A favorite activity of mine is deconstructing fiction plots — figuring out whether there might be a more realistic way to portray a fictional story.
I have been watching the 8-part mystery series BROADCHURCH on BBC America, and in the sixth episode I was startled to learn that eight weeks have passed since the murder of an 11-year-old boy.
Why would the TV writers decide that eight weeks have passed and yet, for example, no one has investigated the $500 found under the murdered boy’s mattress? What have the police been doing all this time?
This kind of fictional disconnect impacts my appreciation of a good story. I cannot imagine why it was necessary to have eight weeks go by in order to say the police are not doing enough. Surely two weeks would have sufficed to be able to say this considering the story takes place in a small seaside town in England.
It is not always easy to deal with these kinds of issues in a fictional story. But as writers we need to consider whether what we are writing makes sense.
As I write each new chapter of my dystopian thriller THE MOTHER SIEGE (which can be read on Wattpad at http://budurl.com/MSintro), I try to consider whether the actions in the story make sense in the future society I am creating.
Sometimes I realize that, although I may understand something, I need to clarify a point for readers so that they will feel that what I have written is integral to the story.
This checking of story elements is very important for the credibility of any fictional world — equally so for future worlds as for contemporary worlds.
I will watch the final two episodes of BROADCHURCH, hoping that the overlooking of the major clue of $500 is eventually satisfactorily explained.
© 2013 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON and the romantic suspense spy thriller CIA FALL GUY.