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Dear writer,

I am so pleased to see how productive you’ve been recently, thanks for forwarding me the updates. However, I think we need to talk about plot.

The exhibition opening story, for example. What a lovely evening you have depicted! What beautiful people you made attend the event, and how much they appreciated the Prosecco. I am touched by how tolerant the old couple were when they heard about Susan’s background, and how they asked her out for dinner afterwards.


It’s too nice! I don’t want to read about happy people, I want to read about their sufferings. I want to recognise my own feelings of insecurity, loss, fear, confusion, disorientation, abandonment. I want to learn about others’ stupid mistakes, their unnecessary and irreversible conflicts, their awkward relationships and cowardly behaviour. 

Give me some conflict. Conflict could, of course, be interpersonal, between, say, Susan and the old couple, or perhaps escalating between the old lady and her husband over dinner. Conflict may also be internal. Why don’t you make Susan totally bored with the dinner, bored with the art, tired of the pretentious atmosphere, all whilst she is attempting to fit in with the group.

There’s not much else to do than either re-writing or deleting. Save the setting in a separate document to re-use for a story with plot.