A couple of weeks ago I read E.O. Wilson’s take on the basis of all transformative events in our lives. As I thought about his ideas, I realized all of my writing and the stories I love start in one of the three ways he outlined:
You (or your characters) take a journey to an unexplored land
This might be to a foreign country (or another planet if you love sci-fi like me!) or it could be around the corner to a new cafe. Daily adventures are important. They give us the opportunity to expand our minds and heart by interacting with newness. I whole-heartedly encourage taking them as often as possible. I plan to take quite a few myself.
You (or your characters) search for the grail
We’re all in search of the secret – how to be happy, how to find and keep love, how to be more creative, why it all matters. There’s no shortage of quests we can take to find the meaning in everything and everything. Go in search of something that matters to you and let your characters do the same.
You (or your characters) engage in a battle of good against evil
And it’s all the better if we have a hard time figuring out which side is which, and if the battle is as much about brains and courage as it is about brawn. Things are never as good as they seem nor as bad as they seem. The same is true for people. We all have light and dark within us. It gets really interesting when the light and dark meet, and when we’ve got some difficult decisions to make. The very best of life, and writing, is often found if we are willing to go into the shadows, our own shadows.
The most compelling reads and lives practice more than one (or all!) of these beginnings on a regular basis. In 2015, go have adventures and discover newness, seek out something that really matters to you, explore your own shadows, and get down all the juicy details. I can’t wait to hear about what you (and your characters) find.