Posts Tagged ‘OPs and NOPs’

What happens next?

And after that?

Why did that happen?

How will it end?

All of us who write fiction do so because we love story. Our plot consists of the building blocks of the story.

We read or see something that intrigues us, that starts our imaginations rolling. Then, depending on whether we are OPs or NOPs (From James Scott Bell: OPs are Outline People and NOPs are No Outline People), we outline / think through the series of events by which we can show the story.

I will admit to being an OP. As a visual person, I need to see the outline, the highlights, the headings and titles, the progressions. From there I fill in the motivations, the conflicts, the story arc, and all the other elements that create a good read.


I     Chapter One

A. A terrible storm destroys a town

1. The church roof is torn off

2. The main character is in the church

3. The church is being used to house homeless people

4. Main character is angry at God for making life harder for these people

B. Second main character arrives and judges first main character for lack of faith

II     Chapter Two …

Sometimes things happen in our stories that are unexpected. At first we may not understand why they pop up, but then we see they are necessary to prepare a character or situation for the next step.

Our lives are stories. Our MO* (modus operandi—why people do the things they do) stems from our life story. Our values, beliefs and goals are based on the stories of those who came before us. We don’t often understand why some things happen to us or to our loved ones, why we must endure health problems or financial burdens or loneliness.

I would suggest that’s because we don’t have the outline for our lives printed out for us. But God knows every action, every response, every MO. He leads us along our particular path, He promises to be with us every step of the way, but He does not promise to tell us why. The Lord’s MO is His own and we have no access to it, beyond our understanding of who He is and His divine and unchanging nature.

However, if we belong to God’s family through His Son Jesus, we know that the eventual outcome will be superb. It will be more than a happy ending.

So if you are struggling in your life, think of it as being part of God’s Plotline for your life, and trust that He will resolve everything for your good and for His glory, at the perfect time.

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