In my latest work in progress, I’ve been struggling with plausibility, i.e. trying to not have things happen in this story that seem too far fetched The last thing I want is for someone to roll their eyes when reading.. In particular, there is an area that deals with one sentence, spoken by my main character’s father, to her. He says, “Leave, don’t never come back.” And I’m struggling with it, because I’ve had a bit of the cart before the horse situation.
How did I get there? Well, I wrote a synopsis, a short outline (or back of the book description) that laid out what the story would be about. It includes this sentence. I sent the synopsis to my agent. He gave the approval to write the story using this concept. BUT, what I hadn’t done, was figure out, now why would her father say that to her? I mean, at the time, I LOVED that sentence, I thought, oooohhhh, brrrrrr, shiver, that’s a good one!
I despise the sentence at this point. I’ve been playing “what if” around it, and all of the what if’s seemed…, weak, stupid, and implausible. Then, there is the overall arching plot point in of itself. My main character’s mother has gone missing, no one knows where she is, but her pocketbook was left behind, and that was intended to let the reader know something suspicious is going on. And, by the end of the second chapter, two tapes have been delivered to the house, with her mother speaking on them, telling my MC and her father not to involve the police anymore.
But, as I sit here, I’ve been struggling over just how believable the entire story will seem. It’s as if that one sentence, and my lack of reading this sort of genre has uprooted any level of confidence I have in establishing something intriguing and suspenseful. I got a bit of a boost by recently reading this: http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/2013/05/how-convenient-plot-contrivance.html) And, what helped was the part where this author says that her editors said as long as a writer spends enough time setting a scene up, a reader will “suspend belief” and keep reading. Phew. Well, I’ve definitely spent time on scene setting. (fingers crossed)
I don’t know why I worry, because at this point, it’s only me, and eventually my editor and agent who will read this, and they’ll tell me the honest to God truth. But, as writers, we struggle to get it right because we want to live up to expectations, to write the best we can, even if it’s only for our eyes.
Have you beat yourself silly over a problematic plot?