Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's Your Story?

As writers we have stories we want to tell. Some stories are sad but some are empowering. Some are hysterical while others are pathetic. We share ideas and experiences through powerful “what if” types of circumstances. We imbue our characters with heroic traits and fatal flaws because we all possess a portion of both within us and the story we tell is in many ways an extension of ourselves. We tell stories to entertain but also to educate and when all is said and done our goal is to make some kind of difference in the life of the reader, and if we accomplish that in even the smallest way, with a laugh or a cry, or sharing an “ah ha” moment, we feel successful.


Sometimes we forget that not only do we tell stories, we ARE a story that is still being written. Our lives, our pains, our successes and failures all make up the story of who we are. Every person is a story. Some stories may seem more compelling than others but that is largely due to the way in which the story is told and of course, the ending. Some stories are short while others are long but we are all in the process of writing our own story. Are we writing the kind of triumphant story we hope for or are we living a tragedy?


Are we the hero or the villain? Are we the main character or do we relegate ourselves to the periphery of our own lives, content to stand in the background to be controlled by the dominant forces around us? Do we succumb to our fatal flaws or do we overcome them in a way that would make a reader cheer and cry for joy because of our success?


Our characters grow organically in ways we never imagined. This often happens because of unique circumstances that force them to face challenges they didn’t anticipate. We too will have opportunities to grow as we face challenges we would rather skip. Life cannot be planned out perfectly to avoid every danger and pain, sadness and heartbreak, but like our characters we can have a plan. We can and should have a destination in our mind that guides us through our trials; otherwise we will wander aimlessly as mere subjects to be acted upon.


Would we care about the Lord of the Rings trilogy if Frodo Baggins gave up before finishing his mission? We couldn’t really blame him could we? His task was difficult, seemingly impossible. He could have quit, easily. He had numerous setbacks, but what value would that story have? Likewise, what value will our story have if we allow our flaws to dominate our lives? Conversely, how thrilling will our story be when we embrace our inner hero?


This is the story of who I am… The ending is yet to be written.


Lolawid said...

Beautiful, much needed post! Thank you!

Steve Westover said...

Thank you.