I made a significant self-discovery over the past week.
You know how, when you’re really into the pivotal part of your hero’s story: the battle scene when the bad guy just keeps coming no matter what the hero throws at ‘im, and all the tenuously laid plans crumble apart until one epic, split-second decision wins the day for the hero …?
Basically, the good guys always win while they’re winging it. Check it out.
Narnia: Peter and the good-guy army are fighting the good fight. Sure, they’ve got a plan involving luring the enemy into a land chute, trapping them, blah blah, but of course the White Witch ain’t having it, and she’s winning anyway. But then Aslan shows up! So they all just hold out until the end. And they win. I know, I know, it’s Deus Ex Machina, but still. Winging it.
Lord of the Rings: So many battles to choose from, here. They fight until all hope is lost, and then elves show up/plucky hobbit finally makes it to Mount Doom/Gandalf comes around/ents join the fight. Boom, for the win. Winging it.
It’s a formula: hero comes up with a plan. Hero messes up said plan, or her buddy messes it up, or it was never going to work in the first place. Ack! All hope is lost! Oh, wait, we’re ok, ’cause we just started winging it and now we won.
Ok, you can pick this apart and point to all the lessons authors are trying to impart: that good things happen if you just work hard, that faith and bravery are more important than winning so to prove it we’ll just have the heroes win when they display above-mentioned faith and bravery.
But at the heart of it all: winging it.
So I turn to my partner-in-misspent energies/husband and say, “I just figured it out. We’re always winging it. Do you know what that means?”
“What?” says my intrepid life-partner.
“We’re the good guys.”
He gets it.