(Er. This apparently failed to post on Thursday. Trying again, then…)
I would like this to be a blog entry full of salient advice and wisdom on working themes into your writing. Sadly for me, I find the skill to do so on a conscious level something to be admired and awed from a distance, so this is really more throwing it open for discussion to see what other people have to say on the subject.
I *do* admire the mental process that says, “I have a particular thematic thrust I want to drive home with this story.” and I know there are writers who genuinely work that way. I’m not one of them; I can barely wrap my mind around writing on that meta a level.
The closest I’ve ever come, as a writer, to managing A Theme is in writing Belinda, the protagonist of the Inheritors’ Cycle (aka “The Queen’s Bastard books”). She is/was a character defined by her loyalty, and so at least _a_ theme of those books is the price of loyalty. I’m sure readers can find themes I didn’t have any particular intention of putting in, in those books and others. (Well, okay, tackling racism is A Theme in the Negotiator trilogy, that one’s probably pretty obvious. And I meant to do it. :)) But largely, I find the ability to Write Themes–especially in short stories!–a mystery.
So tell me, gentle readers. Do you even try to work Themes into your writing? If you do, how? Do you start with a Thematic Idea and go from there? Enquiring minds want to know!