Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What We Can Learn From Our Idols (part 2)

     Another of my favorite authors who has a gift I would like to learn is Jim Butcher. I am a huge fan of his Dresden Files books.
     All novelists have heard that to keep a plot moving you have to give your protagonist a problem to solve and then keep adding more trouble and more and more obstacles to overcome. Butcher is a master at this. 
     In almost every book he gives his hero, Harry Dresden, a difficult problem then a complication that makes it impossible to solve. THEN he adds two more issues that create a situation where if Dresden fixes one thing, something terrible happens, but if he prevents that from happening, another catastrophe will occur.
     The real magic is that somehow Butcher keeps all these plotlines going full speed and at the end resolves all issues. That doesn't mean everything works out perfectly - often people die, the hero fails in some way, bad stuff happens - but all aspects of the story are wrapped up in a way that is satisfying to the reader.
     I have discovered that I am not (yet) capable of writing more than one main storyline and a couple of subplots without making a huge mess of a manuscript. But thanks to Jim Butcher, I know it can be done and I like to think I will get there someday.


No comments:

Post a Comment