Allow me to explain what I mean by 'thematic setting'. I'm talking about a setting which, simply by having the story located in it, shows the reader something: ideally a message - or theme - that you wish to convey to them. You can test a thematic setting by removing the story or plot. If what remains - solely the setting - still shows the message, then you have a thematic setting.
Some examples of a thematic setting are below.
- Hunger Games. If you assume that the main message of Hunger Games has to do with the oppression of government, then it's easy to see how the setting - namely that oppression - shows that message, regardless of whatever the story ends up being.
- Star Wars. If you assume that the main message of Star Wars is about how power can be used for good or evil (which for the record I don't believe is the message), then you can see how a setting of the Force, and the conflict between Sith and Jedi, could easily show this. As long as the story centers around that conflict, it can be anything.
Note that I'm not saying these are the messages of the above works. Their settings just happen to be good examples (and also note that - as in the case of Star Wars - 'setting' doesn't always mean the location). I'm sure there are others, but I can't think of any. If you know of similar settings, I would appreciate any recommendations.
Question: I am attempting to create a thematic setting for my novel. I like to plan my novels ahead well before I ever start writing them, so 'just write' isn't the answer here. I need some plan, some formula if you will, to follow. Something which will allow me to take a theme - or message - and correctly identify a setting which will show it regardless of what story I put in it. Do you perhaps know of such a way to create a setting?
NOTE: The whole idea of using 'thematic settings' in novels might be controversial. If you believe I should not be attempting to do this, I welcome your comments on why not. But please only provide an answer if you are answering the question.
Further Note: For those of you who do not equate 'theme' with 'message' please note that I use the phrase 'thematic setting' to mean a setting which shows a message simply by what it is.