Okay, so for the final 6 weeks, I am going to work on themes.  Why 6 weeks?  I will explain later.  First, let’s explore themes.

So theme – I have often written a story and wondered what the theme of it was, and it wasn’t until looking back over it, that I have found my theme.  So for this exercise, I wanted to be more conscious of my theme.  Therefore, I found an interesting website that clearly explained what theme was:

The theme of a literary work is its underlying central idea or the generalization it communicates about life. The theme expresses the author’s opinion or raises a question about human nature or the meaning of human experience. At times the author’s theme may not confirm or agree with your own beliefs. Even then, if skillfully written, the work will still have a theme that illuminates some aspects of true human experience

OK, so the theme is really what the entire story is about (as opposed to plot, which is how your story moves along).  So does one identify a theme in their (or anyone elses) story?

Sometimes the theme may be clearly stated. More often, the theme is implied or suggested through other elements. In fact, you can determine the theme by looking closely at other literary elements involved, such as, characterization, setting, events, point of view, tone, irony, imagery, etc. In other words, theme is illuminated through these literary elements.

Courtesy of http://www.schoollink.org/csd/pages/engl/lesson5.html

So to find a theme, keep reading.  Sometimes it isn’t until you get the end of the story that you find it, sometimes it runs throughout the story.  Some themes that are common are love, friendship, family values, morals, death, sacrifice.

Okay, so I had this dream a couple of weeks ago, about this hallway, that spirits channelled down, sort of like a grand central station.  But they stopped to tell tales of their lives or to provide lessons they had learnt and wanted to pass on.  The more I thought about the idea, the more it grew on me, and a novel has just about sprang out of it.  So, I have a title – Life Lessons from the Dead and the overall story is about Sarah Wilkinson (an old family name that just seemed to lend itself to this story) who is grieving for her mother who was killed by a drunk driver.  So the overall theme of the story will be about forgiveness.

The brief of the story is this:  Sarah has to move into the house, and finds a book – the book of truths which is blank, but each time she meets a spirit person and listens to their tale, she finds a new truth added to her book.  I have a list of 8 subthemes which will be the basis of eight characters that visit with her, although no doubt I will think of more.   To give you an idea, of the truths she learns, love is everchanging, have something to believe in… these are simple things that people should live their lives by.

I am quite excited about this whole concept, as each story will be a complete short story on their own, but will be linked together by Sarah’s own battle to accept her mothers death and to learn forgiveness.

This weeks story will be setting up the tragedy and meeting Sarah Wilkinson, and to make this story different, I think I will try writing it in first person and see what happens.

And of Course, who could forget the words for the week – I wish I could!

vernacular ver-NAK-yuh-ler, noun:

1. The plain variety of language in everyday use.
2. The language or vocabulary peculiar to a class or profession.
3. The native speech or language of a place.
4. Any medium or mode of expression that reflects popular taste or indigenous styles.

1. (of language) Native or indigenous.
2. Using the native language of a place.
3. Using plain, everyday language.

quintessential kwin-te-SEN-shel, adjective:

Being the most typical manifestation of a quality or a thing

festoon fe-STOON, verb:

1. To adorn with hanging chains or strands of any material.
2. Dentistry. To reproduce natural gum patterns around the teeth or a denture.

1. A string or chain of flowers, foliage, ribbon, etc., suspended in a curve between two points.
2. A decorative representation of this, as in architectural work or on pottery.
3. A fabric suspended, draped, and bound at intervals to form graceful loops or scalloped folds.
4. Dentistry. The garlandlike area of the gums surrounding the necks of the teeth.

indemnity in-DEM-ni-tee, noun:

1. Protection or security against damage or loss.
2. Compensation for damage or loss sustained.
3. Something paid by way of such compensation.
4. Legal exemption from penalties attaching to unconstitutional or illegal actions, granted to public officers and other persons.

oscitant OS-i-tuhnt, adjective:

1. Yawning, as with drowsiness; gaping.
2. Drowsy or inattentive.
3. Dull, lazy, or negligent.

hegira he-JAY-ruh, noun:

1. A journey to a more desirable or congenial place.
2. The flight of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina to escape persecution a.d. 622: regarded as the beginning of the Muslim Era.

amok uh-MUHK, adjective:

1. In or into a jumbled or confused state.
2. In or into an uncontrolled state or a state of extreme activity.
3. In a frenzy to do violence or kill.

1. A psychic disturbance characterized by depression followed by a manic urge to murder.

One of them I use for work anyway (indemnity), and there are a few there that I know, so perhaps it won’t be too hard this week… yeah right!

Creativity Workshop – Themes
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6 thoughts on “Creativity Workshop – Themes

    • June 22, 2010 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks Merilee, I have started on it, but only limiting myself to a few hundred words a day, just until Medusa is finished, then I can rip into it!

  • June 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    What a wonderful idea! So much fun to write; almost endless possibilities!! Mouth-watering, actually!

    Great words too 🙂

    • June 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm

      I am totally in love with the concept – not only does it tell a story but provides some self help as well!

  • June 23, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Wow! I can see why you’d want to forget some of those vocab words this week. Ocitant? Really? Although “amok” inspires lots of ideas in me. 😉

    Good luck with the new novel. Sounds like it’ll be a fun challenge!

    • June 23, 2010 at 9:17 am

      I can’t believe how quickly it came to mind Meredith, and I have been sitting on it for about 10 days before writing about it, formulating it. I am looking forward to seeing how it eventuates.


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