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Writing in the Sunshine. Writing in the Shadows.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Pardon me, but your theme is showing ...

Now this picture seems to have the theme of buttons :)
There is a lot of advice out there for aspiring writers. I've read most of it and ignored a lot. Or at least, discovered that it doesn't work for me. Which is not quite the same.

One of the classic pieces of advice is - you must have a theme. I have to admit it is not one of my top ten  'must-dos'. As a reader I get irritated when books beat me over the head with the chosen motif and everyone seems to be suffering from a variation of the same problem. But other people must enjoy it, or it wouldn't be one of the perennial pieces of advice. I can see that it would be helpful to the writer in giving shape to the book and, done well, could be extremely satisfying to execute. It just doesn't suit me. We are all different, thank goodness.

But having said that, themes do creep up, without me being aware. The subconscious at work, I suppose. Not every book, but in some there is a definite thread that was not obvious when I started. In Never Coming Home it's lost children - and that applies to the adults in the book, too.

And of course, all my books are about secrets. The things people conceal or the things they don't know. And secrets can be a threat- something you have to protect, or a danger you don't appreciate. The nitty-gritty of romantic suspense.

The idea I am trying to work on at the moment, (When will someone invent the 36 hour day - please!) seems to be about names and identity - changing them, and the effect that has on life. It was definitely not there when I started, but it's interesting to see it playing out.

Maybe that advice to writers about themes goes deeper than you think?


  1. I'm in line with you Evonne and don't like to read books that continually harp on about a particular theme. But, like you, I do find something emerges as I write that could loosely be called a theme. Interesting post. Angela Britnell

    1. Hi Angela, Great minds operating alike? It is amazing what the brain does when left to its own devices. :)

  2. I've only ever noticed a theme once I've finished writing, so for me it's a subconscious thing too. I've never set out with one in mind!

    (I've just downloaded Never Coming Home, and very much looking forward to reading it.)

    1. Hi Karen. Scary what the mind will do. Hope you enjoy NCH!