Monday, April 16, 2012

Your Story's Pacing

Everyone has the same twenty-four hours in a day, where we differ is by what we do with and in those hours; it’s what sets us apart.  Too many times I’ve spent (wasted) many of my hours worrying about what was to occur in the hours to come, or fretting over what has already been, not being or living in the moment.  We’re all guilty of doing this, not only in our lives, but for us writers also in our stories.   We get too concerned with what’s to happen next, and in our patience we don’t fully color in the scene we’re currently working on, therefore leaving our characters under-developed and our pacing rushed.  On the flip side to that, sometimes we also bog down our stories by filling in too much; explaining what was or what is or foreshadowing of what is to come, often repeating what is already apparently clear, and stopping the forward momentum of our story.   

What can we do about it?  The answer is so simple, yet so complex.  It is simply - stop.  We can’t pause until we realize we can’t change what has already been, nor do we have control of what is to come.  We think we do.  We convince ourselves that we are the pilots of our own ships of destiny, but we’re not.  Just as we (writers) believe we are the creators of our own stories, when we are merely scribes.  When we try to fit stories into our own ideas of what we think they should be, that’s when things don’t work.  We get frustrated, annoyed and agitated, often unable to see exactly where the problems lay, because we try to control it too much, often stripping our characters and diverting our story lines.  We should let go, and let the story take us where it will, live in the moment, fully be present in each scene, let the characters form themselves and let our gift flow freely from and through us.  THEN, when it has all tumbled out of us, we use our skill and mastery of the English language to conform the story into a shape that can be easily understood and received by others, while maintaining the integrity of the story and characters we were blessed to experience.   

We are the storytellers; the scribes.  It is our job to relay the story we received, accurate and as colorful as possible, to those who will hear it.  We are also the storytellers of our lives – living as we were created to live.  To do that, we must live in each moment, for each moment has a purpose to the main plot.  Don’t rush your own story, for if you do, you will miss key elements, minute descriptions and true characterizations.  Your life is a great adventure, but you are the scribe that expresses that adventure to the world around you.   Don’t bog it down by being unable to let go of the past, or wasted in fear, worry or anxiety with concern for the future.  Live in the moment – fully.

Till Next Time,
~T.L. Gray

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