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March 23, 2012 / joelmalm

Death Makes It Exciting

I’m reading a book called Conflict and Suspense by James Scott Bell.  It’s about how to make your writing more exciting.  This line stood out to me:

“The stakes in an emotionally satisfying novel have to be death.”

He then explains there are three kinds of death: physical, professional and psychological.  I had never really heard it put that way, but it’s so true that the stories we love the most have a character facing peril that could lead to death.  We buy books like this by the millions.

I like to read about it happening to others, but when it’s happening to me I prefer to complain.  When it looks like another project I am working on is going to fail I don’t look at it and say, “Ooh fun, my story is getting more exciting.  How’s God going to help me get out of this one.”  No, I usually throw up my hands and feel sorry for myself.

Enter Romans 5

…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame…

That sounds like insanity.  Rejoicing in suffering.  But Paul promises a return of character and hope.  Isn’t that why we keep reading suspenseful stories?  Hope.  We hope with everything in us that the lead character is going to pull it out.  If the story writer is a good one, even when the character dies at the end we are satisfied because he died a good death.  The greater the stakes, the greater the satisfaction at the end.

God is writing a story with our lives.  A story that will bring glory to the Author and ultimate victory to the characters – us.  The conflict and suspense just make the story more awesome.



Leave a Comment
  1. Jana Malm / Mar 23 2012 9:30 am

    Wow! Well put, Joel. Enspiring and challenging!

  2. Paula Wolf / Mar 24 2012 6:21 am

    What a great piece….. just when I needed it. Thank you so much for your blog and your thought provoking and inspiring words of wisdom. You have a great gift. Thank you so much for what you do. I enjoy reading your writings and learning more from the word of God.

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