What the hell is theme?

Hey guys, just a quick one this week, more or less a random thought. I want to touch on a subject at times glossed over when writers talk about a novel or story they're working on. The topic today is- theme.

Ahh yes, theme. It's the, how would you put it? The very, well, I would compare it to... Yeah. Theme is either there or it isn't in a story. At times I think writers have a theme without knowing it in certain pieces of work. I know Stephen King has said The Tommyknockers was his alliteration of addiction. I'm not sure if he meant to do it or not, but I'll wager somewhere down deep that message was trying to get out.

Because that's all theme really is folks, a message.

Deep, buried beneath the story, plot, and characters, there's a message. For example my novel Lineage (I'm not going to link the title of my book to the Amazon page when I'm just referring to it as an example since I hate when people do that on their blogs) was basically about coming to terms with one's past so as to move on to the future.

Pretty simple, huh?

I have found novels and stories without theme before and they can be entertaining but most times they're not. Personally I think people are looking to walk away from a story holding something inside. A story should touch the reader in some way. It should have meaning, pathos, something that the reader relates to and can sit back in their recliner and say, "Yeah, I get that. Hmmm. I'm gonna think on that a little. Now where's my beer?"

Ok, maybe not the last part, but you know what I mean. Theme flows throughout the story and comes from the character's pores, the plot's twists and turns, the resolution whether good or bad.

So the next time you're reading something see if you can glean what the author's really getting at by writing those hundred thousand words or so. Because it's in there, and if it isn't, it should be. :)