Thursday, July 21, 2011

Themes


By Susan G. Haws
As an avid Harry Potter fan I recently enjoyed the movie Deathly Hallows Part 2. (Two times. I loved Bonnie’s farewell to HP blog.) A friend of mine also went with me to one of the showings.  Following the movie we discussed how the actions of the characters illustrated themes from the series such as: good triumphing over evil, power should be earned by valor and used for good and then relinquished, love and self sacrifice are two of the most powerful magics in the world, people in leadership positions should serve the people they lead, to name a few.

This conversation made me remember one I had a few weeks ago with a young man who I learned is also an aspiring writer. He stated that he wanted to teach people how to live through his writing. I responded that I like to read for entertainment and no one likes to be hit over the head with another person’s morals.

In my opinion the first job of fiction writers is to entertain. A good story must have characters that encounter conflict. How those characters behave and how they deal with their challenges can illustrate themes and good and bad choices. I believe authors reach a broader audience that embraces the themes of their writing  when the author concentrates on providing an interesting and entertaining story.

3 comments:

  1. That's huge for me. I think the reason Larry Crowne bombed is the material. The acting was superb but let's face it RL is NOT entertainment.

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  2. I totally agree! If themes and morals are just part of a wonderful story, as in Harry Potter, the author doesn't have to write to make a point or teach a moral--readers figure it out on their own, while being entertained.

    This is why I haven't delved too deeply into any kind of theme I'd want to teach in my stories. I consider myself an escapist fantasy author above anything else. Sure, my characters have morals and beliefs, but they'll show those on their own by just behaving as they do throughout the story. My job is to try to tell the best story I can, and not to lecture.

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  3. You both said it much better than I. I was trying to tell that young man that and I don't think I expressed it well.

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