Most novels have an easily understood point to make to the reader, do your stories ever have more subtle or intuitive themes?
This month’s topic is something of a tricky question. Writers, especially newbie writers, quite frequently worry how much of themselves they are revealing in their writing. It therefore follows that to write subtle or intuitive themes would suggest the author has those qualities and is writing from their own point of view or at the very least understands them in order to introduce them in their writing.
Looking at all my stories, the heart of them concerns love, loyalty, and fidelity between my characters whether they are already married, as with Lord and Lady Buxton in The Buxton Chronicles, or become married which is the theme of all my Regency stories, Brides of Banff Springs and even my contemporary western romance, Loving That Cowboy.
During the Regency era in which I set most of my novels, women were not only expected to get married, but expected it of themselves with few exceptions, Jane Austen being one of them. Aristocratic families married not so much for love as economics. How does one enlarge one’s estate and holdings? Marry the heir or heiress next door. While that might sound cold it was just the way of things amongst the upper class. Once an heir arrived to complete the happy or not union, the lord was free to take a mistress (if he ever gave one up) and his lady, discreetly of course, took lovers while everyone turned a blind eye to their extra-marital shenanigans. Or, as in the case of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire who, later in her marriage to the emotionally distant Duke, was forced to accept his mistress Lady Elizabeth Foster into a ménage à trois which delighted the gossip-mongers of the day.
While love and marriage is not so much a subtle theme, it is nonetheless at the heart of most romances. The ‘aha’ moment of when the characters finally admit they have fallen in love is what romance readers look forward. If the characters are not married by the end of the book then you darn well know that a wedding will take place soon after. It’s the Happy Ever After that seals the romantic deal.
Subtlety is the art of making use of clever or indirect methods to achieve something while intuition is the ability of immediate understanding. If all our characters or story themes were based on intuition, would we ever have a story? A subtle approach offers much more scope for both characters and plot, and hopefully a happy ever after result for the reader.
I wonder what my fellow bloggers have to say on the subject? Hop on over to their blogs to find out.
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-22c
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com
"Looking at all my stories, the heart of them concerns love, loyalty, and fidelity between my characters"ReplyDelete
I think of a theme as a set of values. This is certainly a good set to have.
Thanks for the comment, Bob. Yes, I find myself more drawn to those values than anything else.Delete
The HEA expectation of a romance fits dictate some of the theme but you're right that it's the conflict they must overcome to get that happy ever after that comes through with a theme.ReplyDelete
I like to think of a story as a piece of string. It would be boring if it were straight, but tie a few knots in it and that changes the picture entirely.Delete
Hi Victoria, Newbie writers do worry about whether people will think they're writing from life - and to an extent we must be. Of course, everything is then put through the fiction mill and that's one way of stirring in subtlety. AnneReplyDelete
The more experience you gain as a writer by reading and writing as much as you can, opens up all sorts of characterization. I like watching YouTube for anything on psychology which helps me make my characters interesting and mostly not at all like me.Delete
I also believe a theme is a set of values. The era and setting, as well as the genre, determine where the confines of the story must dwell.ReplyDelete
I would add redemption to love, loyalty and fidelity. As a newbie writer I never thought about how much of my self I revealed until much later, but the story I worked on is long gone and never published, perhaps lost in some computer glitch. Looking back, though, I can remember how much of me there was in that story.ReplyDelete
Would you write that story again from a different perspective now you are a more experienced writer?Delete
The funny thing is the story I put the most of myself in, was blasted by a reviewer who said she just couldn't enjoy the story because she disliked the heroine so much. Wow. I've never sent any books to that reviewer since! Yes, we put part of ourselves into the stories, but not actual events or people we know--well, most of us don't. But the things we value, like you said, love, loyalty and fidelity? Those are themes that most of us can agree on.ReplyDelete
I have been know to tell people that if they don't shape up I'll put them in one of my books!ReplyDelete
I love your themes of love, loyalty and fidelity, Victoria. One of the reasons I love romance novels so much is that the themes are often so uplifting. I've enjoyed this month's topic and seeing everyone's different take on it.ReplyDelete
So many people still knock romance, but I love it for the hope it offers. Thanks for dropping in!Delete