View Full Version : Themes
February 26th, 2003, 01:03 AM
Do you consider a primary theme before you begin writing or do you just let it happen? And if you do consider the first theme do you think about secondary themes also?
Does anybody have some themes they really want to explore? Some of those that interest me include sacrifice, humans as animals, spirituality and faith, hope, logic, culture and change, the individual vs society, and the human mind.
February 26th, 2003, 01:49 AM
For me themes tend to develop:
Take my first major piece of work, a piece that I am re-visiting after nearly 18 months. The research and writing of it took nearly three years, I wasn't working at the time, so some times it was 24/7. Knee deep in books, papers and ideas ;)
The basic idea was: The King/Hero has a special sword. But who made it, how and why.
As I worked away the sword went from a magical item to a plain simple one handed blade, a common soldier's weapon, but the best made of it's type. Each part of its construction and the steel, wood etc used in it were part and parcel of the customs and beliefs of the two lands. The blade was a gift from one people to another, a symbol of an alliance of old enemies against an foe which would, if allowed to continue destory them both.
There is no "magic" in this story only a supernatural element. I wanted to reflect how choices made turned you into the enemy/villian. That evil is there inside and a person who should have been the hope of his country, turned into its destroyer. Also a person, who didn't really want or desire the position he finds himself in, just does his best hoping that it is enough.
I also wanted to show how our individual actions can have an affect far wider than we could ever imagine or wish.
February 26th, 2003, 04:37 AM
There are certain themes running through a lot of my ideas somewhat subliminally, now that I think about it.
About 90% of my work is SF and in most of my stories there is either a warning about how the human race is a very small race in a huge ocean of potential life, but often thinks of itself as the biggest (and sometimes ONLY) fish in the Universe. (a very bad assumption to make).
Another theme is how technology can effect our lives in ways we don't even imagine, and not always for the better.
Essentially I try to open the mind of my readers to the possibilities and repurcussions of our actions as well as the innate human complacency about our position in the grand scheme of things.
For me, at least, this is the essence of science fiction.
February 26th, 2003, 07:41 AM
The main theme in my last piece of work was the negative nature of revenge.
I took a spiritual person and kept pushing him until the desire for revenge washed away his spirituality and took over his life.
February 26th, 2003, 09:40 AM
I usually have to have a theme before writing, but sometimes I think of some good dialogue between characters, I then have to think OK why are these characters interacting and why are they in this situation? I have loads of dialogue that are stand-alone and are not part of any stories that I will later develop into short stories or perhaps longer work.
I often find that themes that materialize as I am writing, actually become the strongest themes of all.
February 26th, 2003, 01:07 PM
I delve into what it is to be human, as I think most writers try to do. For me as well themes tend to develop as I'm writing the story and not beforehand. There are two themes, however, that I always concentrate on.
The first one is that there is no such thing as evil; everyone simply makes choices that they think are for the best. What makes a decision a bad one is when a person does not know enough about the situation they are acting in, or they are viewing the situation in a different light because of who they are.
The second is that everything in the universe is connected, somehow, in one way or another, whether the connection is major or minor. All of my plots are intricately connected and woven. Nothing ever just happens.
In my current piece of work, themes such as the essence of greed, benevolence, love, and obsession crept their way in without me even knowing.
February 26th, 2003, 01:50 PM
I begin writing and then a Theme (or many) grow from the story itself. In my last major piece of work (6 volumes in all), I had more themes than a can remember, amongst them: love, hate, megalomania (my main villain, who, after all, became my main protagonist!), cowardice, foolhardiness (sic), betrayal, adultery, war (and it's side-effects)---
But enought talking about myself, now! :D
February 26th, 2003, 07:11 PM
I think it's very important that, as a writer, you don't become a one-trick pony. There are so many authors that are locked into a particular theme and very rarely do they ever deviate from it. Michael Crichton and Jack Chalker are two good examples of authors who have been telling the same kind of story over and over again for decades.
February 26th, 2003, 09:08 PM
I'm closest to Holbrook's answer. I don't say "I'm going to make this fantasy story revolve around betrayal or the pursuit of knowledge or change." It just develops and I run with it. I often tie the last sentence or paragraph to the main theme (sometimes linked to the title) though.
February 26th, 2003, 11:53 PM
I am a little like Holbrook in that I start with a basic idea, than let it evolve in it's own direction, albeit guided so that it do not go overboard or run into unwarranted territories. I also tend to research a lot!!
The theme that I tend to revolve around are SF in nature, though some are fantasy. The one theme that fascinates me is not really GM etc.. but about a lesser known aspect of bioscience that no one in the media seems interested about....the leaps and bounds are taking in the field of neuroscience and neurosurgery. For example, the bioelectrical and biochemical origin of the illusion of free will etc.. Of course, GM, nanotech, AI, AE, protein based matrixes, silicon based engines, viral resistance, cross-genetic contamination, all interest me.
Another theme which I tend to write about but I never let it get published is the relationship between the races/religions and what makes up a race/religion. I explore it from the view of a cohesive world, down to a divisive world or a world where humans struggle to stand out unique, from an individual or soceital perspective.
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