Archive | February 2022

Creating a new story outside the box

Once upon a time there was a little girl who dreamed of becoming a writer and a teacher.  All she ever wanted to do was write and teach, to intertwine her love of both into messages of hope and faith, that would resonate with readers seeking resolution, inspiration, guidance or answers. She would create stories born in her imagination, borrowed from real life experiences, shaped by what if’s and stolen from broken hearts.  She would teach lessons through her stories that would nurture, heal, and transform lives. 

To create a new story, the writer begins with a character who wants something. The story will describe the character’s internal and external journey toward getting what he or she wants (or doesn’t get, as stories don’t always have happy endings, only ones that make sense, or satisfy). The author keeps her character’s struggle to get something she desperately wants in mind, as she builds her story’s framework by answering the following questions:

Who is the main character (protagonist)? What is her everyday life like?

What does she want? Is there an extenuating event that calls her to step outside the safety of her self-made box?

What is she willing to do to get what she wants? What won’t she do?

How does her weaknesses (fears, doubts, erroneous zones, and such)  prevent her from achieving her goal?

What obstacles, internal or external, obstruct her?

Does she finally overcome the obstacles or is she unable to get past them?

How is the character changed as a result of her struggle?

The character will follow a path called the story arc, beginning with the extenuating event that sets the story in motion. This is followed by the rising action, with every scene in the story’s progression raising the stakes a little at a time, while increasing the conflict and tension. Subsequently, the story reaches a climactic turning point at which time, from there on forward, the character will be transformed in some way (positively or negatively) as a result of her internal and external journey told through the story’s events. Consequently, the final act is in the end, or denouement, wrapping the story up, and threading together both the story’s outcome and its theme.   

In life, we create a new story when we want to start over, move on, improve our life or trash our old story.  We begin by deciding what type of story we want to create: a victim’s story or a story of empowerment. As Randy Gage, American author and motivational speaker says;  it is the choice we make that makes the difference for us.  Like the fictional stories we write as authors, we can make our own autobiography about a victim who can’t escape himself, or a story of empowerment and success. 

We know stories are not just about a sequence of events; they must go somewhere. Similarly, our own lives are not just about a sequence of events, they go somewhere and it is up to us to decide toward which direction they move. The external events of our lives do not dictate which direction we take, they merely act as triggers.  It is the stuff inside us that carves out our roadmap.

Dawn Romeo, a bestselling author, wellness and life coach, psychotherapist, and personal development trainer makes the following point;  The external circumstances of your life right now are less relevant than your internal subjective view of yourself. The way we feel and the images we hold in the forefront of our mind manifests in the life we live. Referring to something Henry Ford said to further illustrate this point , she says;  Whether you think you can or think you can’t– you’re right.

That same little girl who dreamed of becoming a writer continues to dream of writing and teaching, but unlike in her old story in which she doubted herself, fearing change and Robert Frost’s road less traveled by, never daring to step outside her safe little box, she is now creating a brand new story that holds hope for the many changes she learned will always come, and faith that she will confront those changes as a victor, leaving the victim behind, back inside the box all alone. Through her ongoing journey, she learned, and teaches her readers ,that the new story we write is no longer centered around the apprehension to step outside the box, because in the new story we create there should be no box at all.