Thursday, November 15, 2012

Formula 1 Fiction

So, there is the plot that naturally evolves, and there is the formula. And then there is the well-crafted plot that holds your attention yet never seems forced and that, it is to be assumed, lies somewhere in between.

I am struggling with plot just now. You read over things, and it’s obvious where the holes are. Where there is an element that should have been introduced earlier. Where things just ramble all over the place for no particular reason and you think seriously, people, do you think you’re living real life here? You’re fictional characters. Make with the snappy dialogue and steady, intriguing character development.

So, if element A needs to be introduced in chapter 2 so that it has more impact when its big moment comes in chapter 6, that means writing a new scene specifically for element A, which now means it takes us forever to get to element B and besides, the new scene is horrible, forced, the poor characters mumble their dialogue woodenly as though I’ve kidnapped them and forced them to read a script so everything looks natural even though they’ve got bombs strapped to their chests and of course, metaphorically speaking, I have.

But the new scene is essential. We need it for chapter 6. Because chapter 6 is just so sudden, and there’s much too much exposition there.

So I write it. I hope at some point it will be rewritten into something less stiff. But for now it just sits there, hoping against hope that someone will notice something is wrong and call 911. Although maybe it would be better to just go along with the kidnapper’s wishes and hope it all works out.


Seriously—it’s like these people haven’t even met me.


  1. Random thought: in terms of trying to keep the flow, I wonder how well it would work to "retrofit" the plot by writing the now necessary scene as a flashback first to moved later, or even kept as a flashback if it works. Think of all the movies (admittedly usually suspense/spy movies where we expect *some* sort of twist) that use flashback to reveal some essential plot point that alters everything we thought we knew: "OMG! The trusted side-kick was the villain's second cousin, once removed, THE WHOLE TIME!?"

    Even if it couldn't work as a flashback, it might have a more natural flow if written as a flashback from where you are, simply in the interest of moving forward, and wrenched into place later if necessary. But I have no experience or authorities to back up this thought ... just brainstorming.