Sunday, November 7, 2010

When the Plot Refuses to Thicken

It's time to play the 'Maybe' game
by Brandy Dolce

Many of us have come to that place in our writing where the story is supposed to get more interesting, but instead throws itself off a cliff to certain death.
So how do we thicken the plot?

Answer: With subplots.

Let's say my heroine is about to find out she is the last of her kind. As my former news editor would say, “So what?”

Well, I’ll tell you what: My heroine has a unique gift that if put into the wrong hands could spell disaster for mankind. How ‘bout that?!

“Yeah and...?”

So, that’s not enough?

“Where are you going with this?”

You’re human, right?

“Last time I checked.”

(I’m just asking because sometimes I wonder…) 

Anyway, your life could be in mortal peril if my heroine is captured! Her gift could be exploited! SOS! Mayday! Pan-Pan!

“Who’d capture her and why?”

Well, she can see Beings.

“Beings that do what?”

That's 'who,' Madame Editor. Beings who do what? Who is for people, that is for things or animals - I digress. They're Beings that protect humans from the Creatures. She can see both Beings and Creatures, but they can’t see each other. And they’re at war so it makes it kind of difficult for either side to effectively strike at the other. So whichever side has her has the advantage.

“Seriously? This is your story?”

Yes, so far. I’m sure it’ll evolve as I write it.

“Let’s hope so.”

So how could I thicken my plot here? 

Maybe the Beings (the good guys) have a king. Maybe the king falls for my heroine. She’s hot, so I could see that happening. 

Maybe my heroine is a college student who has no clue of her gift. Maybe she's about to find out she’s not so human after all. 

Who’s her daddy? Maybe she doesn’t know. (But I do.)

Maybe the Creatures (the bad guys) want to take over mankind because their realm is out of chow, and mankind is one glorious buffet.

Maybe they somehow find out my heroine exists, and now they want her for their very own Death Star. Maybe the Beings also find out she exists and they hatch a plan to protect her from the Creatures.

Maybe my heroine’s financial aide is yanked out from under her at the last minute subverting her dream to be the first in her family to go to college! (A Creature’s doing, no doubt. She'll get her loan back if she agrees to work for the bad guys.)

I love the "maybe" game. Of course, I love anything that helps me along with a story! 

So when you think your plot needs some beefing up, have that crazy inner dialogue with yourself, and figure out those subplots! 

Ask yourself:

-Why does any of this matter?

-What’s at stake?

-Who does this affect and why?

-How does this make my character(s) feel?

-What color underpants is my hero wearing right now?

You might be surprised what you come up with. 
(Currently, my hero is commando, if you were wondering.)

No comments:

Post a Comment