A work of fiction is created in the imagination of its author. The author invents the story and makes up the characters, the plot or storyline, the dialogue and sometimes even the setting. A fictional work does not claim to tell a true story. Instead, it immerses us in experiences that we may never have in real life, introduces us to types of people we may never otherwise meet and takes us to places we may never visit in any other way. Fiction can inspire us, intrigue us, scare us and engage us in new ideas.
Maxwell Soltzer, the lone survivor of the House of Soltzer, awoke slowly from a deep sleep. His mind and vision were
foggy, and it was difficult for his conscience to grasp exactly what was going on.
“Welcome Maxwell Soltzer, the lone
survivor of the House of Soltzer, we have
been waiting for you” the voice rumbles, seemingly from the walls. What was
going on? Where was he? Maxwell thought,
the panic rising up inside him despite
his best efforts to control himself.
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As his mind cleared there was no
longer any confusion as to who he was or where he was; he was filled with a clarity of mind, body, and
soul. He knew of his purpose now; he had been
transported through what felt like a tunnel of time, he had watched
every detail of his life, every scene replayed and stored in his mind.
He knew now how he had ended up
in that cave, and he knew what he had to
do! He was the lone survivor of the House of Soltzer,
and he would make them all pay dearly for
the pain that they had inflicted on him and his family.
The kingdoms of Lotheria and Sian
stood on the threshold of the city. Battle was only moments away, but the young
king had done everything possible to prepare his kingdom and his people for the
terrifying battle which loomed ahead.
Would the sole survivor of the House of Soltzer be able to rally his people and survive the upcoming battle? Or would this be the end of his line forever? Only time will tell!
Greg Lassiter is a rising politician with a broken heart and no time for love. Samantha is a new employee who harbors a secret desire for Greg, yet struggles to reconcile her negative attitudes about men. Lucien is a political rival political looking to settle an old score. During election night Greg and Samantha’s lives change forever when they realize their love for one another. But when a scandal threatens to derail Greg’s career, he takes matters into his own hands, risking his career and his one chance for happiness. But Lucien is a powerful rival who is not about to go away quietly. Can Greg and Samantha’s love survive amid such political turmoil?
During a romantic stroll, Greg and Samantha discover a love and passion they have never known before. But Greg still harbors doubts about love from his previous experience with Cecily. He fears Samantha will turn on him just like her. After a night of passionate lovemaking, Samantha asks him to move in and Greg finally finds the strength to move on from his past experience. Can the rising politician finally learn that love, unlike groceries, cannot wait?
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Romance can be a tricky genre, because it features a lot of double-edged themes. When handled correctly, such themes can create great stories, but when handled poorly, they can lead to poorly written clichés.
If you’re writing a romance novel for the first time, it’s important to be aware of all the major romance writing tropes, so that you can use them correctly. Here are four examples to help you get started.
Youthful love is more than just about youth and romance. It’s also about innocence, recklessness and in certain cases, first heartaches. This theme usually focuses on the adventures of a bright, young boy looking for his princess, or a young girl looking for her prince charming. They are innocent about the ways of love, and their sense of romance is almost entirely made up by their imagination.
However, the theme of youthful love isn’t always cute or adorable. One of the most famous stories that feature youthful love is Romeo and Juliet, and we all know how that story ended. Other good examples. Whether the story ends in happiness or in tragedy, what’s important to remember about this theme is that it transforms the young characters from innocent and naive children into full-grown adults who understand the real nature of love, including its beauty and pitfalls.
This wounded heart theme is more oriented toward older audiences. It usually features characters who have had their hearts broken over and over again, making them cold and cynical in the process. A good example of this theme can be found throughout the classic film, Casa Blanca. Another good example is Fyodor Dostoevsky’s character Prince Myshkin, who became insane later in his story arc.
The wounded heart theme can also act as the background of a particular character. It can be a woman who had her heart broken by her boyfriend/husband or a man who had lost his girlfriend/wife due a tragic accident. Their past experiences will not only help drive the story’s narrative, they can also help set the tone for character interactions.
Tragic love is one of the most major romance themes. It focuses on characters who love each, but who are doomed to never be together either because of
destiny or a flaw in their character. A good example of the tragic love theme can be found in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where the titular character Buffy cannot be with her boyfriend because the latter is a vampire.
Another good example is the love story between Aeneas and Dido from Aeneid, where the former had to leave the latter, so that he could fulfill his destiny to found Rome.
The tragic love theme is the number one theme for people who like to write tragedy. It usually starts with the promise of something beautiful and magnificent romance, only to break that very same promise as the story progresses or when new characters are introduced.
