A theme is a universal idea, lesson or message that stretches through an author’s entire story. It is what provides meaning to a storyline and gives it purpose. Writing fiction invites authors to delve into an array of fiction themes, mixing and matching them when the need arises. Certain themes may show up in a pattern or they may come through as a result of a build-up. Regardless of the approach, every work of fiction should have a theme.  


10 of the Most Popular Fiction Themes

Writing fiction is a great place for storytelling where authors can use words to address present youth issues in an attempt to help their readers cope with difficult experiences. Choosing the right fiction theme can be a struggle at first but it will pay off eventually. ChatEbooks lists down 10 of the most popular themes that fiction authors typically write about.


Alienation is a feeling of isolation that’s widely felt amongst teens within social settings involving their peers.  Therefore you’ll find this theme in a lot of young adult novels that seek to explore loneliness, its cure, and the side effects.


Who doesn’t love a story about an optimistic who just won’t give up? This is why ambition drives numerous popular fiction and literary fiction works. These stories often craft characters with big dreams that they either successfully work to achieve or which destroy them in the long run.


Few fiction themes are as popular as betrayal.  This is because the circumstances that surround betrayal can open the doors up to an array of plot twists and turns.  For example, once the pain of betrayal is unveiled, the impact it has on love and friendship can be explored through forgiveness or revenge.

Man vs. Society

A number of fiction themes with lonely or rebellious characters fall under this umbrella. Books in this arena work with characters that cannot fit into society as they understand it. In some cases they are pitted against society in a combative manner as they try to bring about major change. 

The Importance of Family

Older literary works explored the integral facets of literal families. Today’s popular fiction novels (especially in the young adult genre) seek to explore disparate individuals that find solace in non-traditional families. These outcasts latch onto the groups and cliques that they are forced to join as the result of different life-challenging circumstances.


This is one of those subtle fiction themes that are prevalent in a variety of books. Authors not only seek to explore new worlds and locations, but they also examine the deeper meaning of things. This is usually accomplished through main characters who seek to uncover new revelations about their own lives. 

Love, Sacrifice and Reward

Love, sacrifice and reward can take many forms within fiction themes.  A husband can sacrifice his life in order for his wife to live; or a mother can sacrifice her life’s dreams and goals to stay home and care for her children. Another more common form of sacrifice is the ambitious go-getter who sacrifices all of his/her time and money on a quest to achieve his/her goals of fame and fortune.  The messages conveyed in these themes are either “sacrifice always offers a greater reward in the end” or “love conquers all and is worth any sacrifice”.

Overcoming Adversity

Overcoming adversity is a theme commonly brought out through a character’s triumph over a seemingly impossible situation.  Either the character is fighting some terminal disease or he/she somehow manages to survive unscathed through the most horrific experiences (rape, molestation, drug addiction, etc.). Adversity-themed books are usually purposed towards helping someone navigate through their own life-challenging experiences.


The main character dies of natural causes, a serial killer murders 100 victims, the death row inmate dies of lethal injection and so forth and so on.  However, only a select few have tackled death as an actual theme. Books of this sort typically explore the aftermath of those left to mourn the death of a loved one; or they hone in on the emotional and physical cycles of a character coping with their own terminal illness.

Good vs. Evil

Amongst the most popular fiction themes out there, there is none more prominent that ‘Good vs. Evil’. This theme is present in just about all genres. The storylines usually pits agents of good and evil against one another – each having one triumph over the other.

There are numerous fiction themes to choose from when writing a book. Try selecting one that resonates best with your talent.  The right theme should spark enough creativity for producing a storyline that captivates your target audience of readers.  


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10 of the Most Popular Fiction Themes to Use When Writing a Book
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