It’s writer Wednesday, let’s talk writerly things.
Everybody has something that is important to them in their life. It’s something their passionate about. And when you’re a creator, whether or not you want it to, this seeps into your creations. A creator takes what they’re passionate about and instills that message in their work. It becomes a common thread across their creations. It’s a theme. It’s their credo to the world. And the world may or may not get the message that they’re trying to convey. The world may take an entirely different message away from their creation. One that the writer didn’t intend, but one that is also embedded into their story or piece of art. And what the consumer takes away can tell the creator what is important to them, what they need to see in a story. It’s the theme of the audience’s life.
Sometimes a message is ham fisted. The audience feels what the creator is trying to say is being rammed down their throat. (It could be the creator started with the theme instead of a good story.) Sometimes the message is so subtle that the audience has to search to find it in the threads of words and paint lines. (Maybe the creator doesn’t know what their theme is or how to properly convey it.)
As writers, we need themes. It’s not enough that our story is a good story. A theme, a message, along with the characters and the plot and the way we describe things allows us to connect to our readers. “Hey, you find this important. Well, I find it important too!” Whether the message is ‘good conquers evil.’ ‘There’s hope in the deepest dark.’ ‘All you need is love.’ Or even, ‘Don’t trash the planet.’ ‘Beware technology. It breeds isolationism.’ These messages and the way we convey them in our stories and paintings allow us to reach out for a brief moment and touch our readers who may need that message. There is hope. Love is real and true and good. (And this is what healthy love looks like.)
I write about werewolves, about transformation and change. I write about the importance of families both blood and found. I write about the need to belong someplace. I want to write about healthy adult relationships. These things are important to me. But I didn’t start with those themes. I started writing about characters that interested me and concepts I found intriguing and I’ll admit, downright funny. I also know that those who read my books might not take away those messages. (And those aren’t the only things I’m writing about, but I’m going to keep a few things close to my chest.) And it’s okay if they come up with different messages or even just want to read a book for comfort and not take away any messages at all.
It’s important though that those messages are there. That there is a theme, a common thread to my work. It might help me find others like me who find those things important. Those would be my tribe, my family.
Whatever your theme is, embrace it.