"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Monday, April 25, 2011

Universal Themes or Concepts

The theme of a book is a universal idea or message stretching through an entire story. Sometimes it is a lesson we learn about life or people.
An author may employ multiple universal themes or concepts. If you have trouble understanding themes, you may find the below list useful. Consider the following ideas. See how many you recognize or use in your own writing.

1.   Abandonment
2.   Abuse
3.   Acceptance
4.   Adjustment
5.   Adolescence
6.   Adoption
7.   After life
8.   Alienation
9.   Ambition  
10.    Anger
11.    Anxiety
12.    Appearances
13.    Appreciation
14.    Beauty
15.    Belonging
16.    Betrayal
17.    Bondage
18.    Bravery
19.    Brotherhood
20.    Bullies
21.    Capitalism
22.    Caring
23.    Censorship
24.    Challenges
25.    Change
26.    Chaos and order
27.    Character
28.    Circle of life
29.    Coming of age
30.    Commitment
31.    Communication
32.    Community
33.    Companionship
34.    Convention
35.    Cooperation
36.    Coping
37.    Corruption
38.    Courage
39.    Cultural Diversity
40.    Customs
41.    Danger
42.    Darkness
43.    Dealing
44.    Death/Dying
45.    Denial
46.    Desire
47.    Destruction
48.    Determination
49.    Discrimination
50.    Disillusionment
51.    Displacement
52.    Diversity
53.    Doubt
54.    Dreams
55.    Effects
56.    Emigrants
57.    Emotions
58.    Empowerment
59.    Emptiness
60.    Escape
61.    Eternity
62.    Ethical Dilemmas
63.    Euthanasia
64.    Everlasting love
65.    Evils of racism
66.    Experience
67.    Facing reality
68.    Fading beauty
69.    Failure
70.    Faith
71.    Family
72.    Fate
73.    Fear
74.    Feelings
75.    Forgiveness
76.    Free Will
77.    Freedom
78.    Friendship
79.    Fulfillment
80.    Gender Issues
81.    Genealogy
82.    Getting Along
83.    Good versus Bad
84.    Gratitude
85.    Greed as downfall
86.    Grief
87.    Growing up
88.    Guilt
89.    Handicaps
90.    Hazards
91.    Heartbreak
92.    Heroism
93.    Hierarchy
94.    History
95.    Honesty
96.    Honor
97.    Hope
98.    Humor
99.    Hypocrisy
100.  Identity crisis
101.  Ignorance
102.  Illusions
103.  Immigrants
104.  Immortality
105.  Individuality
106.  Inevitability
107.  Initiation
108.  Injustice
109.  Innocence
110.  Intergenerational
111.  Interrogation
112.  Invincibility
113.  Isolation
114.  Jealousy
115.  Judgments
116.  Justice
117.  Knowledge
118.  Leadership
119.  Learning
120.  Light
121.  Living
122.  Loneliness
123.  Loss
124.  Love
125.  Loyalty
126.  Making Choices
127.  Manipulation
128.  Materialism
129.  Media
130.  Memories
131.  Morals
132.  Motherhood
133.  Nationalism
134.  Nature
135.  Necessity
136.  Oppression
137.  Optimism
138.  Overcoming
139.  Patriotism
140.  Peace
141.  Peer Pressure
142.  Poverty
143.  Power
144.  Pride
145.  Progress
146.  Quest
147.  Rebellion
148.  Rebirth
149.  Relationships
150.  Religion
151.  Reunion
152.  Roles
153.  Self-awareness
154.  Self-esteem
155.  Self-preservation
156.  Self-reliance
157.  Separation and loss
158.  Silence
159.  Social Change or mobility
160.  Strength
161.  Survival
162.  Taking a stand
163.  Teamwork
164.  Technology
165.  Temporary
166.  Temptation
167.  Totalitarianism
168.  Traditions
169.  Tragedy
170.  Trust
171.  Values
172.  Vanity
173.  Violence
174.  Virtue
175.  Vulnerability
176.  War
177.  Wealth
178.  Will
179.  Wisdom
180.  Youth

16 comments:

Debora said...

I always seem to come back to forgiveness, second chances and independence.

They are my go-to themes and work well for me to get inside my characters.

Some good ones on this list that I might have to explore, though. Thanks for the ideas and for stopping by my blog today! :)

Aimee Bea said...

Wow, that is quite the list! I definitely see some of my themes on it, belonging, corruption, cultural diversity, eternity, good versus bad, justice, and materialism.

Fa L'Americana said...

This list could be an AtoZ challenge all on its own! Did you make this list yourself? Very impressive is so.

Sylvia Ney said...

Yes, I made this list this morning after looking over a bunch of notes. I feel there are others to be added, but I figured it was long enough for now. It's nice to have a list like this when writer's block appears. Sometimes just looking over these ideas can trigger your creativity.

PK said...

What a fabulous list! Thanks for the comment on my blog. Glad to have found you. :)

Rachel said...

That is a fantastic list of themes!
Thank you so much for commenting on my post about Tigger.

Craig Edwards said...

Wow - fantastic post! I can definitely see how scanning through could knock the supports out of even a strong Writer's Block! Well composed! Cheers!

jabblog said...

This is a very helpful list. I have to guard against repeating themes in my writing and a tendency to nostalgia and sentimentality ;-)

Tea said...

Thank you for stopping by. I tweeted a part of your blog. Will follow.

Corey said...

Great list! I hope you don't mind, I linked this post to my blog entry on themes!

http://athursdayschild.wordpress.com said...

You took the challenge to a new level. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Renee Silvana said...

That's an incredible list. It's an awesome reference point! I agree with Fa, this could be its own A to Z!

Sarah McCabe said...

My current WIP explores dual themes of life/death and light/dark.

Zoanna said...

One I see often (but not on this list) is that of redemption. Thanks for posting this list, by the way.

Rena J. Traxel said...

This is perfect. Tomorrow I'm doing a post on universal themes and how to use it when writing poetry. I will have to link to this.

WordPress Themes Free Download said...

Wonderful list dear, I love to read this post. Thank you so much.
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