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Writing Lessons from Ray Bradbury

I was on FB the other morning (shocking, I know), when I stumbled across a status update from another writerly friend commenting about the beauty of Ray Bradbury's writings. She stated that she loved his stories because they were always about more than the plot and characters. His stories tapped into deeper, universal themes, something not always present in YA literature.

I stewed on this for a while. I am a huge Ray Bradbury fan and I love the way he uses fantastical stories to comment on life issues. Like All Summer in a Day and bullying as just one example. I think my friend was right about YA too. We don't always explore deeper themes. Or, when we do, we sometimes approach it head one, making that topic the plot of the story. We don't always use our stories to comment on life and the deep stuff  as Ray Bradbury always does.

Anyway, all of this got me to thinking - what do you as readers and writers do? Are you conscious of themes and tackling deep issues? Is it something you work at? Another writer once said in a conference that we really only write about one or two themes in our books - that no matter how different the book, there really are only a few universal themes each writer explores. Hers related to parent-child relationships. Mine are about finding your "voice", your authentic self.

What are yours?


  1. I do believe that as writers, we "chew" on a few big themes that have either affected our lives or that we are fascinated by and want to know more about. And, as a young teen I also fell in love with Bradbury's wild imagination and great lyricism. He is still one of my mentors.

    1. His lyricism is part of what has always pulled me in too

  2. I'll agree somewhat with both you and Catherine. But, for me, I tend to peer into every life issue. I'm a deep thinker, which is probably why I take so long to finish a novel. I can't help but explore the hows and whys.

    1. I am deep thinker too, which is why I explore themes. But, when I go back after the fact and read my work - there is definitely a predominate trend ;)

  3. Oh wow, I love Ray Bradbury too. As a teen I read SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES and was inspired and intrigued. Sometimes I'm aware of deeper issues in my novels, and sometimes I see the themes after I'm done and develop them more. Mine usually involve relationships in some way, finding and holding on to the important things in life.


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