Thursday, 6 October 2011

In response to the AR bloghop question: Theme is a scary word for most writers. What is your take?

When I first pick up my pen (yes, I’m a longhand writer!) predominant in my head is a mental picture of a location with which I have some sort of attachment. I then put my characters in it and let them respond to each other and the environment.
Of course, I have a good idea of my characters and what makes them tick, which in turn gives me clues as to possible themes. However, most themes will evolve as a result of the way they interact i.e. the plot.
I will have a general idea of the direction I want to head and I invariably know the end result, but not necessarily how to get there. Perhaps themes are operating at some subliminal level of my consciousness from the outset, but they might only become evident later when they emerge as a natural development of the plot.
For example, in my wip a pertinent theme emerged quite late in the novel but, on looking back, the seeds were sown from an early stage.
Of course, there isn’t just one theme at work and in The Path of Innocence I included various themes including:
Complex women with contradictory needs
Love and friendship
Jealousy and hate
The lust for power
Inner isolation
It’s easy to pick these out with hindsight, but if I’m honest the only one that I was absolutely clear about from the outset was the first.
So, do themes really matter? Well, yes, I think they do. A book with a message is more likely to strike a chord with readers.
Broad themes, in particular, enable us to explore issues in depth and lend more meat to our writing. For blogs, however, narrow themes work very well.


  1. Yes, I think they do, too! Matter, that is. Without them where would we be?

    Oh I am beginning to sound like Al Murray now LOL

    Interesting post, Megan!

    Here is MINE!



  2. You sound like me! I write the story first then find out what the theme was afterwards. Nice post. :)