Tuesday, November 18, 2008
got that plot?
As I was sitting in the orthodontist's office today for 3 hours (poor Wyatt!), I happened to come across a recent obituary/article of the famous author Michael Crichton in Time magazine. He was the creator of the hit movie Jurassic Park and the award-winning t.v. drama "E.R.". Well, he's gone on to his eternal reward - which I hope includes some really good books - all 6 feet 9 inches of him!
The article was talking about his writing, of course, and his ability as a novelist to create "crystalline plots." I thought that was a lovely way to say he can tell a darn interesting story that keeps the reader riveted. Since crystalline implies clear, his plotting must be reader-friendly and understandable. The reader doesn't get lost.
Right now I'm reading a historical fiction novel that is extremely well written with amazing historical detail - and I'm lost. I love this book and I'm not sure it's the author's fault. I think it is simply a plot-driven novel instead of a character-driven novel like the ones I write. On page 300 or so of this book, the two main characters are discussing some action in the book and one of them says, "None of it made any sense." Amen, I thought.
I think my mind doesn't run along complicated lines so truly complicated plots are over my head. This post might come back to bite me if some reviewer reads my work and says, "Frantz writes pretty well but her plotting, by her own admission, is as flimsy as a Wal-Mart paper plate." My plots aren't complicated but I think they are interesting. You'll have to tell me.
I confess I never understood any Agatha Christie mystery I ever read (and I read a slew of them, probably hoping I would "get it" at some point). Same goes for Sherlock Holmes stories. Yet these bestselling stories must be understandable to somebody out there!
I am tired tonight so this post might not be crystalline either. More tomorrow:)