Themes. Be careful what you wish for. Love will find a way. It’s always darkest before the dawn. Oh wait, are those themes or cliches?
I remember back in high school English themes were all the rage. Kafka, Hemingway, Plath, all very theme oriented writers. But what about modern writers? What is the theme of Twilight? Does there have to be one?
I find in my reading that even the most pop fiction has some sort of standard theme, one of the ones listed above, and that is entirely and completely okay. Doesn’t Disney continue to bank on these themes movie after movie? Sure they do, because while they may be cliche, they are also timeless.
What I find to be the most interesting stories, however, are the ones that seem as if they didn’t intend to have a theme to start out. The theme reveals itself through word choices, through the actions of the villains and heroes. The theme is unintentional, but it bleeds out into the pages because it is centered deep in the authors heart. It is the authors passions, their beliefs, their fears, their hopes.
Writing is a deeply personal activity, no matter what the story. Very few writers can hand out a fresh manuscript and not feel like maybe they also included a few internal organs along with it.
And why shouldn’t they? All of their secrets are revealed on those pages, all of their characters possessing aspects of the writer.
A Theme is personal, and the more personal it is, the greater chance it can hurt a writer to have it revealed, but also the greater the chance it has to resonate deeply with readers, too take those passions, beliefs, fears and hopes and bury them into the hearts of the people who love the work.
What themes have struck you over the years? Which ones to you love to see in your reading? Which do you wish would play out already?