Not a Lesson

I wonder how people create plots. I do it too, but oftentimes I find myself starved for a plot twist or an unexpected corner to turn; because if I can think of it, surely the reader has predicted it too?

The trouble is, I want everything to be smooth sailing and happy endings too. I don’t want to write an argument or poor decision or a sabotage. Can’t everything be nice? But as a reader, it’s the pain and the pleasure and the sheer frustration of the characters who just don’t do as they should which keeps me reading.

It just can’t be too simple. Oh, your granddad has an old dusty book telling you how to defeat the evil magical monster? Or, lucky your never-previously-mentioned martial arts skills could save us! Or worst of all, with no escape available, your green eyed YA fantasy fiction boyfriend leaps into view as your vision turns to grey… It’s a hard line to balance. If your plot point is what the thirteen year old romantic deep down wants, don’t do it. It’s not worth it.

At the same time, you can’t have too much action and constant movement and conflict. Give your readers a page to pause, regroup, and bathe in a false sense of security before the next bomb drops on your plot. Too much action and trouble is exhausting and frustrating, and not enough is boring. Take note of what you like in a story, and identify the levels at which they balance. When you’re starting your story, notice what you enjoy about the beginning of other stories, or what you don’t like.

Am I teaching you? No, I’m reminding myself.

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