Donna Everhart

Far Fetched

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:   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?

5 thoughts on “Far Fetched”

  1. OMG yes; I wanted to interject a kind of miracle-like happenstance into my story. I already had one which worked, I wanted a second ah-ha moment. Well, it was so miracle-like that when I described it to my writing group they not only rolled their eyes and laughed they guffawed, do people use guffaw anymore? Anyway, when I wrote the incident it seemed plausible in a farfetched way like one of those,”…can you believe what just happened, if someone wrote about it no one would believe it,” moments. Ah-hem, it was beyond NOT believable.

    My character lost a letter written on pink paper, at night, in a raging snowstorm, a plow driver saw if being blown across the road AND stopped his plowing, got out of his truck and picked it up; makes your sentence a Pulitzer finalist.
    Your line, father to daughter, “Leave, don’t never come back,” has me intrigued.
    Don’t fret, you just have not yet discovered the side of the father who would say that.” Keep going, he’s in your head, just waiting for you to find out why he wants her out and doesn’t want her back.

    Here’s a suggestion, as you describe the story, the assumption of the reader, me, is that she’s done something wrong, he wants her out and gone forever. Flip it, maybe he wants her gone forever, to protect her. Next question from what?
    That would up-end my assumptions. I love when writers do that because I think I know everything 🙂

    1. OMG. Okay, you got my heart rate up. (excited) Why? Because of your second assumption and “from what…” is exactly the deal. He wants her gone to protect her – AND – himself. I am writing about something not very many people know about. When I told my agent about “them”, he got pretty excited, b/c he’d never heard about these folks. Now, the challenge is to write the story around it all…with affecting characters. Thank you for the encouragement and the boost! xo

      1. Oh and btw, I didn’t find your pink papers lost in a snowstorm all that implausible. Hey, she could have been standing outside her car, that was caught in a snowdrift, the wind was high, she was going to have to walk…the papers were in her parka, in the pocket, wind gust, poof – scattered. Seems realistic to me.

  2. Plot is not as important as character. What that lady’s editor said is nonsense. If you spend enough time setting up a scene the writer will suspend belief? I call bullshit. If your characters are interesting we will read to see what they do. They don’t always have to behave within character. Sometimes growing means doing something off the wall. It can be out of character but not unbelievable.

    1. I don’t think she means that a writer can go crazy with an idea. I do think this is why writers stress. One bit of advice is this, but someone else thinks that. I’m only one piece of paper struggling to survive in the wind of writerly rules and opinions. 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by J.D. Hope your book pub is going well!!!

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