Themes in your writing

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    Reality is a dream TheLlama's Avatar
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    Default Themes in your writing

    How important are themes to your writing? Do you always try to include a running theme (be it social critique, dealing with certain emotions, some sort of generic philosophical musings, etc)? If so, what kind of themes are you most attracted to?

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    CEO of the Monsters Lugion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    Generally, I do. In the novel I'm working on, the main theme is realism vs. idealism, but there's also quite a few others, like political corruption, class tension, and a few others.

    Sometimes, though, I like to write something with no real theme, just as a fun sort of exercise. My current Dragon Ball fanfiction is an example of that.

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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    mine usually contain either religious themes or themes that have to deal with a certain moral or life lesson.

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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    --Follow your dreams
    --You can do anything if you try
    --Best friends stick together through even the worst of times
    --Sometimes the greatest hero is someone you least expected
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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    I actually don't plan out any themes at all, I just write the stories of my characters, the themes sort of show up on their own. Some of the themes I've done:

    -Hopelessness of death
    -The pain hidden behind smiles
    -Carrying on your family's dreams
    -What it means to be 'complete'
    -many more....

    Oddly enough, I once wrote an always follow your dreams tale then later wrote a dreams are useless garbage story.....I don't even know how the themes make their way into my works.

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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    I don't plan any themes to be in my writing, and usually just write a story with the sole intention of writing a story. It's only about halfway through the story that I see the theme my story had taken on, and I go with it. For example, in 'The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!', I just wanted to write a story about Maylene, and it's only while writing the past chapter that I discovered it was more about power, how everyone got it, and how it changed them.

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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    I try to give each chapter I write a moral or lesson you can learn, basically like learning from different experiences. Sometimes they're my own personal experience or one I've heard about, or sometimes it's the character of the story driving the plot that runs into a unique experience, maybe even character relationships, but basically its like a wise man once said: "An idiot learns from their own mistakes, a wise man learns from others'."

    Of course this doesn't mean that you're an idiot because you learned from your own mistake, it just means that if you had heard of someone's personal experience earlier, then fell into the same mistake that you aren't paying attention enough.

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    Wordsmith unrepentantAuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    Whether I write about broader philosophical topics - Different Eyes' preoccupation is with transhumanism, for example - or about more contemporary political or social issues - many of my original works will focus greatly on the issue of prejudice in relation to gender, race, sexuality and religion - I usually endeavour to have some enduring theme in my writing.

    Another favoured theme of mine is the old Romanticism Versus Rationalism debate that dominated Rennaissance literature. Essentially, is the heart or the mind more important? It's a more nuanced question than you may at first think, especially since so much media insists that you must follow your heart always and that to think otherwise is desperately cynical. I used to believe that emotion and feeling and the like were more valid than intellectual pursuits, but I've since changed my mind and believe that in all aspects of human experience, a balance of the two is required. (Worth its own thread, perhaps?)

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    Reality is a dream TheLlama's Avatar
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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    I am a very philosophical person, there's hardly an aspect of life I haven't pondered about from a philosophical viewpoint (including among other things household appliances - no, I'm not shitting you). What I like to ponderabout the most, however, is questions relating to existence. Why are we here, and for what purpose? I have my own personal answers to all those questions (yes, I found an answer the the whole meaning of life deal), but in my stories I love reflecting on those questions. Why are we here? What is our purpose? Were we placed here with any intent? If I pose answers in my writing, it's often that we weren't "placed" here for any reason. We have no purpose. No one placed us here with any intent. Meaning doesn't exist except as an arbitrary concept to find solace and stability in our insignificant lives; it's a (justified) denial of reality's worst message of all: We're for all intents and purposes pointless, both as individuals and as a race.

    Now, this isn't necessarily true; there's ways to twist this to a positive perspective (e.g. "big picture versus small picture"-reasoning), not all characters would land on these thoughts, but in general I like them like that. I like it to be something blunt like that. If anything, I'm fascinated by cosmicism, the returning theme of Lovecraft that we are insignificant and all the consequences of this; for example that if there were gods, they would not care about us.

    Otherwise, I include themes such as what it means to be human; in pokemon I can do this through humans with magic, pokemorphing, and other such that cross the boundary between man and pokemon, while in non-pokemon I can simply have it be someone who is outside of society at large, I can have the age-old AI versus human moral conflict, and so on and so forth.

    Other themes may strecth from political issues (I'm very active as a debater of politics, and even in a country with more than ten political parties of all thinkable and unthinkable ideologies, there's none which I fully agree with, and there wouldn't be that if there were a hundred of them - so there's plenty of issues for me to pick from and debate thematically, both from personal opinions and from other people's opinions that I meet during debates), to social issues, and whatever else you can think of. Can it be seriously reflected on, it can be a theme. But I mostly prefer the first ones; about existence, meaning and such. I draw from Lovecraftian cosmicism (which is slight ironic, as I have never actually read Lovecraft, a freind of mine simply pointed me to cosmicism when I was dicussing these themes with her)

