My super organized, left-brained engineering husband often points out themes in movies, which is surprising since he isn’t exactly artsy. He’ll say, “Notice this movie has a lot of water.” Or he’ll mention, “That film uses the color red throughout.” Once he said, “Have you noticed all the circles in this movie?” Nope. I hadn’t. At least I hadn’t until he drilled this phenomenon into my head EVERY TIME we watched a movie.
I was impressed with his observational skills and learned he took a film studies class in college. Now, it all makes sense. Studying directors, producers, and mainly the films themselves was not a requirement for his mechanical engineering degree, but this elective class has stuck with him for decades–and it inspired me. The more he talked about this concept, the more I started noticing recurring themes in movies. Now, I try to beat him to the punch so I can determine the recurring thread before he does.
I wondered how I could use this concept in my writing. When I came up with my newest contemporary romance, SLEEPING WITH ELVIS, I decided my hunky Elvis impersonator would hang out on fictional Key Lime Island between gigs. And so would his cursing parrot! (Hey, everyone needs a cursing parrot.)
With a name like Key Lime Island, the theme fell into place easily. I used key lime EVERYTHING, as well as the color lime green. Here are a few examples:
- The cute-meet between my hero Ty, the Elvis impersonator, and Pepper, the heroine who is stranded on Key Lime Island, occurs during a key lime pie-eating contest! Who wouldn’t fall for a gorgeous guy with green fluff all over his face?
- There’s a Key Lime B&B which sells key lime cookbooks in the lobby, has clear vases filled to the brim with limes, and of course, lime green comforters are in the guest rooms.
- Ty and Pepper have an interesting scene at the Key Lime Ice Cream Shoppe with boasts orange, yellow, and of course, lime green chairs and a lime green awning.
- There’s a Key Lime Marina and many beach houses use the island’s team color. You get the idea.
It’s fairly easy to incorporate a color, shape, or element such as water or fire in a novel. Just ask movie directors. They do it all the time. Why shouldn’t novelists? Have you used a recurring theme in your novel? If you haven’t incorporated this novel concept (pun intended), try it!
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