A story begins with an idea, one must take hold of this idea and mold it into, well, a mold. Press in the edges carve the indents, carefully line up how you want everything to be, and when you think it’s done and stand back to admire your work, you have only begun. This mold must be filled with words to shape, you must have individual molds for cities, and especially characters, objects of importance even. These molds will be outlines, ideas, descriptions, and plotlines.
The molds are filled by story, filled with the words. Bleeding your heart onto the keys is perhaps the best way to put it, as I read from Ted Dekker once, it’s the only way that makes sense to me.
Giving birth to a story can be a painful thing, especially when the story means something deep to the writer, seldom does it not. A story can be dark or light, but it will have sorrow, and with the sorrow in the story, the writer’s emotion will flow. With each character’s pitfall, a writer will find a broken arm or a scar on their face. No one else will see them, but they are there. When a character succeeds, the writer will rejoice with them, filled with a joy that seems foolish to others. When two characters grow close, the writer’s eyes and longing will be opened to those around them more than before. When a character ends a journey, the writer has traveled it with them. When something goes terribly wrong last minute, or a character causes an unforeseen twist, often the writer hadn’t seen it coming and is taken by the suspense just as much, even if they had been planning it. This is writing.
And when you write a story, you either become one of your characters, multiple characters, or even all of them. They’re pieces of their author.
Like we’re pieces of our Creator, for He created THIS story. The story we all live in, and made us in His image.
And thus, a story is born, but it doesn’t end there.
A story is a journey, and a story will teach you like a journey, whether you lead it, or you’re following. Whether you’re writing or reading it.