Chirp and Chatter Pages

Friday, July 14, 2017

Guest Author: Karin Beery

Identifying Your Theme 

(When You Don’t Think You Have One)

Several months ago I agreed to write this blog post, then I tucked the information away and forgot about it until a reminder popped up in my calendar. Then I looked back at my notes: something related to my manuscript’s theme.
Why did I agree to this? I write romance novels. There’s no theme, they’re just romance stories.
Having already committed to the post, however, I re-evaluated my current manuscript (as well as others I’ve already completed) to see if I could find a theme. At first, I didn’t see any connections. A couple of my books have an obvious Christian theme. The rest, however, are clean reads: girl meets boy, they fall for each other, circumstances keep them apart, it works out, happily ever after. That’s not a theme, though – that’s the standard romance formula.
Are my stories theme-less?
Then I looked at the pitches I’ve written for each story, and I looked at the goals-motivations-conflicts for my heroines. That’s when I started to see the correlation. The conflicts! My leads all have something in common: the woman struggling to recover after being manipulated; the woman trying to deal with a sudden death and revelation of dishonesty; the woman who’s personal and professional lives are steeped in disappointments.
Regardless of whether or not the stories contain strong spiritual elements, they share a common theme: trust.
It’s more than simply faith in God or mankind – it’s easy to believe in a higher power or the greater good. Trust, however, requires a conscious decision to act on that faith. I hadn’t noticed it until I agreed to write this post, but trust has made its way into all of my stories.
That shouldn’t surprise me. Proverbs 3:5-6 have been guiding verses in my life for years:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take. (New Living Translation)
I never thought my novels would be thematic, but it looks like they are. I didn’t want to admit to it at first, but now I’m proud of it. Trust is a foundational principle in Scripture. It’s how we’re called to act, and it’s not an easy thing to do (if it were, everyone would do it). Still, I’ve managed to incorporate it into my stories, adding a layer of complexity and relatability to my leading ladies, even if I did do it subconsciously.

About Karin:

Karin Beery – Writer. Editor. Novelist. Karin writes contemporary and speculative fiction with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s editing or writing business copy through her business
Write Now Editing & Copywriting Services. And when she’s not doing either of those, she teaches – she’s currently teaching Substantive Editing for Fiction through the PEN Institute. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website,


  1. Welcome, Karin! I'm so glad you found your theme. That's so important! I really enjoyed your post.

    1. Thanks for hosting me - I was pleasantly surprised to discover I had a theme :)