The writing book I’m currently reading is Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron. I recommend it highly for she’s written an informative, entertaining book on writing for the reader. I have five pages of notes so far, and I’m not through yet..
All story is emotion based–if we’re not feeling, we’re not reading,
Everything in a story gets its emotional weight and meaning based on how it affects the protagonist. Nothing neutral allowed.
What moves a story forward are the protagonist’s actions, reactions and decisions, rather than the events that trigger them.
What does the story tell us about what it means to be human? What does the story say about how humans react to circumstances beyond their control? Knowing the theme in advance helps you because it gives you a guide by which to measure your characters responses to the situations they find themselves in.