Thursday, January 21, 2010

What happens when you have no plot?

I am cursed with pretty good characters who seem to never do anything. I guess arguably, then, they aren't good at all. Where do plots hide?What makes a conflict plotable? I've often wondered this as I search the depths of my brain for a good conflict.

Here's a test(which is taken from the real life questions I ask myself when trying to determine if I should take something seriously):

1. Does this problem complicate my life?

If no...move on.
If it an "I can't have PB&J for lunch because I'm out of PB" crisis or an "I can't go to work because my leg was broken, my car is on fire, I was hit by a little person dressed up as a seal swinging a bat, etc, etc." kind of crisis.
-->If it's the first...move on.
-->The second...okay we have something. Maybe.

2.Does it complicate the lives of my immediate circle?

If no...move on*.
If yes...does it inconvenience your circle or does it blow up their world?
-->The first...move on*.
-->The And is there loss of limb?

3. Does it complicate the lives of thos outside your circle?

If no...move on**.
If yes...does it inconvenience them or does it blow up the world?
-->The first...move on***.
-->The Is it a figurative "blow up" or were bombs involved?

4. Does this problem destroy the world?

If you wish it had?
If yes...are you to blame?

These are a few questions I ask myself before embarking on a plot adventure. Perhaps you can use them as well, but if not, I don't really care.

Ciao and happy writing,

*Unless the point of your plot is inconvenience, really, you're better off moving on to something more solid UNLESS your objective is a very short and/or annoying, melodramatic story. If you can prove me wrong, I urge you to do so.
**Unless item 3 is true. Not every story has to have a world focus.
***Unless the inconvenience is something like zombie dogs and you're a mail carrier delivering brains. That might be an inconvenience, but it might also be plotable.

PS...I made these up just now.

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