SBD the plot = boom! sag. or sag.... pow!

I got expert advice back on a story and it''s expert. Really good stuff. I can see that the ideas are RIGHT for what I've got so far, sort of.

The trouble is, I can see that, but I can't see me writing it.

I'm not going to ever be popular because no matter what I write
1. the action part is missing once the story starts up
2. it comes out of nowhere.

One of my stories starts with two people, running hiding running and frightened for their lives and then melts into people having misunderstandings or--here's a big, horrible moment--catching the wrong train. And to me, it fits. They were bound to get on the wrong damn train and then worry about little shit for a while after all that big worry. To anyone else, it's . . . huh?

Oh, whine, whine, whine, Rothwell. Get over it and write the damn book with the plot that fits the characters and the set up. Unfortunately? For my current book, analyzed neatly by the expert, the set up is intense. The story chugs along and suddenly the plot, isn't any more. She suggests that maaaaaaaaybeeeeeee I should stay out of the drawing room once I've been in the insane asylum.

Now I'm thinking I mix the two.

I have another story where everyone's getting along fine and yikes--a guy shows up with a gun.
He had to show up, he is supposed to show up, but I'm the only one who thinks so. Everyone who's rejected the story, nicely, says, great stuff, fun stuff, but what the hell's going on with the kidnapping and the gun?

I LIKE things like that. Hint, hint and then POW. No hints, no fair, but .... how much hinting do you need?

Okay, now I'm just getting defensive.

Here's the real SBD lesson: There is nothing more useless than writers saying "yeah, but" to the people who've looked at their stories. "Yeah, but" doesn't mean squat. Intentions schmintentions. No one gives a crap about those.


  1. yeah, but.....
    I think a story is more inovative where the twists and turn happen without prior knowledge...not even a hint.
    Just my opinion, but I am not an expert.

  2. A whole lot of hardboiled/noir follows that convention: everything is quiet (although the hints are there) until pow! Blood everywhere. Ice Harvest was like that, to take one popular example. I never saw the movie, but the book just bopped along, amusing enough, until it erupted. Can't say I've ever seen this structure in a romance, but then, I'm not widely read.

    Maybe you need to market to the HB/noir crowd? But then, one of your characters would need to be hardboiled, which makes for a different kinda romance.


  3. Oh, and The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley, too. Best dog ever (minor character). I didn't think that one would ever get bloody, although it was a hoot the whole way.

  4. houla doula, yeah, but...
    When it's deus ex machina everyone gets annoyed.

    Doug, hard boiled =/= my characters, who are amiable, dammit. So are cows.

    I got a rejection today and it wasn't even particularly personal. Maybe I'll turn into a 20 minute egg myself and then I can channel some angsty, sneering murderer better. Yay!

  5. Ditto Doug's thing on the noir-y hard boiled stuff. In an adventure/mystery situation, it's highly unlikely the protagonists will know everything that's going on. (Even when they're amiable.) Likely they'll be taken by surprise by something. But maybe this can be fixed by adding an alternate/villain POV? Because, as Karen Scott proved last week, it's not controversial, or anything. ;o)

    Some structures are a tougher sell. I, myself, am fond of an unreliable narrator. When writing in the first person, I lurve to prove the narrator wrong, or imply s/he's lying. This gets many complaints, as people seem to want omniscience (or, barring that, honesty. killjoys!), even from first person narrators. It makes them uneasy, they tell me, to have to second guess everything the narrator tells them. ::sigh:: Uneasy is the point!

    Ugh. Sorry about the rant. Point is: I know where you're coming from.


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