Eight Life Lessons: Ideas for Themes & Character Arcs

Can you begin writing a story with the theme already in mind? Or, does the story’s theme just evolve somewhere within the undercurrent of the plot and character interactions?

I read an interesting article in Psychology Today magazine titled “Life Lessons: 5 Truths People Learn Too Late.” (October 2012) Several of these lessons inspired plot ideas for future stories, especially within the context of the article — learning the lesson too late. But the article also really got me thinking about themes in general.