Know your theme before you write

Sitcom comedy writing star – seriously, not only does he write superbly but he’s had a hugely popular blog for many years – Ken Levine this week answered a question about themes in one’s writing. A blog reader said how he had been recording some material for an album and was now finding it hard to discover what that music was really about. What it’s theme was.


Well, the first thing is I do is determine what the theme is before writing. The story, or in your case, album, should reflect that. Taking a finished product and sifting through it looking for gold is rather counter-productive.

This is a question I get a lot (and answer a lot). It’s an important point that needs to be repeated. Sort of like a “theme.”

When people tell me they just want to start writing and see where the story takes them, I tell them most often it leads to Death Valley.

Put in the time and effort to determine your theme first. And yes, I know – it’s HARD. The hardest part actually. But once you have it, the rest falls into place and it’s much easier to determine if you’re on track or straying. The theme is your compass.

Bottom line: what is it you want to say? And if you don’t have anything, then why are you even bothering?

Friday Questions – Ken Levine, (25 July 2014)

He makes good points and perhaps I think that most because usually I agree with him. But it’s straight answers like this that have made his blog a daily read for me. Do check out the full Friday Questions from this week but then also the whole of the blog.

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