How to Create the Perfect Plot

plotforsaleSo here is the plot line…

In a post-apocalyptic world, a naive young girl named Charm Dimwhittle finds love but not before dying–twice. After gaining magical powers from living too close to the power plant that exploded, almost destroying the earth, she has the gift to heal the homeless. Unfortunately, Charm’s magical powers don’t give her the ability to know who is and isn’t afflicted with a terrible plague that ravages the human body before turning the sufferer into a zombie.

Falling victim to a nasty bite, Charm roams aimlessly, for years, inside a southern gothic mansion until she meets Edward Sullen. Edward, a handsome, lovelorn vampire falls hopelessly in love with Charm. And Charm, although deficient in her mental faculties, can still see a good thing even with her now bulging eyes. A great romance ensues but not without tragedy. Love with a vacant-eyed bloodless girl leaves Edward Sullen starved both emotionally and physically. Enraged by his unquenched thirst, he kills Charm.

Okay, so let’s review. Apocolypse–check. Environmental and socially conscious message-check. Unique Hunger Games’esque name–check. Zombie-check. Vampire-check. Romantic fantasy with Gothic undertones–check, check. And, of course there will be sex, violence and hell, why not, more sex.

So, I think I have all the ingredients for a recipe to my success. No, you say. Why not? I have all elements. After all, writing literary fiction has garnered me some fascinating discussions and definite personal fulfillment but a ton of sales? Um, no. Therefore, I’m changing it up. I am going to be quirky, pithy, edgy, contemporary, and cool. Except that I can’t.

In fairness, I probably could be pithy and cool but not in writing. At least not when it’s forced. And, for me, it would be.

Because a good, well-written book is more than an agglomeration of trendy and popular elements, the only way any writer can be successful is by being true to his or her own stylistic and emotional method. Or else, it sounds like my above plot line–mashed, mixed-up and, most importantly, not authentic.

And, in case you didn’t know, readers can “smell” an unauthentic, contrived imitation as well as your own conscious can.

In one of my previous posts, I discuss the “write” way to right. I wrote that writers shouldn’t write to make money but rather for the love and passion of it. I have to clarify that I, in no way, mean that I wouldn’t love to earn a respectable living and some extra cash for baubles doing what I love.

Instead, I meant that in times of monetary dearth, one shouldn’t try to seek out the perfect, winning formula to make money. No matter how hard you try, your wizard won’t be Harry Potter and your vampire-loving young girl won’t be Bella Swan. However, your creation when genuine has the possibility to be even more spectacular and outsell both of these books.

Disclaimer: Perhaps I should have written this at the beginning of my post. However, if there are any angry genre writers who are still reading, I have to state that I am NOT criticizing my fellow authors who do write about apocalypses, vampires, and zombies. If this is one’s passion then the writing is real and that is my point.

On a final note, it won’t always be the nagging voice in your head that tempts you to betray your writing style for one that seems flashier and more marketable. My dad always remarks (with love) that I should write children’s books. Why not? They’re short and if kids like something it, it sells. I have the cabbage patch doll to prove it.

What isn’t realized is that, for me, writing a children’s book is hard, especially when it takes me twenty words when ten would do. More importantly, I don’t want to write children’s books. It isn’t my passion or my desire. And I know that this lack of passion would be reflected not only in my writing but also in my heart.

So I guess, be a smart vampire. Don’t seek creative nourishment from spaces it doesn’t exist instead fall in love with what lives within you because that is where your creativity will be fully fed. It is only then that your books and you will be unstoppable.

Thank you for reading. I’m excited to hear what you think.

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About Sherry Parnell