March 8th, 2010

Send in a guy with a gun

From Plot & Structure, here’s another technique I’ve been playing around with: how to overcome the plot blahs. If a plot seemed to be going stale, Raymond Chandler recommended sending some guy with a gun into the scene.

The author of Plot & Structure says any surprising element would work: “A telegram arrives. An alarm goes off. A dog bites. The hero is fired.... Next time you get stuck in your story, make a quick list of things that could happen. They must be unexpected and unplanned. Select one that suggests imaginative possibilities to you.”

For some reason that reminds me of the movie Erin Brokovitch (which was based on a true story). Near the beginning of the movie she is driving and her car is suddenly T-boned. Boy, did that make everything come alive.



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Ass over teakettle


Not the best way to end a 5-mile run. I caught my toe on a section where there is no sidewalk, just dirt, gravel, and tree roots. I only had enough time to be surprised.

Plus it was so embarrassing! People were pulling over their cars, so I popped up like one of those "Weebles Wobble But They Don't Fall Down," calling out that I was okay.

Sigh. I keep waiting for that stage in my life where I am not only coordinated, but also sophisticated.



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