I was at a major roadblock on Miriam a couple of weeks ago. I had tried to blame it on interruptions and poor time management, but the truth was…I was simply terrified of trying to pour a landslide of information into a nickle-sized hole.
That’s when the Lord led me to a little file tucked away on an author’s loop–a link I’ve never visited since I’ve been a member. Isn’t God’s timing perfect?
It’s Elementary, My Dear Blackstock
|100 pages||100 pages||100 pages||100 pages|
The New York Times best-selling author, Terri Blackstock, had uploaded a file called “Organizing Plots and Subplots” several years ago in which the above little chart appeared. It may not look revolutionary to you, but it rocked my writing world–and shook loose the log-jam in my brain.
Eating the Elephant
Miriam‘s story had become so HUGE in my mind, I couldn’t wrap a plot around it. Breaking it into 100-page chunks helped. Terri explained that Plot Points (PP1 and PP2) are events that turn the plot. I chose specific EVENTS in Miriam’s life that would “turn” the plot at the 100-page mark and the 300-page mark–at the end of Act I and Act II. PP2 also happens to be the climactic moment.
However, I’d also read James S. Bell’s book, Write Your Novel From the Middle, that emphasized the critical Mid-Point at the page 200 mark. It’s the event that pushes Miriam to look at herself in the proverbial mirror, when she begins the transformation that will carry her to the climax and beyond.
Each character in this 400-page book has its own “character arc,” a visual reminder of their personal transformation throughout the story. Like each human being, a fictional character must be transformed on their journey or they have no purpose, no goal or destination.
Where will Miriam’s journey end? I’m not exactly sure. Crazy, huh? I know approximately where she’ll stand, who she’ll be with, what she’ll become. But exactly…nope. It’s as much a surprise to me as it will be to you! I love that.
One thing I do know. She’ll be stronger. Because my God is in the business of taking the weak things of this world and making them stronger.
Weak Made Strong
This whole Miriam plotting experience has confirmed a lesson it seems I need to relearn frequently.
It’s not up to me.
Yes, I need to put in the time and effort to do my part in this writing gig, but inspiration and creativity come from the Lord. Sometimes I feel incredible unworthy. I don’t have a writing degree. I don’t know all the fancy writing terms. And I don’t even WANT to be famous. It’s during those times I appreciate these verses:
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
When I focus on me and my ability, I forget God’s in charge, and I get overwhelmed by deadlines and worn-out by to-do lists.
When I focus on God and His ability, I remember He’s in control and feel His peace and presence.
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
- Like us, characters are transformed or they have no purpose, no goal or destination.
- I need to put in time and effort, but inspiration and creativity come from the Lord.
- When I focus on me and my ability, I forget God is in charge and get overwhelmed.
- When I focus on God and His ability, I remember God is in control and feel His peace and presence.
- Who is your focus today, God or yourself?