Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Writing Workshop III: Driving the Plot Forward and A Drawing for a Prize

What is it that drives the plot? How do we know when we're driving the plot? Every scene should drive the plot forward. If it doesn't, the scene will end up on the cutting room floor. Otherwise, the reader will become bored. Too much show and not enough tell is a not a good thing. These are two big building blocks of a good story and possibly a great story. Endeavor to drive your plot forward with every scene, with every chapter, keeping your reader flipping those pages and burning the midnight oil. Drive your reader to the edge, begging for more, needing to know what will happen before she reaches for her bookmark to fold another load of laundry. You want your reader to have a dirty house. Really. You do. Give your reader something else to do in bed besides sleep and you know what.

When introducing new characters, ask yourself if this character plays an important role in driving the plot forward. If he or she does, great, go for it, but don't spend too much time doing so. Many a new character was killed off to drive a plot. Nothing wrong with that.

Here's an example. If you watch HBO's True Blood (Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse Mystery Books), the Vampire Godric was introduced in Season 2 to drive the plot forward, to create mystery and excitement. He was only in a couple of episodes and then he was dead. Why? What did this character do for the plot?

I'd love to hear what you think Godric accomplished. How did he affect the other characters? Didn't he make the plot much more exciting? He was THE reason to watch Season 2 yet he was elusive and the second we fell in love with him, he was dead.

Leave me a comment. Tell me how Godric was used to drive the plot forward. There are no wrong or right answers. I just want to hear your theories, besides only Charlaine Harris knows the exact reasons she killed off such a powerful character so swiftly.

I'll draw a name from my comments and award a lucky winner with his or her choice of any of my ebooks. Winner will be annonced here next Tuesday, July 27th.

Have a Happy Tuesday!


Sherry said...

I haven't ever read any of this series and I've not watched any of the shows. But sometime I think in TV shows and in books when you introduce someone as a trouble maker or maybe just a one night stand that after that's done with they just don't fit in with the rest of the show or book.


Alisha Paige said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sherry. Sometimes, especially in TV shows, the writers will try new characters to see how the audience likes them. Sometimes the character helps turn the plot or add mystery, suspense. In the caes of Godric in True Blood, he was not a trouble maker or a one night stand. He's a very important, powerful character, the Sheriff of Dallas, king of vampires. He's a 2000 year old vampire, meaning that he is very powerful. Most importantly is the insight Godric gave us into Eric's character. Eric is the Sheriff of Area 5, the Bon Temps vampire king (he's a former Viking). Godric's character showed us more of Eric's past(Godric is Eric's maker/the vamp who turned Eric into a vamp) and helped to drive the plot full speed ahead when he decided to take his own life. Harris used Godric as another example of a vampire concerned with humanity (her central theme throughout)and his death also showed us a sweeter, gentler side of Eric who is often seen as brutal. Next time you notice a minor character showing up in a book or tv show, ask yourself why.

Thanks again for commenting. You're entered into the drawing for any of my ebooks.

Have a great day,

Mark Alders said...

You are the best, Alisha. Love your posts.



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