Ever notice how a year in a persons life can be looked at in the same way as a good book? Everyone's story is unique, but the elements of these stories share similarities.
It's January 1, the year begins. The setting and current events are given. The main character is introduced doing everyday things like going to work, seeing family, and going out with friends. The months continue and the chapters progress as our main character experiences a wide range of events as he pursues his goals and ambitions.
Our character goes to events like birthdays, dinners, weddings, and conferences. He may travel for work or pleasure and encounters new settings while many new and interesting characters are introduced into the story. Some interact with our character just for a moment at a bar or bus stop while some linger and add a certain richness to the story that can't be found any other way. Projects at work come and go. Maybe our character loses his job and several chapters of the novel of his year describe his search for new income and perhaps chronicle his thoughts about his newfound opportunity to potentially change the direction of his year dramatically with a new occupation.
Sometimes our character gets into trouble. He loses his temper and starts a fight. He says something to a loved one that he regrets almost immediately but can't undo. Sometimes the trouble is from nothing he's responsible for; a car accident or a sudden injury or death of a loved one. Maybe he's the victim of some horrible crime and he's left beaten and crushed physically and emotionally. Time and chapters continue to pass and he reflects on these events from a philosophical and spiritual point of view and reaches out to people and ideas outside of himself to try to grasp an answer to the questions of "how?" and "why?" that consume his soul. Through these events the reader is shown a darker side of our main character as he is sometimes the cause and sometimes the victim of the evil in his year.
Romance develops. The reader learns of the character's history with relationships and that some of those young ladies are still in his life and bring complications to his current romantic interests. Our main character goes through alternating periods of heartbreak and joy with his attempts at finding someone he can love and will love him in return. A couple potential love interests are introduced but our character seems to have settled on one lovely young lady in particular that he remains intent on pursuing.
The year, and thus the book, begin to come to a close and the intensity of the story builds. Deadlines at work are closing in and projects and papers need to be finalized before the year's end. The holidays are upon our character and on top of the stress of work comes that of coordinating visits with family, both hosting and being a guest, and socially tiptoeing around those whose company he doesn't enjoy but is forced to endure. Perhaps the ghosts of trouble in earlier chapters continue to haunt our character and confrontations with these bring further complications and stress to an already hectic chapter in the year.
Then he breaks through. The holidays have gone, the events finish, and life calms down again. It's the end of December and our character reflects on the highlights of the year and the dark memories begin to lose their intensity. Our main character has experienced much throughout the story of his year both in victory and triumph, joy and pain, rest and stress, but he has made it through and is a better man for it. His story has crossed paths with that of many other characters, each leaving a memory and perhaps a lesson with him, some more fond than others.
The year closes, the book ends. December 31 has come and the story of the year has concluded yet the reader is left curious about what new things may come with the next book which begins on January 1.