A matter of PLOT and Reviews

I, as many newer authors do occasionally look through the book reviews for other authors in our individual genres. I consider it…feeling out the customer base. The other night I was doing this from my Kindle Fire HD and two reviews caught my eye….and kinda pissed me off. They were 1 review on 2 separate books and the “reviewers” blasted the authors for their “poor execution of plot”. One was on an indie authors book and the other was for an author whose books of sold millions of copies and have been made into movies. Now, we authors new and old have our own views and opinions on plot when it comes to developing and “executing” plots, sub plots and sub sun plots and even whether we should plot at all. Literary and horror master Stephen King himself is not a fan of “plots” and “plotting”. Find me a author who has produced more entertaining and creative works over a 40 year career than this friggin guy!?!

“I won’t try to convince you that I’ve never plotted any more than I’d try to convince you that I’ve never told a lie, but I do both as infrequently as possible. I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible.” -Stephen King “On Writing”

What bothers me about these reviews is that the author in his or her own mind develops the plot not the reader during the process of writing anything whether it is a short story or book. Even as a reader, I have read books where I did not LIKE the plot or the story line even in movies. Not “liking” a plot or story line is fine and justifiable we all have read and seen some giant turds. I do not LIKE a great many things.

However, when a book is finally done after the story is finally written, re-written and edited AT THAT POINT the book is exactly how the author wants the story to be including…yes the plot. The PLOT is executed exactly how the author thinks it should be and wants it to be.  Therefore, it does not make sense for a reviewer to say something like a book had a  “poorly executed plot”. In all reality, how would a reader really know if the plot was executed poorly or not? In essence, the reviewer is saying the author doesn’t know how to write his or her own story who created the story. Really, the only person who can decide if a story’s plot was executed poorly is the author himself or herself and that is done in retrospect often months or years after publishing. If you don’t like a plot or story line just say that. Don’t try and smart it up and try to come off as some sort of guardian of literature and dammed protector of the written word which you are NOT because no one is.

Even for my first novel Running Northwest, if someone who read it were to say in a review that they didn’t LIKE the plot or thought the story line was slow, boring or something else I would respect that; shit happens. Let’s face it though, considering everything that I’ve went through with Running Northwest it’s pretty safe to say it is written and the story progresses exactly how I wanted it to at this point. The plot was executed exactly how I wanted it to be…HOW I THE AUTHOR WANTED IT TO BE DONE. If someone were to say I “executed the plot poorly” I would probably have issues with that.

I wonder what Stephen King would say to or about some one who gave him a review saying he “executed the plot poorly”?



On Plot See Also






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