Evil Overlords and I; a checklist for proper plotting.

Hatton Cross Steampunk’s own Dave Lee

Plots, characters, and even MacGuffins need a solid foundation of answered ‘why’s’ beneath them without bogging the story down in exposition. A few clues sprinkled amongst the scene or dialogue should do the trick.

Beginnings abound with unanswered questions, big questions. Too many little mysteries overwhelm a reader who needs some solid terrain to enjoy the tale within.

Plot twists, how to answer them? Try two answers, the red herring and the real McCoy.

Ideally the answers come shortly after the reader’s begun to wonder. With a minute detail, an observation by a character, or a slip of the tongue from the villain’s inept minion; a reader can connect the dots alongside the protagonist. I enjoy those Holmesian moments when I’ve piece together little clues along the way before the hero exclaims, ‘eureka’.

As I ponder my plots, the Evil Overlord List comes to mind.  Here’s a link:

Evil Overlord List

I’d never want to present a plot, trap, or scheme, a five year old could unravel. Readers, moviegoers, and regular couch potatoes like myself should expect either a solid plot from a serious effort or a punchline. Maybe not so much from TV, but really; if the BBC can keep Dr. Who relevant, exciting, lovable, and alive after all these decades, surely there’s hope for the rest of the wasteland.


3 thoughts on “Evil Overlords and I; a checklist for proper plotting.

  1. This is true. A lot of people, particularly fantasy or science fiction writers, spend way too much time developing a setting right at the start, either with prologues or information dumps, without letting the story unravel first. It’s why you have stories like The Caves of Steel by Asimov where the setting is built around this murder mystery, and not viceversa.

    1. The millions thrown into creating pretty images on the screen and they forget what ties all that together and makes us care about what we see; a compelling story with characters lovable and despicable.

  2. So that means I look like an evil over lord? But I’m a nice guy, I swear! Well, that one time in Rio really doesn’t count. How was I supposed to know it was a zoo.

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