A Basic Flaw – M. Laycock

I did a risky thing recently. I spontaneously sent an
excerpt of a very old manuscript to a very well known agent and made an
appointment to speak with him at a writers’ conference. He liked the excerpt
and asked to see the full manuscript. I was, of course, elated, but panic set
in when I arrived home. You see I hadn’t even looked at that manuscript in
several years and when I did open it I realized it was nowhere near being ready
to be sent to that agent. So I got to work, re-writing.
The process of editing a very old manuscript has
been at once humbling and encouraging. Humbling because there are so many
“amateurish” mistakes, and encouraging because I realize how far I’ve
come as a writer in the past fifteen years.
One of the biggest flaws in this manuscript was one
I did not realize I was so guilty of – switching points of view. I counted five
different perspectives in one chapter. Oy! What was I thinking? I asked myself
that question as the long process of re-writing began. I chuckled as I answered
it. I wanted to play God. I wanted to be omniscient, to know all things from
all angles. It’s a common flaw in amateur writers and a common flaw in our
human character.
The Bible tells us it was the flaw prominent in the
descendants of Noah as they began to build a tower now known notoriously as
Babel. They had been told to scatter across the earth and multiply, but they
thought they knew a better way. They decided to build a tower that would reach
to the stars and give them all knowledge – omniscience – just like God. So God
had to devise a plan to make them do what he had commanded. He gave them all
very different points of view by giving them different languages. The result
was literally babel and confusion and eventually their plan was abandoned and
yes, in the end, they scattered across the earth.
Too often we try to play God in our lives, making
plans and decisions as though we knew it all, without consulting God. Our
society is guilty of this flaw as our governments allow
“professionals” and ordinary “educated” people to make
decisions that would be best left to the One who knows the bigger picture.
As in writing, it would be best if we acknowledged
that, in the end, a limited point of view makes us stronger, because it is the
way God has designed life to be. We are neither capable nor wise enough to take
God’s place. Perhaps if we acknowledged that more often we would not only be
better writers but more humble, willing servants of the One who really is in
control of it all.
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta
Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She
was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel,
One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been
endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Her second novel, A Tumbled Stone was just released. An ebook
devotional for writers can be downloaded here.
Visit Marcia’s website