Plot: &The Big Bad Wolf

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 Laura Fitzgerald

Yesterday, I came across a short series of tweets by writer, Audrey Taylor, that address a chronic problem among many writers.  She had the best anecdotal image I have ever seen for the problem of superfluous plot devices.  Rather than retweeting, I felt it would be clearer as a blog post.  Personal choice, but I've just never liked retweeting multiple inter-connected tweets.  (And hey in a blog post I can make it purple, WIN)

"Hubby has a phrase for writing that's all about the window dressing and not about anything underneath: Robotic Wolves. As an editor, he had a convo w/a writer like this..
D: You need plot here in the middle.
W: Hm. How about some robotic wolves?
D: A series of events that don't provide an arc are not plot. Having "robotic wolves" or mercorns will not make your MS either original or goodIn the end, it's your writing that needs to be good. You can write an entire novel about wallpaper, if you write about wallpaper brilliantly." ~ AudryT

Hehe, robotic wolves.  I love it.  The strength of your plot comes from more than a series of devices strung together.  Don't let the "robotic wolves" gobble up the good things that you have going for you in your work in progress.

You can follow Audry on Twitter here.

/End of Line


Anne said...

That's great! You have to fix your link though. (take out one of the double http)

Laura Fitzgerald said...

Done. Thanks for the catch!

Renae said...

Great post and absolutely true!

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Robotic wolves would be AWESOME though. :)

Alleged Author said...

Off to add robotic wolves to my ms right now! Hee hee! said...

As a writer friend of mine says Vampire in the Vatican: How about Robotic Vampire Wolves at the Vatican

Melissa said...

This is so true! It's not about our plot devices it's how we mold our plot devices together and deal with the aftermath of each device. Great device.

David Wise said...

As the "hubby" in Audry's post (and life) let me just say that I can't take credit for the last paragraph in Laura's post -- it's Audry's erudition, though of course I agree 100%.

The "robotic wolves" thing happened when I was story-editing an animated SF TV series. My reaction at the time was to slap my forehead and fire the writer. However, I am pleased to report that she went on to become a very good and very successful author of YA, fantasy and SF novels.

Laura Fitzgerald said...

Thanks for stopping by David and filling us in on more of the story. I'm very glad to hear that the writer in question went on to conquer those wolves. :)

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