Write Compelling Fiction by Knowing What Your Story is About

The Secret to Deeply Understanding Your Story

Julia Amante
5 min readAug 5, 2022


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

You might say, sure I do, I’m writing it. It’s about a woman who rents a house on the beach and falls in love with the lonely neighbor. Or it’s about a cop who solves a cold case murder after unknowingly befriending the murderer. Or . . . whatever your plot is about.

Except that your story is not about your plot. Your plot is your plot — it’s what happens in your book. What your story is about is a deeper exploration of an idea that is woven throughout your plot.

Remember in high school English class when the teacher would talk about theme? I avoid that term because it causes people to shut down for some reason, and it’s not exactly what I’m talking about anyway. But we can use the idea of theme for just a second. Let’s say that the theme of our book is love or better yet love can be found when least expected. Perfect!

If we say that our book is really about that theme, then the journey your character must take, the plot itself must prove that theme true. And this gives us a compass to follow. Anytime our story is not focused on that idea, we know we’re off track.

Deeper Than Theme

I have a couple of courses that I’ve created. One is an overarching course on how to write a book and the second is on how to get a book published. I’m really excited because currently, I’m creating a new course which will be out in the fall to help writers learn how to discover what their story is really about. I touch on this in my how to write course, but I’ve realized that I need to go deeper into the topic of helping writers really understand what their story is about to keep them from rambling and getting lost in their own plot.

I decided to share some of that with you today. I’ll give you all a sneak peek for following me here on Medium. Here we go:

Two questions are important for writers to answer to clarify what the story is about.

Photo by Hadija Saidi on Unsplash

What is the Central Story Question?



Julia Amante

Women’s Fiction author, Speaker, and Writing Mentor. Connect with Julia multiple ways with this link: https://linktr.ee/juliaamante Join her free JA Newsletter