I’ll be honest with you. I sometimes get discouraged by this “writing thing”. I often second guess my abilities wondering if writing those manuscripts (there’s one that’s complete, and another I still need to rewrite) was worth it. Through weepy, sleep-deprived, blurry-eyed vision, and heart palpitations followed by anxious sweats, I wonder at least ten times a day, will it all be for nothing?
The answer is this: I still don’t know.
Why do it then? Why struggle? Why fight? When there are no guarantees of a rainbow at the end of the road.
Stories consist of struggle: struggle between other people, within a person’s mind, or with nature. I enjoy reading stories with a triumphant end, where everything is neatly resolved wrapped up with a pretty red bow. Don’t get me wrong, the ending matters. But when I read novels what makes them intriguing, interesting, and will keep me flipping the pages is the challenge the hero/heroine must overcome. Whether it is Superman versus Lex Luthor, or a waitress wanting something more but plagued by debilitating self-doubt, I want to see them overcome the challenge that is pummeling them into the ground. (Again – whether this is literally Lex, or just a relentless internal negative voice, I want them to win.)
Without it? Without the challenge?
Why would I flip those pages?
It’s the climb towards something greater that makes the story worth it, not simply the ending. Sure, there’s always a chance the hero/heroine while reaching up will place a foot on an unstable rock and will slip backwards falling hundreds of feet. It might be heartbreaking to read, to envision it – to feel it. As a reader, I will find myself frantically skimming the pages while shaking my head in awe the hero/heroine doesn’t quit. Because with each step forward it’s a win, and with each fall backwards it’s a loss. It’s the struggle that makes a good story – whether it lies in fiction, or in reality.
I don’t know how this writing thing will all end, and if I’ll ever reach the top of the mountain. All I know is this: along the way I’ve already seen pine trees that cling to the side of the mountain, with blue rivers and streams that cut along the rocky base, while birds soar in the air above me. It’s not simply the final ascent to the top of the peak that only offers a heart-stopping view – it’s the climb towards it.