Inadequate Resolution

You must be especially careful to provide believable and interesting solutions to each of the hero's plot problems and, finally, to his major predicament. If you don't choose to work from a point-by-point outline (see Chapter Nine for a discussion of the pros and cons of outlining your plot), you can easily write your lead into a corner from which you can only extricate him by the most silly and artificial means.

Edgar Wallace, one of the most famous adventure writers of the twenties and thirties, was once writing an adventure serial for a leading magazine in that field. The magazine rushed each installment into print almost as soon as they got it, before Wallace had finished the next part. Each installment ended on a moment of high suspense, in order to keep the reader coming back for more. At the conclusion of one installment, the hero was trapped in a smooth-sided pit out of which he could not climb. He was threatened above by the enemy, pressed at both sides by spikes that were slowly closing in from the walls, and endangered by a pipe spewing molten lead into his hole. The readers were all but salivating for the final installment to learn how the hero escaped this situation. In truth, the editors were salivating as well—for fear the author wouldn't be able to rescue his man in time. Evidently, the author himself was stuck for a while, but when he delivered the last part of the serial, he had overcome the problem handily in the first sentence: With a mighty leap [he] sprang out ofthe pit.

Today, no magazine publishes story installments before the author has finished the entire piece. And no book editor will be satisfied with rabbit-from-the-hat solutions. Your hero must be clever and bold enough to deal with obstructions you've placed before him, and he must deal with them in an interesting, original manner.

There are seven different types of suspense stories, categorized by the occupation of the lead character. Each type has its own requirements and its own clichés to avoid. Let's examine each:

0 0

Post a comment