The Story of the Two Sons

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23

confusion  , direction , arrowOnce upon a time there was an alcoholic who had two sons. One son looked at his father and thought, When I grow up, I’m going to be just like my father. The other son looked at his father and thought, When I grow up, I will not be at all like my father.  Surely enough, the first son grew up to be an alcoholic just like his father, and surely enough, the second son grew up and never touched an alcoholic drink his entire life.

What was the difference between the two sons? The difference was in what they believed. The son who became an alcoholic believed he had no control over his life.  The son who remained sober believed he did have control over his life.  The alcoholic son believed he was a victim of circumstances. The sober son believed he was a victor over circumstances. The son who became an alcoholic believed he was doomed by his past. The second son who remained sober believed that his past had no power over him unless he gave it power.

In short, the son who became an alcoholic allowed his past to break him. The son who remained sober allowed his past to make him.

What about you? Are you allowing your past to make you or break you?

The choice is entirely up to you.

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(Craft) The Second Fiction Box: The Response

In last week’s post on the craft of fiction-writing, we discussed the First Box of writing fiction:  The Setup. Today we will be discussing the Second Box of Fiction Writing: the Response.

In the Setup,, we did just that. We set up our protagonist and antagonist.  We set up our protagonist’s goal and the stakes that compel her to reach that goal.  We introduced the First Plot Point where the protagonist’s world is turned upside down and the story really begins.

In Box Two, we present our protagonist’s response to his new upside-down situation and the tremendous conflict it has caused in his life.   In this box, the protagonist does not yet attack the problem.  He is in too much of a bewildered state to figure out exactly what to do.  He has been blindsided by the sudden turn of events in his life and is left reeling. 

Larry Brooks calls this box the “wandering” stage in which the protagonists waivers between two or more courses of action. At the same time, the protagonist has a purpose; he is simply trying to figure out the best way to fulfill it.

Fiction Box Two, then, is all about reaction or response.  Box Two could also be called the “regrouping” box.  In it, you will put all those elements that show your hero “regrouping” after his world has turned upside down.  He has not yet figured out what to do.  He is simply sorting out his thoughts and feelings.

Next week, we will take a look at Fiction Box Three: The Attack.


Copyright 2013 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD. All Rights Reserved.