Yes, I know it’s late. I had computer problems. As in, my laptop turned into a brick, but everything is fine now, so moving on . . . HWSWA on Theme and Unity is up now.

Next week is rewriting, then working with an editor, and then just a general ramble about being a writer. Good to know we have a plan, isn’t it? Now if we could just FOLLOW it.

11 thoughts on “HWSWA Theme

  1. Another interesting discussion, even if you do keep agreeing. Although I find that interesting in itself that there are key areas where you’ve both shifted your process or your thinking and that there’s more overlap now in what you both think works.

    I’ve just recently found out that the names I gave my main characters twenty years ago, because that’s what they told me their names were and I didn’t dare argue with them, are far more apt than I had realised. I would say it’s my subconscious at work, but I’m not that fluent in Japanese.

    And theme – argh! I know it, I’m just struggling to articulate it. And it ain’t what I started with, that’s for sure.

    Thanks to you and Bob for lots to think about.

  2. Theme still drives me crazy. Your explanations are clear and understandable but I cannot see it in a story. If someone points it out to me, then I can see it, but on my own… Nope. So frustrating.

    1. I never go looking for theme in a story. I think sometimes I read or reread because of theme, but that’s subconscious. Like, when I think about it, I love Murderbot and Martha Wells’ other books because they’re about belonging, but that wasn’t what I thought about while reading them. It’s just something that made me feel comfortable while reading them.

      And to other people, Murderbot may be about freedom, or prejudice, or non-traditional relationships, or corporates taking over the world, or the validity of watching soap operas as a lifestyle choice. I’ve no idea which of those themes Martha had in mind while writing – and that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that I feel comfortable with the themes and values in the stories, so reading them makes me feel good.

      1. I love that the narrator, Kevin R Free, views the Murderbot stories as essentially stories about coming of age for Murderbot. I can totally see it in retrospect, but like you, I don’t see themes unless someone else points them out.

  3. I don’t know — sounds more to me like two people who actually listened to one another’s arguments many years ago, even though they refused to buy them back in the day. And slowly the growth of ideas happened to the point where each person has wider boundaries and habits than they used to have. I enjoyed reading that!

  4. I always think theme jumps out at me when I finish something and think “what was the point?” Not that I notice theme when it’s executed well, I just notice the lack of it when it’s done poorly/skipped.

    My husband and I watched “Hail, Caesar” the other day and we both liked it although we agreed it was missing something and I think it was theme.

    My husband thought the movie was trying to make a statement about communism, Christianity and the idea of the “New Man.” I think if that was the theme, the Coen brothers didn’t do a very good job of conveying that. I definitely got the feeling they were skeptical/cynical about Christianity and communism, which is fair enough. But I don’t think they conveyed anything about it in a way that elevated it to the main theme of the story. Most of the characters in those plotlines were passive and/or static, so that makes them poor vehicles for carrying a theme.

    I *think* the theme of the movie was that entertainment for entertainment’s sake is enough. In other words, movies are important b/c they bring people joy. Fair enough.
    The de facto main character seemed to make a choice in the end that affirmed that theme. But the side plots and side characters that kind of detracted and maybe even contradicted the main theme.

    Anyways, I’m sure the Coen brothers had a theme, I just don’t think they got it across successfully. I’m sure others could argue that point, but ya know, while my husband and I aren’t film critics, we do both have bachelors’ degrees in English and we enjoy picking apart stories for fun (books, movies, TV shows, you name it), so if we’re both not getting it, it’s probably saying something.

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