Feb 6, 2013

A Pox on Your Bottom, Mah Boy

The old bat who lived in the basement with her troop of stuffed birds and weasels had it in for me. All because I didn't like her milksop nephew and shoved him around a little. Well, I didn't like his face, so.

The itch began in May.

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When do you know that a story is going to sink? When does a story premise reveal that you can't make it work?

You can do better than "trust your gut." All you have to do is think a little:

Some ideas are indeed too radical for

a) your target readership
b) your chosen genre

Not every premise will give you a viable story. Cartoonist Nathan Bulmer of Eat More Bikes knows that.



If you need a dramatic situation to get the ball rolling but your premise gets in the way, let the premise go. Some of them, as illustrated in the comic above, aren't actually premises but mini-stories that have had their denouement. They're finished. Maybe even stillborn.

(Unless you're working on some extreme, postmodern satire, in which case ignore what I just said.)

How-to books tell you it's OK to break the rules once in a while. What they don't tell you is that you must mean something by breaking the rules, otherwise you're just posturing/acting clever.

That's the literary equivalent of 'acting cool' when you don't feel it.

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