In storytelling class, the lecturer may discuss the concept of compelling choice. For these lecturers, compelling choice is the pivot on which the plot turns in the classical story structure. The main character faces dilemmas at various points and has a choice between two or, even better, more choices of action, but the character chooses one way because the choice compels more than the other possibilities. Real life is faced with such challenges as well at all sorts of levels. I wish that in real life we would always make the best choices, but in stories a character is a character with its own personality, beliefs and ways of doing things. It’s just that some choices compel the protagonist more than others. This is good material for the writer. The character can make authentic choices because one choice was more compelling that the other possibilities. In real life this can be as difficult as choosing the most unselfish course of action.
The seer called out to the forlorn in the desert and said I can help you with a bit of wisdom. Listen to me and you will find hope. The desert dweller sneered in reply. For the seer to have known better was wrong according to the desert dweller.
Years passed and many a wise person had passed the desert dweller. They looked in and called out to him, “Listen to wisdom!” Everyone thought he was a fool.
One day, he found something deep inside that could have only come from above. He found the security of being alone and not caring what others may have thought of him.
Passerby’s thought he was stupid because he was alone in a place where one could lose out on life. Better things were out and about they told him.
But the liquid love from the invisible streams quenched his thirst for acceptance; and it was no illusion, he knew. All he needed was the water from the well and the food he found in the desert. But he especially needed the acceptance from the invisible. For there was always someone who found fault with the desert dweller.
Wisecracker: So you read those Indian romance poems in English. They’re English romances, then.
Writer: It was a translation into English. Translation. Get it?
Humbled wisecracker: Pretty accurate, then. I mean, extremely accurate.
Writer: You got it. You better take a class, though.
Humbled wisecracker: Yes, I should.
Writer: On translation.
One idea can produce two ideas, but they both take a different slant, that’s the difference. For example, take this premise, as comedy for a Hollywood blockbuster that would get one star from the critics, depending on how well it was done, yet with the potential to be a bomb. A man spent ten years of his life around a lot of people and got so sick of them that he decided to isolate himself from people because he enjoyed the other half of his personality better and settles down with him, but his friend tries to get him back into socializing with people and to see the good side of humanity. In the end, he comes around to see the good side. That’s a silly comedy. But I can change the ending and the whole tone of the idea to sound like an arty drama. In the end the person stays away from people for the rest of his life and there is no seeing the good side. That’s a German drama. I would write neither.
Rejection can be a task master making you try harder, be different, fit in, conform, and do what will make you feel accepted. In writing, this may make the writer try to perform. But, acceptance is another story. If your story is accepted as is, for what it is, and published just as it is, then you are blessed. You don’t have to do anything different or more to be accepted by a publisher. But what happens if some kind of work of yours gets continually rejected? Maybe you don’t know why you are writing something and even if you did and got rejected it wouldn’t matter–because you know why you are doing it.
Personally, I have found the key is to find security in why I am writing something, then any amount of rejection won’t matter. It’s the harder path to come to realize why I want to write something, but the one which says, I don’t have to write in this another way, because I know why I am writing this. Who cares about rejection!