Question 99 – If something you wrote was read by an English class, how do you think they would answer this common question: What message is the author trying to convey?
Heh, I have wondered this a lot! And I do write toward certain themes which I think could be easily excavated with a little work. A major one is that diversity adds skills and value to any group; my army guys start off as just normal soldiers but slowly accrue ‘special’ soldiers, mages, outsiders and former enemies into their group, whereas the villains they’re up against stick with their old ranks and tactics and so can’t really adapt to how the good-guy group operates. Another message would be that cultural homogenization (especially when forced) robs people of history, community and context for many things that go on in their lives. I would draw some connections between the actions of my evil Empire and the Native American boarding schools that ran during much of the 19th and 20th centuries to try to get Native Americans to conform to Euro-American ways. Several characters suffer the after-effects of this, as they feel disconnected from their home cultures but unwelcome in the dominant one because of their origins; two don’t know their own native languages because they were taken away too young. There are a lot more themes and undercurrents at work in the story, but I think these are the most clearly visible.