When I’m working on a story, there is usually some background idea I’m investigating; what some might call a theme, although I don’t entirely understand that word. In practice, it means that at some point in the process–usually pretty early–I discover that I’m using the story as a means to work out or explore some problem that I don’t understand but find interesting. Whether anyone else ever figures out my subject is beside the point: it makes the process more fun.
So, here’s the thing: from time to time, I hear references from other writers about “introducing” a theme or some over-riding subject, and I hear it spoken of as if it were a separate process from the creation of the story. That’s what mystifies me. How can you, on the one hand, create a story, and on the other play with broader ideas, as if they were independent of each other? Isn’t the whole flow and working out of the story an expression of whatever theme is being explored?
I’m not expecting an answer to this. It’s just a thing that has been on my mind for a number of years and I just figured out how to say it.