Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Accidental Theme

Untouched word count @46,600.

I'm going to write as much as I can tonight. I got a red bull, I'm all jazzed to write. It's gonna be great. With any luck I'll reach 50K. (A very lofty goal 3.4K words in an evening.) I might be able to do it. But I will be happy with any writing I get done.

I noticed an interesting possible theme in my WIP that I hadn't consciously decided to add as a theme. I'm at a point in my novel where Gwen and James begin their relationship. The obstacle here is that they cannot touch, Gwen's touch will kill James, hence a "normal" teen relationship is out of the question.

But I'm starting to feel like Untouched has a "chaste relationship" theme going on. Because, hey, G&J are falling in love, but they can't touch. At all. No hand holding, no kissing, no... you know. Which isn't what you'd expect from two hormone riddled eighteen year olds. And of course the paranoia kicks in, and my first thought is "Oh, no, is this going to sound all preachy and all abstinent-y?" (Sorry for the made up word there, but that's actually the word I thought in that moment.)

In addition to that, of course Gwen and James want to touch each other, but they can't give. Hence another theme of practicing will power to overcome temptation.

The concepts I mentioned just happen to be hardwired into the story- James and Gwen want to touch, but can't. So I am a little worried, but I don't think it's going to come off as preachy. I think the main themes will be much more obvious, but then again, I see so poorly when it comes to my one writing.

So I ask: What themes have you used/wanted to use in a story? Have any themes accidentally slipped into your writing and what did you do about it?



  1. I think if it is ingrained in your story, it won't come off as "preachy." If it was something that just popped up halfway through, completely unrelated to the story thread, then it might be preachy. But I think you're safe.

    My latest book doesn't have too many themes...it's more of a story-story, not a moral-story. Though I'm sure there's still something in it. Coming-of-age, making peace with your past, and all that jazz.

  2. I agree, if it's ingrained in your story, it won't come off as preachy.

    I don't know that I have themes in my novel... that's something to think about.

  3. Yep, I agree with the others that it won't sound preachy. I don't worry about themes. I like themes, but I just hope that they fall into place on their own and that readers will find them. Maybe that's not the best approach.

  4. I don't think it will come off as preachy. I mean, they have obstacles bigger than most teens (death), so it's not just a "don't do it" situation, it's a "do it and die" situation. I think your readers will see this and be fine with it.

  5. Themes are important. I need to do a post on this, I think, according to some answers above. Everyone should know the main theme of their story and pin it down or something is going to feel like it's missing.

    I do know that, like Davin, many just stumble upon their theme and it does fall into the place it needs to be. Great questions, Kat! Look for a post on themes sometime if somebody doesn't steal my idea and do it before me, hehe.

  6. Oooh, that is so interesting that you just stumbled upon this theme. It makes me think of some of the commentary I've read about Twilight (both the book and movie) about the whole abstinence theme being tied into her Mormon religious beliefs.

    I don't know if your story really does have an abstinence theme though, because if they physically are unable to touch that isn't about making a tough choice to not do something you want to do, but being physically unable to do it. So maybe the theme is more about longing for something you can never have?

    I usually think about my themes while putting together an outline, and it's usually tied in somehow to my character's main arc, so I usually try to stay aware of them and use them to my advantage.