Theme, Premise and Author Purpose - from Rob Parnell

Theme, Premise, & Author Purpose

How to Plan, Create, and Structure Meaningful Stories for the Literary Marketplace | taught by Rob Parnell

Course description


Level: Beginner / Intermediate

Duration: 4 hours approx

Delivery: Video, Text, PDF

RPWA Certificate: Yes

There comes a time in every writer's life when he or she begins to look at the big picture and ask pertinent questions.

* Why am I writing?

* What's it all for?

And perhaps most importantly:

* How can I become more successful?

Interesting isn't it, that authors rarely get awards for their stories alone. They're much more likely to be praised and lauded because of the issues and the moral stances they encode into their writing and their work.

We all want to write fiction that connects with people in a meaningful way.

But how is this achieved?

When we start out, we often think it's about coming up with great ideas or clever plots or interesting characters but actually, this is only part of what a serious author is required to pursue.

Think of all the famous authors from history - and the modern day. When you have an author in mind you often automatically somehow KNOW their moral viewpoint.

Why is that?

Simple - because their values and their issues are IN THE WRITING, implicit in the text, the structure, in the stories themselves. The authors' humanity is on display - and sometimes whether they wanted it known or not!

Writing is powerful. It can transform a reader. In fact, the best writing should - and does.

Here's what you will learn in this unique course:


Here we examine the reasons why we need to understand theme, premise, and author purpose in order to improve our storytelling skills. Here too we stress why these issues are best dealt with at the planning stage of our story writing. Also, this is where I introduce myself and outline the contents of this "one of a kind" course. Seriously, you're not going to find this kind of coverage anywhere else!

Lesson One: Defining the Terms

Theme, premise and author purpose may mean different things to different people. In this lesson, I explain the quality and nature of each term - as I see them - so that you can then go on to better understand my ideas on story structure and writing from a credible worldview - one that will hopefully resonate with the reading public in a way that an ordinary story may not. Learning this stuff is how we get better, basically!

Lesson Two: What Is a Story Premise?

Here we get into the nitty gritty of good storytelling. How it works and why. The premise is your rudder, your steering wheel, the thing that defines which way you go with your story. Using examples, I show how a good premise doesn't have to be original. But it does have to be original - which means "the same but different" plus should be able to scrutinized and looked at from all angles before committed to and acted upon. 

Lesson Three: What is Author Purpose?

In this lesson, we examine how and why writers create stories and whether a working knowledge of theme and premise construction is absolutely necessary. Of course, critics and literary professors would argue that it is but I don't agree. I can show that even some bestselling authors write without agenda and even an obvious moral viewpoint. The main point is to use your motivation and inspiration to creative advantage - and allow your subconscious to help you write fast and with fluidity. 

Lesson Four: How To Structure a Story Using Your Theme and Premise

This is a useful template creator. Once you know your premise, writing a structured story may become automatic. In this lesson, we look at characterization, setting, and placing obstacles in the path of your protagonist. Then we ask, how do we consistently create good ideas, and what's the difference between what a hero wants and what a hero needs. Plus, why the distinction is important.

Lesson Four A: Text Based Story Template

Here is an easy yet sophisticated and effective fiction template you can use for any story, no matter how short or long. Many new writers assume that being a great writer is about learning complex rules. Nothing could be further from the truth. Keep it simple. Always.

Lesson Five: Character Arcs

You should always use a template for your stories - no matter how rough they are, even if the finished story bears no resemblance to your original notes. There are many reasons for this, which this course will teach you. This lesson will show that by isolating the character arc, you can ensure that your theme and premise are adequately reflected - again before you begin the writing.

Lesson Six: Conclusions

Here we make sure we understand the definitions outlined. Plus we take a final look at why we, as writers, should ignore critics and simply go our own way. We are the writers, the creators, the people who know how it's done. 

Now is the time to make the decision as to whether you are taking this course.

Okay, at first glance this may seem like a dry subject, which is why I've done my best to make it as entertaining as possible.

Honestly, if you take yourself seriously as a fiction writer, this course is full of crucial information you're going to have to know. Sooner rather than later would be ideal.

So, get with the program!

Sign up to the course this INSTANT.

I'll see you in class.

Rob Parnell

The Writing Academy

 PS: See the great 5-Star reviews below!

Rob Parnell
Rob Parnell
Your Personal Instructor

Rob Parnell has been teaching online since 2002, specifically helping writers earn money from their passion. He is the proud founder of The Writing Academy, an online school dedicated to student success and authorial excellence.

Rob has published over thirty number-one best-selling books on genre fiction authorship, freelance writing, motivation, productivity; getting rich, staying thin and healthy. When it comes to making a living from writing, composing music, and creating film projects, Rob is a man who knows what he's talking about! You'll enjoy his down-to-earth style and the feeling Rob somehow knows you like a friend!

Rob has been writing since he was five years old. He writes every day without fail - it's a compulsion - and he still hasn't run out of things to say... His preferred genre is the thriller - sometimes with a supernatural edge - in which he writes short stories, novels, screenplays, and adult thrillers - including his Purge detective novels and the popular Sherlock Holmes: Zombie Slayer series. Also a musician and composer, an accomplished singer, media producer and budding movie maker, Rob is ecstatically happy to be married to Robyn Opie Parnell, his savior, and the popular best-selling children's author.

They live miles from anywhere in their beautiful country farmhouse, its eleven acres tucked within inches of the stunning Flinders Ranges, with their beloved pets, Wally the dog and the cats: Jessie, Iggy (because he's The Wild One) and their latest, Lucky.

The Academy

Course Curriculum

Reviews (5)


by john tapp
very informative and helpful

by Leona Niccum


by Jake Coetzee
As always, another course completed, another course I found brilliant and helpful. Making this a video course was a great idea!
Read more


by john tapp
very informative and helpful

by Leona Niccum


by Jake Coetzee
As always, another course completed, another course I found brilliant and helpful. Making this a video course was a great idea!

Concise Info and Methods Added to My Screenplay, Fiction, and Memoir College Courses

by Philip Boddy Jr.
Rob's showing instead of telling works for me... His compact methods work great for a startup. One thing we learned in a class for characters is to go back into your early years for angst points, fears, and even serious pain. Add fun and positive events for balance. This will help the writer to put authentic emotional connections into the protag and antags. Was mom prone to being tipsy at times or angry? What "one-liners" did you learn from her to shut down hoity-toity nosey neighbors? Some of the best themes come from overheard church harpies gossiping without considering Proverbs-16:18.

Best explanation ever!

by Suzanne Shobe
If you have ever struggled to tell someone (or even yourself!) what the theme or (gulp) the grand premise of your book is, this is the course for you.