Up In A Tree

I’m nearing the end of the novel I’m currently writing, and as I keep telling my husband, “I have to bring this story in for a landing.” My main characters have found themselves facing more and more problems and dilemmas over the past twenty-some chapters and it’s time to resolve them in a (hopefully) satisfying way. I’ve heard writers explain the plotting process as forcing your main character up a tree, then throwing rocks at her. Well, it’s time for me to fetch a ladder and help my characters down.

The novel’s climax is what readers have been staying up all night and turning pages in order to reach, so it needs to be stellar. I want my readers to sigh and maybe wipe a tear and feel as though all those hours spent reading have been worth it. Author Anne Lamotte says the climax is “that major event…that brings all the tunes you have been playing so far into one major chord.” For me, tying up all of those loose ends into a gratifying finish is the most intense and stressful part of writing a novel.

Once my characters are on solid ground again, they’ll have a chance to pause and reflect on the lessons they’ve learned during the trials and hardships they’ve endured. What have they discovered about themselves or about their faith? How have they been changed? This reflection process, called the dénouement, is a very important part of a satisfying ending, especially if the main character needed to change in order to become the person God created her to be. Yes, I have a big job to do in these final pages.

As I reach the conclusion of my novel, I’m also aware that we’ve reached the conclusion of a tumultuous year. 2020 has made many of us feel as though we’ve been driven up a very tall tree and had an avalanche of rocks thrown at us. Hopefully the climax is coming soon in 2021, and the rescue ladder is on its way. Maybe we can finally find our way down from our precarious position and recover from our wounds. But let’s not forget the final part of every great story—the time for reflection. Because if we don’t, everything we’ve endured this past year will have been a waste.

In a year as difficult as this past one, we may not want to remember everything we’ve been through, especially the losses. Yet I think it’s important to ask what lessons we’ve learned through it all? What have we discovered about ourselves? Is our faith any different? Has it grown? How has this year changed us? What new perspectives have we gained after being up in the tree for so long? I can already name a few things that I’ll never take for granted again, like a warm hug. An unmasked smile. And gathering together freely with my family and friends.

So, how about you? How are you different after spending this long, difficult year up in a tree?  

7 comments

  1. I look so forward to your next book. As for 2020, my family and I have been truly blessed with good health and a lot of reading and book buying. Ive completed all your wonderful books. I have a question though. Have you ever considered writing biblical fiction? I’ve been reading Angela Hunts books and thought of you. I know they would be awesome!!
    God bless you Lynn and your family.

    1. I loved Chronicles of the Kings. One of my favorite Biblical fiction series. Makes the Bible come to life.

  2. I appreciate your thoughts. Now you have me very excited about the book that you are writing. I look forward to watching the landing!!!

  3. I cannot wait to read your new book! 2020….ahhh, some ride, huh? I remember barely being interested in news reports about a virus outbreak in China…so many masks! Not really new though; air quality in China isn’t the best, is it? I never dreamed we’d be wearing masks in just a few months. Friends have been infected. Some friends have been hospitalized and a few have died. It’s been an emotional year. But 2020 is not a year I am going to recall as being the worst year of my life. No, I am going to remember 2020 as the year when a dear friend’s son finally got that long awaited kidney transplant. In 2020, my daughter and her husband were blessed to get the news that the baby she is carrying is a little girl – they already have six boys! In 2020 I learned how to slow down and be content; to appreciate my home and my husband more, and how much fun it is to spend an entire day baking! God is still on His Throne. 🙂

  4. The preview of “Chasing Shadows” on the overdrive site has one description for the ebook and a completely different story for the audio ebook.

  5. My last year has been one of loss, I lost my husband of 43 years. He became ill on June 2, 2920, in the hospital for 18 days, chemo treatments, then home care, and had gone home to our Father on October 7th. I thought I was handling it all very well, trying to provide comfort for our children, who were also grieving. Then my health began to go downhill and the doctors could not find anything wrong, the signs and symptoms were there, but the tests were all negative. During researching in an effort to understand what was happening to me, I came upon an article that discussed long term stress and its effect on the body, it listed nearly everything that was happening in my life.
    Our church and many others were praying for us and I know that is what gave me the strength to get through that time. I learned to praise and worship our Lord even when the answer was no. I found much comfort in my morning worship and Bible reading, Then I began to go through a dry time, when numbness hit. I am not through this yet, My faith in Him is still strong, but I don’t feel His presence as close as I did. I feel like I would be totally lost without being with my church family and hearing the weekly message from our pastor. My morning worship time has suffered too, my desire to read scripture has suffered, and Christian music has been my mainstay for the last couple months. I just finished reading your book, “On This Foundation” and it has touched my heart. Thank you for writing this, I needed it. The characters Chana and Nava, spoke to me and pointed directly to where my problem was and the only One who can solve it. My health is slowly coming back to normal now, and I am returning to my morning reading starting with the scriptures listed in the book. I know in my mind, that He has the only answers, my heart hasn’t yet caught up to that. Prayers are most welcome as I continue learning to trust Him more no matter what is happening in this world around me. I guess I was only dreaming when I thought I was a “grown up” Christian. I have much left to learn and He knows what we need in spite of what we want. My husband told me shortly before he left, “if you can’t fix it, you have to accept it”. I’m getting there. We truly do serve an awesome God.

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