Monday, February 07, 2011

plotting like you mean it

So tonight at workshop, after everyone was settled in with their whiskey and Xanax and whatnot, I passed out my pages. It was a troublesome plot-filled chapter of Empress, one that never quite did its job and I was open, really open, to having it eviscerated and fixed. A tummy tuck, maybe. A little light brain surgery.

My group came through, as they always do, with aces. Money stuff. A slew of concrete solutions. And then it was Chuck's turn, and he asked, "Why do we put dogs in a story?" (I had two in this particular chapter.)

I stumbled through some lame possibilities:

Because they're cute?
Comic relief?
Emotional fodder?

Wrong. Wrong and wrong.

"So we can kill them," he said.

Ah, (palm-to-forehead smack), of course! And in my particular case, by poisoning the spaniels, I'd be killing two dogs with one stone: raising the stakes by foreshadowing a bigger death, and ending the scene on action rather than conjecture. Always a better choice.

Can't wait to wake up tomorrow and poison the pooches!


  1. Anonymous9:56 AM

    wait, it's dogs?

    i thought that's why we put moms in stories.

  2. You are too funny, Amy. Have you been talking to Chuck??


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