when a story comes to life and when life becomes a story

When I take my idea and put it into motion, scribbling notes and typing the first few pages, I am less than sure it will be any good. I come to the page with characters in place, an outcome in mind and general path the story will take, but it doesn’t have the sticky gooey stuff that holds the whole thing together just yet.

Then it happens.

It could be on page five or it could be on page fifty, but I feel it. The story takes on a life of its own. It lives. It breathes. It reacts to the influx of my ideas and sometimes even pushes back denying my requests or thoughts on what happens next. I steer the main character into uncharted territory and it pushes back with an emphatic “no”, that it isn’t going in that direction and to think again. A step back and a gut check later and I usually find they’re right.

http://www.biology-online.org defines a living thing as anything that displays the following characteristics:

  • requires energy to survive or sustain existence – Check! Much of my energy goes into their story
  • ability to grow – Check! A personal stipulation of mine is all characters must grow, change and adapt
  • ability to respond to stimuli – Check! As I said above, they take shape, breath and push back on me often
  • ability to move or adapt to the environment – Double check! In constant motion, they morph and adapt almost with every page turn

Which brings me to my overall point: Is my life a story or am I a story that’s come to life? Do I push back on the invisible guiding hand that points me in a direction that, upon gut check, doesn’t feel right? Do you?

Are we all simply ideas, characters in place with an outcome in mind? I’d like to think we are. It helps me sleep at night at least. I’d also like to think that my story took hold on page five and not on page fifty, later in life because I failed to see where I was headed and what my purpose was…

When I look at life from that holistic perspective it gets me wondering if I’m truly alive – fitting the criteria so matter-of-factually spelled out by http://www.biology-online.org. – and after taking a deep breath and an even deeper dive into introspection I realize, yes, I am.

I. Am. Alive.

Are you?



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