I started reading a new book on writing, which may be a theme here but that's all right with me. I've found that I learn by reading and then doing, so the more information that I can cram into my brain that eventually finds its way onto a page (or into some facet of my life), the better. Whether it's writing, business, productivity, or faith related, I've come to better appreciate the value of nonfiction books over the years. Fiction is great, but there is something about picking up a well thought out nonfiction piece that can get me thinking about how I approach people, projects, and problems. Even when I'm reading a book about writing, I find these weird—or perhaps not so weird—connections to real life.
So as I'm reading about plot and structuring in novels, I begin to make connections back to the plot and structure of our lives. The basic concept is that every story has a beginning, middle, and end (hang with me, I know that this is really obvious stuff). If you think about a typical day, it is structured much the same way.
Beginning: Introduce the story world and characters. First fifth of the story.
Middle: Conflict, pursuit of objective. This is the bulk of the story.
End: Climax, fulfillment of objective. Final quarter of the story.
You wake up in the morning and spend some time readjusting to being awake. You address the day, and often there is an objective, or list of objectives to pursue (even if it's just finding food and trying not to be bored). You go about the bulk of your day in pursuit of your objective, which you either succeed or fail to realize at the end of the day, where we see the fruits of the day play out.
You could take it a step further back and say that this same structure applies to your life. Childhood is the beginning, learning about the world and how you fit into it. Then there is this long period of pursuing the objectives you have lined up for yourself, or that have been lined up for you. You grow old, and in the climax you see the results of those pursuits, and hope that it is a knockout ending. And there is the challenge. There is the nugget that I pulled from this long-winded post.
How is your story shaping out? Will it be a knockout ending? Can you see the objectives you are pursuing, and have you ever wondered if they are the right objectives? A poor story includes bland characters that go about doing the same things that have been done time and time before them. The best stories are the ones where there is something at stake, where the character steps out and does something to move the story along.
Don't let your life just happen to you. Figure out what you need to be doing to create the story that you want to tell through your own life, and pursue that objective. Move your story forward toward an ending that will be a true knockout, and don't be afraid if there is danger along the way. The best endings are won through and in spite of the dangers, never in fear of them.
In related news, more of the novel is live HERE. While I realize that it lacks in both plot and structure at this point, I hope you still enjoy it as I learn how to tell more compelling stories. I also realize that I forgot to post this yesterday (although, in my defense, I did update the story yesterday, I just didn't tell anyone about it), but a day late is better than never.