In going through my old posts I’ve realized that I talk about writing in general or talk about my favorite aspect of creating stories, character development. So I figured today I would try to talk about something else. De Plot.
But to be truthful, talking about it and working it out is two totally different things. Plot is one of those aspects of writing that is an either/or situation. You either get it or you don’t. With that said, I believe the idea of a plot for a story comes down to the depth involved. Some, like The Stand by Stephen King (sue me, I like his stuff), is incredibly in-depth. If you haven’t read it, trust me, do so though I have found that people either love or hate it, not just like it. I remember I was trying to read It while a friend of mine was trying to read The Stand. After we both struggled with them we switched and each devoured the other. So for some it works, for others it doesn’t.
Now if you really want to talk about in-depth close to the point of being ridiculous, read Lord of the Rings. Just thinking about it make me dizzy.
Then, on the other end of the spectrum you have one and only one strain to the plot. I wouldn’t call it simple, but at least basic. Probably the best example of this would be short stories like Isaac Asimov‘s I, Robot (no, not the movie, read the stories, trust me it’s worth it). There is also another which I can’t remember the name of it, but it was about a robot that was found abandoned by a barn and replying the memory showed the robot was the caretaker of a little girl after a horrible…something. Can’t remember the tragedy, but it was about how the robot started to love the girl. (If anyone knows the name of it, I’d love to have it)
So there is the spectrum. Lord of the Rings on one side and one of I, Robot shorts on the other. So, as novel writers, what should we aim for???
Nope, not kidding, I have this belief that for all my novels there should be a multi-layer plot that centers around a single thought. The continuous strain that connects all the strands. That way, at the end, they all merge into a single bow tie. Because, you know, it has to end with all the threads tied off well…unless you’re going to do a series then leave one dangling so that you have something to do in the second novel and it works together. That way in the second one you only spend 5 pages explaining what happened before instead of the first half (but that’s more pet peeve than ‘rule’).
Think of it like a carousel. You have the pillar and motor in the center, you have the umbrella that holds the poles that the horses sit on then around you go. If you get dizzy, sorry, but it’s part of the ride. At the end of the day though it all is connected to the motor that moves it. A plot is like that. Or it should be, in my opinion. I have a lot of opinions if you hadn’t noticed, but that’s life…
Right, so, back to the point. When creating so said plot you have to have it be complex enough without causing the glazed eye effect. It has to be interesting, almost suspenseful to a degree. You can’t just say it, you should draw it out, have fun. But most of all, don’t forget that you have to answer all the questions that you created at the end.
Remember, bows are pretty and people like pretty things.