Writing a Better Story (Part 1)

Blogger graphs the page views from this blog, and I’ve found that it has a unnerving correlation to my personal up and downs.  The best parts of my year have huge peaks then there are massive valleys during the hard times, when I want to write, to express myself, to shout something, but nothing comes out.
Speaking of writing, I have been thinking a good deal lately about stories.  In particular, the story that is your life.

Do you realize that?  That this life is a story, and we are in the process of shaping the rising action, anticipating the climax, and choosing the setting.  Arguably, it is God doing the writing but I will discuss this later.

I have a friend who put it this way: “We define ourselves as characters with our actions, our inactions, so on, so forth.  And really morality is merely doing exactly what your protagonist would do.”

I tend to agree.  I’m not promoting a frantic, Willy Loman, “I haven’t got a thing in the ground” reaction to the story idea.  A life lived solely for the purpose of leaving a legacy will most likely look very impressive.  However, a character that has spent so much time focused on the appearance of their actions will miss the actual living part.

I am promoting an intentional life.  What can you remember from your story so far?  Which moments stand out?  If you were weeding out all of the commonplace events and stringing together the significant ones would it make a good story?  Would you make a good protagonist, one that you would root for and relate to?  It doesn’t matter if it would make the bestseller list or end up in the free box at garage sales.  What matters is if it is a story that you would like reading, and inevitably, one that you wouldn’t mind reading to God.

At the end of any book, it usually isn’t the success of the mission, the resolution of the inherent conflict, or whether the boy gets the girl that makes an impact on me.  If it is any sort of quality book, it is the personal success (that is, the development of their character towards a better end) that creates an enticing plot line, significant climax, and satisfying end to any book.  (Side note: I have a habit of aligning myself with the wrong character in any given book, which my English class was ever so kind to point out to me.)

The reward you get from a story is always less than you thought it would be, and the work is harder than you imagined.  The point of a story is never about the ending, remember.  It’s about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle. [Donald Miller]

So envision what you want life to be.  Decide to like the main character, which, by the way, is you. Take the opportunities to write a better story.  Don’t shy away from confrontation and changes.  But be wise, be careful, and seek God’s will continuously.  The only problem with writing a better story, is that it might just work.

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