Romance Theme Exercise – What the Audience Should Take With Them


Time: 30-45 minutes


Action Step #1 – It is human nature to look beyond the surface of things for a deeper meaning. We are beings that look within and without for inspiration and purpose. In a story, this is what is termed, “theme.” A theme is not necessarily something that you start with but it ends up finding a way into the story through your characters.


What are some common themes that occur in stories and novels? An example would be “evil never triumphs over good.” Write down common themes you have discovered when reading a book or short story. Include common themes that seem to govern life in general in the real world.


Action Step #2 – Finding a nugget of wisdom in a writer’s work, whether good or bad, is one of the reasons that the reader is reading your book. Something caught their attention and they didn’t want to stop reading until the story was complete.


Reread several of your stories. Do you find a theme in each one? What is it?


Action Step #3 – The theme emerges after you have written the story not before. Try this exercise. Think of a theme (cheaters never prosper, etc.) and then create a one-page story around it.


Now, write a one-page story with no aim as far as theme. Pick a situation or some characters and create a believable story.


Read both stories. You may notice that the pre-themed story is predictable and stiff. The second story will flow easier. Is there a noticeable theme in the second story?