So, what themes, what one-word topics do the masters write about? Here are a few to start us off. (I’ll add more as I read more.)
1. James Patterson’s Hope to Die
The one-word theme for Hope to Die is probably hope. Despite being shown emotionally irrefutable evidence that his wife and son were brutally murdered, Cross maintains hope. And “hope” appears frequently in the dialogue. And, of course, “hope” is also in the title.
2. Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca
I once read that Ms. Du Maurier said that Rebecca is about jealousy, with the new and unnamed Mrs. De Winter being jealous of the old.
3. William Styron’s Sophie’s Choice
I’ve also read that the one-word theme of Sophie’s Choice is guilt. I haven’t read it, but from what I know if it, guilt sounds about right.
4. Andy Weir’s The Martian
The one-word theme for The Martian is probably survival, since it’s about a guy trying to survive on Mars. But I think it could also be risk, since risk appears a lot in the dialogue, with survival in the world of space travel depending a lot on risk.