Somewhere in my vast collection of how to write articles and books, I came across the notion that there are only a handful plots in fiction. I’ve read accounts claiming there are anywhere between seven and forty fictional plots. I’m not disputing this but it made me think. What makes me unique or is it even possible?
When coming up with a new story idea my first thought is related to the plot. I ask a “what if” question. What if the moon was a living creature and suddenly decided to attack Earth? What if you found a hidden message in a picture frame containing your mother’s photo? What if you discovered an evil plan to control the minds of children?
I’m a plot driven writer. My first thoughts are usually the situation. With a love of mystery/thrillers it makes sense that I consider plot first.
Next, come the characters. What will my heroine look like? What past struggles has she endured? What’s her life like now? What about the hero? What are his issues? How can these two survive? Why should they survive?
Melding an engaging plot with interesting, likeable characters is hard work but combining these two elements into a journey with a beginning, middle and end is what makes me unique.
Have you ever read a book in which the heroine had endured a violent past and now has control issues? Probably. This scenario is, of course, not unique to the fictional world but sadly a common issue among real people. Groups like Alcoholic Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous and various support groups for victims of violent crimes, those who lost a spouse, or have a parent deployed in the military are examples of people coming together with similar circumstances. But it’s the personalities and specifically how individuals react to their situations that make them unique.
As a reader myself, I enjoy tightly woven plots with main characters I can care about. I enjoy reading how characters overcome obstacles to defeat the bad guy and improve themselves. I hope to bring those same attributes to light in my writing.
So what makes me unique? I write for partly selfish reasons. I write stories that I like to read. I start off with a premise I find intriguing and build from that. It’s an escape, a need to create a world and take my characters through ups and downs, bringing them to their better selves in the end. The stories I create are an excursion into my own unique imagination. As a writer, my sincerest hope is that someone will enjoy the journey.