Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Theme of it All

I read a wonderful article in the RWR recently about theme and how it plays into books/stories.

According to the article, theme is the passion and question inside the writer that finds its way into all her stories. Beneath voice and plot is theme.

I'm not detail-oriented and I'm not a plotter, but after having a few manuscripts of different genres and tones under my belt, I have an idea of what the overarching theme of my stories is (note: love is not necessarily a theme).

Do you think about Theme in your writing? Do you analyze it in books?

23 comments:

Julie Dao said...

I actually don't really think about theme when I'm writing.. it's only when I'm halfway or further into the book that I realize what the theme is. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing, LOL!

Lindsay Harrel said...

I do think about theme before I write, but it's not completely clear to me until I'm done. Then I can look back and hopefully see a tapestry, a weaving of truth that speaks something to the reader. A theme. Usually of God's faithfulness. Of His goodness in spite of trials.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Analyze it, love it, spend time on it, but all of this mainly after I've written it.
~ Wendy

Melissa Tagg said...

I definitely think about theme, but a lot of times I don't realize what my real theme is until I'm halfway through a book. I think it's one thing when I start, but I end up discovering the true thing right alongside my characters...which is both frustrating and fun. :)

Linda Kage said...

I've heard an author call the theme of your story the book's soul.

To mean, theme is what sums up the major unmentioned parts of the story in one or two words, like: "It's about...revenge, social status, acceptance, forgiveness, finding yourself, higher power, etc.

I'm sure every author either makes sure there's a theme in every story they write, whether they conscious think about it or not! What a nice, insightful post!

Jessica R. Patch said...

I always have a theme that laces the pages, most times I know it upfront, occasionally I'll find it in the first Act and think, well how bout that! :)

Julie Jarnagin said...

I think I know my theme when I start writing, but I'm usually wrong. It usually turns out to be something I wasn't expecting.

Gabrielle Meyer said...

It's interesting to hear so many authors say that they don't know the theme until they are well into the book or after they've written it - because I have to say the same thing! It's one of the powerful things about writing a God inspired story - He's really the author and we're just going along to see where He'll take us!

Stacy Henrie said...

Theme always seems so illusive, but I like what you said about it being the passion and question inside the writer. That makes sense!

Connie Keller said...

Very interesting post!

I don't think about theme when I write. But by the time the book is finished, it's there. And I do have some themes that follow me from book to book, even though the genres and stories are very, very different.

Loree Huebner said...

There is a spark of a theme when I start writing, but then it evolves from there. I'm always amazed what comes pouring out of me.

Patti said...

I hadn't really thought about a theme for my books until I was explaining them to a friend and she was like so all your books are really about this. It was an eye opener.

Brandi Boddie said...

I do have a theme for each of my stories. It helps me to focus on the character development and to provide the right kind of conflict. For me, this helps whether the tone of my story is funny or a bit on the gritty side of life.

Erica Vetsch said...

I don't know what the theme is until after the book is done. And usually someone else points it out to me. Mostly, I just want to tell a fun story. :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, seems like we're all pretty similar with how we "do" theme...except Brandi who plans it out. *grin*

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

So far, all my manuscripts were born out of a theme. It's what fuels my passion for the story.

Andrew said...

My theme - and I didn't intend it - has been redemption through God's grace. I've generally used romantic love as a sacrament as the device to build the thematic infrastructure, but there are certainly other ways.

I just happen to enjoy writing about romance!

Terri Tiffany said...

I am not sure I start with one but by the time I am halfway through--it's there.

Traci Kenworth said...

I try not to think about theme as well when writing. I find it works it's way in while doing so, and I can glance back and say, "Ah, yes, that's it."

Nick Wilford said...

Interesting question. I'm like most of the others in that it only becomes apparent while writing a draft. So I tend to think it's something unconscious that ends up in there without the writer thinking about it. And I guess it shows what preoccupies us, or what we think is important.

W. Latane Barton said...

I had never thought about theme! Hmmmm. I guess you could say the theme of the book I am writing is happiness amid trials.

I did stop procrastinating ... mostly. Try to work on my book at least 4 days a week now, and more often when i can. You helped me with that. .thanks.

Nancy said...

I think if there is one theme in my stories, it would be to grab what is good and run with it. It takes many forms. I certainly don't consciously put a theme in and I rarely notice a theme in the books I read. If a writer consciously pushes some theme too much, I'm not much interested after a while.

Jessica Nelson said...

I love to read your comments and hear about your own experience with theme! Thanks everyone!

Barton, so glad you got some wordage in!! :-)