Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The One Where the Plot Goes Missing

I am a life long T.V. junkie. Since I pursued a career in television production, I thought all of those hours committed to the consumption of episodic programming, particularly silly sitcoms (the louder the laugh track the better), had served me well in my goals. Ah, you just can't beat the comfort of rationalization.

What's that you say? Read my writing? Fine. Ok. I don't see why, but-


Perhaps my little habit hadn't prepared me well for my new path. Once it was in pieces, I was forced to see that my manuscript was not a plotted story, but a collection of episodes; small, sometimes silly, events connected by character, time and place, but not events that were necessarily entwined or relevant to one another and definitely nothing that was propelling my protagonist in any direction.

Well, shoot- that's a problem.

After a sleepless night of some not-so-nice meditation (it went something like- "you suck" "you shouldn't have even tried" "what made you think you could do this"), it occurred to me that the solution to my big problem was pretty simple. I needed to define a tangible goal for my protagonist. I had established my goal as the writer, meaning I knew what I wanted her to experience, learn, and achieve, but I hadn't given her a goal within the context of the story. With that addition, without changing the tone or intention of the novel, I finally had motivation for events, connections of cause and effect, and (miracle of miracles!) an actual plot. Yay for growth!

Ok, maybe it's not fair to blame my literary shortcomings entirely on television, but it is also called the idiot box, so I'm just going to let it ride. Oh, rationalization, how I've missed you.

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