Sunday, August 16, 2015

Stories: where do they come from?

I’ve seen several articles about story ideas – where to find them, how to get them, how to figure out which ones are good and which ones are not. But I must admit haven’t read any of them.

I haven’t read any of them because I don’t have any trouble coming up with a story idea. In fact, sometimes it feels like they seek me out, tackle me to ground and won’t release me until I write them down.

To borrow a phrase from Jeff Gerke – I’m a plot-firster. So What is going to happen in a story comes easily to me. Sometimes a little too easy. I am a cautious person by nature. I prefer a steady trickle of information coming to me about a story.

from Fotolia by kevron2001
Often, though, I get blasted with a tidal wave of images, names, plot twists and resolutions all at one time. The experience leaves me gasping for air and trying to put the pieces together in its wake. 

The tough part for me is character development. Because as the characters become more fully developed, I begin to see them. “That’s good,” I can hear you say.

Well, yes and no. It’s good for the reason you’re thinking. The better you see a character the easier it is to write him or her.

The not good part for me is as they become more developed, more aware of their existence, they become very demanding. I can almost see them standing in the corner with their arms crossed or hands on their hips, a single eyebrow cocked with disapproval. They just stand there waiting for me to write their stories. You’d think they could be a little more understanding. I mean really!

Back to the question at hand… So where do stories come from? I can only answer for myself and my single largest source for stories is the Bible. The Holy Spirit is such a visual writer. There are tons of images that illustrate Truth (Jesus, His character) throughout all 66 books of the Bible.

Proverbs is loaded with mini-scenarios that could be fleshed out as a full-fledged novel or at least a short story. I’m often inspired by what I learn during Bible studies, too. A personal revelation turns into a seed of a story that illustrates another aspect of who God is and why He is God alone.

Ultimately, I must credit God as the source of all my story ideas. The very author and finisher of our faith. How loving and how generous He is that He would share Himself with us in “story?”

Thank you, Jesus, for not keeping your story to yourself. May every story I write reflect your good news and bring you glory.

Humbly submitted by H.T. Lord

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