Tuesday, August 16, 2016

WRITING PLAUSIBLE PLOTS by Roberta C.M. DeCaprio

One writing tip I’ve heard over and over again from my editors is to write plausible plots. This is a hard task to accomplish when writing the paranormal or science fiction genre, because basically the content is far-fetched. However, even with that fact in mind, a writer of such works has to make the incredible, seem credible.

My time travel novel, ALTERED JOURNEY (ZLS Publishing) is about a man going back in time to save his family from being murdered. While he ventures back, through an attic portal, I have his life (as it would have been if his family hadn’t been killed) flash through his mind so he’d be prepared to exist in the past, know his place in the family and those individuals he was never privileged to meet.

My adult romantic fairy tale, A RIVER OF ORANGE (The Wild Rose Press) is about a young woman, ship-wrecked on an enchanted isle, falling in love with and inspiring a shape-shifting, young king to overcome his curse and reclaim his throne. To do this properly, the young woman had to do some soul-searching and reclaiming of her own.

My paranormal mystery, COMA COAST (Wings Press) is about a woman, left in a coma from an auto accident, falling in love with a man she meets while unconscious. Her journey to find him when she awakens brings forth a past she never knew and the friendly haunting by a helpful ghost. Again, the character’s inner reflections upon her own life, and coming to grips with who she really is, made the plot believable.

I do admire, though, the script writers of the classic horror film. They seem to get away with ignoring the “plausible” rule, effectively managing to scare the breath out of the viewer.
Let’s take apart the horror flick:

THE FALL – In every horror film the woman, while running from the creature stalking her, falls. First of all, a zombie or a mummy (which have many times been the horror creatures) walk so slow, it’s a wonder they could catch anything . . . let alone a woman running for her life. The irony of this is, the woman could do fine running over uneven terrain – then will suddenly lose her footing on level ground, just as the creature becomes the closest. And why is it always the woman who falls?

THE SEPARATION – I don’t know about you, but if I was being terrorized by something unexplainable frightening, the last thing in the world I’d do is separate from the other people in my group. What in heaven’s name do these characters think they can accomplish my diminishing their fighting unit to just one person?

THE BASEMENT – Now, I hate the basement on a normal, sunny, afternoon. If you think I’d attempt going downstairs at night, when the power’s been cut, during a thunder and lightning storm, and after hearing unusual activity, then you have a brain the size of a pea. What person in their right mind would have the courage (or stupidity) to try this? You can bet your last dollar I’d high-tail out of my home as fast as my legs could carry me (making sure not to fall), go to a neighbor’s house and call the police. Or get into my car and drive as far away as I could to get help.

THE CAR – And that brings us to the getaway vehicle . . . one that works perfectly fine throughout most of the movie, but suddenly develops ignition problems (after the character drops the key and takes time to find it) when its needed as an escape from harm’s way.

And yet, as implausible as it might be, we sit at the edge of our seats in terror – hands over our eyes and peeking through finger slots, while watching a horror film. We let it scare the daylights out of us. We look in closets, check behind the shower curtain, and beneath our bed before we go to sleep. We contemplate keeping a light on, check the locks on the doors (especially the basement door), and sleep with a cell phone in our hand (just in case the phone lines are cut). So, as far-fetched as the movie script is, it can still frighten us. The writers have hooked you, gotten you to picture this scenario as really happening. And it all starts to become plausible because you’ve begun to believe. It’s a hard job that’s well done . . . editors take note.
    
HAPPY WRITING!
Roberta C.M. DeCaprio

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