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  • Writer's pictureMark

Surprise!

Anyone who has written stories for long enough can tell you about when characters surprised them. One instance comes to mind for me when I’d planned a confrontation between two characters. The argument was going to be impressive. Fireworks, embarrassment in a public place, ostracism, resentment, anger, frustration, and a huge motivation for future scenes.


The scene became a marriage proposal.


Where did THAT come from? What happened to the explosive emotional display that sparks a feud between two clans? This was a major plot point. NOW what? Everything I’d planned for the rest of the book hinged on that moment, and suddenly the hinge swings the other way.


Eventually I resolved the difficulty. I’m not sure how, and since that book will never see the light of day it’s unlikely I’ll ever go back to review it.


That brings up the issue, however, of where the idea came from. Did the characters follow my wishes, or go off on their own? Since I’d crafted the characters, should I have been surprised by what they did? If they were real, could it be said they defied me?


The more familiar we are with someone the less likely we get surprised by them. For instance, if you’ve been reading my blog for more than one or two posts, you know this will be about God. Surprise! Not.


There have been times when I wonder if something I’ve thought up comes from God or myself or (hopefully not) the Adversary. Is that voice in my head mine, or God’s?


If you recall, I’ve related the story about reading a Wiersbe exposition on the book of Joshua. There was one part about the Cities of Refuge. If an offender manages to arrive in one of those cities, an accuser on a blood feud with him cannot enter the city and kill him. If the city fathers find the offender guilty he’s expelled, but if not he gets to stay until the city’s high priest dies.


Wiersbe equates that to Heaven, our ultimate refuge, with a high priest who will live forever, and an accuser who cannot reach those within. After relating the concept to Linda, I thought to myself, “That’s a neat thing I’ve discovered.” And as if an audible voice spoke I heard, “No you didn’t.”


To summarize the rest, there was a back and forth with that voice in my head that ended up with me remembering my Luther’s Small Catechism: “I know that I cannot, by my own effort or understanding, come to Jesus Christ or know Him.” So any rational being has to think, was it my own voice in my head, or was it His?


Christians are called to become more like Christ. It’s in the name itself. So whether the voice was mine or His is becoming less and less important, since my voice is becoming more like His.


In other words, the closer I walk with Him the less difference it makes.


The plot point about fighting against Him is becoming a wedding proposal.



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