Monday, December 9, 2013

The Power of Creativity by Jo Wanmer

Should I kill Bobby, or let him live?
Will they all get down the mountain alive?

   These are a couple of the difficult questions I faced in November. Inspired by the NANoWriMo challenge, I opened a blank Word Document on first day of the month and started hitting keys. It was a last minute decision. However, I had a story, well a vague, broad idea of a story, in my head. 

So began my creative adventure. The illegible garbage on the page on day one morphed into real writing by day two. Encouraged, I continued. This was new territory. Although Though the Bud be Bruised is written as a fiction, it reflects exactly what happened in my life. There was no space for making up a scene. It was as it was.

This project however, didn't have such restrictions. The characters could do whatever they pleased, restricted only by my bad typing. They did crazy, unexpected things. I started to feel like a mother trying to control a group of unruly children. Then one day, Bobby just appeared in my manuscript. He bypassed my head and my character sheets and jumped out of a cave, frightening my heroine.

I considered removing him by using the back space bar. Its like turning back time really. There would be no evidence he even existed. But something about him fascinated me. So he wasn't annihilated. However, he disappeared, frightened by my unwelcoming attitude, I suspect. 

When he returned he was such a nice boy. However, before long, he knew too much and so he had to go. Yes, I killed him. No, killed is too strong a word. He died of a dreadful disease. Would it have been more humane to have deleted him at the beginning? Maybe, but to my surprise his name has popped up in the final chapters! Who would have guessed? Not me!

As much as my characters say and do the unexpected, I have to take final responsibility for all their actions. This book is close to being finished. There is only a few more chapters (of the first draft) to write (unless something unexpected happens again). Soon I can begin editing and rewriting, sorting this creative hotch potch of words into the great story that I know it can be. I'm hope I can bring all the threads of the plot into sharp focus.

Yes, I am the creator. I have created characters, actions, conversations, danger and solutions. As with a painting I can add, adjust, change moods and hues. Whole scenes could disappear. Others will be highlighted. I am looking forward to this process.

Likewise God is the creator, my creator. I've thought a lot about His creativity while writing this story. God is unrestricted by time. Likewise, authors are not confined by the book's time line. When we adjust things, the characters and readers aren't aware it was ever different. We can write scenes out of order, or even move them back or forward in time. Such is the power of a writer.

Can God do that as well? The Bible talks about the potter molding the clay. Are we, or the created things around us, in a similar position to our characters? Does God have a backspace button? Or a highlighting function? Bold? Delete?

Crazy questions I know. But He does know the end from the beginning and in my limited earth bound thinking, I don't understand that either. One thing I do know. God is BIG. Taking creative responsibility for a book has enhanced my understanding of him...just a little.

Next time I or my family are in some sort of dilemma, I'll be tempted to ask Him to use the back space button! Or to consider a rewrite. But then I remember that the dreadful experiences my heroine suffered were necessary to enable the fulfillment of her family's hopes and dreams.

Hmm. It is just as well I'm not God the creator. His job is too big for me. But writing has given me a deeper understanding of the original Author working all things together for my good. I'm so thankful that my life is in the hands of a wonderful loving Creator and not in the hands of a fickle author like me.

What about your writing experiences? I'd love to hear about your creative adventures.

Jo Wanmer lives in Queensland and loves watching the work of the Creator in the sky, the trees and the ocean. Currently she is working on a novel with the working title of 'El Shaddai'. As pastors, Jo and her husband, Steve, delight in watching God working in people's lives, bring healing and restoration; rewriting their futures. Her other passion is speaking about the greatest power on earth, the unconditional love of God. Jo is available for speaking engagements.




14 comments:

  1. That's great Jo. I love the way you wove your creativity into the analogy of God the Creator. It's amazing to think that as authors we can glimpse just a little of the power involved in creation. You can even raise Bobby from the dead if you like! Look forward to seeing your new novel. You've inspired me to give it a go next year :)

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    1. Thanks Nola. At one stage my heroine was locked up in a shack. After I'd written that scene I realised I had nowhere to go as the book is written in her POV. I thought I would have to delete pages, so I asked God about it. IT was then that she found information in the shack that she needed. I guess that is how God feels when I do something crazy!

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  2. Thanks, Jo, for sharing your recent writing experiences and discoveries with us. Lovely to hear how joyous you sound in the process.

    The famous story in our family re my 'creative adventures' is that one day while writing one of my earlier novels, my husband kindly offered to drive me to the local shopping centre for a coffee break. On the way home, I said to him: 'Quick, we have to get back, because I want to find out what my characters have been up to while I've been out!' It was exactly how I felt--but it left my husband feeling a bit worried!

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    1. I understand completely. I have shut the computer whilst speaking aloud, telling my characters to behave while I'm gone! But on the whole I love their antics.
      Great to hear from you Jo-Anne

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  3. Aww, poor Bobby :(
    That responsibility and power of the fiction author does get you thinking. I am also glad we don't have to make the major 'plot' decisions in real life. I can't help thinking of the movie "Bruce Almighty" and some of the chaos that resulted when Bruce got God's job for a short time.
    Also, this post could get us talking about free will and predestination, but I won't go there.
    I'm glad November was such a productive month for you, Jo :)

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    1. Thanks Paula. Of course Bobby raises the question...Is it better to have lived and died than never lived at all! HE did add colour to the book :)

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  4. Great post Jo! Loved your humour too. And I loved it how you likened our creating to God's creation and intervention in our lives. Isn't it great to have power over something - seeing we usually can't control what happens to us most of the time. And isn't it great that we are Image bearers and so like our Creator God in that we can create?

    Well done on your wonderful month of Creativity. I'm sure God has many writing adventures planned up His sleeve for you in 2014!

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    1. Thanks Anusha. I appreciate you stopping by. And yes, I love the fact that we are all creators in our own way.

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  5. Hi Jo
    I too enjoyed the creative flurry of NaNoWriMo this November.

    I'm with Paula though - poor Bobby - but sometimes an author does need to make those tough decisions. I have sometimes thought there were strong parallels between creating worlds and the tension between characters (who act of their own free will & in character) and the author and God as creator and author - though of course such analogies can never really do justice to God's sovereignty, love and goodness. Thanks for a great post.

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    1. I agree, Jeanette. God is way above my understanding. That's what I love - but it is wonderful to gain extra little peeks into His character.

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  6. Well, I am only beginning my writing - so I don't know very much about it yet, but I know something. I WANT TO READ YOUR BOOK, when it comes out. Sorry about shouting. I get excited sometimes.

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    1. Elizabeth, thanks for the shout. I'm encouraged....now back to the manuscript.

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  7. Hi Jo,
    It must be so much fun doing fiction. I will look forward to your book.

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  8. Thanks for your post Jo
    Love your honesty and allowing us 'in' on your journey with 'Bobby' and the others!
    That back space bar would be 'really' handy in life wouldn't it? But you are right if we backspaced thru some of life's difficulties would we be who we are in Christ right now? Hmmm maybe not!
    Loved Jo-Anne's comment about getting back from the coffee outing to find out what her characters had been up to! Too cute!
    x Di

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