My initial forays into novel writing were uninhibited, seat-of-the-pants adventures. I set my characters loose, and together we stumbled from mishap to mishap. Eventually my characters broke into a full gallop and ran away with the storyline. The random twists and turns ruined some meaningful takeaways, but I made do.
Then came the day I completely lost control. My hero and heroine folded their arms and refused to act, speak, or think. The grand finale I’d envisioned crashed and burned against my writer’s block. I knew I needed help.
Craft books sold me on the necessity of planning ahead but were not specific enough to help my WIP (*work in progress.) Fortunately, I found My Book Therapy***, which provided a goldmine of writing articles, checklists, and how-to’s. MBT opened my eyes to how the pros approach their stories.
A savvy author delves deep into a character’s heart to discover the lie festering there. The writer then crafts a story problem designed to address that lie and leads the protagonist straight into trouble. The ensuing obstacles, black moment, and climax invite the heroine to grow into a stronger, better person—the person God intended her to be.
In order to bring the readers along for the ride, the author withholds information, revealing what is needed only when it will have the most impact. This is called suspense.
Learning to create suspense led to my epiphany—some of a writer’s best work is done by keeping words off the page. So every book contains a touch of mystery.
Immediately, Ephesians 1:8a-10 came mind. “With all wisdom and understanding, [God] made known to us the mystery of his will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”
Even though these verses say that God “made known” His will, the word “mystery” makes me uncomfortable.
That word tempts me to doubt God’s planning ability.
That word tempts me to doubt God’s heart.
But my new understanding of suspense gives me hope.
The word mystery does NOT mean that the end is uncertain, that God is stumped, or that He needs our help to figure things out.
It simply means that some of God’s best work is done by “keeping details off the page.”
He reveals what we need to know exactly when we need to know it.
When we’re experiencing the twists and turns of life, God is not surprised. We can trust the Author and Finisher of our faith to ordain the events of our lives. He puts each of us in place to play our determined parts.
And He will ensure that everything turns out right for our good and His glory.
***Joining My Book Therapy is the best deal out there for aspiring authors! I love the weekly chats & Spreecasts. Check it out here.
This week I’m linking up with Inspire Me Monday, Miscellany Monday, Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Unite @Rich Faith Rising, The Better Mom, Modest Mondays, GraceLaced Mondays, Teach Me Tuesdays, Gratituesdays, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Teaching What Is Good, What I Learned This Week, Heart and Home, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Tuesday Muse, Raising Homemakers, Deep Roots at Home, Wise Woman Builds Her House, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Wednesday Hop @Adorned from Above, Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Thoughtful Thursday, Raising Mighty Arrows, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Desire to Inspire,Thrive @Home Link Up, Grace at Home, Faithful Friday Blog Hop, Faith-filled Friday, Fellowship Friday, Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday, Aloha Friday Blog Hop, Womanhood w/ Purpose Friday Link Up, TGIF, Friday Company Girl Coffee Link Up, Essential Friday Link-up, Sunday Collective, and Heart Reflected.