Story Structure

I am reading To Be Told, by Dan Allender. I have always loved stories and my last book that I remember reading was about story as well, A Million Miles in a thousand years: What I learned While Editing My Life, by Donald Miller. I just read chapter 3 entitled, What Makes a Good Story?. In the chapter Dan outlines what makes a good story in basically 4 elements. To make sense of his elements for those that read this and to continue to teach myself. I thought I would use a quote from him and a few things that help define each element for me from my own story.

“Stories begin with life at peace.” Some memories of peace for me are racing my friends home from elementary school. The free dome and joy about being set free from the classroom and stretching my legs in the real world. Sleep overs with my friends growing up. Summers at the public swimming pool. Coaching the swim team, and teaching people to swim.

Shalom Shattered
“Shalom is shattered by sin, by the intrusion of a lie, the distortion of truth that mars the pleasure of being naked, transparent, trusting, and true.” These are harder for me, probably due to my idealism, or because I don’t know or what to forget the hard times.  I was in the same class with a friend of mine all through elementary school. In 6th grade we were not in the same classroom for the first time. It was hard. On top of that he had a girlfriend and wanted to spend time with her and so we didn’t hang out as much. that felt like a shalom shattering event.  Being the last one off the bench my Junior year in basketball. Leaving for college.

Shalom Sought
“Will I trust in God’s goodness to protect me and provide for my needs, or will I trust myself?” “The search fro meaning is given structure by honesty, desire, and risk.”

It means in French, “an untying, a relaxing of a knot of complexity.” Denouement is the rest that comes when all the disparate plot lines of a story, gnarled and taut, have been untied and and order has come about that brings a new moment of shalom. ” I felt this the most strongly when there was along time between the “end” of a story and the understanding of a story. Mother Russia and then Mother Russia II was the biggest example of this for me.

I am looking forward to reading more of this book, but more than that understanding my story better. I want to be able to read my own past, so that I can write my present more fully, and give that product away so that mt life and my story might show  a piece of the ultimate story, the Gospel, and the greatest author God.

About Dan Butz

I work with Cru in Leadership Development.
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