A theme is a one-line explanation of your story.. Every story should have one because our stories are about something.
When I say should, I mean that this isn’t always the case. Especially so for beginner writers, who may not know, that the theme carries the story. Or even those who’ve been writing for years may not be aware of the importance of a theme.
And a theme is important.
A theme is what will keep you on track as you write the story.
What happens if you write without a theme in mind? Two things…
1.You stray from the subject
2.You write more than one story.
Let me give you an example of a story written with a theme in mind…
The theme to a story I once wrote was, ‘Vanity Leads To Destruction.’
Very briefly, this story is about a female character that believed herself to be so beautiful, in the end she lost everything.
Writing this theme on a post-it note and sticking it on my computer, I was always reminded that my story had to revolve around this theme. Having a theme helped me stick to the story I had intended on writing and not stray from it – not even a little. It also helped me to focus only on what was essential to my story.
So according to my theme, ‘Vanity Leads To Destruction’…
•Every action my character performed was to show her vanity
•Her goals sprung from her vanity
•What motivated her was her vanity
•Her words (dialogue) showed her vanity
•How she handled situations showed her vanity
•The interaction with other characters showed her vanity
•The conflict was a result of her vanity
•The highest peak in my story, the climax, showed an intense moment of whether her goal would be met (whether her vanity would work for, or against her)
•And the ending? The ending showed how she was led to destruction because of her vanity
By following my theme, everything in my story was precise.
If I showed my character not being vain in any instance, then I would’ve strayed from my theme.
Does your story have a theme?
If you didn’t consciously write with a theme in mind, then your story won’t have one. Chances are, your story isn’t focused. But then again there is the other possibility… At times we fluke things.
Perhaps without consciously knowing, a theme is running through your story.
Check your story to see if this is the case. If it is, are you sticking to the theme?
If you find that some parts of your story are straying from the theme, those parts will need to be changed to accommodate the theme.
Now the other possibility…
You don’t have a theme and none is running through your story. That’s okay. We can still save it. Read through your story and see what it’s about. Then come up with the most appropriate theme to it - A theme that makes sense yet won’t mean too much work to change the story.
Rewrite those parts that don’t accommodate the theme.
It is easier if we come up with a theme while we are at the plotting stage. It saves all that rewriting but not to worry… You won’t make the same error again in your next story!
(c) Nick Vernon
Besides his passion for writing, Nick Vernon runs an online gift site where you will find gift information, articles and readers’ funny stories. Visit Website
Are you the kind of person who dwells on the past?
We all do it to an extent. Some of us more than others.
But have you ever found yourself getting stuck in a groove, replaying a mistake in your mind, over and over, ten, twenty, even thirty years after the fact?
You know the old maxim: "You get what you focus on." Has it occurred to you that when you dwell on past mistakes, you're setting up yourself to fail - again?
We all make mistakes. That's why there's a delete key on your computer. If everything we did was perfect first time out, our lives would be bland and most likely, unmemorable.
Our mistakes, our errors in judgment, our embarrassing interludes, help us grow and learn and become wise. But replaying them in our minds, cringing and wishing they'd worked out differently is a surefire way of ensuring the same kind of result in the future.
Don't Make Excuses
Have you ever noticed that most people have a hundred reasons why they shouldn't pursue their dreams?
Worse - they have a hundred reasons why you shouldn't pursue your dreams.
It's like some unspoken pact between 'ordinary' people.
They will present 'evidence' that supports their cause. Evidence that comes from experience, advice, feedback and watching TV. Evidence that seems compelling - but only if you happen to be in a negative frame of mind.
Super-successful people don't do this. They look for evidence of the opposite.
Super-successful people know that in amongst a thousand ordinary folks determined to live their lives 'hanging on in quiet desperation,' there are others who refuse to believe that life should be simply endured.
Opportunities hit all of us, all of the time. Trouble is, we're so wrapped up in our own little worlds, we ignore them or rationalize them away, even reject them.
Don't You Look Back
Stop for a moment.
How much time every day do you spend thinking about past events? I'm willing to bet the older you get, the more times you do it - almost automatically.
If you find yourself thinking about the past more than two or three brief times a day, you're holding back your dreams.
As an experiment, make a log - whenever you catch yourself thinking about something that happened way back, note it down - and resolve to correct this limiting habit.
