THE BLOCKBUSTER PLOT
Some of my favorite movies don’t make much sense.
You know the ones: The blockbusters with the crazy, intricate plots where the villain wants to get caught, because that’s the easiest way to infiltrate the hero’s headquarters. Or the kind of movie with the big, out of nowhere twist at the end of it. The villain is always two steps ahead, and there’s no way the hero can overcome.
A storyline, which—when you first watch it—drags the viewer along on momentum and pacing alone. But, of course, the moment you think too hard about the plot it crumbles under its own weight or illogical decisions.
Don’t judge me. I love those movies. They’re fun.
And because of that, I wanted to write a book that featured that kind of plot. But I also wanted to make the plot holes that come along with those stories believable. My new Jackson Donne novel, AN EMPTY HELL, has everything you expect in a blockbuster action movie: a overly complicated plot, talkative villains, and bizarre situations that challenge the hero and (hopefully) leave the reader breathless.
But there’s a reason for all this, and the reason is: character. When you sit down to read AN EMPTY HELL, you’ll quickly realize the plot is overly complicated because the villain wants it that way.
Meet Alex Robinson, former Narc partner of Donne, who is out for revenge. And he wants that revenge to be a game. The problem is Robinson is a whiny, angry idiot. He’s got father issues, and he’s trying to make people proud of him. And to do that, he has to put on a show.
That’s the only way a story like this works, in my opinion. Too often in movies, the villain who creates this plan is portrayed as the smartest character on the screen. He’s thought out every moment and has everything timed to the perfect second.. However, the viewer knows that never happens, and has trouble suspended disbelief. When you pull one thread, the entire plot unravels.
However, if the mastermind someone who isn’t brilliant then you can start to understand the flaws as they appear. Robinson gets through this book and his plan on pure rage. He doesn’t care if each move he makes doesn’t work perfectly, as long his desired end result is met.
I wanted my storyline to be convoluted and complicated, but I was hoping to create a reason for that. And the best way to do it?
It’s the best way to do anything in books.
Create a compelling character to drag you through the mud.
Alex Robinson is that character. Because, Alex is kind of like the audience in a theater. He doesn’t see the flaws of his own design and can only imagine the outcome. Of course, his plot is helped along by the fact that he hires two psychopaths to carry it out.
And they push Jackson Donne to the brink. As the crazies track and attack Donne, Robinson starts to see his revenge fantasy play out. It doesn’t matter to him that it isn’t a perfect plot. He only wants to see Donne destroyed.
A Rube Goldberg machine will twist and turn moving closer and closer to Donne. Can Donne stop him?
Only if he’s a few steps ahead.
AN EMPTY HELL is an ode to my favorite kinds of movies. The big, bombastic summer thriller, complete with tortured heroes, big action, and explosions. And when you’re done, feel free to think about it as hard as you want.