer to put meaning into every twig that snaps, but does turn on the idea to look for something deeper in the course of creating your story. . Of all that I got out of Theme, the most important may be the easiest to understand: I learned how to write my theme in a sentence. This may seem small. I knew my Elven love story was built around “interpersonal love,” and was able to work with just that. Yet, it wasn’t until after reading Theme that I was able to put my theme into a complete answer to some random person’s question: “What’s your book about?” . In sum, I got a lot out of Theme. Again, KM goes over all her theory in the book, so someone well read in her writings will find a lot of repetition. I can’t say it could or should be the first thing a new or curious writer should read of hers—that I reserve for 5 Secrets of Story Structure (the book that pops up each time you open her website). Yet it is fair to say that Theme offers its own angle to what K.M. Weiland teaches.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Annie Lima

    This is a useful resource for any author wanting to strengthen their novel's theme. I've never read anything so in-depth on the subject! But don't try to read this book when you're tired or at less than peak mental alertness - it's so deep and rich that takes a lot of brain power to fully absorb the details. There are so many useful concepts here that I found myself highlighting dozens of separate passages, which I'll have to look back over when I'm plotting out my next book. Thank you, K.M. Wei This is a useful resource for any author wanting to strengthen their novel's theme. I've never read anything so in-depth on the subject! But don't try to read this book when you're tired or at less than peak mental alertness - it's so deep and rich that takes a lot of brain power to fully absorb the details. There are so many useful concepts here that I found myself highlighting dozens of separate passages, which I'll have to look back over when I'm plotting out my next book. Thank you, K.M. Weiland, for another excellent writing resource!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sophia-Maria

    Totally loved Weiland's new book! It provides so many helpful and practical tips about locating the theme in your WIP and using it to embellish on plot, character and story. I've been editing my own stories based on Weiland's models of writing, and using theme has tremendously impacted the way I craft my work. K.M Weiland is a true inspiration and an amazing creative writing coach. If it weren't for her ideas, I wouldn't have been able to outline my stories let alone identify the things that need Totally loved Weiland's new book! It provides so many helpful and practical tips about locating the theme in your WIP and using it to embellish on plot, character and story. I've been editing my own stories based on Weiland's models of writing, and using theme has tremendously impacted the way I craft my work. K.M Weiland is a true inspiration and an amazing creative writing coach. If it weren't for her ideas, I wouldn't have been able to outline my stories let alone identify the things that need work and provide effective solutions. If you want to spend time on a creative writing course, choose Weiland's books instead. They're cheaper and much more effective and specific than any writing course I know of.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nell Bryce

    K.M Weiland's "Writing Your Story's Theme," which I was grateful to receive a review copy of, is an exceptional book over a topic in the writing community that rarely gets discussed, but that is absolutely essential to the writing process. I have been an avid reader of K.M Weiland's books and blog articles for years. She's one of the few people I can rely on for insightful, consistent, and practical writing advice. What makes her books particularly useful for new writers, like myself, is that eac K.M Weiland's "Writing Your Story's Theme," which I was grateful to receive a review copy of, is an exceptional book over a topic in the writing community that rarely gets discussed, but that is absolutely essential to the writing process. I have been an avid reader of K.M Weiland's books and blog articles for years. She's one of the few people I can rely on for insightful, consistent, and practical writing advice. What makes her books particularly useful for new writers, like myself, is that each book has a specific purpose behind it that can be used as a tool or technique to improve writing. This is different to other writing books that give a lot of general writing advice. These can be helpful too, but it's less obvious how it's impacting and improving your writing. With K.M Weiland, you leave her books knowing a specific principle or technique for improving writing and every time you use it from there on, you know where it came from. I've been waiting for a book on theme for a while, because it's one of those areas in writing that is immensely important, but has a pretty terrible reputation. If you ask the average writer about theme, they either can't tell you what it is in any specific terms or will warn you that too much attention to theme will result in trite and preachy writing. In reality, the misuse of theme or the misunderstanding of theme is what can lead writers to these unwanted results, which only makes learning about theme all the more important. Even if you're a masterful writer who always gets theme right without being conscious about it, you will want to know the mechanism behind every part of writing so that if a part of the story ever starts causing problems, you know what to do, and don't have to guess at it. What you get in this book is a great foundation on theme. You'll learn the practical definition of theme, its function in the story, the difference between message and theme, the way you can find theme through plot or character, as well as how to deepen your theme once you have found it, through subtext and symbolism. I'd absolutely recommend this to anyone who has an interest in learning more about theme, or someone who has never considered theme until now. In both cases, this book will either help you expand what you already know about theme, or get over some of those misconceptions that may be keeping you away from learning about theme.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jon Stonecash

