Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Author Holly Black on Plot
When Holly began her writing career, she felt that she didn't understand how to construct a plot with a beginning, middle and end.
She felt like she had to get from A to B, that pressure kept her from telling a great story. Then Holly figured something out, getting from A to B was only the the basic goal, and that by liberating her self by using subplots, she could do the real storytelling.
"Books start when something changes. Plot starts when something goes wrong." Your plot begins at point A and moves in a straight line to point B. Subplots wind their way around the plot like a snake, undulating like a sound wave. These waves are the exciting points, where things go wrong, where your character takes an unexpected turn. You know the beginning and where you are ending, but the in between is the fun stuff.
So what do you do to unveil the subplots lurking in your story? "Talk it out. Get distance. When you are writing, you are in the book," says Holly. "When you are talking, you are above it." Looking down on your story you can see where to put in the kinks. Also, don't be afraid to start your book with a subplot, there's time to develop the main plot as you go. The subplot will add a kick to the opening.
When Holly finally figured out the interaction between plot and subplots, she was able to stop worrying and love plot as a whole. Now, Holly writes bestsellers, her latest book Red Glove came out April 2011. Check her out at http://www.blackholly.com/ .