Quilting a Theme Into Your Novel

Authors usually craft a story with a theme in mind.  Objects can represent theme and drive the plot as I found in Lily of The Field by Rose Ross Zediker. Rose made quilting and one particular quilt the center of her story.

Caroline a fifty- something widow’s new business venture is making and restoring quilts. She is commissioned by the very attractive fifty-something bachelor, Rodney to restore a quilt that belonged to his late mother.  The quilting component of the story serves several purposes. It gives Caroline a profession. It helps create conflict with her son who doesn’t think quilting is real job. Her ability to restore quilts leads her to a new relationship as she works on Rodney’s quilt. The quilt itself seems to comfort Caroline and draw her back to a trusting relationship with God.  The quilt pattern is called Lily of the Field. This reminds Caroline of the scripture passage Behold the Lily of the Field and God’s care.  Her worries melt away as she restores this particular quilt and God speaks to her heart each time she handles it.

The quilt is the axis the story moves on. Trips to the fabric store give opportunities to build relationships. Rodney helps her with her business by updating her website. This adds more opportunities for the main characters to grow together. Her son’s anger over his father’s untimely death from a heart attack is deflected to his resentment of her business. The quilt can speak to Caroline without sounding preachy to the reader. As the quilt is completed all hearts are healed and relationships restored.

The quilt experience gave the author lots of options to pursue her theme-be anxious for nothing., pray and give your worries to God. Restoring the quilt reminds the reader of God’s restoring power. Writers, what object can you place at the center of your story that defines your theme?

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