    In the interests of full disclosure, I received an early copy of this book to allow me to review it. Since I buy almost all of Katie's books, the free part should not affect my review. One of the things that I find most attractive about Katie's books is that they are a wonderful mixture of the theoretical and the practical. She will explain the theoretical aspects of an aspect of the writing craft in sufficient detail that even the most inept of aspiring writing can figure it out. A lot of those In the interests of full disclosure, I received an early copy of this book to allow me to review it. Since I buy almost all of Katie's books, the free part should not affect my review. One of the things that I find most attractive about Katie's books is that they are a wonderful mixture of the theoretical and the practical. She will explain the theoretical aspects of an aspect of the writing craft in sufficient detail that even the most inept of aspiring writing can figure it out. A lot of those who write about craft can do that. What distinguishes Katie's books is that she will add practical examples. I read these and often say, "Ah Ha! So that is what I have to do to master ." Of course, it takes more than one (or even a few) readings of the material to be able to apply the new knowledge to one's current work in progress. This book covers one of the most difficult concepts of writing: the theme of the work. Theme is perhaps the most important part of the story: why does this story exist? I read a lot and more than a few of these stories fall into what a category I call, "travelogues through a strange and unfamiliar land". The journey may well be interesting and even enjoyable but it lacks purpose and meaning. The characters are largely unchanged, the resolution of the plot resolved nothing, and, a short time later, the story fades from memory. A story with a solid theme digs into the reader and refuses to let go. Even if the story is uncomfortable to read, it stays with the reader, challenging and perhaps enhancing the reader's understanding of the world. These are the stories that demand to be re-read and then re-read again. This book is straightforward handbook on how to get closer to writing stories that have a fighting chance to be more than travelogues. Hemingway wrote on the craft of writing, "Writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done." And somewhere else he mused that no matter how much you had learned about writing, there was always more to learn. Read this book, try to apply the insights, rinse, repeat.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris Moore

    In Writing Your Story’s Theme, K. M. Weiland goes deep to help us write stories with depth. Theme is the point of a story. It provides a why to the plot’s how. Weiland prescribes a kind of “bob and weave” technique to mesh plot, character, and theme. To help us navigate this complex choreography, she once again opens her toolbox of probing questions, checklists, and examples from books and movies. At the heart of theme is an honest parley between two opposing viewpoints. In chapter 5, Weiland wri In Writing Your Story’s Theme, K. M. Weiland goes deep to help us write stories with depth. Theme is the point of a story. It provides a why to the plot’s how. Weiland prescribes a kind of “bob and weave” technique to mesh plot, character, and theme. To help us navigate this complex choreography, she once again opens her toolbox of probing questions, checklists, and examples from books and movies. At the heart of theme is an honest parley between two opposing viewpoints. In chapter 5, Weiland writes, “A powerful theme is not an answer—it’s a question. And questions very often have more than one answer ... Theme is about exploration ... You must be willing to look at the exact opposite of your theme’s posited truth and explore it just as earnestly and honestly as if you believed it.” Consider two power players that you may have overlooked: Supporting characters working in tandem with theme can significantly deepen the reader’s emotional and philosophical takeaway. Subtext reveals truth through action rather than words—without preaching. Weiland guides us through the process of using both. Chapter 8 alone is worth the price of the book (“Crafting the Best Theme for Your Story”). This is where Weiland helps us dig deep to identify our own life themes, visceral fears, or the big questions we always seem to be asking—and then extend them to our characters. She tackles the difficulty of looking “beyond the easy surface clichés to find the honest emotional and thematic truth at the heart” of every scene. Theme pushes our story’s people and problems to stir deep emotions, to transend the words on the page and produce a tale that MATTERS and lives forever in the hearts of readers. And what writer doesn’t want that?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Waelder

