And now it’s time for a very important topic, one that can transform any text; one where, for once, we won’t be beating you around the head with genre-specific tips.
Thematic writing has a bigger message than its genre, its characters, and even its plot. Themes can range from the driving force of your plot to the character’s or merely the language you use. These can be applied in any text you write, be it a novel, poem or short.
Probably one of the most complex things to write, your themes must be planned in advance and consciously woven throughout your writing, not just when you remember it. You may find opportunities to add thematic language to your work in the editing process but should definitely plan thematic scenes beforehand to establish them and provide continuity to your plot.
Consider the depth of your work. While themes can be used across any genre, you’ll have to decide what they’re going to be. For instance, if you want a book that’s light and fun, thematic chunks of text will make your writing stagnant and clunky; try incorporating themes into your character’s attitudes or language. The opposite is also true. Denser novels won’t be accessible to everyone, so when you’re writing themes you’ll want your reader to notice them. Passing remarks will need to be backed up by strong thematic imagery, otherwise your reader could be distracted by the complexity of the plot.
So, what type of theme suits you? Themes can be used in any way you can imagine but I’m going to throw out three categories, just in case you’re stuck. Firstly, your character’s may have specific traits that form a theme around them. Want a religious theme? You might want a character to have a similar image to God (Aslan, The Chronicles of Narnia) or Jesus (Simon, The Lord of the Flies). Another option is to use language to suggest a deeper meaning; your average melodramatic tragedy probably talks about happiness or even sex while very closely comparing it to death. Lastly, the whole damn plot may throw us into a new thematic world. You only have to look as far as Star Wars to know that green and blue are good, and red is bad. Another example is Harry Potter, because He Who Must Not Be Named wasn’t He Who Must Not Be Racist.