THERE'S NO GPS FOR LIFE
For anyone who doesn't know, I'm a writer and I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) back in November, where the goal was to write an entire novel within that month. The standard challenge defines a novel as 50,000 words, which breaks down to writing roughly 1,700 words a day in order to finish on time. (Spoiler: I got 50,000 words in November and then wrote an additional 10,000 in December to actually finish my novel.) It was a crazy (and also exhausting) experience, and I've only just now started reflecting on the whole thing as I've also been reading through that first draft in preparation for editing.
Something I've noticed now that I've been reading and writing more again is that you can very rarely predict the ending of a book from how it starts. I mean, there will always be the general predictions of a happy or suspenseful ending that you can make based on the genre, but exactly how the characters wind up getting from point A to point B is the very reason why you read the book to begin with. You read to see how the characters change, to see the struggles they go through, and eventually, to see the challenges they overcome to get to where they end up at the end of the book. And I think life is the same way. There's no GPS for life, telling us which turn comes next or what path we're supposed to take after this road, because we live it to see all the same things.
CHARACTERS CAN'T GO THROUGH RADICAL CHANGES OVER NIGHT, AND THE SAME GOES FOR US.
In writing, characters can't immediately go from being naive and immature to wise and poised in the span of a couple pages. The professionals would call that bad character development (as would many readers). It doesn't make sense to think that characters can go through these radical changes overnight, and I'm starting to think that the same thing goes for us.
Life is uncertain, but that's because it tends to hold some of the same twists and turns a good book does, all of them serving to refine and polish us just a little more. And just like in books, instead of dreading them and wishing we could skip over the trials, we need to embrace it.
At the risk of sounding cliche, I'm still going to say: each of us is living our own story, and (like me writing my novel for NaNoWriMo) we won't always have a perfectly scripted outline in front of us guiding us to each next step in succession. Sometimes, you just have to move and act in character and trust that you'll get where you need to be, because most likely that'll be the case. God's not crazy, and He has the outline. He just doesn't necessarily let us peek at it, because we're the characters in His story, and when was the last time an author let the characters in on what was about to happen next, especially if there's a plot twist coming up?
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME THE AUTHOR LET THE CHARACTERS IN ON A PLOT TWIST COMING UP?
I'll update some more once I've read through more of this draft and start getting closer to editing, but, guys, this is EXCITING. I've been working on this novel for years now, and this is the first full draft in a long time. I can't wait to share some of the things I've been writing with you all. Until then, I might have some poetry or other assorted prose up my sleeve later this week. It's a long weekend after all.
What have you all been up to recently? Any creative projects in the works? And also...now that I'm getting back into the swing of reading and writing, anything you want to see me read or write? Let me know in the comments!