Tag Archives: novel

Your Life As A Bestseller.




Life is pretty much a story, and it should be the best one we’ll ever write. A definitive statement from one as inexperienced as I. But, as a lover of the written word, I have gradually come to see how our lives are stories that fill up history’s shelves. People {of the present and in the future} take them out at intervals, while others stay glued to the turning pages. And every person’s story, no matter what section of the library it is found, has the potential to be a bestseller.

Setting this perspective firmly in place, I wonder—how would my life change if I live according to it? How would yours, if you agree with me? Stay with me as I unpack this onion by looking at some elements that make up a good story.


The Ending. How many times have you caught yourself wishing you knew then what you know now? If only. How many times have we repeated that phrase as waves of regret washed over us? Which is why, in seeing our lives as a story, it makes sense to go into the future and imagine how it will all end. It is, after all, the one sure thing about this life–death will one day come knocking. And you’ll have no choice but to open the door.

So how do you want your memorial service to be like? What comes to mind? Having a mental picture of how you want your family and friends to say goodbye to you will pretty much set the tone for the chapters before the last one. Envisioning the place, the people and the mood is a great way to start re-writing the next scenes in your life, making sure they build up to the kind of ending you want.

Taking it one step further, imagining what I want my Father to say to me when I stand before Him, leaves no doubt about what should be the major components of my story.


Incorporating good characters. We may have no say over the families we are born into, but we do have a say over the characters that enter our stories. And we get a bit of control over the roles these characters play, how often and how long they appear, and how much impact they have on the main character: you and I. So good company and all that, with enough inspiring people, will actually rub the rough edges off of you, the main character, and keeping the interest of your audience.


Using tension. It’s the undeniable element of a great story, providing the writer knows how to sculpt the needed resolution.

We can’t control our lives, and often, if you’ve lived long enough, you’ll know that people and situations can make for volatile scenes. Those are the times when I would find myself wishing I had a magic wand. I would wave it with graceful flair and make things fall into place just the way I want them. But sigh, I haven’t found one yet. So I have to rely on what wisdom is available to me at the moment. Which points out the importance of the preceding chapters: have they been closely following the vision I’ve had of The End, and therefore can contribute positively to the way I deal with increasing tension the closer I get to it?


Crafting good episodes and making them happen. Which basically means getting off the couch, or your bed, and making sure the day adds something good to the last chapter of your story. Which is the hardest thing to do because it always requires more than what we’re willing to do or give at any particular moment.


Redeeming unexpected circumstances. Bad things happen to everyone, including you and I. You don’t have to go looking for them, they fall on your lap at random instances. But while we don’t ask for them, how we react when they happen determines whether or not those particular scenes in our stories make a difference in the end.


Accepting edits. Graciously. They come from wiser friends, or from the slowest person on your block. They come from those closest to you, or someone you have never even met. But always, when taken the right way—with grace, humility, and a pinch of salt—they end up making your story a better read.

{As a writer, I find this the hardest part. Especially when I don’t get to see the final piece before it gets published. It’s why I don’t like reading my own stuff–I’m scared stiff I’d find a mistake and won’t be able to fix it. My hubby calls it being a control freak. He thinks my life would be easier if I could just trust people enough to allow them to have a say in a particular page.}


Publishing. It validates us when we get our stories read. But all these is to simply say, let’s make sure we’re worth reading. There are many books that clutter the stairways of time, from self-help to novels to text to comedy. The ones that last the longest, however, are the ones that challenge the reader to believe, to act, to hope. Pretty much explains why the Bible will always be around.

{Also, social media makes it oh-so-easy: every event in our stories can be recorded for posterity simply by posting a photo or status update. It’s much harder to figure out which ones are relevant to our specific audience, and which should be kept within the confines of our homes.}