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P Is For Plot

For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.

Check out each letter’s post here.

PLOT

As if writing isn’t frustrating and complicated enough, you can’t just make up some characters and have them do nothing, even if they’re super interesting like being aliens or living underneath Antarctica, or both. You need a story, a plot, something for them to fight against and for. I mean, that’s why people read, so I’m told. If scrubbing the floor and doing laundry to a pointless conclusion of eventual death with no heart-stopping adventure turns your crank, that’s just what we call real life. Heaven knows we’ve had enough of that. Even Cinderella got to have a fairy godmother and go to a ball.

You also need a satisfying conclusion. Cinderella got her prince, but if her wicked stepmother had just beat her and put her back to work scrubbing pots at the end that would be a valuable lesson to our children about not wearing impractical glass shoes. However, plots are better, but here’s how they make you feel like you’re trying to stuff your fat foot in a shoe that is somehow bizarrely sized for only one person on earth:

– Sometimes you create a plot that’s too complicated and convoluted to unravel. Sure, you can just drop a fairy godmother in to sort things, but you and I both know that’s a cop-out. Make Cinderella slay her evil family with a magical sword, instead.
– Oftentimes you can’t see how a plot resolves itself until you get near the end. This both makes you feel creative and terrified you might have just wasted hours of your life writing this book and now you can’t end it. You’re trapped. Forever.
– Your plot may seem to be healthy at first and then drop dead somewhere along the road. Should have sprung for those glass horseshoes.

One of the worst things about writing is creating a smooth, plausible, interlinking plot that carries the story from beginning to end and wraps everything up in a satisfying conclusion. Even worse, you need to have subplots that interconnect and wrap up adequately as well. When this is done with skill, it is indeed like you have a fairy godmother fixing your rotten problems for you. When you can’t make that magic happen, you’re going to bibbidi bobbidi boo-hoo all day.


**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh

Megan Morgan View All

Urban fantasy and paranormal romance author.

46 thoughts on “P Is For Plot Leave a comment

  1. You’re really right about the difficulty of plotting a story from beginning to end that meets all the needs of the reader. Not an easy task.

    I’m stopping by to say hi to some A to Z folks!

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  2. I’m all about the slower-paced, character-driven, episodic books about growth and change instead of fast-paced and plot-centric, though they still need some kind of arc and trajectory to be hung on. My genre, historical saga, tends to have a lot more of that than modern genre fiction.

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      • I’m pretty sure that’s what Cinderella actually did in the real story (as in, not the Disney version everyone grew up with). Something about stuffing her stepsisters in barrels full of broken glass and rolling them down the main street of town (that of course looked like the hilly streets of San Francisco :P)…something like that. Don’t remember what happened to the stepmother. I could be remembering some of the details wrong, but if you really want to know look up the actual original story (wasn’t it in the Grimm brothers’ collection of stories?), and then let the rest of us know. 😀

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  3. I’m saving this stuff to Pocket so I can reference your brilliance when I start writing fiction again. Was that too lavish and forward to say? Have you ever been stuck in a plot that you couldn’t finish? Sounds hellish and also like a springboard to more suffering and writing.

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    • Oh God, yes. Sometimes you have to let a plot go, when you’ve lost the thread and can’t find it anywhere, no matter how hard you search. It’s always immensely disappointing.

      I did email you back about the six word story thing! I would love to participate, just let me know what you need from me!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think if you have an interesting set of characters (I mean personality-wise, not just ‘Oooh they’re werewolves’) you can afford to sacrifice plot. I’ve definitely come across characters in movies where I would happily watch them fold laundry for two hours.

    The Avengers movies, for example, don’t need necessarily need a giant ‘save the world’ plot because the characters and their interactions have been sketched out so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. After reading that, I’m quite certain I’ll be in my bunk.

    The Cinderella story I want to see that in order to go to the ball, it requires a blood sacrifice with a special dagger. Then have the wicked step-mother watch in horror as the two evil step-daughter’s blood is magically transformed into Cinderella’s dress. The the wicked step-mother becomes the horse to pull the pumpkin carriage. They always said she had nice legs, now she has four.

    I can be violent too.

    Liked by 1 person

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