Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Plot Big

Sometimes I think new writers go to two different extremes.

1. Boring things happen in their stories
2. Unbelievable things happen in their stories

Remember that captain who just recently landed his plane on the Hudson? Writer pal John did a great post about it one day, and the whole thing got me thinking.

Who would have guessed a plane could land on a river? Not me. And yet it happened.

Incredible things occur all the time in life. Strange things. Coincidences. Don't be afraid to let them happen in your book. Make it credible (the captain had tons of experience).

The best books and movies don't get started until something happens to the main character, something the character must then react to, oftentimes in unprecedented ways.

In Twilight, the new girl falls in love with a vampire. In The Thirteenth Tale, a loner is summoned to write the biography of an eccentric bestselling author. In Armageddon, an oil drilling company is asked by the government to stop an astroid. This is how these stories start.

Don't be afraid to explore the full scope of your story and what could happen.

Plot BIG!

So, do you have any cool things surprising your characters?

22 comments:

Irritable Mother said...

I truly do not think I could be a fiction writer. It sounds like so much work!!!
And I thought managing my children was a big job. Yeah - not compared to what you're doing! Sheesh!
*grin*

Jessica said...

As someone who is there right now, managing children is still harder! I promise. LOL

Janna Qualman said...

Great advice! And I agree; it's something to keep in mind throughout the process.

Lots of really great things surprised the MC in my first, and the plans are set for that with the WIP. I hope it pans out!

Jessica said...

Hmmm, so are you a pantser? LOL Surprising the MC is always fun, and it's fun when they surprise us. :-)

Kristen Painter said...

The stranger the better. I try never to use the expected choice.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Drama, big plot twists and interesting happenings make a book sing.

Dara said...

Not sure what surprising things are in store...though I do know that my MC has recently been kidnapped by her father's enemies. That was a bit of a surprise for her :P

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Dara, I bet it was!! ;)

Does a dislocated knee consistute a surprising, unique thing?

Perhaps I better give some more time to plotting. :(

Jessica said...

Kristen, I've heard some authors will make a list of like twenty things before discovering a unique twist. I thought it was a pretty cool idea.
The stranger the better sounds pretty interesting!

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica said...

I agree Angie!
Dara, isn't it fun to surprise our MC's? LOL Sounds like a great twist.
Hey Eileen, I don't think that's such a bad thing. Is it from the manuscript I read? In that case, it was a surprise for the reader and while it didn't change the whole plot, it certainly added to the story. :-) I wouldn't worry about it. :-)

Kathryn Magendie said...

First - I hope you listen to Billie! (I have a link to a utube of her singing summertime....she got that unique voice...just love her voice!)

Second...hmmm interesting things - I guess mine are more subtle, nothing outlandish or earthshaking - but yeah, stuff does happen *laughing*

Nancy J. Parra said...

Great Blog!

Plotting big is really a good way to keep the reader turning pages...that and writing the best characters you can.

Cheers-

Jessica said...

Kathryn, I'll be checking out that link. She's famous for something, right?
And from reading your excerpts, it seems like the little girl is far from ordinary. :-)

Jessica said...

Whoops, didn't mean I don't know what she's famous for. LOL Just meant that she's famous for a reason-her singing ability. Which means I should check her out. LOL

Jessica said...

Hey Nancy,
Are you Australian or British? Just wondering 'cause of the cheers. :-)
Yeah, larger than life character, they're the ones we remember, the ones we beg the author for just one more book.

anita said...

Hey Jessie. Fun post today! And your new pic is cute, not to mention sunny. :-) Are you trying to make me jealous with that weather or what? Heehee

Well, I can't give away any of my really cool surprise twists in my wip because you're reading it and you're about to find out on your own. Heh.

But there is the part where my heroine (who grew up as an orphan) is on a passenger liner and finds the exact doll she lost as a child stashed in someone's trunk in steerage. That was a pretty cool twist. I didn't even see that one coming until it happened. Now she's been kidnapped. Eeps!

Like someone said above, the best twists are the ones that surprise the writer as much as the MC.

Jessica said...

Hey! I didn't know she'd been kidnapped. Okay, suspected, but didn't know for sure! LOL Now you've really whet my appetite.
I had to have a pic for my interview, but would you believe I have none of just me? And none of me and the whole family (okay, one or two but the kids were wiggling and aren't looking at the camera). So yesterday Jimmy came home early and we took the boat to the river. I said, "I need a piccccc (insert whine)" So he took a few, and voila! It was sunny. Feel free to be jealous. LOL

Morgan Mandel said...

I never know what's going to happen to my characters. I do know you can get away with just about anything if you carefully lay the groundwork first with a few clues, then spring the surprise later on.

Thanks for stopping by Double M today.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Jessica said...

That sounds true to me.
I'll be stopping by again. :-)

Debra E Marvin said...

Sort of off subject, but I had to respond to your reference of The Thirteenth Tale. I couldn't put that book down.

Interesting post!

Jessica said...

Debra, I couldn't put it down either. For real, I stayed up SO late!