HaHa, you all thought I was talking about something dirty, didn’t you???
So sorry to dissapoint, but today we’re talking about plot-points. More specifically, good ones vs. bad ones, too many vs. not enough, and where they should and should not be put.
I swear, I’m not talking about sex.
Today I beta-read the first eleven chapters to (don’t be upset if I don’t get this right, Jackson, I’m just assuming) a YA dystopian novel. More than half of which was written within the past two weeks.
Now, for those of you who write, you already know this. For those of you who don’t, here’s a little 411: The first version of everything you write is essentially terrible, and will most likely be re-written.
I usually tear a scene apart at least three times before I get it right. If I ever manage to “get it right.” And yet, I FLEW through this story, stopping only here and there (okay, and there and there and there) to make suggestions about what else I wanted. Usually when I beta, I send the MS back with at least a few suggestions of scenes that should be cut, because they don’t seem to go anywhere. And you’d think, seeing as half of the story in question was written (I’m assuming) VERY quickly, that I’d have to suggest a lot of trimming.
I got explosions, and cool new technology, and a strange new type of racism, and cars going through restaurants, and politicians who like to cause physical harm to other people and play it off as a joke.
All within like, a hundred pages.
So. Why did Jackson’s manuscript escape so much of my over-the-top two cents?
Keep up, people.
It’s because his storyline was tight. And every time his characters got over one hurdle, he sent another one their way. And when somebody was feeling a little too happy, they got kicked down a few pegs. It sound awful, but in all honesty, that’s what keeps people reading.
So what was so good about these plot-points?
Well, just like good sex, it never hurt enough to make the situation as a whole anything less than enjoyable.
An explosion kills a bunch of people/ The MC drags a friend out and gets her to safety, even though he’s hurt and she’s screaming bloody murder.
The mayor drives a car through a restaurant/ We get essential information to help us figure out who the bad guy is
Picking up on a pattern here?
Everything that goes wrong has a reason for happening. It’s crucial to the overall storyline, it’s not just drama for drama’s sake. Also, with every bad thing that happens, something good accompanies it, or happens as a result of it.
Okay, I’m done.
You all may now return to your previous train of thought–which no doubt involved sex of some kind.