Do you plan your story's theme before writing or does it take shape as you write?
I have a shallow well of only a few common themes from which I draw typically, including :
- marriage vows ("Posthumous," "Death Imitates Art")
- betrayal ("Die Giftig Lilie")
- perseverance ("Dance with the Devil")
- righteousness like filthy rags ("Death with a Hint of Bronze," "Farewell")
- self sacrifice ("Limits," "Fishnet Angel," "Sin and Error Pining")
- living a lie ("Pleasant Valley Sunday," "How Does One Know")
- the quest for family ("Cherry Hill," "It's Christmas, Baby Please Come Home," "Angels of our Better Nature")
- true learning only comes through loss ("Once Upon a Time," "Take My Hand, Take My Whole Life Too (A Love Story)," "The Other, As Just As Fair")
- redemption ("The Ghost of Christmas Past," "Nor Doth He Sleep")
Even so I don't typically approach a story with a theme in hand and try to beat it into place with a hammer.
I prefer to let it develop naturally as the story progresses because the characters lend themselves to it and because of who I am as the writer creating the tale as it filters through my imagination.
So, somehow, these are the issues I guess that define me as a writer, and I guess they always manage to sneak into my stories in spite of my trying to write around them.