In the creative writing classes I've been putting together on YouTube, I've earlier discussed story conception, opening paragraphs, and the story elements of first chapters.
In Creative Writing Class 4, I give some thought to how theme might be established in a story. My more specific question is how we might begin to develop the theme of a work fairly early on, without guiding the reader too heavily about how we conceive of the story.
The term theme refers to the central idea of a work. This sounds fairly straightforward, but of course there is nothing particularly straightforward about determining or communicating the intended central idea of a work. One of the joys of literature is that it often suggests many different ideas, and the meaning of works usually change or develop over time.
In fact, theme may be an aspect of a creative work that is best left in the hands of the reader: the literary and social context of a work, and the individual interpretations of readers, will often suggest theme without the writer having to do all that much.