The Truth About Plot

By: Aryanne Ferguson

“If everything could be solved by telling the truth, then there wasn’t much of a story to begin with.” —lifted from a discussion thread at dramabeans.com

This quote got me thinking about plot. If a story I’m writing can be resolved in one fell swoop, will it hold the reader’s interest? I wonder if the story I struggle to finish is more readable than the story which comes easier. I’ve given up on many a story because I felt it wasn’t intricate enough, but that’s not how I interpret this quote. A well-worn basic plot is the love triangle, which exists because the top of the triangle doesn’t which of the other corners to choose. If the top of the triangle is honest and says “I don’t know,” nothing is solved. Simple plot with the potential for an epic story. So plot is only one variable of what makes a good story, and where does it rank on the totem pole?

totem pole
Source: scarsofmysecrets.tumblr.com

I’m calling to you writers out there who don’t write tightly-plotted fiction, to the ones who turn out novels where life happens to the character and there’s nothing to solve, but somehow I am still engaged as a reader.  A few examples of this style of writing that I’ve read this year:
Blue Shoe –Anne Lamott
Italian Shoes -Henning Mankell (I read a version translated from the original Swedish)
paddy clarke ha ha ha –Roddy Doyle

I’ll repeat the quote again, If everything could be solved by telling the truth, then there wasn’t much of a story to begin with.

What does this mean to you, Reader?

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