How to get a credible story plot and avoid the dumb ones

Matthew Wright

One of the challenges of NaNoWriMo – or, indeed, of writing any novel – is plotting out a credible story.

Wright_Books2Unless you’re writing comedy – and trust me, comedy is one of the hardest genres to do – it’s far too easy to end up with something that’s too melodramatic, too absurd or just plain dumb.

One of the best examples I’ve ever read where a plot has been made deliberately absurd is Robert A Heinlein’s last ‘juvenile’ novel, Have Spacesuit – Will Travel of 1958. This was a brilliant riff on the sci-fi movies of the day – including what, on the face of it, seemed to be a monolithically stupid plot featuring bug-eyed monsters out to conquer Earth, space-cops from Vega and a panorama of other silliness. But it worked –  and worked well. Heinlein was a genius: he took all the tropes, turned them on their heads…

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