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message 1: by Marisa (new)

Marisa Oldham (marisaoldham) | 554 comments Mod
Theme involves the questions you are posing, as a writer, about the human condition, and the dilemmas you’re revealing as you write. (AIPOD)

Examples of theme:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy—the myriad ramifications of war and peace.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald—the corruption of the American dream.

“The lady with the Dog” by Anton Chekhov—the contrast between romantic love and the constraints of marriage.

1984 by George Orwell—a police state like this could happen.

“A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor—the possibility of finding grace through facing evil.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov—the power of desire.
“Where Are You Going, Where have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates—the forming of identity.

Once you gain a clear understanding of theme’s importance, consider how it might manifest itself into your own work. There’s a good chance that it will surface whether you have made the conscious effort to integrate it into your writing or not. Themes are so closely allied with our human nature that it’s almost impossible to tell a story without them. Approaching your work with a theme in mind, though, will give your work more substance.

A few exercises to help you locate/implement theme:

Review your writing through this point, list all the themes that you see emerging, and examine how they might be affecting the outcomes or plot structure of your work.
List the theme/s first before reviewing your work. Isolate 2–3 themes, sketching ideas for how you might make the theme manifest through character, plot, or scene. For example, if you select “revenge,” consider how this will emerge in your character development or through the plot. You might start writing the story with the notion that your main character—a housewife with no law enforcement or weapons training—is suddenly pushed to defend herself against the man who harmed her child.
If you have already made the concerted effort to implement themes from early in the writing process, elaborate upon them by looking for ways to more fully integrate or align them with your plot. You should also consider whether you are forcing a theme upon your reader. Remember: a reader does not want to be forced into a thematic direction. Theme acts more subtly and substantially than this.

Common Themes:
Loss of Innocence
Noble Sacrifice
Great Battle
Fall from Grace (haahaha my second book is The Falling of Grace)
Love and Frienship
Unpredictability of Fate

Naturally, there are many more themes to be explored. The key is to recognize them and allow them to work their magic in your story.

As mentioned, theme is not so cut and dry that it should be overt. If you’ve adopted the previously noted theme of revenge, you don’t want your housewife character seeking revenge around every corner against characters unrelated to her personal growth and acquisition of the story goal.

In addition, since themes relate messages and morals on their own, avoid forcing your personal beliefs and values upon a reader. No reader wants to be preached to or guided into a direction by the author. If there is a theme lurking, allow the reader to discover it naturally. Besides, once the writing leaves your hands, a reader might discover something that you may not have considered. For example, most people know that revenge is probably not a good idea, but it may also force character reflection or behavior that a reader detects that you—as the writer—hadn’t intended at all. The discovery!

As discussed previously, theme is that mysterious element of fiction that is often lurking in your fiction whether you realize it or not. Both seasoned and new writers of fiction intuitively realize that there is more to the work than the words on the page. There is a substance, a depth, a universal presence that, ideally, should run through the writing. Theme allows a writer a sense of control and a revelation of order to perceptions about life. But it can’t be forced!

message 2: by Jackie - Fire & Ice Book Reviews, Head MOD!! (new)

Jackie - Fire & Ice Book Reviews (jackiefireicebookreviews) | 589 comments Mod
Thanks Marisa!

message 3: by Marisa (new)

Marisa Oldham (marisaoldham) | 554 comments Mod
You're welcome! :)

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