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It is not the same thing as a plot or a story.
A theme is also more than just a subject; it is a complete idea. A theme takes a stand and puts forth an argument. Your theme might be that ultimately every human being is alone in the universe or it might be the opposite — that none of us are truly alone.
However, a theme is not a question: Why does your novel need a theme at all? Whether the author intends it or not, every story has a theme. There are many views on story themes. However, the very strength of themes is their resilience for being reused and explored over and over.
A good theme is both universal and profound.
In a good theme, there should be scope for an enormous amount of exploration across cultures and patterns of thought. We are still drawn to stories about people who sacrifice everything in the pursuit of material wealth only to end up unhappy at the end of it all as well as stories about people who give up material wealth in order to seek happiness.
This theme remains powerful because it is something that humans have grappled with across societies and cultures and will probably always grapple with. There is plenty of room to explore its implications in many different genres or settings.
Here are a few questions you can ask to test the strength of a theme you are considering. However, if we look around at our lives and the lives of those around us, this is demonstrably not always true.
The reason great literature survives is because it speaks to us across cultures and time periods. Whether or not your theme is universal may also be a good gauge as to whether it has the heft to carry your novel. Is is something you have seen explored a lot lately?
Similarly, editors will sometimes complain that in the wake of some current events, they will get a flood of fiction dealing with that same topic. Here are a few examples: A science fiction story might warn readers about the dangers of tampering with nature or of acquiring too much knowledge.
A crime story might set out to convince the reader that crime does not pay. A horror story might demonstrate that bad things happen to bad people. These are all overdone themes within their genres. Yet even these overdone themes have their places.
Yet all of these stories are still engaging to readers today. How can a writer be sure that a particular theme is still fresh enough to work with? One point to keep in mind is that rules are made to be broken. A writer who can bring the level of skill to their fiction that Mary Shelley or Edgar Allan Poe did can most likely get away with just about any theme.
You should know your genre well enough to avoid themes that everyone is tired of at the moment. At the same time, since themes should be universal and meaningful to most people, there is a limit to just how unique you can be. Like all good writers, Niffenegger got concrete. Her star-crossed — or, more accurately, time-crossed — lovers were carefully developed characters.
Niffenegger grounded her characters and her story in specific detail, but she went a step further. She complicated her theme. Niffenegger also examines free will and destiny.
You may wonder how you are supposed to do all of these things with theme while you are telling a story, and the answer is that your focus should be on the story.
If the story that you are telling is well-plotted with developed charactersand if you have taken care to examine the implications of your storya complex and engaging theme should emerge naturally.
Just as many stories can be reduced to a simple sentence or two that may sound similar to many other stories, themes at their essence may sound simple.Writers Workshop – How To Avoid Writing Cliches Posted on January 12, by Renée Pawlish I was recently reading some reviews on a book by an indie author and I was struck by how many reviewers said the author was writing clichés.
Cliches to avoid in your creative writing. Writing that relies heavily on cliches is considered poor or lazy writing. Check the cliches below to see if you're prone to using them. Writing that relies heavily on cliches is considered poor or lazy writing.
Editors may reject . Mar 01, · Do you write horror? Be sure to avoid these five clichés when you're writing horror. I figured it would be a good idea to check over some of my works in progress and see if any other overused themes pop up.
That’s a great example of taking a typical story cliche and turning it into something new and original. Nice job. How to Write without Clichés: Part 1 on July 23, by Proofreading Pal in Professional Writing facebook in twitter We’re told to avoid clichés in our writing, but just what is a cliché, why is it bad, and how do we write without using one?
What this handout is about. This handout discusses clichés and why you should generally avoid them in order to achieve specificity in both your academic writing and your application essays.
Learning how to start a fantasy story without clichés will help you write fantasy series readers love. See 5 tips on writing fantasy.
How to start a fantasy story and avoid common mistakes. fantasy, how to write a fantasy story, writing cliches. Doris Lessing’s top 10 tips: How to explain to readers.