I wrote a short story some time ago about a hero who traveled from novel to novel fighting tired and worn out plot contrivances interjected into story lines. Seriously, how many times are we going to stand for our heroes escaping their prisons through the air vent, or abandoned sewer pipe.
If I were a super-villain that would be the first thing I’d check if I was going to imprison somebody.
Then there is always the casual comment made to the main character that permits him/her to solve the seemingly unsolvable quandary they have been battling with since the story started.
An example: While Albert Einstein is hard at work trying to hash out his relativity theory some minor character casually says, “Hey Al, did you see the E channel has MC hammer on twice tonight?” This of course shakes Einstein out of his deep concentration. He then turns and asks minor character to repeat it and after they do, Einstein thrusts his finger into the air and says “Of course! E equals MC twice, no not twice, squared! Then turns to the minor character and says, “Thanks meaningless character who just showed up, for providing the plot contrivance that permits me to solve this unsolvable problem.”
Seriously folks, that’s not the way it works. I have been creating things my entire life and that has NEVER happened. Here’s how it goes. You have a problem that needs to be solved. You can only work on it so long before you brain tires and wanders off. Your subconscious however, picks up the slack. Then, usually while you’re in the middle of doing something else, the answer will pop right into your head and you have to scramble for something to write on, THAT VERY FREAKING MINUTE OR YOU WILL LOSE IT! This can be very frustrating if you just happen to be in the middle of a job interview, skiing down the side of a mountain or making love to your wife. (If the third one happens I suggest you read my book ‘When Long Term Marriages Go Horribly Wrong.’)
There are numerous others that Johnny Gun will introduce you to when my short story book, Storytime comes out in early 2012. But until then gang, plot contrivances? Just say no.