There are 2 kinds of plots, I teach my creative writing classes and independent coaching clients: plot-driven narratives and character-driven narratives. In the first, the action of the story moves the narrative forward and the character serves the action; often the protagonist doesn’t change much by the end of the story (think summer blockbuster where action is queen). In character-driven narrative, the story unfolds with our protagonist at the heart of it; how does she respond to conflict? What will she do now? By the closing scene, our main character has been reformed—in my favorite stories, it’s always for the better. You might be surprised to know that romances are generally plot-driven…that’s because it’s all about the action! The romance itself is the star of the show.
The greatest love stories are constituted of the characters finding each other, losing each other, and ultimately coming together despite great odds. In Greece, they tragically part ways. If it’s a Hollywood/Disney ending, they live happily ever after. I’m in the midst of one of those great love stories. Ok, actually, I’m smack dab in the middle of two. They are both happy journeys, they are both action-packed, and they are both character-driven. One is my marriage, and the other is my love affair with Love, which is what I’m taking a closer look at here.
My favorite author is masterful at writing about Love affairs. She also writes about tragedy, comedy, writes for young adults, children, and the elderly. Sounds like an amateur! Know your reader, I doggedly pound to my students, everyone can’t be your ideal reader! But this writer does know her reader. In the first page of her bestselling book (over 10 million sold!), Mary Baker Eddy “commits these pages to honest seekers for Truth” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, xii:26). She wrote about mankind’s Love affair with Truth.
Like all great love stories, we come back to the Truth often times against great odds. We come into our own, even when the villain in our story is presses us to give up, run away, curl up in a ball and hide in the dark…or is maliciously pursuing us to kill us! J.B. Phillips put it this way in his translation of St. Paul’s words, “The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own” (Romans 8:19).
Love: coming home & moving forward
My Love story is about coming home, finding myself, finding true unconditional Love, seeing the world through Love-colored glasses, discovering my strength and potential…and at the same time, going out into the world to have a great adventure. The only way to come home and go out into the world simultaneously is to take home, or in this case, the kingdom of heaven (love) with you in your heart.
It’s been since I was a little girl that I wanted to write, create art, and live a creative life. As I’ve progressed, and hopefully become a smidge less selfish, I’ve admitted that the purpose of my creative endeavors have been to bless others; and if I’m being honest, it’s not only to bless, but to heal. My Love story has the very talents bestowed on me by Love sometimes distracting me from loving (every great story should be laced with a little irony, after all). Self-seeking, pride, discouragement, even greed, get me headed down the wrong path, confused, perplexed…lost. Where am I? What am I supposed to be doing? My favorite author wrote, “Love for God and man is the true incentive in both healing and teaching” (Science and Health, page 454). I’ve come home to this simple and profound reminder more times than I can count. And the very next sentence gets me on track and moves me forward: “Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way.” Annnnnnnd… the sentences after that keeps me moving forward (see? Plot-driven and character-driven!): “Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action. Love is priestess at the altar of Truth. Wait patiently for divine Love to move upon the waters of mortal mind, and form the perfect concept. Patience must ‘have her perfect work.’”
If you, too, are looking to come home and find a way forward, Love inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way. The happy ending to your Love story is right now; and it’s just the beginning.