A Tech Boy talked to a Wisher, a Liar, a Magic Bean Buyer, and…
Tech Boy: So, you think you’re going to finish this by your deadline, then?
Writer: Gah. I dunno. I hope so, but — argh. It’s all gone wrong so many times…
Tech Boy: Well, where are you now?
Writer: Well, she’s just run away…
Tech Boy: Wait, what? Does she have to? How important is running away to the plot?
Writer: WAIT a minute. What do you mean, ‘how important is running away’ — dude, you haven’t even read it, Mr. Critic McCriticson. Where do you get off?
Tech Boy: I’m not being critical – no, seriously. I’m not. But, I know you.
Writer: And? That’s supposed to mean what?
Tech Boy: Just that I know you – and I know what kind of books you write. You write character-driven novels. So –
Writer: So, what? People can’t run away in character-drive novels?
Tech Boy: No, it’s not that, but… remember last week when someone got kidnapped?
Writer:*frown* Um…no. Nobody’s kidnapped anymore. That was stupid.
Tech Boy: Um, yeah, but, you do that. When you get stuck. You do that – you put in some random thing that the characters have to go through, and call it Fate?
Writer: WHAT? I do not.
Tech Boy: You’re like, “Hmm, I’m stuck. Wait! Tornado!”
Writer: Don’t you have to go to work?
Tech Boy: …so, I’m just asking, how important that running away thing is really. Because a car accident or whatever? Is not going to fix the whole novel.
Writer: I’m sure you have to go to work. As a matter of fact, look at the time – GOODBYE.
May I just say how UNNERVING – and humbling – it is for someone else to see something so clearly about my writing?
On the up side, readers never SEE the cheap plot devices – when I’m not in OH JEEZ I’M STUCK full-panic mode, even I can see how stupid they are. But, it vexes me that I even throw something like that in, how I expect Plot to emerge like a hail Mary pass in football, bringing the crowd to their feet, and the score to my favor. Sheesh, that never works.
Darn you, thorny plot!
All joking aside, one of the greatest things a writer has is those who take their work seriously. Critical readers are THE BEST. Thanks, Tech Boy, for the close-reading and the critique – even when you’re working my nerves.