Monday, September 30, 2013

Starting a New Chapter

Every writer understands the thrill of starting a new chapter, especially in a novel that’s been a huge labor of love, a struggle, something that’s required a lot of inflection, research, and pain. With the start of a new section, it’s like there’s been this small reprieve.  You’ve got the sense of completing some task, obstacle, quest, event or emotional scene, and now it’s time to move on to the next part of the saga, able to put that part behind you.  What we don’t often realize in our jubilation - starting a new chapter isn’t the same as writing a whole new book; it’s an extension of the same story.  There are still threads to be tied, characters that need to be developed and plots that need to unfold.  No matter how much we’d like to jump out of the same story and start over fresh, we have to see it to the end – just like our own lives.
I’d love to be able to jump out of my story and start a whole new one; reinvent myself and plop right into a new adventure, but I can’t.  My story has its own history, its own plot line and its own character development. The only difference, I’m not the author; I’m one of the characters.  I don’t have the power to change my story, rewrite my earlier chapters, scrap the whole manuscript and start over from scratch.  Part of me doubts I even have the power to finish the story as I’d like, because I have no control over the plot or the actions of the other characters.  The only thing I truly have any control over is how my character responds to the things around her.
Just so you know - I’m pretty damned angry at the author for writing this particular tragedy.  Why couldn’t I have been in a comedy or a fluffy romance?  No, I have to be in an epic thriller; a dark fantasy; a nightmare.  All I have to say is there better be an awesome ending.  Come on, one character can only take so much tragedy in their life.  There has to be balance.  I’m not even sure if I’m the hero or villain.  I think most of us are the heroes in our own stories, but my character isn’t feeling very heroic lately.  Where’s my great love story, when do I get to save the day instead of always being in need of rescue?  When do I reach the climax and get to start seeing everything come together and find my happily-ever-after?  Will my story end up with a tragic ending?  What will I have learned at the end of my journey?  Will anyone shed a tear for me when my story is finally over?  Or will my story be one of those that have the reader scratching their heads and saying, “What a waste!”
I don’t want that kind of ending, and I surely don’t want to be in a tragedy any longer, or to save the day; I just simply want to smile.  I want to love and be loved in return.  I want to have a purpose and give purpose to someone else’s life.  I want to be someone’s bright spot.  So, this morning, I’m pleading with the Author of my particular story, as they go to write this new chapter - please show a little mercy and change my story to a happy adventure. Tone down the drama, create a wonderful, beautiful setting, and plot a miracle or two.  Oh, and if I might just make a tiny suggestion - Henry Cavill would make a wonderful leading man.  But, if his story and mine can’t mesh, at least send someone that will flame an unquenchable fire, be someone I can look up to, who inspires me, pushes and makes me a better person just being in my life.  But they’ve got to want, love and desire me.  I refuse to settle or accept someone who won’t fully love me back with their whole heart, being and passion. I deserve to be someone’s leading lady – not only their best friend, side kick or confidant.  I deserve the knight in shining armor who will go through hell, move heaven and earth, and fight the largest dragon with ME, even though I can save myself.  I don’t need rescued. I just need someone willing to fight beside me so I don’t have to fight alone. 
What does your story say about you?  What kind of novel is your life?  How would you like your story to change?  Think on these things.
Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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