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You may have heard the term, “thematic statement”, during novel writing. 
However, you may think about what it means.

Do you need a thematic statement?

This is a very pretty complex topic and it has many different types of interpretations. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, such as theme, discussions around a topic, and thematic statement and these terms can be a bit mindboggling. 

The first challenge the authors encounter is understanding what a thematic statement is. 

The next thing is to learn the technique to apply it to make it more impactful as it will be. This statement plays a significant role in making the novel Cracking Yarn to extraordinary work of fiction. Therefore it becomes important to understand a thematic statement in detail. The following article with help in providing in-depth information regarding the thematic statements, providing specific examples and how they can be used to write exciting stories.

What is a thematic statement?

A thematic statement is a very simple but powerful statement through which the author tries to convey the message of the book. For instance 

  • “Love is the glue that binds the Universe together”.
  • “There is no such thing as true love”.
  • “Maternal love is the most powerful of all types of love”.

A thematic statement says something specific about the nature of the human being or life, which is true as per the novel. Mastering the skill of thematic statements can give the novel meaning, resonance, and heart. 

Difference between thematic statement and theme 

The major difference between a thematic statement and a theme is that a thematic statement is specific and contains a judgment or opinion. However, themes, on the other hand, are general and can be explored from different angles. Therefore the statements listed above are the thematic statements based on the theme of love. 

Difference between thematic statement and topic

Although these two statements are confusing, they are very different from each other in actual practice.

  • The topic sentence is as per the premise also known as the elevator pitch. 
  • It is more of a big size providing details of the book.
  • It helps in summarizing the key points, elements, and characters that are present in the sentence and are not hidden in the lines. 

Why use a thematic statement?

As per Robert McKee, thematic statements help in controlling the study idea, as they help in guiding while writing the novel. Also, a thematic statement helps in making strategic choices when writing the novel. When used skillfully, thematic statement helps in making the story deeper, help in making emotion connect with the readers, and even alter the way they look at the world around them and the way they behave in the world.  For instance, the main theme of The Godfather is that “as the p[power shifts it changes the people”. 

The thematic statement first shows how Don Corleone, changes from a crime boss to a devoted Godfather and then how Michel resigns himself from his position and turns more ruthless. Without the presence of this underlying and consistent theme, the Godfather stories would not be as memorable and powerful as they are. 



Do’s and Don'ts when writing a thematic statement

Only a few authors write thematic statements directly. It is more common that you have many general ideas that you might want to explore. However many writers start with something more concrete, such as an idea of a character and the conflicts they may face.  Also, it is common to write the first draft without considering much on themes or thematic statements.  Therefore, when you read the first draft, various concepts arise, and it is the time when you can create your thematic statement or what type of statement it would be. These statements can be refined by following the dos and don’ts of the thematic statement. 


Base it on Universal themes

It is advisable to start with themes that touch everyone such as loyalty, love, and freedom. This will help in creating a thematic statement that will help to resonate with the readers. However, in case the thematic statement applies to a specific group of people or theme, then it may not resonate with every person. For instance, 

  • “Eating shellfish can lead to poor health”
  • “The more wealthy are generally misunderstood”
  • “Taking away people’s guns is equal to taking away their freedom”

Don't turn into a moral directive

A thematic statement is an observation or assertion, and not advice. It should not direct the people on how to behave. Therefore it is important to avoid things like 

  • “Always tell the truth”
  • “Live for today because tomorrow might never come”
  • “You should be kind to old people”


Make use of consequences to illustrate your thematic statement. 

Any skilled writer never makes use of a character as a mouthpiece and gives them an outright place in the thematic statement. However, with the help of characters facing the consequences they endure and the decisions they make, the assertation of the thematic statement should be done. For instance,  in this thematic statement

“Survival is not enough without control over your destiny”

Katniss always selects the things that are more important to her than her safety and death, such as volunteering for a death match to protect her sister, to eating poison berries rather than killing her friend.

Don't Provide specifics of the story

A thematic statement should be easily transplanted and used in another novel. Therefore it is important to avoid things like

  • “Harry learns the significance of friendship and loyalty”
  • “A girl in a dystopian future selects death over obedience”


Evaluate the thematic statement of other works

One of the most useful ways to learn anything is to study the greats. Therefore it is advisable to go through some favorite books, novels, or movies and observe the thematic statement the writer used in the book, novel, or movie. Analyze the try to identify if there is any similarity between the behavior of the characters and their action that align with your analysis.  The following step can help in analyzing the thematic statement of the novel

Identify the main topic present in the novel. 

Highlight the view of the author on the topic. 

Format the view of the author with the help of the theme statement template.

Don't use the cliché 

The best thematic statements are interesting philosophical ideas and are unique. Making use of cliché  for instance, “love conquers all” or “crime never pays” is controlling the idea of the story, making it a story that will just be a cliché . 


Be consistent

After creating the thematic statement it is important to ensure that the novel supports it. This includes all the sub-characters and the main characters, how these settings are conveyed, and all the events that take place. 

Final tip 

The most useful and easy way to highlight your thematic statement is to make use of the phrase  “The Author believes”. For instance, “The author believes that friendship and love always win over evil”.

However, these sentences don't make sense as

  • “The author believes Harry learns the significance of loyalty and friendship”.
  • “The author believes in always telling the truth”

Examples of thematic statements

Some examples of thematic statements are:

  • Humans are not fixed personalities but a set of constantly changing contradictions
  • Valuing wealth over family will lead to misery
  • Isolation leads to madness
  • No matter people’s culture we are all the same at heart
  • True love is built over time and shared experience
  • The family we choose can be more loyal than those we are born with
  • Love taken to extremes can become dangerous
  • Having a true friend can help you survive the worst atrocities
  • Only by releasing judgment of others can we find inner peace

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