About Those Resolutions

Hello 2016, Goodbye 2015, Happy New Year everyone!

I’m here to confess another little tidbit. I’m an amateur guitar player. I’m very serious about being an amateur, I’ve been doing this for close to 30 years now. Never had the time, nor the inclination to become professional about this either. It’s too much practice if we want to get down to it, and quite frankly, I am not one to play for a crowd of any kind, so why bother? So yeah, I can pull off some pretty nice tunes (rhythm guitar, forget solos), but that’s just for me, myself and I.

It’s a real kick for me to succeed in playing a riff I like. If I can pull it off, it doesn’t really matter if it’s just part of a song with 10 more riffs. It’s about the chord progression. If I can make it from chord 1 to chord 3, or 8 or whatever without messing it up, I’m satisfied. Those in my immediate proximity might be very irritated until that happens, but what can you do…

Great chord progressions start somewhere, go through some turmoil and can only end with a resolution. You might not understand what I’m saying, but trust me, every riff you like is resolved one way or the other. It’s that chord, or note that let’s you release that breath you were holding. That final note that, only once played, a new progression starts. It’s the progression of different notes that takes you on an emotional ride and the resolution is the satisfying end. It could very well be a surprise, but it is absolutely satisfying.

Stories are like chord progressions. They too, have a beginning, middle and end. They too, take you on an emotional ride, and… yes, they too, should be resolved in a satisfying way.

What does it mean to resolve a story?

Well, stories (good ones) are based – in a nut shell – on the gap between what a character wants, and the hand that life deals her. That creates problems. These problems need to be resolved by the time we put the book down.

Otherwise, we remain frustrated.

Note, that I keep using the terms “resolve” and “satisfy“. These absolutely do not mean that every problem is resolved to our hero’s best interests. It does not mean a “happy end” and it does not even mean our hero stays alive…

It only means that every question raised during this emotional ride gets answered in a logical (logical within the story) and believable way. No loose ends. No little sub plot left hanging. No “leave it to the readers” as in – let them write the end of the story. Yeah, an end might leave things for the reader to ponder, but it’s up to the writer to answer the main questions, to show how each story line ends – even if the end is not absolute (say, a couple gets married – we don’t necessarily have to know if they stay together or have kids [Only if it’s directly tied to an open story question]).

Think about the best books you’ve read. They may differ in many ways, from style to subject matter. One thing I absolutely guarantee they have in common – being great – is that they are all resolved with a satisfying ending.

I sincerely hope that 2015 is ending in a very satisfying way for all of you – and this time I do mean a happy ending. Let’s all ride into the sunset with the loot and the girl, and live happily ever after.

Happy 2016 everyone,

 

The Matrix and God Are Blowin’ In The Wind

If I asked you to name the first Bob Dylan song that comes to mind, what would it be? Continue reading

It’s right there!

Hello folks, how’s it going?

Today’s post is about answers. But before we get into these, here are a few questions for you.

Do you believe in god? Do you believe in higher power? Do you pray? Do you wish upon a star? Do you hope against hope for some sort of help?

Don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell you anything 🙂 I’m simply asking because the rest of the post will relate to these wishes.

But… Let me recount a couple of stories/jokes some of you may know first.

There was a religious man once who went for a swim in the sea. The water took him deeper than he’d planned and he found himself struggling to get back to shore and getting tired rapidly. He prayed to God. “Lord! Please save me! I will correct my ways, I will do whatever it takes! Please save me lord!”. A surfer passed nearby and called. “Hey friend, do you need help?” and the man answered. “That’s quite alright, thanks. The lord will save me.” Next, a boat happened by him and the man in the boat called. “Hey friend, do you need help?” and the man answered. “That’s quite alright, thanks. The lord will save me.” The boat sailed on and a moment later a helicopter flew over the man’s head and through a megaphone a voice came. “Hey friend, do you need help?” and the man answered. “That’s quite alright, thanks.” the man shouted. “The lord will save me.” A moment later the man drowned and died. When he passed through the gates of heaven, he saw the big throne on which sat God and he ran towards it with rage. “Lord! Why??? I was such a good man, gave to charity, helped old people to cross roads, prayed every day, Why didn’t you answer my prayer????” and god said. But I did… I sent you a surfer, a boat and even a helicopter. All you had to do was to accept one of their offers to help.

I expect you all know the old joke about the man who complains that he really wants to win the lottery. In reply someone tells him to buy a damn ticket!

Why am I repeating old stories and jokes? In recent weeks I saw a few examples of this drowning man.

I thought it was well worth the reminder that the saying “God works in mysterious ways” exists for a reason. If you’re expecting a revelation such as experienced by Moses on mount Sinai, you might be setting yourself for disappointment. The means to solve your problems might be much closer than you think. There might be a person on a boat right behind you. That person might even be calling you, saying “Hey friend, do you need help?”.

It’s up to you to accept his help. You need to learn to take ‘Yes’ as an answer.

That’s all for today. Have a great weekend!

As usual, comments, likes and shares are welcome around here, so don’t be shy 🙂