Now, I am not the fount of wisdom when it comes to writing. I can definitely do a better job of seeing the ingrown story-hairs in someone else’s story than my own – for sure. I’ve been told that I’ll get better with practice. Let’s hope.
The other night I got the best advice for plotting a genre story though. Shawn Scarber, author extraordinaire and human experience expert, dropped a conflict bomb in the middle of my Tangy Spicy Chicken. It just sat there, ticking for a few seconds until understanding exploded all over my face. Napkins were needed.
Let me back it up a little. I’ve been working on a story for a few weeks and having a devil of a time sticking the ending. Nothing seems to work for me. I explained my dilemma to the caucus of brilliant minds that frequent the writers’ group I sometimes show up for, and Shawn just nailed it. He asked me what was the MC’s problem. I explained that she was a soldier who had to shoot a kid in the line of duty and did not want that to happen again. And… now I’m about to lay some wisdom down on you, so get a pen, or take a screen shot – whatever you need to do to burn this forever into your brainpan… I’ll wait.
He said to me…
…He said, “A genre story has to have a genre problem.”
BRILLANCE. The man is a THOUGHT GIANT.
And this, my friends, has made all the difference in the world for my story,
You, shaking your head in the back, just because it was obvious to you doesn’t mean the rest of us couldn’t use the info. Peddle your smugness and neckbeard over to the next blog.
TL;DR – “A genre story must have a genre problem,” Shawn Scarber.
Don’t add secondary world jargon to a real world story and expect that it’ll work out. It’s a rook mistake.