I was trying to decide between three different things to blog about today, and would have had this done last night if I could make up my damn mind. Sheesh.
So I decided on story goals because it's a good segue from Paty's character arc blog. When a character takes his or her story journey, we expect change to happen, for them to grow, learn a lesson, become who they're meant to be. But that's just one purpose of a story. The plot has a goal as well. Or does it?
You've heard of the A plot vs. B plot, or Inner Story vs. Outer Story. That's what I'm talking about. The character's journey (i.e. arc) verses the story itself. It's interesting that in most cases a romance novel appears to be more about the hero and heroine's journey than about the plot. That's cool, though I have to admit I'm not a fan of those stories. I want MORE. I want the bigger book, the whole enchilada, the groundbreaking, mind-bending plot that glues me to the pages with more than just fabulous characters who twist my emotions into knots. My expectations are skyscraper-high and I rarely find a good book that meets them.
When I do, I kind of use it as a measuring stick against all books that come afterward. I'm almost finished with one right now and it's so refreshing after nearly a year of searching to find a book to satisfy my fussy reading requirements. But you know what? The plot goal in this story focuses almost a hundred percent on the A Plot, the main character's inner story. In spite of it not meeting my rigid big-book standards, this is a wonderful story that has me by the throat and won't let go.
So what is it about this book that grabs me? It's not a romance, but it's most definitely character driven. It's about one character who's terribly conflicted and carries such an enormous trunk of tragic history on her back that you can't help but feel sympathetic. She's in training to be a superhero. She's running from the shadow agents trying to kill her. Her survival and superherohood is the plot and she's so deeply flawed that she can't save anyone let alone herself, but she's tough as granite and kicks ass like nobody's business. The fate of the world does not rest on her shoulders because she's a neophyte member of a well-established group of superheroes, who are responsible for the survival of the entire human race.
I'm just pleased to have found this book about a wonderful character who's not at the center of the world's very survival. At least not in this book. This is the first in a series, and this character is so intriguing, so spellbinding, that I don't care if there is a plot. It takes a backseat to who she is and the fascinating world she lives in. Her flaws are what make her so appealing. I've never read anything like it, and I have the second book in the series to start on next. But I just thought it interesting how one book can change your "rules" about what you like and don't like to read. That probably goes for genres, too. The book I'm talking about here is The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson. It's an urban fantasy, a genre that's not yet in the mainstream but should be. Give it a try. You might like it.
So what do you think about the A Plot vs B Plot scenario? Do good books have to have both? Does yours?