I’ve spent several days this week talking to kids about writing and story. What makes a great story? Why is revision so important? How do we capture the good stuff and convey it as a word picture for the benefit of others?
It’s no wonder that while continuing my reading of G.K. Chesterton, his thoughts on story pulled me in.
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He says, in Orthodoxy, that “Life (according to the faith) is very like a serial story in a magazine: life ends with the promise (or menace) ‘to be continued in our next.'”
Recently, a friend of mine attended a play that left her feeling unsatisfied. It didn’t bring the resolve she was expecting. Not that we should always expect a happy resolve, but there seems to be something deep within us that yearns for a satisfying conclusion.
I believe these things are all connected, and Chesterton brings home the point. We, like he, experience life as a story. We are all, by our nature, storytellers. We can’t help ourselves. Stories are in everything. Music tells a story. So does a painting. And a photograph. “A picture says a thousand words.” Indeed.
We are a people of story, and this life is our great drama. And within the Christian life is a promise that our story will be like the stories we know and love. Yes, there will be drama. There will be conflict. There will be good and bad guys. There will be tension and resolve. We will learn and grow, laugh and weep.
Those stories that are well-fashioned beg for a sequel. Readers want to know what’s next, and they’ll stand in line waiting for Part II, rising early and missing breakfast to be the first to get a peek.
This is who we are. It all makes sense, including the part, “to be continued.”
This week I helped kids learn ways to bring vividness to their stories, of bringing their writing alive for their readers. I tried to help them find ways to make their stories more alive and life-giving.
If we do this story well, when we reach that last chapter and it’s time to close the book, we can be assured, as Christians, that the best is yet to come.
Q4U: What chapter remains unwritten in your life story?