I recently read through the first full draft of my current WIP and found something that really surprised me. Aspects of the theme and concept mirrored my book Phantom Harvest. Both main characters from the WIP and PH had parents who either abandoned them or were a total nightmare. Both characters were fostered by a strong male who took up the role of parent to the character. This wasn’t intentional. When I write a novel, no amount of plotting and outlining will pre-determine the Theme for me. It’s not until I do that first read through of the finished draft that I “get” the theme of the book.
Leaning back and scratching my head, I thought about the epic dark fantasy I’m writing as well. Same thing. Hmm. I’m not a father. I’m not a son. I wasn’t raised by rabid wolves on the Western Slope. My childhood was actually pretty normal, so why do I keep writing about that Father/ Mentor/ Son relationship? Simple. I enjoy exploring the motives and nuances behind these relationships.
Is writing in patterns a bad thing? I don’t think so. One of my favorite authors writes a successful Urban Fantasy series about two brothers who are absolutely loyal to each other. She wrote a second series of books with a similar theme. I loved them both and bawl like a blubbering baby every time I read them. Her passion for the theme and the characters keeps drawing me back.
Final Thought: Write the themes you feel passionate about and write them well.