Episodic storyline—no way

Okay, fellow writers—  We’ve all heard the caveats: “show don’t tell,” “use backstory ONLY when it advances the plot,” and “episodic storytelling is deadly for a reader without relating those events to the basic conflict” Man, these “rules” baffle many writers. Don’t stories/novels move from point a to point b rooted in time/ place? Actually, no. That’s not enough to provide for and maintain riveted readers,. The “drop the ball” issue is about pacing.

Pacing is paramount to a reader’s satisfaction.  If the heroine moves from one drama to the next without the events advancing the core conflict, the reader becomes bored. What is the transformation for the character? Transformation is not evident if the plot is episodic and does not pull the reader into the tension that relates to the main conflict. As Larry Brooks delineates in several books including Story Physics – Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling,   writers must meld dramatic tension throughout the entire book.” Without the common thread between character, events, storyline and the conflict that pulls the story along is a strike (or two) against us writers.

Wholeheartedly I recommend any of his books on writing.

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