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  1. #21
    Otto Rabe
    Guest

    Re: To Theme or not to Theme

    OK - synopsis....

    I think the collective agreement is that, when the done well, the craft of story-telling includes a theme that is shown to the reader (vrs told).

    In the simplest of terms we employ theme the minute we select GENRE. As soon as we use creativity we are constantly evaluationg whether or not the story is in keeping with the idea (theme)

    Maybe the negative side of this relates to forcing a MESSAGE over the boundaries of good story telling.


    Thanks to all of you who contributed to helping me refine an understanding of this process!!

    Otto



  2. #22
    Otto Rabe
    Guest

    Re: To Theme or not to Theme

    Anthony - I'm shocked, thats all you have to add to this dialouge. In the past you have done a much better job of providing value added. You missed your usual fine standard this time.

  3. #23
    Mark Phillips
    Guest

    Re: To Theme or not to Theme

    I feel like this has been said before, but I'm going to restate it. I, personally, don't pick my genre, theme, or anything else really. I get an idea for a story I think will be entertaining and I start writing. The story flows before my mind's eye and I type everything I see. When I'm done, the dust has cleared, and some time has passed, then I sit down and look at my story again. As I read I discover things that I didn't realize when I was just writing a story. One of those things is theme. I flesh that out a bit, but not much, and that's about it.
    I don't know about anyone else, but to me, it would be boring to sit in front of the computer and think..."okay, I want to write a fantasy novel that explores the issue of race-relations in today's society." To me that's not fun, that's work. What's fun is thinking of a story and writing it. For me, it's almost like reading a book. I guess I could be alone here, but what the hell, to each their own.

    Mark

  4. #24
    Wonky
    Guest

    Re: To Theme or not to Theme

    Otto, definitely don't beat the reader over the head with a message. That's a major turn-off.

    I don't see how theme relates to genre at all.

  5. #25
    eilidh >>>
    Guest

    Re: To Theme or not to Theme

    I'm with Mark. I start writing with a general idea in mind and the characters take over. Once written, I go back and rewrite to adjust the characters and story.

    Then of course another rewrite to take out the fluff and the grammar errors... and you know the whole works, but I don't sit there thinking that I write a book with a certain message.

    Maybe because years ago, we were inundated with the message. The message of a song, a book, a painting. Ack.

    I have not sold a book yet, so don't take me as a land mark.

  6. #26
    Granny Ten
    Guest

    Re: To Theme or not to Theme

    All art must have a form whether it's writing a novel or painting a canvas. My son paints fanasty women in acrylic. First he get an idea, then he draws in pencil on the canvas, and then he paints. If he just got his paints out and started painting, it would be a mess. So with novel writing, we must have a form. The form of my present novel, theme if you prefer, is that of a woman who loves one man all her life, but that love changes as she ages. I wrote a scene that deviated from that theme. It didn't fit and I ditched it. Otherwise, my novel would have drifted away from my premise, and in the process drifted into nothingness. The theme of a novel is not the same as a "message."

  7. #27
    nom de plume
    Guest

    Re: To Theme or not to Theme

    "If he just got his paints out and started painting, it would be a mess."

    You mean like Monet, Van Gogh, probably Rothko and many other abstract painters? Yeah, I could see how that would be a mess.

  8. #28
    Otto Rabe
    Guest

    Re: To Theme or not to Theme

    C'mon Wonky,

    Let me do the math for you....

    Romance(genre) = love (or something like it)

    Maybe its easier to swallow if we say - there is a general categorization of theme that can be assumed to be present in a specific genre.

    Also I think we are mixing up "theme" with "message"

    Nobody wants to read a 500 word ms that says love is great, love is great, love is great etc. They want a story that shows them that love is great. The theme is still "love is great"

    Otto

  9. #29
    Granny Ten
    Guest

    Re: To Theme or not to Theme

    FYI -- Monet was an impressionist and Van Gogh was a post-impressionist - not abstract. But that doesn't matter, the point is, all art must have a theme, even if it's poppies on a hillside. Every time I put something on this forum, nom de plume jumps on it. Although I am too old to be concerned about this, I do wish to say that if at any time I have insulted her, it was unintentional and I apologize; however, that does not negate the fact that I believe what I believe after much thought and study. If I found contrary information, I would change my views.

  10. #30
    Simon Says
    Guest

    Re: To Theme or not to Theme

    Also Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Pollack, et. al. did not just "get out paint and start painting" They all studied art, learned to paint and then experimented in new styles which they spent years developing. They could not have done what they did in the styles they did it if they didn't understand the basics of shape, perspective, shading, etc.

    Many of these artists would sketch before they pulled out the paint brushes. And once they started painting they would often take a long time to finish a particular work.

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