I’ve been talking with a few friends about plot and things related to plot this week. Actually, I feel like most of my conversations have touched on plot. And I always feel weird talking about plot, because I might get stuck in a scene or a section now and then, but I almost never get completely stuck on the plot. In our videos on structure this week, I talked a little bit about how thinking in terms of structures always seems to work for me, but another one is that when it comes to plot, I’m free to be five.
“Why?” You ask?
That’s exactly it. Why. “It’s time for your nap.” “Why?” “Because mommy said so.” “Why?” “Because little boys need naps to grow big and strong.” “Why?” “Because otherwise you’ll never be able to reach the microwave yourself.” “Why?”
And on and on. When I start working out a plot (as I’m secretly doing for something off the books), I ask why for everything. Why does the villain want this? Why would the characters go to this club? Why would anyone have a wall full of cat plates? If something doesn’t fit, I toss it. Or I think of a better reason. I try to think in terms of the characters – why would they retaliate like this? Or in terms of the plot – why would this happen now?
That’s the thing, though. Sometimes, we get stuck with a plot, or stuck in a scene, because we need to go back and be five again for a minute. And just keep asking why until something finally unravels itself.