Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Playing God

I'm working on a novel.  It is safe to say I've been working on this novel for years.  I enjoy the world building and the planning that goes behind the story I want to tell almost as much as I enjoy the story itself.  This doesn't surprise me as I've always loved that about other books.  Look at Lord of the Rings and say hello to backstory.  There is obviously so much going on around the story and before the story!  Obviously that's an extreme example; most authors don't go so far as to develop an entirely new language as part of their world building.  I still sense it in other books though and I love it.  I love there's more to the story.  I love the consistency that brings.  I love the internal logic.  So I have been trying (and enjoying) doing the same with my story. 

The problem with this is it is incredibly hard!  Why does this character exist?  Why is this character in this group?  Why does this group exist?  What prompted the group to be in the situation they are in at whatever point in the story?  What complex connections are there between this group and another group which has all the same complex questions about their history?  I have a fictional world - what is its history?  And of course I have to make sure they all align so that everything is primed and ready and all connected just perfectly at the time of the story I'm actually telling.  It is confusing and exhausting, and these characters don't even have free will to mess everything up for me.

Have you ever played Sim City?  In this game, the player builds a city.  They must manage the taxes and expenses, control crime and pollution, provide education, and ensure there are enough jobs.  This is also really hard.  There are so many variables and so many things that can go wrong.  Disasters happen and buildings are destroyed and the power goes out.  People marry and have kids and move from neighborhood to neighborhood.  Revenue goes up and revenue goes down.  And again, the citizens here have no free will.

If I can't control the characters in my novel or the outcome of my video game, why do I think I can control real life?  And if God can control creating the whole universe and managing everything in it, why don't I trust Him with what I cannot do?  The only logical and safe position is to actually trust God!  Only God can see it all, do it all, and take care of it all.

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