Friday, April 26, 2013

Healing Plot Wounds

Happy FRIDAY, good people of the blogosphere! What a week! Here comes the the weekend, though. I hope you all have wonderful plans. Today, we're gonna talk about some common plot wounds and how you can heal them. So, grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!

Problem 1: Your flashback is all mucked up.
Make sure you need it. Remember, a flashback will disrupt the flow of the story and pull the reader into the past for some reveal. It should never be an information dump, but a high-energy scene. If you keep your flashbacks short, all the better. Try working the information into dialogue instead. That way, the story keeps moving forward, but your readers get the information you've deemed necessary.

Problem 2: Your scene has no two-punch.
You know that height of the scene where exciting things happen? Find it in your story and highlight it. See how much you can dump before it happens so there's less drag getting there. You'll likely find a lot of the wordy things before the action can be removed and it still work. Then, give it a two-punch. You know, that little something extra. Some emotion or reaction as the action occurs.

Problem 3: You're holding back your characters because they're off plot.
Suddenly, your characters are trying to go left but you force them to turn right. That wasn't what you had in mind and no-way no-how are you letting them go there. This will hinder your story. Try opening a new document and let the character go the way you think they would. Have a conversation, run a scene in your movie-projector mind, or type a quick scene out where your character faces something out of the ordinary. Don't force them to react a certain way. Let the character decide. Then, return to your story and let them play it out the way they want to. It works. As a bonus, the outcome might surprise you. I didn't intend the twist in The Bird, the characters did that on their own.

Problem 4: Mind-system shutdown.
Overload. Your mind shuts off, your imagination takes a break, or a head cloud invades. How do you turn it back on? Writers don't have switches on the side of their heads. If this happens, try one of these tricks: Act out a scene. Don't imagine it, get your booty out of your chair and act it out. Take a walk and have a conversation with your protagonist. No, I'm not kidding. Sometimes, this is just what you need to understand their vision and/or motive. Maybe those crazies on the street, walking along, mumbling to themselves, are actually writers trying to get back in touch, eh? Write down what your novel means to you. What's the underlying message?

These are just a few of the problems we all run in to. I hope the suggestions above help in some small way.

What do you do when problems smack you between the eyes?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!



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