This theme can also be used to create tension between other themes, such as destiny, honor or even family. It forces characters to choose between what their romantic feelings and their other obligations and desires.
The Great Struggle
The Great Struggle is a theme that requires characters to struggle to achieve their romantic aspirations. A good example of this theme can be found in the Great Gatsby, where Jay Gatsby amasses a large fortune just to get the attention of Daisy Buchanan.
What makes this theme so compelling is that it creates stories where the characters must struggle and fight to earn the affections of the person they love. It’s also the kind of theme that often love triangles and social barriers. In rarer cases, these themes may even require writers to challenge social taboos or amassing wealth. If the story is set in a fantasy world, it may even include dragons and monsters.
In any case, the great struggle is an excellent theme for writers who write stories about, well, romantic struggles. One word of caution, though, the great struggle must also create a lot of conflict. It’s not enough that a character fight to win the love of their beloved. He or she must pay a price or get hurt throughout the course of the story.
As an aspiring writer in the science fiction genre, you are presented with limitless possibilities. However, while there are so many themes that you could write on, there are some popular themes have repeatedly proven to be the most successful. Given that there are potentially hundreds of themes to choose from, I have compiled ten of the most popular science fiction themes found in modern science fiction.
End of Humanity
Sometimes referred to as post-apocalyptic or apocalyptic fiction, this genre is set in a world in which the technological civilization of the Planet Earth is collapsing either due to manmade or natural phenomenon such as depletion of resources or a nuclear holocaust, fictional happenings such as an alien invasion or zombie apocalypse, or an eschatological happening such as the Second Coming.
The desire to achieve immortality is a popular theme in science fiction. The major themes typically involve aspects of mind uploading where one uploads their consciousness into a computer or digital equivalent; Digital immortality where the person’s personality is uploaded on digital media including their thoughts and memories, which continue to live in perpetuity; and cryonics where a dead person is preserved until human technology develops to the point of bringing them back to life.
Alien invasion is one of the oldest themes that has been a favorite of science fiction fans. Alien invasion typically involves the visit of extraterrestrials to Earth usually in the form of an invasion that is intended to supplant or exterminate human life. This could take the form of stealing of resources, enslavement of the human population, or in some instances the destruction of the planet.
One of the most popular sub-genres particularly in literary science fiction. A parallel universe refers to a different world where an alternate reality that may or may not be a variant of the Earth exists. Such universes may have some differences from our current reality such as having different laws of physics or biology. The parallel universe is thus a crossroads between the planet Earth and a fantasy world.
This theme refers to several subgenres that may include genetic engineering, cloning, and biohacking. Genetic engineering themes tend to involve the creation of a super race of humans through technologies such as brain-computer interfacing, nanotechnology, and eugenics. From the opposing direction, is biohacking, in which individual person transform their bodies by introducing chemicals or cybernetic devices. Prosthetics or the use of robotics for enhanced bodily function also falls in this category
While closely related to bodily transformation this is a different subgenre of science fiction. The acquisition of superpowers typically encompasses aspects of teleportation, psychic phenomena, and enhanced mental function. Teleportation is the ability to transport persons or objects from one location to another without necessarily making use of the physical space between them. Psychic phenomena may include persons who have telekinetic, telepathic, precognitive and clairvoyant abilities. An enhanced mental function may include mind uploading, higher memory, mind-swap, and mind control abilities.
Time travel is one of the original and most popular themes popularized by novels such as “The Time Machine” by HG Wells. As a science fiction theme, it involves the movement of persons or objects between two points in space that typically has one going back to an earlier era or going forward to a future era. For instance, one could travel back in time to the Roman first century AD or go forward in time to the technologically driven world of 2100.
Military conflict is a common trope in many modern science fiction movies and literature. This will typically involve interstellar travel and combat in space between armies of antagonists from different planets or galaxies. These types of conflicts normally make use of exotic and strange weapons though some weapons used in science fiction have found use in conventional militaries.
Ever since science fiction franchise “Star Trek” became a mass phenomenon and gained acceptance even out of the science fiction community, the theme of Galactic Empires in science fiction has grown in leaps and bounds. The writing of this theme is modeled along the lines of the decline or rise of an empire that has significant technological advancement as compared to human civilizations or other civilizations in its vicinity. Given the differences in technology, social and economic advancement, there is tension between empires which usually results in conflict.
As an aspiring writer, you could write in any of the science fiction overarching themes we have discussed and be relatively successful. Nonetheless, you can always dig deeper into the subgenres of science fiction and still find success as long as you can write something that captures the imagination of the reader. This is by no means a complete listing of all the overarching themes, but rather an exposition of the most popular ones that I have found to have a higher probability of success with audiences.