What is a convenient plot device too convenient? I’m struggling with this in Jean’s story, because honestly, he and Miri have no real reason to be together. Certainly, we’ve made up reason enough, but it’s very weird for me to deliberately bend my brain to make a story work. Usually I just sit back and copy down what the characters dictate.
In Asylum, we ran into a similar problem with a demon attack. We knew eventually our heroes would overcome, but would they do it before the demon got what he wanted? It seemed too easy to just say “And then they were rescued!” and let Seth off the hook… But it didn’t seem exactly fair to let Azriel have his way either.
So we flipped a coin.
I’m not kidding. We straight up flipped a gold dollar: heads, they stay stuck in their minds; lady liberty, they gain their freedom. Seemed pretty fair to us. We even let a fan have the first coin toss. He was rooting for the demon. The demon won. In fact, Azriel got to take 3 extra “turns” after we started flipping the coin – [SPOILERS]
and did indeed get what he was after. Not quite the way he was after it, but good enough for his purposes. [END SPOILERS]
It worked well for Asylum. We were both really happy with the organic feel the random coin toss left us with. But Cirque simply would not work if we were not forcing these two together. So how much is too much? How heavy handed can we be for the readers stop “buying it”? How much suspension of belief are you willing to put forth? Does it change per genre? Are you willing to let more go for sci-fi? Romance? Fantasy?
When is a convenient plot device too convenient? How much will you, as a reader, let go for a story you love?