We have reached that point
in the Story where you can no longer deny
that you understand it,
that you have no part in authoring it,
that you have no role to play.
We have come to Page 101,
passed the exposition and the set up
for the main thread.
We have met the major characters
and heard their backstories.
We have come to that point in the Story
where we understand the Conflict clearly,
where we’ve seen everyone’s Tragic Flaw,
where we can sort Protagonist from Antagonist
with little effort, and where you see
how you’re written into the narrative,
even if you are confused about
where you will end up at the plot’s
We have reached that point in the Story
where we have to turn Page 101
and see, or write, the Next Chapter.
We have reached the point
where you have to decide
whether to take a conventional path
from here or step aside, become
a Divergence, a Tangent; whether
to advance the Action or provide
an amusing or tedious aside
to the prevailing Narrative.
We have reached that point in the Story —
and there you stand, finger in the air, asking
which way the wind blows before
deciding if you’re a writer
or a reader — as if you don’t know,
as if you have a choice. As if
you can deny that, close the book,
stick your head into the dark,
and dream up something else —
it won’t be in the Story if you do.