Monday, December 4, 2017

The Hope of the "The End" by Amy Rognlie

Amy Rognlie

The Hope of “The End”
By Amy Rognlie 

The End. What writer doesn’t love those two little words? It’s the finish line. The culmination of hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears. But the ending itself would be meaningless without all that comes before it: the process of building word upon word, scene upon scene.
When it comes to the process of writing, fiction writers often claim allegiance to one of two camps: the plotters or the pantsers. Plotters are those who plan out their story in detail before beginning to write it, and pantsers are those who, as the name suggests, dive into a story without any (or at least not much) idea of where the story is headed. Surely there are writers who are somewhere in between? Well, ye-e-e-es, but most of us lean in one direction or the other.
I’ve always been a loyal pantser, even before I knew what to call myself. I’d start writing a story with just the barest image of a character or a scene in mind. I didn’t know how to do it any differently. And hey, it all worked out in the end, so why not? Well, because in a way, I made more work for myself. Went down paths that led to dead-ends. Painted my characters into corners too onerous to escape. Dug holes I had to explain my way out of.
I find this difficult to understand, because in my “real” life, I’m definitely a planner. I love setting goals, and (mostly) enjoy the hard work and the discipline it takes to reach those goals. So why don’t I approach writing as a planner? Um, I don’t know. Maybe because doing all of that planning ahead of time makes novel writing sound more like work than fun.
But I have a confession. Now, well into writing my eighth book, I’m starting to lean more and more toward the—gasp—plotting camp. I never thought I’d see the day, but the idea of actually knowing how my book is going to end does hold some appeal. Smile. I’ve also come to realize that when I know how my story ends, all of the scenes leading up to that end are shaped—some overtly, some almost imperceptibly—by that knowledge. How could they not be?
Musing about this recently, I started drawing spiritual parallels. I can’t help it. I’m always looking at life situations and asking myself, “How does this illustrate the faith journey?”
Here’s what I came up with: Everyone, in real life, will fall somewhere on the continuum of plotter or pantser. And if we are followers of Christ, we already know the end of The Story. We might not have any idea of what will take place between now and then, but we know where we’re headed. And we know that Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, has given us specific guidelines as well as general principles to follow, right?  So how do we mesh our natural bent as a real-life plotter or pantser with the everyday, in-and-out “followingness” of Jesus?
Hmm. If you’re a plotter, you’ve probably already noticed a serious problem: real life is messy. Messier than we’d like. And plot and plan as we may, our carefully outlined scripts of what life is “supposed” to be like are often ripped to shreds. Stuff happens, you know?
So what’s a plotter to do? What can a planner plan on?
Plan on God’s faithfulness. Plan on His mercy. Plan on His immutability in the midst of an ever-changing world.
And the pantsers? Those who don’t have time or inclination to sweat the “small stuff”?
Revel in God’s creativity demonstrated in your life. Strive for intentionality. Keep the end in sight.
Why? Because one of these days, we’ll all arrive at the end of The Story. Our individual journeys may have been long and arduous or smooth and relatively pain-free. It won’t matter, then. What will matter is that we have fought the good fight. Run the race. And entered into the ultimate happily-ever-after that only The Author could create.
So, keep your eye fixed on the finish line. Hold the hope of the end close, letting it permeate every thought, every goal, every plan…every scene of your life. It will be worth it all one day. I promise.

Make Haste Slowly by Amy Rognlie
Life in Short Creek, Texas is just what Callie Erickson expected it to be: calm and predictable…until the morning a gift bag—along with a dead body—appear on the doorstep of her shop. A terrible tragedy? Or something more sinister?

After moving halfway across the country for a new crack at life, Callie isn’t eager to become entangled in any more trouble than necessary. But a cryptic message, a needy neighbor, and her own heart won’t allow her give up so quickly. With the help of her indomitable Aunt Dot, and friends both old and new, Callie sets out to discover the truth. What she finds might change her life forever.

Amy Rognlie writes inspirational fiction, including mysteries and historical novels. When not writing, she is teaching middle school language arts or leading a Bible study at the local jail. Amy lives in Central Texas with her husband, dogs (including a pug, of course), and a plethora of plants, yarn, and books.



  1. I've done the same thing, Amy, as far as evolving as a writer from committed pantser to a mix of plotter and pantser. There's a measure of security, especially on deadline, in having at least something of an outline. Thanks for visiting SW today!

    1. Thanks for hosting me, Annette! Yes, it helps to at least have a general idea to shoot for (even if I end up in a different place). Sigh.

  2. Great post, and I love the spiritual application that ties in with the craft of writing. We all need to remember we all have an 'end' somewhere down the road, and the way we live our life now matters.

  3. When I wrote my masters thesis (a youth musical with a two-act script), I definitely began as a planner...had all my scenes outlined so I could get to the dénouement seamlessly. Ha! Then I found the characters weren't cooperating, taking a scene a different direction than I'd planned. I ended up cooperating with them, and found I still serendipitously arrived at the same destination. What a pleasant surprise! :)
    Thank you for your post, especially the spiritual application aspect. God bless you, Amy!

    1. Thanks, Beverly. I still find that happening, too. I think my subconscious brain works on it and pushes me toward the ending, even if I end up taking a detour along the way!


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