Recently, I have been reading a lot of short stories by my peers for my creative writing classes. While some have been great with their ups and downs, others are a bit lacking. As per one of my previous posts, I like to sit back and think about what I can steal and what I can avoid. The conclusion that I came to was very simple.
The stories that were a bit lacking had one thing in common: there was no clock. By this I mean that there was no urgency in the story. There was no deadline and the characters didn’t really have a motivation to do anything. So, this got me thinking about my own writing and without realizing, my novel already had a clock. Subconsciously, I must have made this decision knowing that my characters needed a deadline. Of course, the situation that I presented in the first chapter called for a deadline.
However, I looked at my other ideas I plan to write into novels and I noticed that they didn’t have a clock yet. Usually, I’m able to create a bare skeleton plot for my ideas and sometimes I am good at having it all planned out.Yet, I found a few that I was stuck on. I didn’t know what was going to happen or what was at stake. This is where the deadline came in.
The deadline gave the plot(s) a sense of urgency. Not only that but it prompted my characters to move forward. This only helped my character’s motivation appear on the page because readers want to know why someone is doing something. There’s always a reason.
The clock can be metaphorically or physically, like a bomb about to go off on a plane. Either way, it shows that something has to happen. This event will propel readers to turn to the next page eager to find out what happens. So, if you’re struggling with your writing, sit back and think for a moment. Is there a deadline? What is at stake? Would the story stay the same if the deadline isn’t met?
Thanks for joining me this week.
Until next time,
2 thoughts on “Tick Tock”
Very nice post! I find that, even though I have high stakes in my epic fantasy, the sense of urgency can get a bit lost in s manuscript that big.
That’s why I like subplots: mini-clocks of urgency the reader can sink their teeth in while they read about overarching plot points. :))
I’m glad you liked it. I completely agree subplots are life savers. In my stories, I want to have one or two just make the story complex.