As I prepare the material for this evening’s writers’ meeting, my mind drifts back in time to an event I can’t relive, can’t change. It was decades ago. I’m no magician. I can’t go back and undo the past; I can only live with the results.
Then I jerk my mind back to focus on the task at hand: preparing notes for the meeting.
We will be discussing the 2nd part of Act II tonight and the Hero’s journey. I’m going over an email a member sent sharing her ideas on this. She writes, “We either go with the flow, give up and be miserable, or we take the risk and go on a journey no matter what we leave behind.”
And my mind wanders to the past again, thinking about my life and comparing it to the Hero’s journey, to the structure of a story. I went with the flow and gave up. I know where that led.
To this, I make a note:
When creating the structure of a story, think about your life and when you stepped out of the normal or decided, “Even though this is scary and it’s going to change my life for ever, I need to do this because myself needs this to survive, breathe … to be happy. Even when no one else understands.”
After months (years actually, but the worst have been the past six months), I’ve stepped out of the normal. It was a small step because a large step could bring the mountains crashing down, and I’m not ready for that. However, this small step has brought some peace because it was an action instead of a thought. My 34 years of thoughts accomplished nothing. This small action could lead to something huge if the right circumstances arrive.
I jerk back to the present and write on the bottom of the page of notes: Our life is a series of stories, and each segment in our life is a full book and contains all the elements of a story: Act I, Act II, Act III. It has a beginning, middle and an end where things are resolved. Unfortunately for real life, that resolution may not be the story-book ending. In real life, we fail and nothing changes. We are thrust back to the normal where our story began.
If this happens in your book, rewrite the ending. Many readers won’t accept it. After dragging your hero through misery and torturing them to the brink of death, reward them with some measure of success.