Plot resolution a la Alex Brightsmith
I’ve had a lot of trouble over the last few days with the plot of The Raven’s Wing. I suppose it’s a symptom of my penchant for elaborate plotting structures (see ‘Fog’), but this stumbling block was a right thorny bastard. I shall explain, avoiding spoilers.
There’s this Thing, see? And the plot of The Raven’s Wing required this Thing to do a thing, only the Thing is miles away from the thing that it needs to do at the time the thing needs doing. Thinking hard with my mighty author brain failed for days to offer up a solution.
Oh certainly, I could devise a clunky deus ex machina to transport the Thing to the thing, but then I’d have to construct a second tower of implausibility to return the Thing to its rightful place and BANG the elegance is gone.
I briefly considered cutting the Thing in two, and having Thing One do the thing, while Thing Two continued on its merry way along the original plotline, but then the mere existence of Thing One would completely undermine the structure of the whole book.
“Stop fretting about it, bumface,” said Alex (I clumsily paraphrase her delicate sentence structure here). “Hie thee to thy noisome nest and forget it. The solution often rises unbidden into the dreamlike mind.”
I was doubtful. Normally my dreamlike mind features only such subjects as clouds, floods and bottoms. However, not for the first time, the head of the nail felt the forceful blow of Alex’s perspicacity. As she had foretold, the very next morning, while I was still half asleep and thinking about naked ladies, a cartoon light bulb pinged into existence above my head. Blimey. What if the thing didn’t happen at all? I could just leave the Thing where it was to carry on performing its Thingly duties.
Oh, but then if the thing that I had thought should happen did not happen, well, then what? Then… WHOA. Sweet sexy Jesus on a chocolate bike, that’s good. Having the thing not happen actually gives birth to a far bigger and much more emotionally engaging second half. It could shake you by the throat.
So thanks, Alex – you’ve help lift The Raven’s Wing out of Quite Good and into Bloody Nora That’s a Bit Brilliant. Now I just have to make the writing as good as the plot.