Why? Because your past is irrelevant. Outside of your own mind it doesn't even exist. Mostly, it's just junk that clutters up your brain.
And slowly destroys you...
So - what's the answer?
If you want a fun, exciting and super-successful life from this point on, you have to start thinking about tomorrow.
You meet them all the time - people with rigid views about everything. People who can list all the reasons why things happen, why individuals and groups act and react the way they do, and why certain things are possible and why most wonderful things are impossible.
These are the same people whose lives are over. They've stopped learning and keeping their minds and hearts flexible.
Our lives are a series of events from which we learn and adjust. But to believe that one opinion holds true forever is a myth.
Tomorrow is another day and new truths, new evidence will emerge that disproves the past, again and again.
The generation before us was convinced that safety and security were all there was to aspire to. And what did they experience? Hardship, depression, two world wars, disease and poverty, violence and cruelty that caused more suffering than at any other time in history. And they tell us they were the good old days?
Don't Be Fooled
We live in our most exciting time. And that time is now.
Wisdom is not just knowledge. The pursuit of wisdom involves a willingness to absorb the future and its endless possibilities. True wisdom is never closing your mind to believing you can improve, excel yourself and follow your dreams, whatever your age or skill level.
There are no limits. You are only ever limited by what you believe.
Start believing that tomorrow can and will be different. That there is hope - and a chance for us to make a better world, where we can fulfill our destinies, if only we choose to do that.
Let Go of Your Past
The past is holding you back. It's like a large stone fastened to your neck that won't let you move forward. But remember: you have always had the key to your own shackles.
You don't need to keep living in a phantom place that only you created. Unlock the ties that bind you. The key is in your thoughts.
Consciously decide you will no longer let the past absorb you. Whenever you find yourself dwelling on past events, deliberately reject the associated thoughts and images. Replace them with musings and uplifting visualizations on the future - the forever undiscovered country.
Make a commitment now to take every negative thought you have and turn it around. See the positive. See the benefits. See the bright light of hope and opportunity that exists for all of us, all of the time.
The past is gone. It has no hold over that you don't give it.
Believe in yourself - and your dreams.
DLB - Don't Look Back.
Trust in the future and...
(c) Rob Parnell
We spend a lot of our time distracted by our daily chores and commitments. So much so we tend to ignore what our instincts are telling us.
You know how it goes. You spend your time working or, unpaid and traveling to and from work.
You spend time dropping off and picking up the kids. You use up invaluable hours of the day preparing food, eating, sleeping, relaxing with your loved ones, watching TV, socializing, caring, volunteering, whatever.
All the time in the back of your mind you have this little voice that says: You really should be writing, you really should be writing...
Your instincts know what you want but your activities are committing you to a lifestyle you don't want. There's the writer’s dilemma. How do you stop doing what you don't want and start doing what you do want?
Simple - listen to your heart.
I believe there's a reason why we have instincts - they are there to tell us what we really want.
They are there to nag at you to deal with the things that are lacking in your life.
Think for a moment about your dreams – the one’s you have at night.
Your brain needs balance. Your life may be focused on certain activities, relationships and commitments and these alone may seem to be enough stimuli for your waking hours. But during sleep, the brain needs more - it needs to be stimulated to take in a more fully rounded life experience.
So it compensates for missing life experiences by 'making them up' in your dreams.
It's a natural coping mechanism - designed to keep you sane.
On a subconscious level, the brain is taking in, assessing and dealing with all the information it receives - real or imagined. It processes everything, striving for balance.
But what if there is something left over, something found wanting in your life, how would that manifest itself?
I believe it manifests itself as instinct. It's an intuitive yearning that is telling you that you have an emptiness that needs filling - a feeling that something else or some other direction is right for you.
And, for your own good, it's something you must respond to.
For the sake of your writing, you must begin acting on instinct.
Learn that being selfish is most times okay - and in everybody else's best interest and not just yours!
Even flying in the face of logic, you must do the things that your reasoning mind might regard as crazy. You must begin to follow your heart, rather than always listen to your rational brain. For a healthy and fulfilled life, you must begin to do what your instinct is telling you to do.
And guess what?
It will work for you. You’ll be happier than you've ever been. More successful than you could have ever hoped for. Every day you’ll be doing more of what you love - taking life as it comes and doing what your instinct tells you to do at any given moment.