    K.M. Weiland is absolutely correct. Theme is as much an integral part of any story as plot and character. Yet despite this, it is almost never mentioned directly, save for the constant warning to avoid any emphasis on theme. Her book explains how, still without too much direct emphasis, it still can become a part of each page and end up as the reason readers remember your book. This lesson is not only important but also unique, something few have actually explored at such length. The understand K.M. Weiland is absolutely correct. Theme is as much an integral part of any story as plot and character. Yet despite this, it is almost never mentioned directly, save for the constant warning to avoid any emphasis on theme. Her book explains how, still without too much direct emphasis, it still can become a part of each page and end up as the reason readers remember your book. This lesson is not only important but also unique, something few have actually explored at such length. The understanding of such a difficult concept is also aided by K. M. Weiland’s use of numerous examples, from both literature and cinema, of examples we have already read or seen, and how they used the same principles to create their own memorable works. She also includes an appendix elaborating the analysis of the character arcs. Her work on characters was the first of her books I read, Creating Character Arcs, and reading it as well will aid anyone considerably in writing. However, the appendix ensures that this book is just as powerful on its own as with her other works. I received a copy of this book for my honest review. However, that does not in any way change my thorough enjoyment reading it, studying it, and applying it to my own writing. I recommend this work with no hesitation to any writer, whether just starting out or well into the field, who wishes to explore this little-known yet fundamental part of writing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    K.M. Weiland has helped you to outline your novel, structure your novel, and create your character arcs. Now, she completes the “holy trinity” of craft with Writing Your Story’s Theme. What is theme and how can you identify it in your story? How does theme relate to story structure (plot) and character arc? Why should every character and subplot reflect or enhance your theme? How can theme help you to outline your novel? How is theme related to but distinct from message and how can you keep your K.M. Weiland has helped you to outline your novel, structure your novel, and create your character arcs. Now, she completes the “holy trinity” of craft with Writing Your Story’s Theme. What is theme and how can you identify it in your story? How does theme relate to story structure (plot) and character arc? Why should every character and subplot reflect or enhance your theme? How can theme help you to outline your novel? How is theme related to but distinct from message and how can you keep your theme from reading as too preachy or on-the-nose? As with all of Weiland’s craft books, Writing Your Story’s Theme is meticulously researched and full of insights the author gained through her own writing practice. There are additional resources to help you dig deeper into the topic in the appendices at the end. If you’re a fan of Weiland’s craft books, you need to pick this one up. If this is your first of Weiland’s writing books, it will leave you wanting to complete your library (and you should—they’re that good). Weiland’s writing advice is accessible and consistent with her blog, podcast, and other craft books. If the pattern holds, Weiland will likely have a workbook coming in the next year. I always have “lightbulb” moments when I read one of Weiland’s craft books and Writing Your Story’s Theme was no exception. My highest recommendation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Roy Gomez

    Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Theme Terrific book! A trove of insights on the craft of novel composition, K. M. Weiland deconstructs the elusive topic of theme in so practical a way that novelists are sure to find it useful. “Writing Your Story’s Theme” can help writers hone their skills. Weiland shows how to identify theme. She presents outstanding examples of how literary conventions express it. I enjoyed realizing how addressing theme early, during pre-writing stages, can help ease Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Theme Terrific book! A trove of insights on the craft of novel composition, K. M. Weiland deconstructs the elusive topic of theme in so practical a way that novelists are sure to find it useful. “Writing Your Story’s Theme” can help writers hone their skills. Weiland shows how to identify theme. She presents outstanding examples of how literary conventions express it. I enjoyed realizing how addressing theme early, during pre-writing stages, can help ease the entire writing process. The most amazing observation Weiland offers is this: Theme is a synergistic phenomenon. The resonance of brilliant works lies in effective uses of plot, character arc, story structure, and a host of other supportive, dramatic devices. Theme underscores the ultimate purpose of craft–authorial intent, or message. It’s the reason we write, no? We have something to say. To communicate a message, understand this: Message speaks in the collective use of your novel’s conventions. “Writing Your Story’s Theme” is an extraordinary work. To appreciate it, consider reading Wieland’s growing canon. Read “Creating Character Arc.” Read “Structuring Your Novel.” Each book is an instrument of compositional precision. Each tip can help writers realize a dream.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessica C

