I’m in the process of brainstorming my next book, including coming up with a list of bad things that could happen to my characters. 

Am I mean? Do I have a sadistic streak?

No. I’ve simply learned as a writer that stories work best when you start with flawed characters and move them toward a “happily-ever-after” ending where they’ve overcome their issues and grown up on the inside.

But, change isn’t easy and it isn’t our first choice. The circumstances need to get difficult enough that it’s more painful for our characters to stay the way they are than to take the risk to become what they could be. This is all the ups and downs in the middle of my story. The challenges that force my characters to re-examine their priorities and make life-changing decisions. There may be (er, will be) worries and tears along the way, but I know what I know they’ll make it to the end. I’m rooting for them and so, I hope, are my readers.

After all, I won’t give them more trouble than they can handle. I’m only trying to nudge them down the right path to reach the intended destination. It’s for their own good. They’ll thank me later. (Well, they would if they were real and existed outside my mind, right?)

That sounds a lot like life. A flawed charcter (me) wrestling with all sorts of issues and on a journey full of twists and turns. And the Author and perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:2) who knows the ending but still cares enough to laugh and cry with me along the way.

What about you? Do you think the “bad things” are necessary in the middle of a story? Why or why not? Do you believe there is an Author in control of the plotline?

Plotting Life
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2 thoughts on “Plotting Life

  • August 5, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I do believe the bad things are necessary – though sometimes frustrating when you’re in it or reading it 🙂 There are some stories that I have put down because the author ticked me off with what they did to the characters 🙂 LOL! Not often but it happens. I’m so glad that God isn’t sitting on his throne thinking of bad things to hurl our way, like we do to our characters! Humans are stubborn. We don’t learn the easy way.

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  • August 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Yes, the ‘bad things’ are necessary. They provide strong contrast to the happy events. Of course, a balance of the two tends to make material people are willing and eager to keep reading.

    In life, I wish I could keep clearer focus on the past good things during the present problems. I’m prone to be aware of difficulties sooner than possibilities. I wish I didn’t need quite so much personal rewriting.

    I am thankful that the Author won’t leave plot holes and that the manuscript that is myself will not languish unfinished.

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