What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

21 March 2011

Plot Holes, Creativity, and Planets

My Creative Problem Solving class, about which I have spent much time and energy whining and complaining, has finally arrived at some interesting material. About danged time.

That's a bit unfair; the first week or so was also interesting. And then we hit a dry spell, which has only just come back around. I've really enjoyed the past two weeks' readings and discussions. We read a chapter from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Creativity, and now a chapter from Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind. This is actually our second chapter from Pink (the first one--you guessed it--was the first week), and I think I may have to read the entire book. Especially since I just found out that he's a Goodreads author. Excellent.

Anyway, Pink writes about not only seeing the big picture, but also about looking at the relationship among the parts of the picture. He uses the metaphor of drawing his face-- when he began his drawing class, he didn't know about the importance of considering the distance between his eyes & the top of his head, or the size of his eyes, or the spacing of other features-- that's something he learned along the way.

As a writer, I feel like I've been smacked on the head. Again. It's such an obvious statement-- that one MUST consider the relationship between the parts-- that I might have missed it. There's a plot hole in my current WIP's plot big enough to drive a bus through. A double-decker bus, packed with tourists. Two of them. Anyway, Natasha's (my MC) life has to fall apart at the seams to convince her to do something besides coast through her existence, and one of those things is her best friend moving far away. Except the best friend has no good reason to move away.

So, relationship between the parts... If the best friend moves away, she will be leaving her family, friends, job, grad school, boyfriend, hometown... in other words, why would she go? It makes more sense for Natasha's boyfriend to move away. Or for Natasha's mother to plead for her to come home. Or for Natasha and her best friend to have a massive fight. Or... well, lots of things. Anything, basically, except that ugly plot hole that is currently threatening to swallow Pluto (the planet (okay, dwarf planet), not the dog) whole.

And once I get that figured out, I can look at the relationship between all the other parts to find other places where the fabric of my MS has run thin. Whaddya know, Creative Problem Solving has turned out to be worthwhile after all.

So... Plot holes? Useless classes that turned out to be useful? Pluto's status as a planet or not? Authors with 16 letters in their last name? Lots of comments to choose from today. Let's hear it!


Kari Marie said...

I loved Pink's Novel. In fact it's sitting on my desk because I recently pulled it out to reread and do some of the exercises.

Anonymous said...

movies are exempt though right? especially action movies? They make some BIG jumps, so much so that they are rendered ridiculous, even without the appearance of Bruce Willis.

Rachel Morgan said...

I have NO idea how to pronounce that author's surname!
Great that you figured out your plot hole :-) (I'm afraid to go looking for mine now...)

Misha said...

That's usually how I work on filling plot holes. Seeing everything in relation to each other and seeing what will help the entire story and not just the part I'm having trouble with.


Su said...

@Kari Marie: Okay, now I'm even more convinced to read it, since someone I know who is not my instructor has read it!

@Charlie: Meh. Sure. I don't really watch action movies, so I guess they can do whatever they want. ;)

@Rachel: Me, neither. Although I notice his first name is repeated in the surname, which is interesting... I wonder if the first bit is his language's equivalent of "Mac" or "Son" or "Bin".

@Misha: Very cool! I'm just embarrassed that I had to have it written out in small words to catch on. ;)

Michelle in a shell said...

Are those books, like, textbook style? I don't think that makes sense but basically what I'm trying to ask is if they are a good enough read to read without taking a class. I think..

Su said...

No, they aren't textbooks. I looked up Csikszentmihalyi's book on Amazon, read the reviews, and decided to pass (apparently he has a very narrow view of creativity, and we may have read the most relevant chapter in the book). But I probably will read at least one of Pink's books once the semester is over.