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Act 1:Scene 2—The Theme

Keys to writing a successful novel.


Stating the Theme


Deciding on the theme of your novel can sound intimidating, but it doesn't have to be.


The theme is simply the life lesson your hero needs to learn. There are many to choose from, but a life lesson you learned is the easiest to write. Through your novel, you can help others learn this lesson as well.


The theme can be stated in a single sentence or paragraph, but it should be stated by someone other than your hero. This is important because your hero must ignore it. They must be concentrated on their want, not their need. Ignoring sage advice is human. How many times have you ignored someone’s advice and then looked back and thought, “I should have listed to them”?


After choosing your life lesson, you need to work it in seamlessly into your story. Easy, right?


Let’s see how I do…


It was a long shift for Jasmine at the coffee shop. Her mind kept fluttering back to the red, high-heeled, strappy shoes she had spied while walking to work with her friend, co-worker, and roommate Emily.


Jasmine was a shoe addict. She had at least twenty pairs in her closet, and forty under her bed, many with the brown-grey paper still stuffed in the toes. But shoes were her passion. She loved the smell of the leather ones, the feel of the nylon ones, the way her calves looked in the stilettos she bought last week.


At this moment, she was absentmindedly sketching the strappy ones she had seen earlier on the back of a napkin.


“You know, you can’t afford those. Right?” Emily said as she peered down at Jasmine’s doodling.


“What?” she asked, half-dazed, coming out of her reverie. Sighing, she held up the napkin to get a better look at it. “I have money left on my credit card.”


“They were $300! You don’t have enough for this month’s rent.”


She stood up straight and put her hand on her hip. “Yeah. But they are amazing, and I do have $300 left on my card. Actually, I have $327.”


Taking the napkin from Jasmine’s hands, Emily said, “You know, you are really good at drawing. And you know so much about shoes. Maybe you should save up. Go to school and learn how to design them.”


“Right. Me… go back to school,” she replied haughtily. “Remember what I was like in school? I was lucky if I got a C.” Jasmine shook her head. “Nope. Even shoe school would be too hard for me.” Turning around, she declared over her shoulder, “I’m buying the shoes.”


Emily yelled, “Don’t say I didn’t try,” as Jasmine continued to walk away.


Later, after Jasmine is completely broke, she will see Emily was right and look into taking classes at night. Then the cost—selling some of her unworn shoes, saving money, and the trials of school come later.


Again, no judgements on my hastily written example.


What is the theme of your novel?

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