Monday, November 19, 2007

How To Create A Theme For Your Book

There are six steps to creating a theme for your book: select a subject, specify a supposition statement, sketch three points, situate the introduction, set forth the conclusion, and solidify everything together.

1. Select A Subject
Briefly describe what your book is about. It is not necessary to go into every aspect or element. Think about whom you are and what your experiences have been. One thing for certain, it may be easier to write about you than to write about others or to write fiction.

Also, have you learned at least one life lesson? One sure-fire way of selecting a subject is to think about why you believe your story will make a good book. List all of the reasons you can think of, including triumphs and failures, lessons learned, friendships forged, betrayals, experiences, etc. There are thousands of subjects you can write about in any given story.

2. Specify a Supposition Statement
Do you know why you are writing? Everyone writes for different reasons. Think of your supposition statement as a point you are trying to get over to your readers. Therefore, you should not be afraid to develop your beliefs, judgments and attitudes toward your chosen topic.

If you are truly telling your story, it will be a mistake to remain dispassionate. Whatever your point is, it needs to be clear. Just as there are thousands of possible topics, the subject you choose can have thousands of possible supposition statements.

3. Sketch Three Points
I believe the theme should be developed before the topic. I also believe it is better to develop the "middle" paragraphs before writing the introduction. As a minister, I am often called on to introduce guest speakers at my church and other affairs. I've found it to be much easier to introduce someone after I've gotten to know them.

The same goes for writing. Although the introduction is the first thing that is read, it is easier to introduce something after you know more about it. The more acquainted you are with your subject, the easier the introduction will be to write. So, before your introduction, divide the essence of your theme into three key points.
Begin by writing your supposition statement at the top of a piece of paper. Think of and write down any sustaining points that are in agreement with your supposition statement. Try for at least ten points, but after careful consideration, narrow the list down to three. Write a short paragraph centered upon each point.

4.Situate the Introduction
The introduction has one main goal—it must get attention. It's kind of like being on the dating scene. Speaking from a male perspective, in most cases you have only a couple of seconds to make a good impression. And judging from the lines I've overheard, many would-be suitors need to work on their game.

Introductions can be successfully made by asking a poignant question or by giving valuable insight or information at the very beginning. Although humor can also be used, it should be used sparingly, because hilarity is very subjective. The primary result of the theme is to motivate the writer in you; however, its dual purpose is to enable you to quickly convey your book idea to either a single reader or a full audience.

5. Set Forth the Conclusion
The way your "elevator pitch" ends is the most esteemed, distinct component. Like a proud parent who is always pulling out photos, you must make others see that your personal bestseller is worth getting excited about. The previous four steps will mean nothing to your reader until you present the conclusion you have attained from your soul-searching analysis. This is where many people's effort falls short.

The conclusion should repeat the subject supposition. But to keep from being redundant, you may state it in a different way. The last sentence is very important since the conclusion will also end the theme. Your last words will reside for a while in the subconscious of your readers or hearers.

6. Solidify Everything Together
The final step in creating your theme is putting all of the previous steps together in a way that will allow them to flow, fluidly. You must be able to "put your finger on it," and anyone who hears it must be able to "get it." Remember, it is an elevator speech that must make sense and you must be able to deliver it in about 30 seconds.

Marvin D. Cloud is founder of and author of "Get Off The Pot: How to Stop Procrastinating and Write Your Personal Bestseller in 90 Days."

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