Waiting for the plot to thicken

So I’m cruising along, enjoying the time spent with my characters, dealing with Dacey Brown’s unexpected revelation of bipolar disorder, generally digging being a full-time writer and then this week, blammo, I come up against the brick wall of plot. It’s all well and good to have funny characters who are clearly defined and well-thought out themes that fascinate me and bear exploration, but, as it happens, without some action to hang it all on–it’s hard to move it forward.

Damn it.

This has always been my struggle. What happens? For me, usually, the answer is: Not much. And that makes writing a novel really, really hard. So I’ve been thinking about the plots of books I’ve read lately and trying to boil them down. In Annabel, a child is born a hermaphrodite, is raised a boy in outport Newfoundland, and begins to explore femininity with sometimes disastrous effects following a move to St John’s. Basically. Right? Help a sister out. Boil down the plot of a great book you’ve read lately so I can see how it works.

Here’s one thing I realized last night, when I was out watching the excellent Michael Jerome Browne. Fallsy Downsies is short on antagonists. Antagonists create conflict, conflict creates plot. D’oh. How can I have been a writer for thirty four years and still be having the simplest of revelations?

So yeah, plot. Share your insights in the comments so I don’t freak out.

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One Comment on “Waiting for the plot to thicken”

  1. Kristin says:

    I’m probably not going to be much help, but in an effort to calm you down I’m going to tell you that sometimes a lack of plot isn’t altogether bothersome to me. As long as, of course, the writing is awesome (which yours is).

    Take the King’s Speech (which is a movie, I know, but makes my point). It’s about a King with a stutter who sees a speech therapist and reads a speech. The end.

    And still I was riveted because the writing was incredible and the acting stellar.

    Plot, as far as I’m concerned, was secondary in many ways in The King’s Speech.

    I’m not saying a good plot isn’t a fabulous thing, but it’s not everything.

    I’m just sayin’.


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