And you will be rewarded.
Is this path reckless? Irresponsible? Impossible?
Maybe – but do you really want to spend your life letting what other people say influence your need for more creativity? Do you really want to spend your days running around after other people instead of responding to your desire for more ways of expressing your true self and finally living your life with integrity?
Just because other people want you to do things, be places, and honor commitments they forced you into, doesn't mean these things are important. Most likely, in the great scheme of things, they're really not.
Since when was anybody else the boss of you?
Sure, things may get sticky. For me, when I first resolved to start listening to my heart instead of my head, I got sacked from my job. My old boss said outright: "You and I know you shouldn't be here, you should be doing your own thing. Just think of me as the bitch who made it happen!" Sweet lady.
But really, it turned out for the best because my old boss forced me to come to terms with my life. She'd given me no choice but to confront my destiny.
I could have panicked and got another job. Done what everyone else was telling me - seek security, seek boredom, seek a living death.
But no - this time - I refused!
I knew then I had to be a professional writer - what my instincts had been telling me all along - and that I had to make it happen, then and there - or die trying.
So that's what I did. I woke up every morning from that day on and just did what my heart told me to do: write a book today, set up that website now, teach this writing genre, start that writing school, become a publisher, write screenplays for Hollywood, whatever felt right. And it's what
I'm still doing to this day.
Simply responding to my instincts.
(And I guess it's worked out pretty well!)
So, if you have some nagging voice in the back of your mind - listen to it - and act on its advice. It's doing more than just nagging.
It's showing you the way to your destiny!
(c) ROB PARNELL
When you get the idea to write a novel, it seems to just jump into your head. You have an "Aha!" moment; a brilliant moment of inspiration. You can see the entire novel played out in your head. Now all you have to do is write it down on paper.
The mistake most people make when they try to write a novel is that they immediately start writing their novel. That moment of inspiration is actually a bit of an illusion. That moment of inspiration is absolutely necessary, but it is only the seed of the novel. Everyone that's ever planted a seed in their garden knows that a lot of things need to be done before that seed becomes a full-grown plant.
After that first moment of inspiration, the next step in writing your novel needs to be a planning step. You wouldn't want to build a house without a plan and you shouldn't write a novel without one either. Some writers don't like the idea of planning their novel. They say that it takes the creativity out of the process. I disagree. I believe that it gives your creativity structure so that you can actually get your novel finished in a timely manner.
Here's what typically happens if you don't plan. This is the story of a fictitious writer named Jane. She started writing a brilliant first scene. She got the first chapter done in two days. Then she got stuck. She wasn't sure what should happen next. She set the novel aside while she figured it out. A couple of weeks later, she did figure out what should happen in chapter two. She dusted it off and wrote two more chapters. Then she got stuck again. She put it back on the shelf again. She got busy planning a baby shower for her sister and coaching her son's soccer team. She thought about going back and writing some more on her novel, but she realized that at this rate it was going to take her several years just to finish the rough draft. That was pretty discouraging. She was busy and decided it just wasn't worth the time or the trouble. Her novel became another novel that no one will ever read.
Each of the major parts of the story should be planned out in some detail.
o The Characters - You should know who the main characters in your novel are. There should be a protagonist and an antagonist. Your plan should include some details about their lives.
o The Main Problem - This may seem obvious, but many novice authors that I've talked to couldn't tell me what the main character's problem was in their novel.
o The Major Plot Points - Before you ever start writing, you should have the major event in the story planned out. These major events will usually involve the protagonist attempting to solve the problem and then being kept from success.
o The Ending of the Story - Make sure that the main problem and all the smaller problems introduced in the story are resolved. Readers don't want to be left hanging.
A complete plan can easily be finished in a week. This will allow you to finish a high quality first draft of your novel in six months to a year.
This is the power of having a plan for your novel.
(c) Julie Coan has been a writer and educator for more than twenty years. She is dedicated to helping writers build successful careers as published authors. She has just released her novel-writing system as an ebook: Write Your Way to a Million Dollars. This unique system was developed during twenty years of teaching writing and is now available to you. You can't find this great resource anywhere else. If you've always wanted to write, publish, and sell your novel, you must have this book. This book provides a state-of-the-art approach to publishing and marketing with an emphasis on creating a successful writing career.