    Full disclosure: I received a free advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I've studied K.M. Weiland's writing craft books for years now, and her explanations of story structure have helped me write two novels. Writing Your Story's Theme is perhaps her most comprehensive, layered volume yet, and breaks down one of the most abstract, amorphous, and downright tricky elements of craft: theme. Because we all want our stories to have powerful impacts, to say someth Full disclosure: I received a free advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I've studied K.M. Weiland's writing craft books for years now, and her explanations of story structure have helped me write two novels. Writing Your Story's Theme is perhaps her most comprehensive, layered volume yet, and breaks down one of the most abstract, amorphous, and downright tricky elements of craft: theme. Because we all want our stories to have powerful impacts, to say something about the human condition. But how do you accomplish such a daunting task without preaching to readers in a way that will have them throwing your book across the room? In this book, Weiland ties together her previous works on story structure and character arc to show writers how they can use each plot point, each moment, each word, to tie together these once-disparate elements into stories with even greater resonance. Writers unfamiliar with Weiland and her terminology may need to refer to some of her other books or her blog for context; seasoned writers may only need to skim or check a few points as references. No matter your status, this book will help you organically build a more powerful story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    John

    Many books and podcasts on the craft of writing contain a discussion of theme. They usually start with an acknowledgement that theme can be a nebulous concept and throw out lots of good—but mostly the same—ideas and advice. What this book does differently is tie theme into the other aspects of the craft, like structure, plot, and characterization, in a way that makes the advice *actionable*. It’s still true that there’s significant art in actually implementing it in your own work, but the author Many books and podcasts on the craft of writing contain a discussion of theme. They usually start with an acknowledgement that theme can be a nebulous concept and throw out lots of good—but mostly the same—ideas and advice. What this book does differently is tie theme into the other aspects of the craft, like structure, plot, and characterization, in a way that makes the advice *actionable*. It’s still true that there’s significant art in actually implementing it in your own work, but the author does a good job of clarifying how things can or should tie together and provides lots of useful examples. I found myself leaving the book repeatedly to jot down notes on how I could tweak this or that scene or character in my own work in progress to better support the theme. It’s the best value per hour of time invested that I’ve experienced since first encountering story structure. It’s my favorite of the author’s work thus far. It builds upon her earlier work, and you definitely want to understand story structure and character arcs to get the most use out of this book, but if you’re unfamiliar or rusty with respect to those topics, there’s a nice appendix that will probably give you what you need.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Brink

    This book has changed how I view writing. Never before did I know that you could actually consciously work on theme. No wonder all my previous novels have sadly lagged in thematic depth! Thank-you K.M. Weiland for writing this inspiring, practical book that will totally change how I view the art of writing. Through this easy-t0-read book, K.M. Weiland makes the mysteries of theme as easy to tackle as character and plot - and shows how all three really rely on each other. She will help your writing This book has changed how I view writing. Never before did I know that you could actually consciously work on theme. No wonder all my previous novels have sadly lagged in thematic depth! Thank-you K.M. Weiland for writing this inspiring, practical book that will totally change how I view the art of writing. Through this easy-t0-read book, K.M. Weiland makes the mysteries of theme as easy to tackle as character and plot - and shows how all three really rely on each other. She will help your writing become cohesive and resonant by having all the characters, plot, and theme perfect for one another. I personally think this book is best read with her amazing writer-help books "Structuring Your Novel" and "Creating Character Arcs".

  14. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    First off, I enjoy all Weiland's craft books because her passion for writing jumps off the page and inspires me to dig for excellence in my own writing. This one is no exception. The book offers practical tips and insights on how to mine for the best themes in any given story to create deeper, more meaningful resonance. Unity of characters, plot, and theme is key, and this book heightened my awareness of their relation to one another. I especially liked the prompting questions included to really First off, I enjoy all Weiland's craft books because her passion for writing jumps off the page and inspires me to dig for excellence in my own writing. This one is no exception. The book offers practical tips and insights on how to mine for the best themes in any given story to create deeper, more meaningful resonance. Unity of characters, plot, and theme is key, and this book heightened my awareness of their relation to one another. I especially liked the prompting questions included to really get me thinking. Highly recommended to any wordsmith looking to delve deeper into theme, which is rarely discussed with such depth and concreteness.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Poindexter

