Everybody’s life is a unique story. This is something we intrinsically know - but not necessarily something we think about.
I was sitting next door to someone on the underground the other day - as one does - and I started wondering what unique life journey had brought them to that place at that moment. What we are doing NOW, this very second, is a culmination (in one way or another) of everything we have done before - starting from the moment we were born.
We can, perhaps, consider life as being made up of three interwoven strands:-
The first strand is made up of the ‘set’ elements we can’t control (who our parents are, where we were born, our genetic make-up etc). All these will impact massively on our life.
The second strand comprises the elements we can control - the aspects of our life over which we have choice and can make decisions. Yet choice can be dependent on so many uncontrollable factors: Hunger, thirst, poverty, war, illness, politics, location - all these (and many more) can limit the control we have over our own lives. And for those with the luxury of choice, there is the challenge of decision. For decision brings with it doubt and the fear of failure. What if I make the wrong choice? Our choices - right and wrong - all help to shape our unique story and failure is an integral part of success.
And then, of course, there is fate. Situations, experiences and people combine, all the time, to change some aspect of our lives. It is fate that provides the unexpected. However much we think we are in control, the ‘surprise’ element is always lurking nearby. We make a choice to go in a certain direction and then WHAM, in bowls fate and sends us off somewhere else - minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.
As a writer of fiction, this is utopia. There will always be another story to write. The potential for unique stories is unlimited. And, of course, as an author, you have complete control over your story - or so you like to believe. You can control the uncontrollable. You can manipulate fate. Yet, often I find myself stunned when something happens in my story that I am not expecting; a character I thought I knew does something unpredictable or a situation arises that could hijack the whole plot. I can choose whether to run with it or not - but often those ‘shock’ moments add plausibility to a story and make me reconsider my options. Fiction must be true to the life it is depicting. Life is unpredictable.
However much you want to control your story - real or fictional, allow room for fate to play its part.