Let us define plot. We have defined a story as a narrative of events arranged in their time sequence. A plot is also a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality. ‘The king died and then the queen died’, is a story. ‘The king died, and then the queen died of grief,’ is a plot. The time-sequence is preserved, but the sense of causality overshadows it. Or again, ‘The queen died, but no one knew why, until it was discovered that it was through grief at the death of the king.’ This is a plot with mystery in it, a form capable of high development … a plot demands intelligence and memory also …
…. Every action or word in a plot ought to count; it ought to be economical and spare; even when complicated it should be organic and free from dead matter, it may be difficult or easy, it may and should contain mysteries, but it ought not to mislead.
E.M. FORSTER, Aspects of the Novel
Every art must be built with discipline and self-control. The art of writing is no different. Every writer must learn how to make every word count, have its purpose fulfilled in the story. It is so tempting to ramble, or veer away from the story that has to be told. In an effort to explain every detail included in the story, the writer gets lost in his own words.
You might strike lucky and your rambling might actually be interesting to the writer, but if you are not that lucky, you will bore your reader, and put them off your work.
Whatever your method of writing, whether you plot out the entire story on paper, or just start with an idea in your head and write on, you must teach yourself to use words to your advantage. Your story must have a well-thought out plot, it must be realistic, even when your story is fantastical.
The greatest writers in the world have won our awe and admiration because of their ability to lose us in the worlds they create with their words.
I am a bit of a science fiction buff. For years, I lost myself in Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama Trilogy. That is absolute science fiction, and yet, like many readers around the world, while I was reading those works, I believed the worlds he depicted. The plot, the story and all causality, every detail fit in, made sense, even when they shouldn’t.
That is the power of the word. The power you have at your disposal whenever you embark on a writing project.
While you think about that, let me usher you into this week’s reading.
We begin with a perfect Saturday night shared by two people who love each other. A Saturday Night Together by Chris Lyimo.
Do you Know Where Osama is hiding? Denis Kabi is sure he does. I know where Osama is hiding by Denis Kabi.
And then we walk into a one-night, is it two-night stand’s aftermath, in Dirt Road by Stephen Mwangi Ichungwa.
Do you think love can come out of a hostile violent situation? Live Wire Love by Raymond Bett
What is the ultimate stress factor that can drive a man absolutely insane? The Formula by Anthony Chambira.
Last but not least, walk with this young woman, I mean dance with her, and find out about A Cat’s Meow by Seydou Mukali.
Continue sending your ideas about how to make your weekly reading more fun to email@example.com. And remember, all stories published on the Storymoja Blog will be eligible for the Crown of Story of the Week. The stories are posted every Monday. Please critique and vote for the story you believe should wear the crown. At the end of the week, the votes will be tallied and the story with the most votes will posted on the Storymoja Website as the Story of the Week on the Friday of the same week. To have your story in this weekly process please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday at 4pm.
Well, there we are. Here’s wishing you a wonderful week, creative writing and good reading!