From the Plot Whisperer blog, Plot Your Story’s Theme, comes a homework assignment: Make a list of recurring themes in your work.
Hmm. Well I don’t know if I can connect my stories with a theme per se. I have noticed I enjoy writing about absurd situations or points of view that are off-beat. I suppose one theme might be ordinary people grappling with something outside their everyday experience. I think what I am trying to do is show something we see all the time, but in a way that is for the first time. Maybe the themes are wonder and awe and apprehension.
My novel though is consciously thematic. The themes are love, faith and identity. Plot Whisperer promises a follow-up post for taking our theme list and building ideas from them.
Do you start your writings with a theme in mind and tailor the story to them, or do your themes emerge from the writing process?
3 thoughts on “Thematic Significance”
While there are themes that I just can’t seem to leave alone no matter what I’m writing, I’d say that motifs normally emerge organically from particular stories and then have to be more carefully sewn in or unpicked. Any time I’ve tried writing something with a specific theme in mind from the outset it has either gone entirely off topic or has ended up stilted and sad. But maybe that’s just because I’m rubbish at planning!
Thank you for your comments.
What, if I may ask, is one of the themes you return to?
I agree that if you focus too much on a theme, then you can get into trouble. You don’t want to hit your reader over the head with points that should be subtle. In fact I recently read a book that was like that and I wouldn’t finish it. On the other hand, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians was well done thematically as in many other respects.
I guess the theme I just can’t leave alone is one that kind of underpins the whole endeavour – the inadequacy of most forms of communication 🙂