Week of August 21—Strategies for Finding Ideas for Writing
Friday, August 25--Using Themes to Inspire Ideas
A week or so ago, some of my writing friends and I were discussing themes in fiction. I didn’t have much to discuss actually because I’m not all that familiar with themes (must have slept through that in high school English) and I don’t think in terms of "theme" when I write.
However, as I researched themes a bit, I discovered that my stories certainly do have themes—large, universal truths—running through them. So let me share a couple of sites I discovered where you can learn more about themes for yourself. Themes might just be the thing to help you develop some new story ideas.
One site I found (http://www.life123.com/parenting/education/children-reading/12-most-common-themes-in-literature.shtmlt) listed the 12 most common themes in literature. I can easily slot most picture books into one of those theme categories. And perhaps those themes could serve as inspiration for a story. You might say, “I really want to write about how all kids are the same and have the same needs,” and then you would find the story idea that would help you express that theme. Those themes include:
· Man Struggles Against Nature
· Man Struggles Against Societal Pressure
· Man Struggles to Understand Divinity
· Crime Does Not Pay
· Overcoming Adversity
· Friendship is Dependent on Sacrifice
· The Importance of Family
· Yin and Yang: Just when you think life is finally going to be easy, something bad happens to balance it all out
· Love is the Worthiest of Pursuits
· Death is Part of the Life Cycle
· Sacrifices Bring Reward
· Human Beings All Have the Same Needs
Some are pretty heavy, huh?! But I can easily slot most picture books into those theme categories. And perhaps one of those themes could serve as inspiration for a story. You might say, “I really want to write about how all kids are the same and have the same needs,” and then you would find the story idea that would help you express that theme.
Now if you really want to explore themes, check out http://homeworktips.about.com/od/writingabookreport/a/themelist.htm and you’ll discover a list of 101 common book themes.
If you're looking for new inspiration for story ideas, give themes a whirl!