Work in Progress

The more I work on short stories and my novel, the less I write here at my little home on the web. I suppose that’s to be expected. Even a wordy person, like myself, has a limit to the words that can be expended in a day!

One of the strangest experiences to me as a writer is the interaction that happens between myself and the characters of a story I’m writing. It may seem logical to assume that writers are in charge of their characters, and the relationships that unfold between them. To an extent that’s true. But more often than not I find myself surprised by my characters. On occasion they appear out of nowhere, periodically I can’t get them to do what I want them to, and sometimes I learn from them.

One of my favorite characters from the book I’ve recently finished (and will make available on Kindle soon) is Mrs. Dalton. Her loveliness and wisdom touches my own heart. Today I find myself in need of being reminded of her words to my protagonist, Vi, who is struggling in a relationship.

“We all have our ugly moments,” she said. “Why else would it have taken blood to forgive our sins. That’s no small price. We should never stand in the way of another person’s path to the foot of the cross, that’s holy ground. And if we aren’t trustworthy enough, we won’t be allowed to see the sacred moments happening in another person’s heart. If we walk quietly, hold our tongue, look for good; then we’ll see transformation. Ugly will turn to beauty right before our eyes. You go lookin’ for beauty, child.”

Regardless of what life has thrown at you, or what relationships are messy, I encourage you to head Mrs. Dalton’s advice. Go looking for beauty. Look for it in God’s creation, in artistic expression, and in people themselves. Nothing inspires quite so much as the surprise of redemption, of ugly being transformed.

We’re all works in progress. As we relate to one another, we’re progressing. As we create what God has equipped us to create, we’re making progress. Beauty often works that way, little by little.

I look forward to finishing the formatting of my little novel, Sisters, and sharing it with you in the weeks to come. I hope you learn as much from the characters as I have!


2 thoughts on “Work in Progress

  1. Getting to know my characters is a challenge, no matter if I’m writing a short story or a novel. I need to learn ways to fully develop my characters. It’s more difficult to do in a short story, I think, because you’re limited to so many words and you have to be so precise and to the point. It’s not to say that it’s impossible.

    I love reading your “Dixie Lee” stories. I should write a series of stories for my blog. Your novel–the first time I’ve heard of it–sounds intriguing. Look forward to seeing it.

    • Thanks! Sisters will be available on Kindle this Monday. I agree about developing characters in a short story. I find it’s best for me to use a separate document to write character bios to work from. The details might not end up in the story but it helps me to know who they are and what their motivation is.

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