These words are idea breathed into being. They are Promethean fire, catalysts for change. Humanity’s best and worst moments are born from them. In the time I’ve taken to begin outlining a novel, I’m learning just how powerful this question is. It can be asked about anything or anyone, providing you with limitless possibilities. I would be rather surprised if a philosopher hadn’t already studied this in depth.
Needless to say, I’m not the first to pose this question nor will I be the last. It doesn’t only apply to a novel’s skeleton, either. Most of the time, this question emerges from thoughts of hope, despair, or wonder. Hopeless romantics ponder the possibility of soul mates, paving the way for story after story of the trials of love. Wives of soldiers wonder over their safe return, inspiring others to new levels of fidelity, resilience, and support. A mad genius dares disturb the universe, murdering millions and plunging the world into war. A failed scientist attempts to explain everything and becomes synonymous with genius.
All of these stories are connected by this question. Maybe they were born from a self-centered place and eventually changed the world. Maybe it was asked out of mere curiosity or an innate need to profoundly change the world. Perhaps it was asked by someone wanting to rid the world of one of its many ails. There’s no telling where, how, or why these questions were asked, but they were. And things changed.
Imagine the possibilities.
What if you started small? Feel free to wonder big and large. I adamantly encourage it. If you’re feeling stuck, there’s nothing wrong with starting small. A familiar adage which communicates this is, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” The same is true for any major goal, even if you’re omnipotent. The Christian creation story describes God’s use of six days for particular creations. In this time, He made the world as we know it, including humanity. Even He, in His infinite power and wisdom, took a break on the seventh day.
I can’t pretend to know the difficulty in creating a universe. I struggle with making a consistent, daily routine for myself. There’s certainly now way I’d be making new worlds. Then again, I am trying to write a novel which involves a fair amount of creation. Maybe I’ll never have the consistency of God, but I’ll definitely sign up for a day of rest. I’d like to think that God asked “what if” of the dark void before him. Even as an omniscient being, I hope He experiences curiosity.
Updates & Confessions
As I previously mentioned, I struggle with maintaining daily consistency in my basic habits. I know I’m not alone in this, but that doesn’t make it any easier to admit. Either way, I’ve already railed on about failure and persistence. The important thing to do is to keep on keeping on. I missed a post about writing yesterday. Apologies for that. Tomorrow’s post will certainly make up for it. I’ll be discussing the joints connecting the parts of a story’s skeleton, as well as its heart.
To be honest, it’s harder than I realized keeping up with a regular posting schedule. For those pro-bloggers who make money doing what they love, I salute you. I’m nowhere near there yet. Hopefully, I’ll learn to divide my time better between creative writing/journaling, my blog posts, and developing professional skills. Until then, I’ll keep moving forward.