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  • Patricia Hollett

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10 Minute Fixes to 10 Common Plot Problems


Reading an article on plot problems from Writer’s Digest prompted this week’s post. I thought it would be good to share with my fellow writers. Of course these are just the main points but it should give you a fair idea of what to do when you’re stuck

1. MISSING A CRUCIAL PIECE OF INFORMATION-If you can’t find the exact data you need, get as close as you can and wing the rest.

2. MY ACTION IN THIS SCENE DRAGS-Resist the urge to pile it on;rather, tighten what you’ve got.

3. ONE OF MY CHARACTERS IS STARTING TO SEEM LACKLUSTER-Give her/him an obsession

4. I HAVE TO COMMUNICATE A LOT OF INFORMATION, AND IT’S AN OVERKILL-Turn narrative into dialogue

5. I DON’T KNOW WHAT SHOULD COME NEXT-Have a 10 minute brainstorm, write everything that comes to mind.

6. I’VE GOT A COMPLEX PLOT, AND ALL MY FINAL UNRAVELING FEELS FORCED-Choose some loose ends to leave loose. It also gives you an opening for a series.

7. I NEED A BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO SCENES, BUT I’M AT A LOSS-Insert a chapter break, or use the magic word ‘meanwhile’.

8. MY ENDING MADE MY CRITIQUE CROUP GO, “SO WHAT?“-Add passion, violence or both.

9. MY AGENT/EDITOR WANTS ME TO CUT 10,000 WORDS!-Micro-edit your way to success. Try to cut one word per sentence. This may take a while but it still leaves your story intact.

10. THE WHOLE THING STINKS-TAKE A BREAK! Walk away from it. Give yourself some time, then go back and see if you can smooth it over.

SOME GREAT EXAMPLES FOR GETTING THOSE IDEAS FLOWING
If the police come to arrest the bad guy, make it a shootout. If your tragic hero dies, make him die horribly. If your heroine is happy at the end, make her happy AND rich.
And if your novel already ends with a BANG, make it louder!

Credit-Writer’s Digest-10 common plot problems.

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6 Responses

  1. Some great advice in there. I love “meanwhile”

  2. Some of it I think is more of a way to help you get past it for the frist draft. You should be able to tighten it during the subsequent rewrites but its a good way to help you get on. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I have a copy of that issue because my daughter gave me a subscription to the magazine. Point 6 is my favourite and it’s one that I find some writers ignore. {when writing the ending} choose to leave some lose ends loose. Pat endings are too good to ring true.

  4. Great starting points…I think that careful plotting would also help eleminate some of the issues that are addressed above.

  5. Nice! Thanks for sharing these, Pat. We all run into those walls from time to time.

  6. I like the examples. Pretty much just: make it MORE!

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