04 - So, But, So, But...
I often get pulled up by my Critique Group members for too many sos and buts in my stories. This is sadly a legacy of my day job, writing bids for grant funding. I often use a plotting sequence called ‘So, But, Because’ to make a bid flow. Basically, it goes like this:
So, the world runs on fossil fuels.
But, these are running out.
Because they are non-renewable.
So, we should exploit more renewable sources such as wind power.
But there are limited suitable sites.
Because you need certain wind characteristics to make it economic.
So, we need to maximise the size of the turbine in a good site.
But, there is a limit on the power attainable from a turbine.
Because blades over a certain size can't support their own weight.
So, we need to...
I tend to bring this unconsciously into my story writing to ensure a coherent and logical sequence - every action has a consequence; every barrier has an attempt to overcome it.
The downside of this is a rather liberal sprinklings of sos and buts. This is particularly evident in synopses or twitter pitches, where I have a constant battle to move away from this structure:
We are in situation X, which MC wants to change
So, MC does Y,
But this leads to Z
What will happen next?
Do you have Storytelling tools that are both a blessing and a curse? Let us know in the comments below.