    I have taught creative writing for years and read various books on writing, to include many of K .M. Weiland’s books. I only wish I had this book Writing Your Story's Theme by K.M. Weiland back then. It would have been so much easier to teach young students what Theme is and means to the story. She shows how Theme affects the character and action to create the complete story. K.M. ties all the literary elements together to show that theme must be the most important points in your writing. It is we I have taught creative writing for years and read various books on writing, to include many of K .M. Weiland’s books. I only wish I had this book Writing Your Story's Theme by K.M. Weiland back then. It would have been so much easier to teach young students what Theme is and means to the story. She shows how Theme affects the character and action to create the complete story. K.M. ties all the literary elements together to show that theme must be the most important points in your writing. It is well worth your time to read this and other books by her.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Micki

    I've long been a fan of K.M. Weiland's craft books (Structuring Your Novel is a must-have for writers) and so I was looking forward to reading Writing Your Story's Theme. The book was everything I hoped it to be. Theme is one of those authorial tricks that I've always found difficult to define and even harder to purposefully incorporate into my writing. As always, Weiland's prose is clear while still being interesting, and her insight is supported by examples. This is another fabulous title that I've long been a fan of K.M. Weiland's craft books (Structuring Your Novel is a must-have for writers) and so I was looking forward to reading Writing Your Story's Theme. The book was everything I hoped it to be. Theme is one of those authorial tricks that I've always found difficult to define and even harder to purposefully incorporate into my writing. As always, Weiland's prose is clear while still being interesting, and her insight is supported by examples. This is another fabulous title that has a permanent place on my shelf.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachel McCollin

    I've read KM Weiland's other writing guides and have found those very useful, but unfortunately this book had very little original content. Once you've read the first few chapters, the rest is just the same content presented in a different way, or content from her other books with just a slightly different slant. There's way too much jargon and little to no evidence to back up the author's assertions about writing the perfect novel. I hate leaving negative reviews but in this case I didn't bothe I've read KM Weiland's other writing guides and have found those very useful, but unfortunately this book had very little original content. Once you've read the first few chapters, the rest is just the same content presented in a different way, or content from her other books with just a slightly different slant. There's way too much jargon and little to no evidence to back up the author's assertions about writing the perfect novel. I hate leaving negative reviews but in this case I didn't bother finishing the final chapters, and feel I wasted my money.

  18. 4 out of 5

    P.E.

    In the author community, K.M. Weiland is well known as a source of unbeatable guidance on craft and this book does not disappoint. It did feel like an follow-on or expansion of previous work, and probably benefits the experienced writer more than the newbie. Understanding theme is the secret ingredient to great, un-put-downable stories. She's done a great job in explaining not only why that's true, but also how to use it to write better. In the author community, K.M. Weiland is well known as a source of unbeatable guidance on craft and this book does not disappoint. It did feel like an follow-on or expansion of previous work, and probably benefits the experienced writer more than the newbie. Understanding theme is the secret ingredient to great, un-put-downable stories. She's done a great job in explaining not only why that's true, but also how to use it to write better.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Don Wooldridge

    Once again, K. M. Weiland offers a wealth of information about an exceedingly complicated topic in such a manner as to make it easy to understand and to implement. She has meticulously organized her exploration, suggests practical exercises, and offers helpful tips. K. M. Weiland continues to impress with how thoroughly she explores topics and stays true to her theme of Helping Writers Become Authors.

  20. 5 out of 5

    M.M. Wedin

    I received and ARC copy of this amazing guide to writing theme. It was super helpful and K.M writes everything in a very easy-to-understand manner. It's a must read for writers wanting to explore theme and make sure it plays a great part in their novels. I highly recommend this book to any established or completely new author out there. I received and ARC copy of this amazing guide to writing theme. It was super helpful and K.M writes everything in a very easy-to-understand manner. It's a must read for writers wanting to explore theme and make sure it plays a great part in their novels. I highly recommend this book to any established or completely new author out there.

