Monday, February 4, 2019

Themes that Stick with You by Annette M. Irby

Father and son*

Have you seen the Richard Donner cut of the movie Superman II, with Christopher Reeve? If you haven’t, you should. Apparently, the fans demanded it be made and a decision-maker allowed it. I’m glad they released it. Donner (the director) had a vision for movies I and II, but that vision was cut short when he was let go from the project and another director stepped in.

What Donner did, that the theatrical release version didn’t, was include certain universal themes that made the Donner cut work. Themes, like the relationship between father and son, and what happens when you make an irrevocable decision. What happens when your choice costs someone who loves you more than you can bear to receive. So, so good. 

There is a lot of symbolism of Jesus as Messiah in the Superman lore. Superman is a noble hero. He’s honest, and as Clark Kent, very sympathetic. He just wants to fit in. (Relatable? Yup. Universal? You betcha.) And he’s heroic, of course. Because he’s fighting crime while rescuing people, even when there’s sacrifice involved. 

That’s what makes a noble hero—someone who is determined to help others, even when it hurts. 

The father-son dynamic of Superman II, the Donner Cut, gets to me, touching emotions and fascinating me. I’ve seen this theme in other places. Can the father-figure in a long-running TV series both find a redeeming quality in the felon and convince him to choose nobility over a life of crime? We’re on the edge of our seats watching this play out over several seasons. 

How about the Flash TV series? Lots of father-son dynamics because we have a man who was adopted and whose birth father was jailed for killing his mother—though he’s innocent. Father wounds. Adoptive dad. Choosing to be a hero and lessen another’s pain while in pain.

I’m sure there are other movies or TV series I’ve watched where that element was present, but those three stand out. Perhaps that’s why I included that thread (the father-son dynamic) in all three of the books in my recent series. That theme spoke to me. I didn't set out to explore it, but that's what happened. I got to approach it in three different ways, with different characters—one facet per book. 

Perhaps those threads in each book are meaningful to readers—I don’t know. But they sure were meaningful to me as I wrote about them. 

So, here’s how to use this to your advantage, dear writer. Ask yourself: Are there themes that come up in novels, the Bible, movies, or TV series that move me, or fascinate me? If so, perhaps you’ve found one of the central themes for your next manuscript. Chances are, if a theme speaks to you, it'll speak to others. If it's meaningful to you, it'll impact others, especially as you approach that theme from a place of emotion, passion, exploration.

Once you can pinpoint your favorite theme in a book/movie/series, study how it's treated in that medium. Does it work? If so, why? If not, why not? Did the writer handle it well? How would you handle it? How can you take an original approach to that universal theme?

Write on, friends!

  Releasing March 1
FL on Whidbey Island

Could what drove them apart be what draws them back together?

Liberty Winfield lives with loss every day. She’d rather leave her history behind her, but when faced with moving back to her hometown, the past becomes unavoidable. She takes a job at the florist shop owned by her ex-boyfriend’s family from a decade ago. Now he’s unavoidable.

Clay Garrison knows the pain of ruing his mistakes. Most of his regrets center around Liberty. If he could undo his poor choices, he would. Liberty is back. He has one more chance to make things right. She doesn’t believe anyone could love her unconditionally, so he sets out to prove her wrong. He must also try to right the biggest wrong of their past, knowing that in doing so, he could lose her forever.

Will addressing the past together help them find love?


Annette M. Irby**

Annette M. Irby has been writing since her teen years when she sat pounding out stories on a vintage typewriter just for fun. Since then, she’s joined Christian writing groups and launched blogs so she could share the joy of writing. She likes to say she’s addicted to color as flowers and seascapes inspire her. In her off hours, she enjoys gardening, photography, and music. She lives with her husband and family in the Pacific Northwest.

Learn more here on her Seriously Write Page.

Links to connect with Annette:
Twitter: @AnnetteMIrby
Facebook Reader Friends Group:
BookBub: or @AnnetteMIrby
Amazon Author Page:  
Book Review Blog:

* father-son photo credit: Pixabay
** author photo credit: Sarah Irby