By Christine Thackeray
In life I constantly struggle with losing focus of my primary goal. For me that is returning to my Christ with every chair full. Heaven wouldn't be heaven if all my children weren't around me and my husband weren't at my side, so I support him, love and teach my children and do the things I feel the Lord wants of me.
Luckily, I truly feel the Lord wants me to write (although I also know he wants me to balance my activities a little better.) Unfortunately, I often get sidetracked. I get too involved in social activities, get frustrated with my family and get lost in the busy-ness and mess of life, and when I do, everything else falls off track and life isn't as happy or as wonderful as it should be.
Not surprisingly, I do the same thing in my writing. I've been working on my latest manuscript. What I thought was an incredible plot has become muddy and not as poignant as I'd like. At my critique group on Thursday my friends hit the nail on the head, I haven't kept track of my purpose. What is the central conflict and the question this book is answering- the great truth it is illustrating.
Although conflicts can be divided into many categories, there are really only two- love and death. Love can incorporate any number of relationships and death can be physical, emotional or spiritual (as in stories where people are holding onto their sanity by their fingernails.)
I wanted my central conflict to be the dynamics of a family, but it was too big. I had to chose one character and have everyone else feed that one. The single spinster sister going from a relationship of obligation, to one of love- thus, it becomes a love story- ahhh, which I thought I'd never write, but it is the driving emotion that gives me an audience to show the meat of what I want to write about. Without that emotion, I lose my audience and my venue for sharing.
So I'm committed to rewriting a better story. It will mean that scenes that were hilarious but don't feed that relationship will be gone. I can perhaps adjust some of it, but every part of the book needs to add a plot point. I believe it will make the ultimate work more compelling.
It seems every time I write, I learn something.