  21. 4 out of 5

    D.L. Fowler

    Not only does Weiland make these case for theme as the centerpiece of well crafted stories, she provides a clear blueprint for how plot, subplots, characters, and theme strengthen each other. I’ve read a good number of books on writing craft and taught writing workshops—Writing your Stories Theme is the the most valuable tool I’ve come across.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Finally, someone have given clear instructions on how to work a meaningful theme into a story. You'll learn how to carry a deep theme without being preachy by integrating the them with the plot. I highly recommend it to all fiction writers. Full disclosure: I received a free copy of the e-book in exchange for this honest review. Finally, someone have given clear instructions on how to work a meaningful theme into a story. You'll learn how to carry a deep theme without being preachy by integrating the them with the plot. I highly recommend it to all fiction writers. Full disclosure: I received a free copy of the e-book in exchange for this honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    The idea of Theme is like fog. It can be seen, but not clearly. Felt, but not grasped. But Weiland, who has a good mind for deep thinking and parsing vast subjects into its smaller elements, has taken the intangible and fleshed it into actionable bits. This small work is a good beginning for anyone not only attempting to grasp the concept of Theme, but also to apply it to one's work. She explains the parts well, gives examples from commonly known works, and offers questions to ask as a way to de The idea of Theme is like fog. It can be seen, but not clearly. Felt, but not grasped. But Weiland, who has a good mind for deep thinking and parsing vast subjects into its smaller elements, has taken the intangible and fleshed it into actionable bits. This small work is a good beginning for anyone not only attempting to grasp the concept of Theme, but also to apply it to one's work. She explains the parts well, gives examples from commonly known works, and offers questions to ask as a way to develop a consistent theme in one's own work. The 4 stars is because there is some repetition from past books and from her blog. But it is still worth the read and will get you effectively thinking about how to make your work resonate with meaning.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julie Cordiner

    Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for this book, but I really struggled with the first two-thirds of it. The style was more academic and technical than I’ve come to expect from Katie; it wasn’t as personable as her others. It felt as if the topic didn’t justify a whole book and was being extended with too much repetition. The later chapters were the best..

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Daniels

    I know this will sound a bit melodramatic, but I'm going to say it anyway!!! THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE!! Totally fantastic stuff included in this book. I've never read anything as insightful as this! I totally, TOTALLY, recommend this. And I'm not exaggerating! I know this will sound a bit melodramatic, but I'm going to say it anyway!!! THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE!! Totally fantastic stuff included in this book. I've never read anything as insightful as this! I totally, TOTALLY, recommend this. And I'm not exaggerating!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of the latest in a series of books which are masterclass on writing. It is the clearest exposition on theme I’ve ever read and has made me look harder at my work and to work harder.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Becker

    Another excellent read to add to KMW's stable of educational books for the writer/author. This will be a book that I will reread many times as I progress this writing journey of mine, as something new will make me go ahaa! each time. Another excellent read to add to KMW's stable of educational books for the writer/author. This will be a book that I will reread many times as I progress this writing journey of mine, as something new will make me go ahaa! each time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Heather Myers

    Excellent As usual, Weiland delivers a wonderful addition to her amazing writers books. I seriously want a book on writing series. I've read so many but I feel only Weiland can break it down in a simple but thought-provoking way. Thank you for this! Excellent As usual, Weiland delivers a wonderful addition to her amazing writers books. I seriously want a book on writing series. I've read so many but I feel only Weiland can break it down in a simple but thought-provoking way. Thank you for this!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julia Garcia

    I had no idea I needed this book so much until a friend talked to me about what she was learning about it. My eyes went wide and I quickly ordered it. It's taken me a while to finish it because I've been taken reams of notes, but hopefully my story will be stronger for it. I had no idea I needed this book so much until a friend talked to me about what she was learning about it. My eyes went wide and I quickly ordered it. It's taken me a while to finish it because I've been taken reams of notes, but hopefully my story will be stronger for it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    F.T. Hoffmann

    Unoriginal (it's not necessarily a bad thing, as in this case) but exceptionally well explained. The perfect summary of how to develop theme and thematic writing in fiction. One of the best books on this topic, treated too often in a fuzzy way. Unoriginal (it's not necessarily a bad thing, as in this case) but exceptionally well explained. The perfect summary of how to develop theme and thematic writing in fiction. One of the best books on this topic, treated too often in a fuzzy way.

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