In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

In My Words: Bring on the Trouble

Photo by Danilo Rizzuti/

Writers know the fundamental rule about trouble: We're supposed to make trouble for our characters--wreak havoc and keep it coming. Make sure things go from bad to badder to baddest, as author Susan May Warren likes to say.
I can't say I have such an easygoing attitude about trouble when it comes to real life. Throw a little bit of stress in my life? I'll manage. Pile it on? I'll start looking for the exit. I request to please be excused from all this bad-going-to-worse.
And yet . . . are trials only good for imaginary heroes and heroines? Isn't there some truth that can carry over from the fictional world to real life?
Some of you are already nodding your heads. Maybe you're even smirking a bit, thinking I know where she's going with this.
When writers create stress for our imaginary people, we're pushing them up against the wall for a reason. We're developing their personalities--testing their strengths and their weaknesses.
And the same is true in real life.
Case in point: I've been dealing with vertigo for two weeks now. My world is literally off-balance. If I turn my head the wrong way, i.e. any way, the room spins out of control. I was ready for this to be over days ago, but it's clear to me I don't get to decide when this ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl ends.
I can either whine and waste this stressful experience--and there's no denying two weeks of vertigo is stressful--or I can glean something from it.
If I was a heroine in a novel, I would make sure that I was learning something through all this.
Why should real life be exempt?
What have I learned?

  • It's wonderful to have friends who pray for you when you don't have the strength to pray for yourself.
  • God is still God--and he still loves me--even when prayers don't get an instant "Yes!"
  • It's okay to admit I'm weary. I'm just being honest.
  • Sometimes all you can do is hang on to hope and wait. (I think that's called "trust.")  
In Your Words: The next time you're wondering how to create some trouble for your fictional characters, take a look at your life. Or your friends' lives. What truths have you or they embraced during a tough time that can be translated over into your story?

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At 8:04 AM, Blogger Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley said...

Sometimes it is so hard to get through a trial that it's only afterward we look back and realize what we learned. Those are our benchmark trials--the ones where our trust in God grows.

Great post, Beth. Hope your vertigo is soon a thing of the past!

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Richard said...

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At 9:47 AM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Thanks, Pat!
I will be thankful when vertigo is a thing of the past . . .until then, I am looking for ways to turn this into a positive experience.

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Jeanne T said...

Beth, what a great post. Yeah, that whole thing about how we handle the "Bad, Badder, Baddest" in real life is telling about our characters, who WE are on the inside. I appreciate your honesty about things, and I especially liked what you said about hanging onto hope and waiting (trust).

With the health issues I have been working through these past couple of weeks, I am realizing that sometimes God doesn't choose to take away the pain and discomfort, but He is always with me, strengthening me and helping me to keep my eyes on Him in the midst of it. I still have more to learn about clinging to Him in the difficult times of life though. Thanks for sharing today.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

If it's true for our fictional characters, shouldn't it be true for us too?
I think so . . . If we want them to grow through adversity, well then we should be too. It's a scriptural principle. Sometimes I'd rather skip it, but it's not optional.

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Stacy S. Jensen said...

During my late husband's medical drama (catastrophic stroke, mute and completely paralyzed), a nurse told me "take it one day at a time." Had I known what would happen six months after she told me that, I would have went off the deep end. Sure we got frustrated and frightened throughout, but we took it one day at a time. While many people prayed for a complete recovery, our job sometimes was just to point out the small, but wonderful miracles that had taken place. To others, they were insignificant, but to us — they were meaningful. Hope you are feeling better.

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

You're so right about looking for the small, but wonderful miracles along the way during any trial/trying time.
And while the vertigo is still here, I'm doing ok with it.

At 2:16 AM, Blogger Julia M. said...

Life can be very painful. Like my daughter said to me the other day, "No one gets through it unscathed."

Faith, trust in God's plan(difficult one)... and this is a big one,though not always possible for the bigger trails, but the littler stresses... always-- a sense of humor. :0)

Thanks for sharing, Beth.


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