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T is for Theme

Do you have a theme? Does your manuscript have one? I found this definition of THEME on http://www.learner.org/interactives/literature/read/theme1.html


And this...


In most dystopian books, themes range from political/government oppression (wide scale) to a character's internal struggle for freedom/[insert goal here]. Take The Hunger Games, for instance. Early on, we are introduced to the mockingjay--which would turn out to be a symbol for the rebellion/revolution brewing among the districts. But in book 1, we don't know this, at least, not immediately. There are references to the mockingjay throughout, but as a reader we're more focused on the outcome of the game and the fate of the protagonist. The theme is subtle, though it has the ability to seep into our subconscious so that by the time we finish the whole trilogy, everything's come into full circle. 

Question of the day:

Do you write with a theme in mind?

15 comments:

Jessie Humphries said...

Yes, but I try to make it subtle and fluid. My theme is that even though our justice system is one of the best in the world, it still has flaws, it can still be unjust. Okay, it sounds really boring when I type it down like that!

Liz Fichera said...

Since I write mostly YA, theme has to be so subtle. The reader has to draw the conclusions on theme from the actions/dialogue/plot. THE HUNGER GAMES, as an example, did that beautifully.

Judy said...

As a "nonwriter," it is really interesting to me to hear all you (writers) thought processes!

Nikki said...

Great post and I agree with Judy, it is interesting for a non-writer and kind of makes me want to become a writer!

Thank you for your sweet comment on my blog :)

M.J. Fifield said...

I don't really write with a theme in mind. A theme usually emerges or could be inferred by the reader. It definitely has to be subtle.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I definitely write with a theme in mind! I find that when I do, the book feels much more complete. When that's lacking, the ms is lacking. Of course, at the beginning, my theme is very basic. It develops as I go, and then I have to go back through revisions to make it really work. My current WIP's theme is Work with your strengths.

Great post!

Julie said...

This is something I worry I don't do enough. Loved the definitions, very helpful to use when thinking about my own work.

Angie Sandro said...

I don't start out with a specific theme in mind After the book is complete, I sometimes find that I've subconsciously had one running through the plot.

Bethany C. said...

I think teenagers can smell "theme" from a mile away. I don't see how you can structure a story without some basis of a theme, but I think a very intentional "theme" rarely goes over well.

Bethany C. said...

I think teenagers can smell "theme" from a mile away. I don't see how you can structure a story without some basis of a theme, but I think a very intentional "theme" rarely goes over well.

Krista McLaughlin said...

Theme is very important. I better go check and make sure that my book has a theme...

Rachna Chhabria said...

I try to write with a theme in mind, but I am not always very sure that I am successful at it. Theme is indeed very important.

Lynda R Young said...

I never write with a theme in mind. It tends to just present itself.

Charmaine Clancy said...

I always start with characters, then work out my plot and then work out what theme will suit this story before I start writing it.

Daisy Carter said...

I don't look for themes - they find me along the way. Once I know what it/they are, I try to bring it out as I go.

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