Monday, December 14, 2009

How To Create An Enchanting Story and Life

Sometimes I wonder how it will all turn out. I already know the answer to that, but it’s not an answer I want to know. What I know is that it all ends, at least this particular life at this particular time in history. I just don’t know the particulars of the how and when.

Ok. So I know that it all will end. Now what? I live that’s what I do. How I live with this knowledge is what makes all the difference as to what kind of life I’ll have.

The novel ‘Everything Matters!’ by Ron Currie, Jr., speaks to this quite profoundly. This author’s words have helped me to see that everything does matter and that by living as if this is the case I can live a deep and meaningful life.

This place between knowing and not knowing is a point of tension. This is the place where you want your reader to live as they read your story. When creating a work of fiction this is the best way to enchant. Your reader may think they know how it will all turn out, but they’re not sure so they keep turning the page. How you get to the end is also unknown and you can pull them along with any manner of plot lines as long as there are enough twists and turns to keep them guessing.

But if you really want to mesmerize them get them to the point of knowing, but not wanting to know. (I think this is where we came in…) There is something in us humans that likes the macabre. It’s that part of us that slows down and stares at an accident on the freeway. This is where the real tension lies. Though things exist that we don’t want to face we find ourselves turning the pages even as our heart beats so fast it’s in our throat. This doesn’t just apply to the horror genre. There is plenty in real life to scare us. This need not be manipulative as we see in Currie’s novel. Facing our fears is liberating. The fears give way to the real feelings just below the surface. That deep sorrow now set free can lift us to a place where we simply know that it is going to end. So there is no sense wasting time in the fear and we can let go of our need to have it work out our way. It all just is and this is ok. Now we can get on with life and enjoy the story.

Words used in the service of art are of an even greater service to humanity. Not only do they create worlds, they help shape the way we view our own. Having read ‘Everything Matters!’ I will attempt to live my life as if it all matters because now I’m beginning to realize that it does.

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