[DWJ] Plot Coupons

Charles Butler charlescbutler at btinternet.com
Sun Jun 25 09:40:24 EDT 2006


'Plot coupons' is one of those terms I'd heard bandied about for a while, and while I had a vague idea what it might mean I wasn't *absolutely* sure, so I followed the google-bricked road to Wikipedia, which sent me to Nick Lowe's 1986 'Well-Tempered Plot Device', where the phrase was apparently coined. (This may be news to no one on the list but me, but humour me.)
   
  *Anyway*, there I found the following calumny (but quite a funny one) against my beloved Susan Cooper:
   
  'Probably the most distinguished practitioner of collect-the-coupons plotting is Susan Cooper in those awful The Dark Is Rising books, in the course of which the hapless goodies have to run down no fewer than nine different plot tokens before they can send off to the author for the ending.'
   
  Which got to me to wondering how many plot-coupon plots (or plot-voucher plots, which are subtly different - I refer you to Google, Wikipedia, Nick Lowe, etc for the distinction) DWJ has written? *The Crown of Dalemark* is the most obvious example, though even there I can't help thinking she's subtly undermining the whole idea. (But why do I think this? Is is just because I read Dalemark through Tough-Guide-tinted specs?) Are there others?
   
  Charlie


Website: www.charlesbutler.co.uk


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