6 universal themes that improve your writing.

6 universal themes that improve your writing.

As I continued writing more posts, six themes kept cropping up. I now consider these themes to be universal in honing crafts. These core themes are my own, and are not a rule in writing.

What are the six universal themes that can improve your writing? Why, I thought you’d never ask!

There are a few blog posts where these themes come into play, so please visit them if you get the chance (hyperlinked at the end).

Combine sentences. Sometimes two sentences work better as one.

Delete actions or minutiae. There’s no need to report every move a character makes. If you say he’s brushing his teeth, I’ll believe you. I’ll trust that he has toothpaste on a toothbrush and rinsed afterward.

Keep the backstory. Not all of it is evil. If that’s all you have in a story, the story may be weak because it lacks the action of physically seeing it. Backstory is (usually) tell, and tell plays a very integral role in stories. We don’t. Have. To see. Everything.

Add dialogue. Do you realize how much you can avoid saying/telling simply by using dialogue? Please consider this powerful tool. Dialogue can convey anger and other feelings, actions (put your hand down!), tension, time… so many things.

Add scenery. This also means, make it PERSONAL. Bring us into the world our character is in. Don’t say, he went to the store. Say, John walked past the rotating door at Mandarin’s Clothing, the only formal dress shop for men on a budget. Instead of saying flower, call it a rose. What are the birds doing? What song (if it matters) is playing on the radio? If they’re outdoors, what do they hear? What does it smell like? OH SNAP! I went there. Describe the bitter/sweet smell of conifers. Talk about the stickiness of the sap between your fingers, or the roughness of the bark.

Change up the subject/verb. Let someone else take the show. Or, stop using the verb “to go,” and use proceed, continued, arrived, left etc. Use strong verbs when you can.

“He let go of the sword, and it made a noise when it hit the floor.”


“The sword slipped from his fingers and clattered on the ground.”

You will see these six universal themes in action in my future posts.

** six universal themes can be applied to critiquing, avoiding pronoun repetition, developing voice, and many other writing ideas.