Last week was Turn off the TV week, and as a result I’ve done a lot of reading over the past seven days. I’ve read Beastly, Wake, Fade, Across the Universe, and am part way through A Game of Thrones. However, it wasn’t until my roommate was summarizing a book she’s reading that the common factor between all of these books hit me. In every single one of these books there was one person call them person X, the catalyst, who’s entrance into the story is what sets everything into motion. Without out them these would just be books about random people sitting around doing nothing or at the very least extremely weird people wandering doing what passes for normal to them.
Maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention to what I’ve been reading, but I’d never noticed what a big role this person X character plays in literature. It’s almost like a formula: people are going about their own business, person X walks into their lives, and chaos ensues. Strike that, it is exactly like a formula. It’s an amazingly good formula, but it’s a formula none the less.
So, all of you writers out there, are you guilty of using person X to get the ball rolling in your stories? I know I sure am.