I started a painting today. Not much. Mostly just laying in some paint for the background. But I have the picture in my mind. It’s already complete, with shadows, highlights, and a message.
Like the story of our lives—or any story, really—we must begin somewhere. Lay the foundation.
So far, in studying the Plot Skeleton, we’ve talked about story versus plot. Our hidden, inner needs versus our obvious needs and the path we take to accomplish our goals. We’ve talked about beginning with a hook to entice an audience.
Today we will talk about beginning with the main character’s ordinary world. Act One revolves around introducing the character’s normal, everyday world, just as it is.
Why is it crucial that we know the character intimately before the real story begins? Why spend 1/4th of the book on this?
Think about it. Do you really care if your neighbor’s mailman’s best friend’s dog has fleas? Not likely.
But what if your 4 year-old granddaughter is terrified of the dark and suffers from nightmares unless her puppy sleeps on the floor beside her bed? And what if her mom is going to get rid of the puppy because it has fleas? Now you care, right?
So what’s the diff? This is your granddaughter we are talking about!
When we write our stories, we want our readers to care deeply for the main character. So much so that, regardless of flaws and setbacks, the readers will cheer the character on toward her goal as she faces challenges and overwhelming obstacles throughout the story.
How can we apply this step on the Plot Skeleton to our daily lives?
Let me share a personal experience. A little over five years ago, I lost my husband and best friend to cancer. I’m not going to lie. I still yearn for life to return to what I once knew. Of course, I know that’s not possible. But I liked it better. I felt secure and loved—like I belonged.
Today, I feel like an outsider looking in on the life I’m living. I remember the person I used to be and I long to be her again, but I’m afraid to go there. Too many memories. Not enough balance, yet, between bitter and sweet.
I’ve recently begun attending a new church. Thought maybe it would be easier to get involved where there weren’t so many reminders of the old life. But I’m struggling like ever to know and be known. To feel like one of the crowd. One of the family. I’m sure most of the cause lies in my insecurity and fear of truly opening my heart again. But the same walls I’ve built to keep others out have locked me in. Alone. Hurting. Longing for someone’s arms to hold me. For someone to know the struggle I’m walking through. Someone to kneel in prayer with me, to reach out to God.
As I think this through, I realize how much I need to stop hiding in my shell and purpose to come out and get to know others in my new family of God. For there are so many others who are walking alone. Longing to know and be known.
Ordinary world. Occupations, church fellowships, neighborhood chats, family gatherings. Before we can pour Christ’s love into anyone’s life, we must get to know them. Let them know we understand and care.
Someone once said, “They don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”
Let’s get out there and take time to get to know someone’s ordinary world. Ask God to lead us to the hurting. Risk opening our hearts, not to be ministered to, but to minister to others.
As I am preaching to myself, I heartily say, “Amen and amen.”
STUCK in your Comfort Zone?
2/5/2018 10:04:00 PM by: Barb Haley
There's a Song in the Air!
12/15/2017 8:20:00 PM by: Barbara E. Haley
When you think you're finished, and then . . . God!
8/6/2017 8:18:00 PM by: Barb Haley
Those Branches HAD to Go!
5/30/2017 12:25:00 PM by: Barb
Eight Years Later ...
1/9/2017 1:00:00 AM by: Barb
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
12/16/2016 11:58:00 PM by: Barb
O Holy Night
12/15/2016 11:49:00 PM by: Barb
A White Christmas
12/13/2016 11:54:00 PM by: Barb
We Wish You a Merry Christmas!
12/12/2016 12:04:00 AM by: Barb
We Three Kings
12/11/2016 1:00:00 AM by: Barb
Birthday of a King
12/10/2016 12:54:00 AM by: Barb
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
12/9/2016 12:46:00 AM by: Barb
12/8/2016 12:49:00 AM by: Barb
Joy to the World
12/7/2016 10:16:00 PM by: Barb
Do You Hear What I Hear?
12/6/2016 8:05:00 PM by: Barb
O Little Town of Bethlehem
12/5/2016 8:02:00 PM by: Barb
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
12/4/2016 7:59:00 PM by: Barb
Angels From the Realms of Glory
12/3/2016 7:55:00 PM by: Barb
12/2/2016 7:51:00 PM by: Barb
A Closer Look at the Christmas Carols
12/1/2016 7:47:00 PM by: Barb
When Prayers Take a LONG TIME to be Answered
10/19/2016 10:27:00 PM by: Barb Haley
Anybody Up for a Bit of Transformation?
9/24/2016 12:32:00 AM by: Barb Haley
Diving in the Wind
8/16/2016 by: Barb
Because I Can!
7/12/2016 by: Barb
6/30/2016 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
No Help From Me
6/12/2016 by: Barb
Day One: Do I Need a Blindfold, Lord?
6/10/2016 by: Barb
Depression? I'd Kick It if I Could
6/9/2016 by: Barb
God Has Our Backs
2/8/2016 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
The Winner Is...
11/30/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Sample sections from A Second Wind
11/28/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Has Anyone Heard From the Lord Lately?
9/13/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
The Emotional Strain of Chronic Pain
9/8/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Why does God test us?
1/29/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Inciting Incident-What?s That?
9/1/2014 by: Barb
Act One?the Ordinary World
8/24/2014 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Tell Me the Story of Jesus
8/14/2014 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Story or Plot?
8/8/2014 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
4/15/2014 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Words of Love Last Forever!
7/19/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Alzheimer's-Not the Only Way to Let Go
7/9/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
The Hunger Games
6/26/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
What Would God Say?
6/13/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Keeping It All Inside
6/3/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
The Rest of the Story
5/29/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Trust and Obey
5/25/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
5/22/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
One Layer at a Time
5/17/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
5/15/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb