When we write, we all want to accomplish something. But when we write, is what we want to accomplish actually worthwhile?
Every single book throughout the history of mankind contains some kind of message. And as writers, I’m sure all of you have struggled with deciding what kind of message and what kind of “theme” you want to portray for your readers.
There are three categories of messages:
- The Dark, Depressed
- The Light, Happiness
- The Religious, Redemptive
First, the Dark, the Depressed message. These kind of themes focus on one central idea: Man is depraved, there is no hope in life, and no matter how much you try, you will die.
(cheery, right?) These books focus on bringing awareness about what’s actually wrong with the world, and what would happen if certain rules and laws from society were taken away. The Lord of The Flies is an excellent example of this kind of message: Boys are left on an island with no rules, and eventually all of them, except for one, turn savage and kill each other. (No rules, man will turn corrupt? Dark theme.)
Second, the Light, the Happiness message. These books are fun to read and encompass most of the literature market of today, especially for kids. Themes like these focus on friendship, love, and everything-turns-out-okay-in-the-end kinda thing. Although this kind of message is unrealistic and real life is not like that at all, every human wants to envision the world as a puffy marshmallow, and if you believe you can have your dreams come true… These type of books inspire a fluffy, happy feeling inside and are perfect for wanting to inspire peaceful thoughts.
Third, the Religious, the Redemptive theme. Most of these themes are serious and take on an intellectual approach, mirroring the theological genre, but staying away from the depth and devotion needed to actually finish one of those books. These messages focus on religious beliefs, Heaven and Hell, and whether there is a God watching over the main character. Now, when I say religious beliefs, I’m talking about the whole spectrum of beliefs, not just about one religious system. Of course, these books are not solely meant for theological or intellectual readers. Most of the time, the message is disguised in an action book and brought out in the end with a redemptive twist, wrapping up the book and leaving the reader feeling hopeful and encouraged.
(Might I briefly mention that the Dark, the Depressed message also can carry a religious theme? Many times that is the main focus, depending on the author.)
So, what kind of message are you looking for? One that will inspire thought, happiness, or hope?
Whichever one you pick, make sure that it will bring some good into the world and do something for your readers that will benefit them in a way that reflects what you believe to be important in life.
Don’t try to blow off the idea of a theme in your book. No matter what you tell yourself, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself otherwise, what you believe or what you are thinking of that moment will bring itself out in your book.
You will end up with a theme even if you don’t want one.
Choose carefully and wisely so you don’t end up with a theme that contradicts what you want your readers to understand, and one that contradicts what you, yourself, want to be impressed within the pages.