Story-writing and Providence

As I keep working on a long story with friends this summer, I have discovered that one of the chief things I try to do to characters is to break them. I am continually throwing them into very difficult situations, and forcing them to meet and get to know other characters who they can't stand, and generally making their lives miserable.

Why do I do this?

It's not just because I'm sadistic and enjoy driving my co-writers insane (although I do sometimes enjoy that too...) but it's because that is really the only way in which the story works. Characters, even ones that I designed, do not typically want to do what they should. If I leave them where they're comfortable, they never go anywhere. A lot of them would never interact, and there would be very little depth or richness to the story. They grow through the things I force them into.

Breaking reveals what they are made of.

Over and over, I keep pushing them until I find their flaws, burning that out of them, and making them into the characters I want, pulling their threads together into the story that I want.

The analogy could be stretched too far, I'm sure, but it is giving me a greater appreciation for how God molds us.

I don't just give my characters tough stuff to the limits of their endurance. I push them past. God throws us into places where we need Him.

My characters (and whoever is trying to work with them to write the story) tend to hate it. But it works. It makes everything make sense, and it does make the characters more real. It makes the story work properly.

I am very glad, though, that God knows what He's doing. I stumble my way through words and scenes, wanting to bash my head against the wall and wanting to throttle most of the characters. After a while, pieces fall into place and I'm happy then, but it doesn't mean that I know how the next conversation fits into the overall picture.

God does.

So I am content.


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