If the monumental successes of print/film franchises like Marvel, DC, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings are anything to go by, it’s that people absolutely love the stories and the characters in these fantasy worlds. Sure, the amazing special effects and big-name actors help sell the movies, but at the end of the day, it’s always because of the written source material that these franchises remain so popular – although it doesn’t always work for some movies!
Any up-and-coming author should be aware of what kind of themes always play well with audiences, as time and time again, you’ll find familiar motifs but with a new twist. No one says you have to copy other writers’ books, but simply be conscious that there are stories which work far better than others. You should also be cognizant of the fact that stories don’t have to remain in your notebook or laptop, but can be printed out in a real book if you feel like giving it to someone or even handing it to a publisher. See if you like the idea of book printing offered by websites like print24, as great stories you’ve written shouldn’t remain hidden!
If you want to write a book but have no idea where to start, then consider some of these themes that always go down a treat with readers.
The thought that there is another world (or even worlds) right at our fingertips is a tantalizing thought. Usually accessed by some sort of secret door, like in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, it’s always fun for the characters to switch back and forth between the world they know and this brand new, exciting parallel world.
Obstacle to overcome: Getting stuck in the other world or even having to choose just one to live in.
Any character traveling in time is always fascinating, whether it’s to save a loved one, see the future, or even to see what life was like back in olden days.
Obstacle to overcome: Time paradoxes… will you change the future if you meddle with the past?
Ordinary person discovers a new power
Although this theme is probably used for nearly every single superhero movie, it’s something that everyone loves again and again. To read about someone with an extraordinary gift – telekinesis, teleportation, shooting fire or ice from your hands, etc. – is generally very gripping and it’s always interesting to find out what someone will do with these new powers. The idea of a ‘Chosen One’ is also tied to this theme, like in Harry Potter.
Obstacle to overcome: Gifts make you dangerous and feared… will your character become a hero or a villain?
While Romeo and Juliet might be the best tale of forbidden love, the theme can be explored in great detail for other books. Nothing pulls on the heartstrings more than two people who are supposed to be together, yet for one reason or another can’t be (war, different worlds, warring families), which then puts the stakes so high and gives a real-world feel in a sci-fi narrative.
Obstacle to overcome: Two people trying to be together when all seems hopeless.
When there’s an item to take from point A to point B, like in The Lord of the Rings, it’s always fraught with dangers and many different hurdles, but also colorful characters who wish to aid the character on their journey. It’s a simple premise, but when the story is a bit different, like a man searching for his lost wife in the great fantasy book, Senlin Ascends, then the scope can be epic and your imagination can run wild.
Obstacle to overcome: Getting sidetracked from your main mission – it’s never an easy path to the goal.