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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Falling in the Plot Hole

I was asked why I write fiction.

After all, I don't make much money. Few people read it. Seems like a waste of time. All valid points. Years ago, I didn't have a good answer. I enjoy it, sure. I secretly wish to make millions, okay.

Here's another: It's a challenge.

It's like solving an intricate puzzle, piecing together a mystery or discovering something new, something that's never been done. It's not as easy as it sounds.

Here's why. You start with a set of characters. They need to be consistent and they need to grow. There needs to be a plot, one that's compelling. And, most importantly, it needs to mean something. I mean, Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water... doesn't do it. Strive for something that impacts your reader with an ending they didn't see coming three pages into the story.

My latest endeavor, The Identity Thief, just collapsed only 40 pages from the end. When you're 70,000 words into the work, you'll do anything to avoid seeing the plot holes. But the characters were inconsistent and their actions unbelievable. It might be something as simple as why the character just didn't lock the door.

Here's an example of what I mean. The Maze Runner, a very popular YA science fiction novel, ended with one of the characters jumping in front of a knife to save another character. I realize that all fiction requires, to some extent, suspension of disbelief... but jumping in front of a knife?

Plot hole. It'll swallow the entire story.

So The Identity Thief will require a new foundation. It needs to be reexamined and built anew. So that when I'm finished, I've got the satisfaction of building something worthwhile.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Face to Face.

I had my eyes molested.

It happened during an eye exam. The office was small, located in a strip mall. The room was in the back. The doctor looked to be about 70. He was nice enough, explained things thoroughly, wrote everything down. I felt pretty good that he knew what he was doing, despite the elephant skin.

Then he gets to the end of the exam. He has to look inside my eyeballs. He holds up a bright light and begins to lean in. He smells like a leather couch. A clean couch, but an old one. He's breathing loud and he leans in some more. Then he leans in some more.

Then some more.

Until the back of his hand is pressed against my cheek. The only thing separating his face from mine are his leather couch fingers.

Let me recap. I'm in a dark room in the back of a strip mall with an old man pushing his face against mine.

"No glaucoma in there," he finally announces.

What a relief.