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THEME What you share with the world T.M. Eaton, 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "THEME What you share with the world T.M. Eaton, 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 THEME What you share with the world T.M. Eaton, 2004

2 THEME as THREAD THEME is one of the most abused words in the literary dictionary. THEME is one of the most abused words in the literary dictionary. Theme should be prevalent throughout your work but only given in pieces Theme should be prevalent throughout your work but only given in pieces The reader should have to work for the theme – the reader decides what your work means The reader should have to work for the theme – the reader decides what your work means Consider the THEME as that which you most want to share with the world. You can be broad in this area. Consider the THEME as that which you most want to share with the world. You can be broad in this area.

3 THEME as THREAD, Part II THEME is often confused with GENRE. They are not the same. The THEME of your work should convey and serve several aspects of your work. THEME is often confused with GENRE. They are not the same. The THEME of your work should convey and serve several aspects of your work. THEME is not a work itself (like a theme paper) In this case THEME works as a subtle influence flavoring all aspects of your work. THEME is not a work itself (like a theme paper) In this case THEME works as a subtle influence flavoring all aspects of your work. Therefore, THEME is the thread that “sews” your work together. Therefore, THEME is the thread that “sews” your work together.

4 COMMON THEMES Vengeance Vengeance Love Love Regret Regret Victory Victory Interaction Interaction Coping Coping Celebrating Celebrating Renewing Renewing

5 THEMES & CHARACTERS When trying to make a point with a THEME, the placement (spatiality) of characters will convey your THEME. If you are writing about painful things (Vengeance, Coping, Regret) then your characters will convey this through their distance in the setting – These themes denote emotional distress and therefore, your characters are not likely to be physically close to each other. Dialogue can help in this as well. When trying to make a point with a THEME, the placement (spatiality) of characters will convey your THEME. If you are writing about painful things (Vengeance, Coping, Regret) then your characters will convey this through their distance in the setting – These themes denote emotional distress and therefore, your characters are not likely to be physically close to each other. Dialogue can help in this as well.

6 THEME & SETTING THEME influences setting in both spatiality and proxemics of landscape. If your theme relates to positive THEME influence: (Love, Renewal, Celebration) then your setting will be pastoral, comfortable and safe, conveying healing. If your THEME deals with the negative themes (Vengeance, Regret, tense interaction then your setting will be cluttered with obstacles, dark or shadowy) THEME influences setting in both spatiality and proxemics of landscape. If your theme relates to positive THEME influence: (Love, Renewal, Celebration) then your setting will be pastoral, comfortable and safe, conveying healing. If your THEME deals with the negative themes (Vengeance, Regret, tense interaction then your setting will be cluttered with obstacles, dark or shadowy)

7 THEME & CONFLICT The type of conflict you have must match your theme type although some blending of these can take place. The type of conflict you have must match your theme type although some blending of these can take place. The key difference is purpose and results. The key difference is purpose and results. If your theme is positive (Love, Celebration, renewal, (reconnected) interaction then the conflict may be minor. No need for an earth-shattering experience. It can be as simple as a misunderstanding or communicating in dialogue through a linear experience. If your theme is positive (Love, Celebration, renewal, (reconnected) interaction then the conflict may be minor. No need for an earth-shattering experience. It can be as simple as a misunderstanding or communicating in dialogue through a linear experience.

8 THEME and Conflict, Part II If the THEME is negative (Vengeance, Coping, or regret), then the conflict must be more traumatic, even life-threatening. To ward off vengeance, or come to terms (coping) or getting around a past experience the conflict must be strong enough to: If the THEME is negative (Vengeance, Coping, or regret), then the conflict must be more traumatic, even life-threatening. To ward off vengeance, or come to terms (coping) or getting around a past experience the conflict must be strong enough to: convince the reader that change has taken place. convince the reader that change has taken place. The conflict must make vengeance worthwhile. The conflict must make vengeance worthwhile. Coping skills must be tested. Coping skills must be tested. Some payment must be exacted for past experience. Otherwise your audience will not buy into the story. Some payment must be exacted for past experience. Otherwise your audience will not buy into the story.

9 THEME & PACE ATHEME that demands learning by an individual must move SLOWLY throughout the work. People don’t learn “suddenly” – Don’t expect a reader to believe that your reader is suddenly knowledgeable. Even an epiphany demands slow treatment as the character learns his or her way. ATHEME that demands learning by an individual must move SLOWLY throughout the work. People don’t learn “suddenly” – Don’t expect a reader to believe that your reader is suddenly knowledgeable. Even an epiphany demands slow treatment as the character learns his or her way.

10 THEME & Pace, Part 11 A THEME in which the characters are supposed to survive is generally quick. Such themes as man versus nature or man versus society are examples of quick pacing where the character outsmarts or outfights his or her opponents. In this case the writer is trying to present a theme of the hardiness of human nature without trying to particularly “learn” anything. A THEME in which the characters are supposed to survive is generally quick. Such themes as man versus nature or man versus society are examples of quick pacing where the character outsmarts or outfights his or her opponents. In this case the writer is trying to present a theme of the hardiness of human nature without trying to particularly “learn” anything.

11 THEME Conclusion (part 1) Theme is the thread which holds your story together. Theme is the thread which holds your story together. Theme and genre are two different elements. The mistake is to often assume that theme is a type of story. It isn’t Theme and genre are two different elements. The mistake is to often assume that theme is a type of story. It isn’t To blurt out the theme is to preach (author’s intrusion). To keep it too veiled means the reader doesn’t know what message about life you were trying to deliver. (obscurity) To blurt out the theme is to preach (author’s intrusion). To keep it too veiled means the reader doesn’t know what message about life you were trying to deliver. (obscurity)

12 THEME conclusion, part 2 THEME works primarily through characters and their placement (proxemics). THEME works primarily through characters and their placement (proxemics). Tthrough setting (designing physical landscape) to convey theme Tthrough setting (designing physical landscape) to convey theme Through conflict as the severity of the conflict must be in line with the theme. Too severe of a conflict and your work will be perceived as too dramatic. Too weak and your work won’t be believable. Through conflict as the severity of the conflict must be in line with the theme. Too severe of a conflict and your work will be perceived as too dramatic. Too weak and your work won’t be believable.

13 THEMECONCLUSION: PART II Theme can be divided into at least 10 common theme families. Theme can be divided into at least 10 common theme families. These common families can then be broken up into negative and positive theme experiences. These common families can then be broken up into negative and positive theme experiences. The pace (how quick or slowly your work moves) should be determined by the theme you are trying to convey. Themes where growth is required move slowly. Themes where hardiness or competition are the focus move quickly. The pace (how quick or slowly your work moves) should be determined by the theme you are trying to convey. Themes where growth is required move slowly. Themes where hardiness or competition are the focus move quickly.


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