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Presentation2Can 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.

When it comes to the book’s theme, especially if the author has a theme in mind when writing the book, the old adage of “show, don’t tell” becomes even more critical. Showing allows the reader to sieve the theme from the plot and analyse the author’s underlying feelings or influences. Telling turns the story into “A Very Special Episode of Blossom.”

These are seven Life Lessons I’ve come across that naturally lend themselves to themes and character arcs.

     1. You can’t fix the ones you love, so focus on fixing yourself

2. It’s more harmful to overprotect than to underprotect

3. Sometimes you must put your wants aside and just do what’s best for the one you love

4. The strength of your friendships is as critical for your health as the lifestyle choices you make

5. Lust diminishes, but love remains

6. Truly growing up means forgiving your parents for their mistakes and accepting responsibility for your own actions

7. Doing what’s right isn’t always easy or popular

8. Sometimes you must find the strength to say “Yes” when saying “No” would be easier, and “No” when “Yes” is safer

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