Today, I want to talk about writing thematically.
This is another important thing you can incorporate in your manuscript that will help you in several ways. First, many works are categorized thematically. There are stories classified as coming of age tales. There are works focused on conflicts. Others may focus on dangerous philosophies or political schools of thought that are emerging.
Being able to readily identify themes in your work is something that many readers will connect to. It's also something that can add depth to your material.
More importantly, it can give you something specific to talk about when it comes time to promote your latest release.
Now, I love a great story. I love great characters. The greatest joy in a read is discovering a new character that I want to spend time with who has an intriguing story to tell, like Dana and Jana in Terror is our Business: Dana Roberts' Casebook of Horrors.
Lately, however, I've also been taking note of some of the themes that have been prevalent in works I've been reading. Terror is about more than the supernatural. It's also about understanding our beliefs, confronting our disbeliefs, and restoration.
Freeze-Frame Revolution is a great commentary on the dangers of technology. The author can talk about the environment and how we're destroying the earth and what that's going to mean for generations to come. He can also talk about how technology may - or may not - save us.
Right there I've mentioned two books that are entertaining as hell that have some solid themes the authors can talk about. I mean, you don't want to give away the plot in an interview; you just want to tease it. So when you have themes in mind you have other things you can talk about that can pique the interest of potential readers without giving away the elements of your story that will keep them turning the pages.
Another example of a recent read, for me, is The Oddling Prince. Where do I begin with the themes? It's a coming-of-age story. It's about loss. It's about forgiveness. It's about evil and restoration and love and so much more. All jammed into this delightful quest story that turns the quest construct on its head.
When I wrote The Spying Moon I thought about themes. Loneliness. Exclusion. The things that keep us from fitting in, from our goals, from doing our job, from being happy. What I hoped was that incorporating these themes would add depth to my protagonist and it was nice to see these two specific hopes I had reflected in a blurb I received:
"With a keen eye for Canadian detail, Ruttan crafts a grim thriller with a unique social conscience. We need more stories like this one. Kendall Moreau is a Mountie you won’t soon forget.”
- Sarah L Johnson, bestselling author of Infractus and Suicide Stitch: Eleven Stories
Remember that people want to be entertained and they also want to find characters that they either idolize or relate to in some way. Identifying the themes and talking about those aspects of your work is a way of widening the appeal for potential readers who are hearing about your new novel.