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.