40 Days of 3 Questions – Day 31

Welcome to 40 Days of 3 Questions!

For the next few weeks, meet here every morning with a notebook or document to answer three questions about writing, about your status quo as a writer, or about the writing life. You can answer briefly and go about your day, or you can use this as a warm up exercise before your regular writing schedule. Whatever works for you, works for me.

Day 31 Questions:

  1. Do you think about theme when you write a story?
  2. Do you start with a theme in mind or does it emerge as you write?
  3. Is there a theme you write about over and over?

You may post answers in comments or keep your thoughts private–your choice!

And here is today’s pretty picture:

turtle-in-north-east.jpg

What theme does this chained up (fake) turtle say to you? Anger? Revenge? Humiliation? The fight to freedom? Please don’t steal me?

14 thoughts on “40 Days of 3 Questions – Day 31

  1. I do think about theme as I write, but it varies from book to book as to whether I start with a theme or let it develop. The one that shows up over and over for me is “family.” A close second is the theme of There’s No Place Like Home. But those two are pretty tightly intertwined, aren’t they?

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  2. My theme usually emerges as I write. I’m usually concentrating on the crime and clues in my book. However, no matter what I’m writing the theme seems to always be about the relationships between mothers and daughters. It finally hit me that the turtle was the one we saw. At first glance I thought he was real! This is why I usually have more than one cup of coffee before I respond.

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  3. I write a lot for submission calls for anthologies, so I frequently work with a pre-ordered theme.
    It’s good to know what the editors want beforehand, instead of trying to surmise it from their websites, which tend to be annoyingly vague.
    The turtle’s chain is too short, poor thing. It makes me angry.

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  4. Do you think about theme when you write a story? Not really. If I do, I end up bending the story to fit the theme and it doesn’t turn out well.

    Do you start with a theme in mind or does it emerge as you write? It usually emerges as I write.

    Is there a theme you write about over and over? I think relationships and self-identity come out a lot. Then again, I’m pretty bad at identifying theme (at least in my own writing), so I’m not sure. 🙂

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  5. 1.) Do you think about theme when you write a story? I usually think about theme when I’m writing the synopsis.
    2.) Do you start with a theme in mind or does it emerge as you write? I usually start with one, but if not, I discover one before I’ve finished with the outline.
    3.) Is there a theme you write about over and over? Mostly community and then family.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 1. Do you think about theme when you write a story?
    No, I don’t discover my theme, if I ever do, until the story is written. I’ve read that this is true for a lot of artists and musicians. Sometimes a reader will know my theme better than I do.
    2. Do you start with a theme in mind or does it emerge as you write?
    As above, no, I don’t start with a theme. I tell my story and a theme will develop. If I CAN tell what my theme is, I can enlarge it with a subplot. (As opposed to motif, which I consciously decide on and insert.)
    3. Is there a theme you write about over and over?
    It seems that there is—family. I think I’m writing about characters and their inner struggles, etc. But I’m always writing about family.

    I’ve missed posting for a couple of days so I’ll make up for it with my favorite anecdote on this subject. Mitch Albom, the author of Tuesdays with Morrie, was widely known as a sports reporter before that book made him big. He wrote a book about baseball as his father was dying. His father’s death affected him profoundly, but he soldiered through and got the book done. A reader later told him he loved the book about fathers. Mitch was puzzled—he hadn’t written a book about fathers—it was about baseball, he thought. But when he went back and looked at the book he’d written, he realized it was about fathers. He’ subconsciously made it about that because of his father.

    Likewise, musicians often discover what their theme is from fans.

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  7. I usually think I know what the theme is and then when I get to the end of the first draft, I discover it’s something else. For example, for the whole first draft of Fogged Inn I thought the theme was homecoming, but then discovered between the first and second drafts it was “old friends.”

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  8. 1. Do you think of theme when you write a story? No. I start with story and characters, not theme.
    2. Do you start with a theme in mind or does it emerge as you write? Possibly it emerges. The situation changes the characters and brings out the best–or worst–in them. That may be a theme??
    3. Is there a theme you write about over and over? Relationships between friends, lovers, family. Self-discovery can be a part of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Do you think about theme when you write a story? I’ve just been reading about getting a premise (theme?) down before beginning the writing. I’m even mulling over having the premise (theme) in mind as I create the characters to live it out. The premise/theme is the whole purpose for the story. The right people have to be created to bring it out so that makes sense to me to have it before everything.
    Do you start with a theme in mind or does it emerge as you write? I’ve not had a (premise) theme first, however, I have adjusted my thinking. I will from now on.
    Is there a theme you write about over and over? I haven’t written with a stated theme/premise before, but I doubt I’d repeat the theme. But, I don’t know.

    Like

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