Many of us have taken lit classes in high school and in college. Find the Theme is a game the instructors like to play. When they come to a conclusion, are they right or is theme something else? Last week I heard Debra Dixon speak on Voice and one of those ding ding moments occurred to me. Authors are always striving to find their voice as a writer. Voice is part of who you are. So is theme and I realized theme is part of voice.
Themes are often written in cliches and that's because they're universal. They can be a single word like love, hate, revenge, obsession. I'm not sure when I write I deliberately choose a theme, except once. Yet there are themes in many of my books. Good wins in the end. Love finds a way. Always dark before the dawn.
But while listening to what Debra said about a Writer's Voice and that moment I realized there were some perhaps not themes but symbols in my writing that were part of my voice as well as part of the themes in my books. I often use caves or other dark places in various ways. They can mean fear, despair or beauty. Jewels are another of the things I use and these jewels are used in different ways. I'll probably be spending a lot of time deciding what these underlying symbols mean to me as a writer and what do the themes have to do with my voice. Debra, thanks for giving me another way to look at what I do.
How about you? Are there themes and symbols that are found in most of the things you write? Do these themes and symbols impact your Voice as a writer.