A Novel’s Theme

A theme in fiction sums up the essence of a story and projects the gist of what you’re writing. It’s a few words that describe the concept to someone else, perhaps an agent. Samantha Stone’s “Top 10 Types of Story Themes” resonated with me. It helped me define my theme.

One of my readers commented on www.amazon.com that: “I enjoyed the subject matter very much, as psychological abuse is not addressed very often. The author (k.a. libby) is very good at describing her surroundings and soon you are knee deep in suspense and intrigue.” So it seems that “Beware the Sleeping Dog” fits the criteria for a mystery, at least as far as one reader is concerned! (Thank you, S. Ande.) But beyond that it is the story of a woman seeking atonement for a past mistake … her journey from guilt to retribution to forgiveness.

Professor Mavis Walker addressed her feelings of guilt thusly:
Perhaps I should focus on my own psyche before I tried to solve another’s problems. Therein lay the conundrum for me: how could I even consider giving advice to someone else as long as I was struggling to find my own peace? Yet, it was the work I did with my students that helped me believe in my own worthiness.

As to retribution, she said:
I’d earned my way back into my own good graces by standing up to him. I’d confronted my fear and walked away with my pride intact.

And:
I’d faced my nemesis and gained strength and confidence in the process. I thought with satisfaction that no one could take that away from me.

And lastly, she embraced forgiveness:
Alice asked, “Do you feel better now?”
I said, “I do. I can finally forgive him.”
“And yourself? Can you forgive yourself?”
I thought about this for a moment. I wasn’t sure it was as much about forgiving myself as it was about accepting that it was a part of my past. I was ready to put it all behind me and move on. I said, “Yes.”

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