I’ve been grappling with this for a bit, and after several revisions, it seems that I have a concrete theme. It’s taken several revisions to see it so plainly, but I realize now that when I first started Julius, I had no idea of what this story could eventually turn into.
The main theme I’ve discovered is self-doubt. The issue that I’m grappling with is that I don’t want the narrator to come across as pitiful or have the reader lose their patience. I’m hoping that once they understand why she has this feeling that they’ll be able to understand some of her insecurities.
According to James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure:
Themes deepen fiction, but you must beware of a common danger. It is tempting for a writer to take a theme and force a story into it. This results in a host of problems, including cardboard characters, a preachy tone, a lack of subtlety, and story clichés.
How can you avoid these novel killers? Here is one simple rule to remember: Characters carry theme.
Develop your characters fully and set them in the story world where their values will conflict with each other. Allow your characters to struggle naturally and passionately. The theme will emerge without effort.
My challenge is to bring up what caused all this earlier in the story. I’ve hinted at it, but it still hasn’t come out. My task, then, is to see where it fits in this first part of Julius.
I guess it’s time to do some brainstorming and map this all out . . . .