Style vs. Substance

If plot is king, then execution is queen.

To be perfectly clear, I mean that as a chess analogy.

Plot is important. It is very important. (I feel that plot and character are inextricably linked, so the argument “plot vs. character” is not happening right now. The answer is yes.) Plot is what drives your story. It’s the spine. Without it, you have a mass of amorphous goo.

Similarly, the king is the most important piece on the chess board. It is the entire reason for the game. Nothing could happen without it.

But on the whole, it has little effect on the game. I tend to play chess badly, so when I get down to a few pawns, a knight, and a rook, I allow the king to wander the board and go on a killing spree. It’s quite fun, but it does nothing to change the outcome.

That’s where execution comes in. The queen. The most versatile piece of the game. It changes things very quickly. It is a guiding force of the game.

Similarly, the execution is what sells the reader on your story. Execution is what allows you to suspend your disbelief and enjoy a ridiculous premise. Execution is why people read what you write. It’s your unique voice, it’s the way you share the images, sounds, emotions, and scents in your mind. It determines the clarity of those sensations. Execution is the queen that wins you the game, or allows you to lose, depending on how well she is directed.

Random writing analogy over. Have a nice day!

A. C. F.


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