Monday, August 10, 2009

Clever Plots or Credible People

“Clever plots can make good short stories but if they don’t involve credible people, the story will always come across as hollow and contrived.” -- Rob Parnell in “The Easy Way to Write Short Stories that Sell.”
I wrote today’s post, thought about what I'd said, and decided to rewrite it. In the original, I explained how I didn’t totally agree with today’s quote. I stated there are genres where plot was more important than characters, specifically thrillers and science fiction. I mentioned a thriller I’d read a few years ago by Alex Kava. I don’t remember the book’s title. I do remember a few scenes vividly, even today. I remember the scenes because of what took place, not by whom or to whom. The characters are a blur. But I wasn’t comparing apples to apples.

Do short stories need believable characters, characters the reader can relate to? Yes, but in some cases, their purpose in the story may be no more than to serve as a vehicle for a clever plot.

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