Protagonist description: Twenty-year-old girl with dyed blonde hair, mature features and a figure shape she tallies as another insecurity. Motivated by vision and God-conviction, the girl battles for her beliefs even when faced with impossible odds. However, she struggles with lies from her past.
The girl originated from a small town in Georgia but moved to Nashville for her education and career. Her insecurities stem from middle school weight gain, high school rejection and family issues.
Other character ideas: The girl often embarrasses herself by falling down stairs, walking into doors and getting stuck in rose bushes. She drinks too much coffee and writes science fiction books, maybe maintains a blog comparing God to an author.
Do you know me?
You have select facts about my past, but do you really know me? Have you read my story, experienced each plot point, loss and gain? Did you witness the inciting incident of my writing journey? Were you in my baby blue bedroom when I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life?
Backstories exist with the sole purpose of providing foundations for character development. They are established by facts and give an author the first rung in an extensive ladder.
Composition of any kind begins with a plan, a pencil sketch in a notepad or a few test shots. For art to form, the artist must mentally and physically develop the included elements. Writing functions in a similar manner—authors must sketch their characters from facts before developing them through the writing process. These facts are often dark and twisted because . . .
To conquer, one must have something to overcome.
Key elements of character development are fatal flaws and lies. Over the course of a book, the protagonist must wage war against his or her fatal flaw and discover the truth to counteract their believed lie.
As characters in a God-authored saga, we have flaws and lies. We begin from a series of facts but grow into perfectly composed entities.
Three things to remember:
1. An author begins a story when he or she meets the main character.
2. An author uses a character’s past to build a more victorious story.
3. An author takes the lies a character believes and uses revelation to create a glorified novel.
Stories do not have true beginnings or ends. Before the first indented paragraph, there was a story. When the final period concludes a written work, the story continues in a place accessible only to the author.
God begins the divine epics of our lives when we surrender ourselves to His writing. He indents what becomes the first paragraph and goes to work, crafting us from the facts of the past.
We absorb our true identities as we are saturated with the Author’s will.
To restate what I said earlier, backstories are often dark and twisted. Readers fall in love with characters from rough beginnings and celebrate with them when they achieve their end goal. Through struggles comes purpose, transformation and triumph. Endurance brings about the greatest development.
One question I have heard a lot as of late is, “Why did God let bad things happen to me?”
I do not pretend to understand God’s plan, nor can I predict His plotlines. All I know for certain is nothing happens by accident, and He works all things for the good of His characters.
The roughest beginnings have potential for the most cinematic, fist-raising endings. No matter the obstacles you encounter, your story has a predesigned plotline, an indented first paragraph and a holy, God-redeemed final period.
“Many are the plans of the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
- Proverbs 19:21
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
- Ephesians 2:10
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
- 1 John 5:4
“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.”
- Psalm 138:8
WE, THE AUTHORED is meant to showcase God’s intentionality by comparing His careful construction with the writing process. Life, from a day-to-day viewpoint, can seem obscure and without structure. However, through the eyes of an author, love, obstacles and backstories make sense and point to the relentless, all-consuming love of our Savior.
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
- Philippians 3:12-14