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    Reality is a dream TheLlama's Avatar
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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    Quote Originally Posted by SaFE View Post
    An idiot learns from their own mistakes, a wise man learns from others'
    I strongly disagree, actually. "A smart man learns from his own mistakes, a wise man learns from others' mistakes" is a line I prefer over that. Learning from your own mistakes is a sign of someone who is smart - the reasons for making your mistakes are irrelevant, and yo uhave obviously never heard of every possible mistake before, so making a mistake does not make you stupid or silly or signifies that you don't pay attention, it only means you're human. And learning from those mistakes means you're smart enough to acknowledge this and take what knowledge you can from it; mistakes and failure are the ultimate teachers. Those who ae capable of seeing others' mistakes and learning from that to avoid making their own mistakes, are wise men indeed - but they would not be wise nor smart of they did not learn from their own mistakes, or if they never made mistakes themselves (because thinking you never make mistakes and never will is a denial of reality). One who learns from both their own and others' mistakes is wise and smart; he acknowledges that he is human enough to make mistakes and knows how to learn from them, but he also recognizes that everyone else around him are human as well, and that their mistakes are mistakes he himself can make. Thus he learns from them.
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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    Themes are very important in writing. Almost always there needs to be some sort of conflict, and conflict almost always takes on a certain theme (man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. machine, man vs. his emotions, etc.)
    The only time that you could get away with no theme would be in a few very specific works, like if you're writing as if it's a diary entry or a news article with no overall story to get across and just want to describe things.

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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama_Guy View Post
    If I pose answers in my writing, it's often that we weren't "placed" here for any reason. We have no purpose. No one placed us here with any intent. Meaning doesn't exist except as an arbitrary concept to find solace and stability in our insignificant lives; it's a (justified) denial of reality's worst message of all: We're for all intents and purposes pointless, both as individuals and as a race.
    Your views are appreciably similar to mine, which I find interesting. I've not met many other existentialists who aren't also extraordinarily morbid, depressed or sociopathic. Those who believe in a morally blank universe often end up being an Agent Smith or a Rorschach. I'd like to discuss this kind of thing in more detail with you at some point, I think, if you'd care to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama_Guy View Post
    I'm fascinated by cosmicism, the returning theme of Lovecraft that we are insignificant and all the consequences of this; for example that if there were gods, they would not care about us.
    Another interesting idea, and one I like. However, I'm sure that even if deity-like beings did not care to influence humanity in any particular direction, sentient life, or any biology, is one of the more fascinating aspects of the entire universe, given the predictable lack of subtlety with which physics conducts itself. Have you ever come across the speech by Doctor Manhattan of Watchmen fame about the thermodynamic miracle in comparison to human psychology?

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama_Guy View Post
    Otherwise, I include themes such as what it means to be human; in pokemon I can do this through humans with magic, pokemorphing, and other such that cross the boundary between man and pokemon, while in non-pokemon I can simply have it be someone who is outside of society at large, I can have the age-old AI versus human moral conflict, and so on and so forth. Other themes may strecth from political issues, to social issues, and whatever else you can think of.
    Obviously I must peruse your fanfiction at the earliest convenient opportunity. This is exactly the sort of thing I love to read, write and discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyjenn View Post
    Themes are very important in writing. Almost always there needs to be some sort of conflict, and conflict almost always takes on a certain theme (man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. machine, man vs. his emotions, etc.)
    Now, I'm not so sure that "protagonist versus X" actually qualifies as a theme. I'd argue that if you have two protagonists in two stories, one fighting a fatal illness and the other fighting racial discrimination, the themes in question are death and prejudice, not "man vs circumstance". Sound reasoning?

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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    I particularly like entertaining the idea of moral ambiguity and the idea that there really is no "only good" or "only bad" person in the world. I like to show that characters can go in either direction, but are never part either extreme.

    I also like exploring mental/physical illnesses (especially mental) and critiquing social norms that are constantly expected of people today.
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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    Well, themes in my writing? Hmm...

    Well, for my fic, at least, there are themes that are sort of meta, like whether or not the protagonist or antagonist can be believed on certain, or any, pieces of information they present to the reader. Some others would be the creation of false constructs in our minds to keep us functioning, or able to deal with reality, the difficulties in changing ourselves into something we deplore in order to accomplish our goals, whether or not it's okay to force the masses into one belief to create peace.
    "I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death." - Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, N.Y. State of Mind

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    Wordsmith unrepentantAuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Themes in your writing

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    I particularly like entertaining the idea of moral ambiguity and the idea that there really is no "only good" or "only bad" person in the world. I like to show that characters can go in either direction, but are never part either extreme.

    I also like exploring mental/physical illnesses (especially mental) and critiquing social norms that are constantly expected of people today.
    One has to love 'grey and gray morality' stories. Sophisticated moral ambiguity is infinitely more fascinating - and realistic! - than moral binaries.

    Mental illness and social norms I appreciate not just for being interesting, but because their exploration and study helps better the world. It is morally good for authors to discuss such themes, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Booty Warrior View Post
    Well, themes in my writing? Hmm...

    Well, for my fic, at least, there are themes that are sort of meta, like whether or not the protagonist or antagonist can be believed on certain, or any, pieces of information they present to the reader.
    The trope you're looking for is 'unreliable narrator', and it is a very good one when handled well.

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