" ... there have been several break-ins in your neighborhood and around the surrounding area. You need to protect your house and yourself."I received that call one night and my heart started racing. The man claimed to be from local law enforcement, but I hadn't heard about any break-ins lately. I listened long enough to realize it was a sales call from a security company. A quick search on the Internet confirmed my suspicions -- it was a big lie.
The Lies Our Characters Believe
There's no doubt about: lies are bad. Once someone lies to you, it's hard to ever believe them again. But as writers, we can use lies to increase drama and build our character arc. I'm a member of My Book Therapy, an online writers group that provides both craft and emotional support for writers. If you're a member, you'll hear lots about the Dark Moment and the Big Lie. Here's the gist of those two concepts: When you start to develop your protagonist think about the darkest moment of their lives -- the moment that defines who they are and what they do. The result of that moment is the Big Lie, what they believe to be true based on that Dark Moment. It's why they act as they do.
For example, in It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey taunts his little brother, Harry, and challenges him to slide across an icy pond. When Harry falls in to the pond, George saves him but loses his hearing. Because Harry almost drowns, George feels guilty. That was his Big Lie. That's why he continued to sacrifice his dreams to rescue others until he was shown how their lives would have been empty without him.
The Lies We Believe
There's also the types of lies we tell ourselves. I can't tell you how many times I look at the flashing cursor on my blank screen and think, "I have nothing to say" or "No one wants my opinion." But here's why we should continue to write: because God has put that urge to write into our heart. He gives us the words to say.
And that's quite a responsibility, isn't it? But who are we to say that we're not worthy to do what God has called us to do? Philippians 1:6 says, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." That means it is His work, not ours. He will complete it through us.
Have you used the Big Lie in your writing? Do you have your own Big Lie that keeps you from writing?