Queens MFA alumni conference, courtesy of Alan Michael Parker who was talking about taking risks in writing: Most plots, especially in TV these days, follow the formula:
Childhood + Trauma = Protagonist
It made me laugh out loud because not only do many TV series follow that formula, often hidden in a subplot, but many memoirs do, too. Formulas work, of course, but they can also get boring. Fresh and original writing surprises the reader. So even if you’re dealing with a story that seems formulaic, it is important to be aware of the formula, and to ask yourself: Where lies the surprise?