Gazing at a blank, crisp canvas, an author sets out to write the greatest story of all time. He is an author like none other, writing a story like none other. He patiently and lovingly puts pen to paper and begins the story.
He knows the ending as clearly as he knows the beginning. He sees it all at once. So, he begins his masterpiece, carefully creating the opening scene. Speaking into words…all of his creativity poured out…the characters, the setting, the mood, the tone, the colors, everything needed for the great story to unfold. Nearly as soon as the beginning is set in motion, something goes horribly wrong. The antagonist enters the scene and the beauty and perfection is rocked. But the author isn’t fazed or surprised. He knows what will happen. He already knows the hero, the one who would save the day and wrap it all up. He was in him, part of him, with him already. He always has been.
Knowing the end, he knows in advance how everything in between will go down. He knows all the characters—in chapters not yet written – in ridiculous detail. What they will look like, who they will meet, what they will accomplish, what they will miss out on, their great mistakes and great triumphs, every tear they will shed. He knows who will make it to the end and who won't, though the desire of his heart is that they all would. He loves them all. But that isn't how this story works.
These characters in some way all represent a piece of him or those he knows intimately. They will bear the image and likeness of their author no doubt...how could they not? He created them. But they would also be unique individuals. Good or bad in his readers' eyes, they are all loved deeply by him. It is something only the author understands. You see, he knows them so well. He knows the weakness within them, thanks to the antagonist. He knows why they do what they do...even when it seems devastating to the other characters he loves or contrary to how his readers will perceive the story should go in their minds.
Though he knows the ending and every detail surrounding his characters, he loves this story and he loves his characters. He will allow some flexibility as he writes for things to change. He allows them the freedom to be who he created them to be. For the characters in the various settings of the book, as they encounter other characters and circumstances and events that unfold, their specific actions and decisions will change as he writes. But he always had in mind the end. And deep down he always knows what they will do. It is an odd mix of their storyline being known, but also their own, with things along the way that could mix it up and not be the optimal path they have the ability to walk.
In accounting for this flexibility, there will be many twists and turns in the story along the way. The author doesn’t mind though. He is patient. He knows how it will end...how it HAS TO end...and it will be glorious. With pen in hand, he is in control of the narrative even when it seems out of control.
Though the reader may not see it, every word is important. It all has a purpose to the fullness of his story. And it isn’t just about getting to the end. The process of getting there matters too. The lives and events from beginning to end all matter deeply, full of meaning and purpose.
As a master creator, he slowly presents clues to how this great mystery will be revealed. He introduces people, representative events, a foreshadowing of how it will all go down in the end. Things that won't always make sense to his readers in a chapter here or there, but will ultimately create a beautiful picture and understanding at the end.
He will create a growing longing for something these individual pictures aren't yet resolving. A yearning among the readers for it to all be made right. A connection with the characters and even more so himself.
Slowly, patiently, with great intentionality, the story will unfold. For his readers, it is like a foggy image that gradually comes into focus. Glimpses into the glorious ending and the one who will bring it all together. Glimpses into the hero who was there from the beginning, but not fully revealed or recognized. With each new chapter, the reader will think they have the clearest picture, but it will continue to get clearer as the story develops. You see this story is one that couldn’t be imagined by anyone but this author.
And though the story is for the readers, the story isn’t about the readers. It is a story from, about, and for the author. It is his story for his characters. It is a gift for his readers. It is a love story.
And it the best story ever told.