Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Writer's World Wednesday - Playing the "What If" Game

Yesterday Gina Welborn and I spent ten hours brainstorming the subplot for the first story of a three book series we want to pitch to publishing houses.  All told, she and I probably have forty hours a piece invested in putting a proposal together with no guarantee anyone will want to buy it.  But before we can pitch it to a publisher, we have to know what's going to happen in the story, and before we know what's going to happen, we have to play the "What If?" game.  A lot!

Gina and I play "What If?" almost every week.  We meet for coffee, tea, and hours of hashing out characters and plots.  What if a character did this; what if she had to deal with that; and what if everything in his world changed when something else happened?  Some are for her stories exclusively, some are for mine, but lately it's for the joint venture.

The more I play the "What if?" game, the greater sense I have of how God deals with me.  The first rule of the game is this: Know your Character.  The point of this is to be able to predict how she'll respond to a given situation, because her response dictates the next plot point.  As an author, you need to know her strengths and weaknesses, but mostly you need to know which character flaw you are going to force her to change over the course of the story.  People don't change easily; it takes a great deal of pressure to force them out of the rut they are in onto the rocky ground of new territory.

God works with me the same way.  He knows me better than I know myself and what flaw needs pressure.  His goal isn't to put me through the wringer for the sake of watching me squirm, there is a specific purpose in mind.  He wants to shape me into someone who more closely reflects His image into this world.

What is your situation today?  Are you in the midst of a trial that's putting pressure on you to change?  Do you trust the "author and finisher" of your faith (Heb. 12:2)?

Until next time,

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