On Plot And Character (And Giving Writing Advice At The End Of The World)

I do want to discuss an useful example of this, however, as its fresh on my mind (in spite of completion OF THE WORLDSYNESS going on all around us today).

No, no, I stated evacuate.

Anyway.

Composing recommendations is bullshit on an excellent day. Though as Im wont to note, bullshit fertilizes, and so we continue to share it and offer it with the notion that maybe a scattering of it over your garden will help your story-plants grow. Perhaps it will not. Whichs okay, too. But here at the end of the world (fine, not truly the end of the world I do not think, Im most likely simply being a little significant), it feels in some way useless to even talk about this things. Like were simply polishing silver in a housefire, or jerking off throughout a hurricane. Stop jerking off. Theres a typhoon. Evacuate, for shits sake.

Still, this things is on my mind as I increase to compose a new story (cough cough, the Wanderers follow up), and the other day on Twitter there had actually been some discussion– begun by representative Dongwon Song– about character taking precedence over plot, or leading into plot, or what have you. And Ive stated as much myself, that for me, plot is Soylent Green: its made from individuals. Characters do shit and state shit, and they do so in pursuit of solving problems, going after desires, and leaving worries. As they do this, they produce plot. Its enjoying an ant colony forming– theyre making art, chewing those tunnels. Characters are doing that. Of course, lots of folks also compose differently and think about plot considerations first, and then slot in characters who fit that plot, and thats great, too. Its all fine. The only bad method to compose is a way that stops you from composing and readers from reading it. Thats it.

Anyone enjoy the show Sex Education on Netflix?

ANYWAY.

Little spoilers. Mild. Ill provide no information however … spoilers are spoilers.

This will require spoilers.

Simple enough.

Excellent program. Walks that line in between sweet and sharp, in between funny and unfortunate, in between drama and melodrama. The very first season I liked a lot more than the second, though; the second season is more unequal, wobbling around unsteadily in between character arcs and motivations, and theres an eager example of this at the end of the 2nd season.

Last scene in the season ending involves a character leaving their phone behind, and on this phone is a voicemail we desire them to hear, and after that another character intervenes– they open the phone, listen to the voicemail, and erase it.

Prevent if you got ta.

Here goes.

Problem:

The character who left behind the phone is a teenager. And in the very first season we saw a character lose their phone and see the outcome of that. Leaving a phone behind callously is weird.

Additional issues take place when you understand you cant simply open somebodys phone, you need to know their passcode, however thats rather more surrounding to the point Im trying to make, which is:

FINE BYE.

Still, this things is on my mind as I ramp up to compose a brand-new story (cough cough, the Wanderers sequel), and the other day on Twitter there d been some conversation– begun by agent Dongwon Song– about character taking precedence over plot, or leading into plot, or what have you. Of course, lots of folks likewise compose in a different way and consider plot factors to consider first, and then slot in characters who fit that plot, and thats great, too. The episode is very worried about its PLOT and not extremely worried about its CHARACTERS. And I hate whenever Im watching or reading something and one of the characters is unexpectedly acting extremely unlike themselves, and it feels like the writer is shaving off their square corners so theyll fit into the circle hole socket that the plot requires. And if theres something I feel is truly important, plot-wise, then those plot bits should still be formed like the character, and not force the characters to be formed like the plot.

Who understands. Again, does any of this even matter? Is this just deck chairs on the Titanic? Perhaps. My kid began fourth grade today (practically) and its like, they wish to teach him normal Fourth Grade things and a wild-eyed part of me wants to jump in, NO YOU NEED TO TEACH HIM HOW TO SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE, WHO GIVES A SHINY FUCK ABOUT VERB TENSES WHEN HE NEEDS TO KNOW HOW TO SPEAR A MUTATED FIRE BOAR COMING OVER THE RIDGE FROM THE RUINS OF OLD SCRANTONIA. Its hard to know what we require to know going forward, and what will matter. I know stories still matter, and how we inform them matters, and letting our characters be themselves is an excellent way to demonstrate how to possibly likewise be ourselves off the page, too. As authors and as individuals. And as mutated fireboar hunters in the Year 2030.

The episode is really worried about its PLOT and not extremely worried about its CHARACTERS. And I dislike whenever Im seeing or reading something and one of the characters is suddenly acting very unlike themselves, and it feels like the storyteller is shaving off their square corners so theyll fit into the circle hole socket that the plot requires. Its letting the frame be more than just a guide, however rather, an exoskeleton bolted to the story.

Like this:
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To me, thats the lesson– let my characters drive the story. And if theres something I feel is truly vital, plot-wise, then those plot bits should still be shaped like the character, and not force the characters to be formed like the plot. Or something.

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