Themes!


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  1. #1

    Themes!

    When you find a theme in your book -- what have you found?

    When you develop a theme in your book -- what are you doing?

    For full credit, you must supply an example.


    (Extra credit. What is a theme? And, does a book have to have a theme)
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  2. #2
    I just write. The readers let me know what the theme is (or are, actually).
    Has left the building.

  3. #3
    I don't really find a theme in my book. I already have one planned out. Some themes I've used are ambition, love and friendship, and revenge.

    Theme is definitely the foundation of each story I write. When I'm writing a scene I'm always considering the theme. So in terms of developing the theme, everything my character's must in some way tie to that theme in one way or the other. If it doesn't then it's just filler.

    Every story has a theme.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    I just write. The readers let me know what the theme is (or are, actually).
    ^That
    “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.” -Carl Sagan

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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    I just write. The readers let me know what the theme is (or are, actually).
    This is frequently the case with me. I am not proud of it xD

    At least in my case, stories with themes laid down beforehand turn out better when I finish writing them. Like if you story's name is "Friendship is Magic", then the message of friendship being equivalent to magic would be made much clearer if major events and resolutions tied down to friendship. Although sometimes it's better to just free-write and let your words create a theme themselves

    And no, every book does not have to have a theme IMO. Sometimes, a light, random assortment of stuff can make a pretty good book (re: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where there are all sorts of events and people which are pretty damn random). Though a more serious work would probably be better off with a theme.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    When you find a theme in your book -- what have you found?

    When you develop a theme in your book -- what are you doing?

    For full credit, you must supply an example.


    (Extra credit. What is a theme? And, does a book have to have a theme)

    Is this going to be on the final exam?


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  7. #7
    At least in my case, stories with themes laid down beforehand turn out better when I finish writing them.
    I find the opposite. If I give myself a theme to work towards at the start, the scope of my creativity is limited. Perhaps it feels more effective, but the reader will surely have less room to manoeuvre. Thus, I only work with theme once the drafting is done; then I have something to work with. I can see the shape of the peg and work out the holes. Otherwise, I might be trying to put my round style into a square model.

    While I also think stories don't need themes, they will always have them. Some reader somewhere will find one. What matters is what you intend and how that correlates to what is delivered; the success of your work can come from a large scale misunderstanding about theme. I don't think writers should shy away from this - it's part of the joy of storytelling.
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  8. #8
    All you have to do is read the back cover of any book. Somewhere on it will be a statement, or comment about at least one of the themes of the book. Every book has a theme. One of the themes within Hitchhiker's Guide is that even if everything seems random there is still an inteconnectedness to the universe. Authors don't publish books of random thoughts. They have something to say; it might be deep and personal, or it might be light and whimsical, but each book is saying something. That's where you find the themes.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
    I find the opposite. If I give myself a theme to work towards at the start, the scope of my creativity is limited. Perhaps it feels more effective, but the reader will surely have less room to manoeuvre. Thus, I only work with theme once the drafting is done; then I have something to work with. I can see the shape of the peg and work out the holes. Otherwise, I might be trying to put my round style into a square model.

    While I also think stories don't need themes, they will always have them. Some reader somewhere will find one. What matters is what you intend and how that correlates to what is delivered; the success of your work can come from a large scale misunderstanding about theme. I don't think writers should shy away from this - it's part of the joy of storytelling.
    Oh, how the process of writing varies from writer to writer!

    And I completely agree with you there. Even if you don't intend to have a theme, some reader will find one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    All you have to do is read the back cover of any book. Somewhere on it will be a statement, or comment about at least one of the themes of the book. Every book has a theme. One of the themes within Hitchhiker's Guide is that even if everything seems random there is still an inteconnectedness to the universe. Authors don't publish books of random thoughts. They have something to say; it might be deep and personal, or it might be light and whimsical, but each book is saying something. That's where you find the themes.
    Ah... I guess I was wrong to use the Hitchhiker's Guide example, but I see what you mean. Honestly, I had not realised that before. But yeah, now that I think about it, I see your point

  10. #10
    I first just wrote my book and let it go. Then in my rewrites, I've been playing up elements I like, but not necessarily themes. I can see some themes in those elements, but I know the reader will make of it their own, so I don't worry too much about shoving meaning into places.

    One thing I love most is flawed characters, and part of what I emphasize in my book is that no one person can complete any task, and in fact, the guy in charge screws it up the most, depending on his crew to stave off his knee-jerk instincts. There's probably a theme in that somewhere
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