About a year ago I shelved a story, one I called High-rise, that I’d been working on for about ten months. I had developed the characters to the best of my ability and written pages of interesting action, but I just couldn’t make it work. There are a lot of neat scenes, great dialogue, interesting settings, but no purpose. It didn’t seem to want to end; much like an awful soap opera and unlike the contemporary fantasy I wanted. In fact, this story was turning into another one of my projects that began with a few fireworks and ended with disappointing duds. That’s the grand finale? Really?
When I realized this tale had to stop consuming my mind, I purchased a few books and started really researching what makes a great story. A great story is one where the reader cares about the main character, the main character wants something more than anything else but cannot seem to grasp hold of what she wants, the stakes for not getting what she wants are high, and in the end the character shows personal growth and achieves her heart’s desire; all in less than 85,000 words, for a first time writer hoping to break into the publishing world.
The truth is, High-Rise still has potential, but first it will need planning if it will become a great story. The same is true in real life. We all have great stories within us, but if we don’t work hard to achieve our dreams, we’ll have no growth; and believe me, the stakes are high. Your gifts are too precious to go unused. People need you to be the best story you can be.
What gifts are in your hand? What will you use to bring life to the story God has purposed for you?
Picture used by permission http://sadsonata.deviantart.com/