Writing Exercise: Writing to Theme 0 Comments

Writing Exercise: Writing to Theme

Fresh out of ideas? Never fear! Plenty of publications suggest a theme to write to, giving you some great material to get your creative juices flowing.


When publications give you a theme to write to, most often it’s just intended as a starting point. The theme provides a thread to connect all the published works together but the intention is usually not to collect a bunch of works that are all about the same thing. Remember, repeating the theme without adding to it, questioning it or expanding upon it does not make for an interesting read.


Sometimes the best thing to do is take a theme and run as far as you can with it. Maybe there’s a genre mash-up (Horror/Romance?) or form (Sci-Fi poetry?) you’ve been dying to try out, and having a theme to work to will be just the right thing to rein you in. Or perhaps writing to theme allows you to run with your imagination and avoid censoring yourself, as you’re experimenting with suggestions from someone else.


Take the next Voiceworks theme ‘Nourish’ as an example. There is a passage on the submission page to give you some food for thought, but for now let’s just stick with the word. Nourish.


What feeling or texture does this word remind you of? Does it bring to mind a phrase, or a type of person? Does it make you hungry?


For some reason it makes me think of cosmetics (face cream and conditioner to nourish your dead skin cells) and zombies…maybe there’s a way I can fit those two together in a short story. It also makes me think about food, and how much I miss eating stone fruit in winter – perhaps there’s a poem in that. The possibilities are endless!


Voiceworks submissions for Spring issue #94 ‘Nourish’ close Sunday 16 June, details are here.

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