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Write Your Novel
Step by Step

By Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator of StoryWeaver

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Creating Characters
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~ Step 129 ~

Projecting Message Issue – Act Three

An old performer's adage proclaims, "Always leave 'em laughing."  When it comes to theme, this truism could be paraphrased as "Always leave 'em feeling."  Theme is an emotional argument, and the best way to make such an argument is by involving the reader at a personal level.

Since the message issue is the human quality that your story is about, there is already a built-in level of attachment to your readers.  But people don't like to look at themselves critically.  The trick, then, is to find a way to involve their emotions without pointing a finger at them.

You can draw your readers into an emotional bond with your message issue by devising illustrations that show the impact of that issue on characters they have come to care about.

Previously, the examples you incorporated into your story may have been more philosophical or conceptual.  Or, they may have pertained to functional characters with which your readers have developed little empathy.  But by selecting or creating examples that affect a character your readers feel for, you can indirectly ignite passions without alienating them.

Referring to the material you have already developed, select those illustrations that best describe how your message issue will show its importance to the life of the reader.  If necessary, create new examples to bring the message issue home.