Friday, February 13, 2009

How to avoid dead plots

Dead plots are actually a symptom of dead characters. Too many writers have characters that are not alive, and yet the feedback they receive from editors, friends and family is related to the plot. The plot is rarely the issue. Depth of character reveals plot. Do you think about the “plot” of your life on a daily basis? Most of us don’t, however we find ourselves in the middle of drama everyday because we are defined characters. When situations get tougher and pressure is applied, that character and the fears and desires we are chasing on a daily basis flare up and cause us to behave in the most fascinating ways. It is the same with your characters: the more definition and the higher the stakes, the more intense the plot naturally becomes.

So be very careful when trying to diagnose a problem with your story. Cancer can make a patient sluggish, but the doctor’s job is not to just treat the exhaustion, that would be absurd. In most cases, the cancer of a story is rooted in character and a lack of depth. Invest time in really bringing your character’s to life and you’ll create a vibrant story.

No comments: