Theme is the tangential force that unifies story elements and instills those elements with meaning. From theme, the writer weighs in with a premise, and the story gains its philosophical, psychological, or spiritual spine. A well-crafted premise forces the writer to identify a main character, a central conflict, and a general plot. Like a mini-outline, the premise illuminates the story’s best course. Understand the dynamics of theme and premise, learn how to differentiate and utilize the two.