Thursday, November 19, 2015

Plotting a War

There's only one way to end it.

I’m writing book three of a trilogy. Book one brought my main character the satisfaction of meeting important goals, but left him uncertain about the future. I won’t say too much about book two because it hasn’t been released yet. But to readers looking forward to the next installment in Chase Sterling’s journey, be warned, it doesn’t end pretty.

That’s the way it goes with a trilogy. Book one ends on a high, but without complete resolution. Book two brings greater tension. And a disastrous outcome. Book three builds up to the final battle between the good guys and the bad. Between right and wrong. There has to be a war. You know who will win. But you don’t know how.

So here I am planning a war. A revolution. How will it play out? What’s it going to cost my characters? Who’s going to die?

I don’t have to try too hard to strategize the battle. It’s set in the future (though not very far in the future) and I can make up my weapons and my warriors. They’re high-tech, of course. Being a writer who’s also a Christian, everything passing from my mind to my fingers to the keypad and onto the screen is seasoned by a particular worldview. The battle I write has to shift into something bigger in my characters’ minds, and in the readers’ minds. It’ll be a flesh and blood war and a battle in the cyber world. But before its end, the reader will know who really started it. And who will end it. I don’t have to make that part up. I don’t even have to quote the verse to know the reality of it because it’s happening now. Outside my imagination. On my TV screen. But I’ll quote it anyway:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

Chase Sterling will come to realize he’s got no chance. And then he will win anyway. The battle is the Lord’s. As I watched the news about the deadly attacks in Paris, I remembered this. When I read the increasingly frequent reports about the persecution of my fellow believers, I remember. When the internet is filled with caution about blaming Muslims for terrorism, I take a breath. And then I remember. Our battle is not against flesh and blood. Sure seems like it sometimes. But God will redeem souls from every nation, tribe, and tongue. Even from among the terrorists. And I won’t stand in His way.

The battle now formulating in my imagination is set only twenty or so years from now. In my fictitious future the world is a very different place. Is it possible things could change so drastically in just two decades? Maybe not. Except for my study of the real potential for a transhuman future, I did pull this story from my imagination. But our world is swiftly headed into the unfathomable. As the war heats up in the heavenly places, it will be—it has always been—our war. And yet, it isn't. Preceding the above verse from Ephesians are the battle instructions:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11

I’ve brought my characters to the brink of war. It’s not such a stretch for my imagination since I live among the warriors—the followers of Christ. We don’t want violence. We’re not looking for a flesh and blood battle. We’re praying for our enemies. We know who started this and we know who will end it. And we will stand with Him. 
My made-up people, even if only for a few pages in a book, will do their best to live out the instruction of the very real and reliable Word of God. And they will win the made-up war. I know no other way to end the story.
For more about the armor of God, just keep reading Ephesians 6.

1 comment:

  1. I love to see how different authors strategize their writing. Thanks for sharing. Cheers