Bad Plots and Scary Fish

I saw the new Mad Max movie the other day, and while I really liked the movie, there were a couple of times when I thought about Plot Fail #4 according to author Therin Knite: The Plot That Never Slows Down. The relentless action of Mad Max did finally take a long deep breath before rushing back to an intense pace, which it sustained for pretty much the rest of the movie.

I like Knite’s blog about The Nine Worst Types of Plot Fails, because it reminds me how far I’ve come in my writing. Looking back at my unpublished work, I can see short stories and novels that have all suffered tragic deaths due to one of these plot fails. My greatest error was the Ocean Trench Plot. My first novel was so deep and impenetrable that I found myself confused and lost in my own story. Even after gutting the novel and fighting to simplify it, I still found threads that while interesting, only distracted and confused.

After that debacle, I spent a few years with a writers group pumping out a short story per month, and the critiques from my fellow authors cured me of all of these nine plot fails.

While I’m not a big fan of lists—and there could well be more than nine plot fails—I think I’ll book mark Knite’s post and check it out half-way through every story I write. It never hurts to step back and think about where a story is going.

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