Like it or not, there are only so many themes an author can use for their novels. This has been proven time and again. All books fall into certain themes, and we have to work within the guidelines of those themes to produce our stories.
Many authors these days use more than one theme in their book. Often an important sub-plot requires this strategy, but overall you have to stick with the main them much as you would the main plot line. Why is this?
We don’t want to confuse our readers by having two main themes conflicting with each other. It is always best to stay with a single main plot and/or theme in order to keep the reader’s attention. Failing to do so will result in a novel that is not only confusing but will also have a less than satisfactory conclusion.
Let’s take a look at these themes…
Alienation: The effects of, the loneliness of, to cure it.
Ambition: Getting what you want, stunted by, thwarted.
Betrayal: The pain of, in love and friendship.
Coming of age: Loss of innocence.
Courage: Courage to deal with conflict, lack of, developing, conquering with.
Deception: How to deceive, results of.
Discovery: What does it take to discover new places, inner meaning, strength, even treasure.
Escape: From life, routine, prison, family pressures.
Death: How to escape, facing, what happens after, consequences of.
Fear: Driven by, dealing with, conquering.
Freedom: Loss of, gaining, handling, fight for.
Good versus evil: Survival of one despite the other, triumph of one over the other.
Isolation: Physical and emotional.
Jealousy: Trouble caused by, denial of, driven by.
Justice: The fight for, injustice, truth versus justice.
Loss: Of life, innocence, love, friends, to avoid.
Loneliness: No man is an island, or hell is other people.
Love: Love fades, is blind, can overcome all obstacles, can
Lust: For power, for sex.
Power: The search for, the loss of, what we are willing to exchange for.
Prejudice: Racism, bigotry, snobbery, dealing with.
Security: The loss of, the finding of the need for, how we act when security is shattered.
Spirituality and God: The struggle to find faith, live without faith etc.
Survival: Man versus nature
Each of themes are present in all books. Occasionally, you’ll see two themes being used well, but usually it’s only one. The author’s only job once a theme is decided upon is to create a story the reader will return to time and again.
About the K.C. Sprayberry
Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.
She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.
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