Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Logical Sequence of Things

This is what an angry plot looks like.

Things follow on other things, and logical sequences are usually the norm (with humans anyway).  This little bit of knowledge comes in handy when I’m writing a story, but sometimes I forget about it.

Recently, while I was plotting (making up a plot, not devising evil schemes), I came upon a point where I struggled to figure out what exactly should follow next.  None of the solutions seemed worthy of mention, nor would any really work.  My main character had to get an object, but it was impossible to get.  This is where Orson Scott Card’s advice came in handy.  If you can’t go on, there’s probably something wrong with your story.

More in line with my theme today, events don’t follow logically, therefore the next logical event is not satisfactory or not possible.  Right?


So I looked back to my previous plot points and noticed that there was a certain sequence that I simply described as ‘escapes from the library’.  How?  I didn’t know, and that proved to be a bit of a problem.

So I thought on it a while and came up with a solution of how my protagonist would escape and what events would transpire.  The moment I did that, the next plot point didn’t work.  The events of the previous one caused a character to be somewhere where he wasn’t supposed to be.  And let’s just say, something got left behind which my plot wanted in the hands of the enemy.

So with a little tweaking, I fixed the plot there and had to follow a new direction.  I laughed merrily as I skipped past the plot hole and onto the next point.

My point is this.  Sometimes (maybe most of the time?) the story plots itself, and all you need to do is step out of the way.  Follow the logical sequence if it is readily available and don’t force things in that steers the plot from its natural conclusion.

Side note: I do not mean, delete all surprises.  I mean, don’t stand in the plot’s way when it wants to go somewhere.  Show it an alternative that it finds appealing or just get out of its way (it’ll make you pay if you don’t).

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