Monday, May 14, 2012

The Only Plot Rule I Always Try To Follow

For Sara McClung's May blogfest,
Mondays Are: May I tell you something about writing?

As I've mentioned before, I'm a total pantster. Writing outlines and reading books about plotting both put me to sleep. Unfortunately, I need live in the story with my characters before I can figure out what might happen next.

The only plot rule I always try to follow is this:

Anything can happen in my story as long as a character, the situation, or the fictional world wants/needs it to happen more than I (the author) want it to happen. 

East peasey...right? If only...

Always considering WHY a plot choice happens helps me avoid plot holes and using too much coincidence. It increases believability, and helps keep the marionette strings I'm pulling as the author from showing.

This simple/not-so-simple rule can also add depth to characters and/or the setting when you search for/add the motivations for their actions...the ones you want them to take.

It's not always easy. When this rule gets tough to follow, I fall back on a plot strategy based on the Inoculation Theory in Persuasive Speaking...but I'll talk about that next Monday.

What about you? What's the most important plot rule you follow?


  1. Interesting! I could probably benefit from remembering this rule--I tend to go too easy on my characters.

  2. That's such a good rule! I need to adopt it.

  3. I'm a more of a pantser. I know what I want to happen in the beginning and the end, but I don't know how I'll get from A to Z. I like your rule! A writing friend of mine always tells me not to make things convenient--that's when those marionette strings show!