Disappointing plots you thought would be awesome but weren’t

Sometimes I pick up a book with a great premise, and think, “this’ll be great!” And the author plunges me into the thick of the matter, and we’re jumping from plot point to plot point. Somewhere about 50% I start to think, “where’s this all going to go?” Maybe the author has spent her time unwisely, blathering about stuff that is unimportant to the story. Maybe she hit on something that would be charming and awesome like a character we’d like to know a little better but she rushed off to do an action scene instead. Maybe the pacing sucks.

But then the plot has a twist and all is revealed. And I think, “Wait. That’s it? The point of the whole book was to get me here, and this is the lousy climax?” I don’t throw my kindle down in despair because that’d be expensive.

But that’s the difference between success and failure. Some books have so much potential, it cries out for exposition and plotting and whatforth. Then the author comes up short. That’s okay, you wrote the book you wanted to write, but I didn’t read the book I’d like to read.

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5 thoughts on “Disappointing plots you thought would be awesome but weren’t

    • I think that successful plots and unsuccessful ones may just be a matter of pacing and what the author chooses to reveal. I remember one particular sci fi novel where the protagonist was this ex-military guy, and he gets teamed up with a bunch of other military types to go in and serve a warrant on this colony for wrongdoing. I loved the writer’s descriptions- they were like crunchy broccoli– but I couldn’t get into the plot and really track it as it was revealed. It was like he chose to reveal the wrong things, or the wrong conversations. This is entirely subjective, because others may have found the book excellent and liked it. The violence of the book was constrained within a few chapters, and it wrapped up nice and neat.

      So how do we write the thing that is all the right scenes? And how do we build up to the climax so when we reach it, we’re on the edge of the seat? I dunno. I got nothing. I’m sure it’s related to how you do the high points and low points of each chapter/unit, and whether there’s a constant build or if the high points and low points are inconsistent. If you look at the movie Aliens, it has a lot of build up to the first battle with the aliens, but once they’re in it, there’s a pattern: Fight, rest, fight, rest, fight, rest, bigger fight, rest, bix climactic scene, short rest, HA! False climax, final climactic scene, then the denouement. No loose ends, and the final fight with the alien queen is memorable and serves to cap a movie that had good pacing and good suspense.

      Maybe that’s what I’m looking for.

      Liked by 1 person

          • I think we all want that. And maybe some of the blockbuster authors have something like that – like James Patterson or such – or others that have their writing “farms” so they can push out story after story after story. However, then you run into your stories being predictable after fans absorb the first few of your books.

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