A cloudless plain blue sky is like a flowerless garden. ~Terri Guillemets
Ah, the beautiful sky. A blue sky with nary a cloud is something to be treasured. But at times clouds have a way of making a sky even more beautiful.
Clouds are the sky’s imagination. ~Terri Guillemets
Ms. Guillemets must enjoy studying the sky. As I searched through my pictures to find the right ones for my post tonight, I came to the conclusion that I must enjoy studying the sky too and capturing it decorated with clouds. The clouds add interest. The fluffy white ones make you notice the blue even more. The dark ones sliding over the horizon warn you of storms to come. Then we have those clouds that show up at just the right times to make sunrises and sunsets a special delight. Clouds do tell us many stories.
Just as a sky needs clouds so do stories. If my characters know nothing but blue skies and happy days with no challenges or hopes and dreams, then the story has no interest. I need clouds for my stories. And not just the fluffy white ones. Dark clouds have to roll into my stories at times and rain down problems on my fictional people.
Without problems, there is no story. That’s why in my books, I have to drop in some characters who aren’t sweet and kind. Consider Sister Edna in some of my Shaker books. Or Fern who had her own unique way of keeping the Merritt sisters on their toes in my Rosey Corner books. Aunt Love and Jocie had their contrary moments in the Hollyhill books. Then if you are going to write a murder mystery you have to have some bad guys, so some showed up in my Hidden Springs mysteries.
But whether a story is a mystery or not, conflict is a major part of any story. Characters must have obstacles in the way of his or her happily ever after. In fairy tales, trolls hide under bridges and dragons breathe fire. In modern stories, the bad guy might not be so easily identified. Sometimes the conflict comes not from an enemy but from people the character loves. Emotional inner conflict can cause a character to careen off on wrong roads. Nature can put up roadblocks with storms or mountain ranges or vast seas. Wars can threaten characters’ lives.
But one sure thing in every story that holds a reader’s interest, clouds will show up in their bright blue skies of happiness. They will have to fight through those clouds or embrace those clouds or float over those clouds or maybe duck under them. Characters can’t ignore the clouds forever – or even for a short while. They need to run toward that conflict or if they are too cowardly to run toward it, perhaps have it catch up to them while they’re trying to run away from it to climb back up into the blue sky of their peaceful pasts.
Right now, I’m trying to brew up some storm clouds for my characters in a new story. Something has to happen. They have to overcome, fight through the storms, whether they are actual physical storms or storms of their emotions. So I’m trying to think of ways to make trouble for them.
But I’m wishing you all fluffy white clouds and beautiful sunrises. Thanks so much for reading.
The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be? It is the same the angels breathe. ~Mark Twain, “Roughing It”