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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


“Thresholds are necessary in the creative process in giving an idea somewhere to go.” Tim Wynne-Jones

Change, no matter how small, can create mental and emotional chaos as you turn into a different direction, physically or emotionally. To cross a threshold though requires a choice, even if it has been forced upon you like a refugee fleeing his war torn land. All sensory memory is heightened and sharpened. It is not just the moment that is at stake, but the journey that follows it. Thresholds become part of our soul shadows as much as our physical bodies cast their shadow. And the question can linger. “Did I choose the right fork in the road?”

In the movie Green Dragon Tai is forced to make a deliberate choice for himself and his newly melded family as a threshold crossing into a fresh beginning. He must face a country filled with mystery, compared to the one he left behind and probably never to return to.

On the surface it is a passage of a moment. Yet it includes walking away from a place, and choosing to no longer be who he was a few minutes earlier. At first fear paralyzes him from taking that step into discovery. There have been too many changes, too many losses and disappointments. Then his American friend takes him for a drive, over the dried-up hills to investigate the small town just beyond the camp walls, just beyond sight. And he returns with a grocery bag filled with familiar foods. He returns beaming with possibility and encouragement, not only for himself but also for the other refugees. A new possibility has bridged the gulf of despair into hope. He is ready now to face mystery with anticipation and curiosity.

Journal Prompt

Choose a psychological threshold that your character must face at each main stage of the novel structure categories: set-up, response, attack, and resolution.

Which one has the most emotional impact? Write it up as a new scene.

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