I’ve just found an interesting post on Mechanical Hamster about theme (Link), and it’s gotten me thinking about not only thematic elements, but reoccurring symbols, objects, and all the little touches that you can use in a narrative to really make a piece mean something.
I think that as much as possible, elements should repeat themselves in narrative. A place with one noteworthy scene is a very good candidate for the end climax, because the audience already has a sense of familiarity. If two characters have a similar trait, or a similar handwriting, make connections. A conversation where one party is being unreasonable and winning by brute strength can be a great set up for a similar conversation where the other party has gained the upper hand: re-use some of the dialog, even, and give it an ironic twist. It doesn’t matter if these things ‘represent something’. The repetitive nature can do that for you. You shape the audience’s perspective and interpretations with your world by building it, and that’s not just background.
After reading that article on themes, I spent a few minutes thinking if my book had a theme. When I wrote it the first time, I had a goal and a feeling for what I wanted, but no laid out ‘theme’. And on consideration, I realized what Blue Crystal’s theme is.
What’s worth dying for?
… That’s it. That’s what everyone… everyone in my book is pursuing in some fashion. The spoiled king pining over his dead sister, the ambitious nobleman swaying and manipulating his peers for more power, Tyobe and his fervor to find a way to protect the sick commoners, Lady Wyrren penning booklets on an ideal government, Rylan fighting to protect her.
Perhaps now that I realize that I can better emphasize it.