Jeff: Ken I’m sorry, I can’t publish your book, the story’s convoluted; just not credible.
Ken: Jeff, I’ve poured hours into this story. Where’d I go wrong?
Jeff: Great authors know and not know the end of their story. They write from two opposite points of view — the author’s and the character’s; each vantage point having its own advantage. Because the author knows where he wants his character to go, he’s able to masterfully write every line and scene to move the character towards that predetermined goal.
Ken: Yes. Exactly! So where did I go wrong? I saw the entire story in my head like a picture painted on the canvas of my mind. I saw it all at once; the beginning, end and every scene in between. I then edited and often re-edited each scene bearing in mind all the other scenes.
Jeff: Yes, I could tell that. You’ve got the author part of the writing down pat. But to write a truly thrilling adventure you need suspense; risks, hopes, daring choices, and surprises. And to do that you need to forget all you know about the story as the author and get into the head and limited perspective of the character.
Ken: And I didn’t do that…? Please unpack that a little more for me.
Jeff: The character doesn’t know what will be and may only partially know what was, and therefore he must face the challenge of deciding the meaning of his past and boldly risking the choice of his next move towards his unknown future.
Ken: Ahhh. So I have to write the story as both the author and the character, from above the story and yet also from within it, knowing it all and not knowing it at all.
Jeff: Yes. Writing through the eyes of the character is a whole other story, because only then a genuine rich inner drama of restless dilemmas emerges. The character’s life is filled with turbulent highs and lows; emotional setbacks and courageous breakthroughs.
Ken: So the secret here is to conduct within me a creative dialogue between me as the author and me as the character writing the story together in a cooperative partnership.
Ken: Awesome. I’m lovin’ this! I’ve got a million ideas. I’ve….
Jeff: Whoa. Slow down a bit. Here’s the tricky part. You can’t get stuck in your author’s perspective nor lose yourself in your character. There needs to be a fine balance of pace and peace. As the character you’re anxious to get to the happy ending as soon as possible but as the author you cherish being in the glory of every dramatic living moment.
Ken: So to the character the goal is the end but to the author the goal is every step in the journey.
Jeff: Precisely. The author is fully present in every moment and in no rush to get to the end because his joy is in creatively expressing himself.
Ken: To the author no scene is better than the rest. Every scene is precious.
Jeff: Exactly. Because the author sees the whole story now, every scene is perfect and beautiful. The character, however, is mostly forward thinking and anxious to get to the future.
Ken: But isn’t this cruel? What right does the author have to frustrate the poor character? How painful.
Jeff: There! You just got lost in the character. There’s really nothing but the author. Within Capital AUTHOR are two facets in dialogue. Author and Character.
Ken: Whoa. Maybe this is a metaphor for us and God? And there’s really nothing but God?
Jeff: Why do you think it’s called His Story?