Perhaps this is why I’m a poet first and a fiction writer second. Because I think depth and spirals before I think linear and omg, this three-act structure monstrosity, I struggle with the unnatural thing, I tell you.
So I’m intrigued by discussions of plot that describe it in a way that I can understand (that doesn’t leave me baffled or shuddering). Generate Nerve-Shredding Story Tension—Power of the Secret-Keeper at Kristen Lamb’s Blog did just that.
As Kristen Lamb put it: “Plot merely serves to change characters from a lowly protagonist into a hero…kicking and screaming along the way.
One element that is critical to understand is this:
Everyone has Secrets“.
It’s the tension of misunderstanding, of balancing the keeping of secrets with staying healthy/happy, of keeping your world view in tact (because no one wants to rethink their world view unless they have to–it’s a shock to the system, to “reality” to be forced to notice that what you think is true is just another story you’ve told yourself and it isn’t true).
In storytelling this means your characters will “have to reveal their sins, but this will cost them the ‘perfect version of themselves’ they’ve sold the world… (and frankly, themselves)”.
This I can do. This I can write about because it is layered, it is human, and it is what causes so much pain and grief in our daily lives.
This I can do because it is what I try to show in my poetry–that things are not as you believe them to be–they are and they aren’t–they aren’t because they have their own lives, their own stories or no story–they are, because you make it the way you want to see it in your story.
Because there are no observer-less observations.
Because of light’s particle-wave duality. Because of quantum entanglement. Because there IS NO STORY, NO tidy Plot to life. Because patterns exist only when you leave out all other data points, which means there are no patterns.
Because life is beautiful nonetheless, or because of, or despite all this and THAT is something I can write about, and if you want to call that plot then go ahead, but it isn’t and THAT is also what I want to show.
[All quotes from Kristen Lamb's blog post "Generate Nerve-Shredding Story Tension—Power of the Secret-Keeper". Read the article and find out what other secrets characters keep that keep us turning pages!]