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Monday Focus: Theme is the soul of your story.

Understanding “theme” and its role in your memoir is another core task that will both simplify and clarify your message—i.e., your theme. Your theme is perhaps what has motivated you to start your memoir project. There is likely something you want to say about life—your life. Your theme can also be called your message. The theme can be lofty (strive for virtue) or it can be trite (life is hard). Theme drives your story and colors your narrative. 

Everyone writes with some hope of getting a message across. But here’s the risk of trying to get a message to the reader: you can slip into “preaching.” Be wary of insisting on the “shouldas, oughtas.” They will sink your memoir and cause your audience to flee you. 

Reaching for preachiness is not part of these best memoir-writing tasks I am outlining—for a good reason. Who wants to be preached to? 

Go for theme—because frankly you can’t avoid it, but eschew preachiness. Preachiness you can avoid!

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