Why? Oh, why!

My Jesse radar failed me last night and I missed the whole discussion of possible serial killer storylines, including a DPB tip from Jesse. He said Bellisario said the plot twist isn’t who done it. It’s why. Then he added that without a good why, you don’t have a good story.

Yes, sometimes the head-smackingly obvious doesn’t seem that way until somebody says it. Sandy and I were both kicking ourselves this morning for not having realized that before. It was well-timed, too, since it helped me sort out a plot hole the friend I’m staying with had pointed out last night when I was explaining the story.

In all of my Metro musing today, I extrapolated some from what DPB said and Jesse added to. I think the corollary to that tip is that as writers, we need to figure out who did what before the story starts and why. Once we understand that, really understand that, we drop the bomb that kicks off the story (find the dead body, start the argument, etc.) and let everybody react from there. Stuff came up in my first few pages today that I hadn’t planned, but it works. And it works because I know what’s making these guys tick, so now I can just let them run with it.

This week’s writing will be a voyage of exploration for me and the characters, but their backstory is giving me the map.