In simple terms a plot device is an object or character in a story whose only purpose is to advance the plot of the story, often used to motivate characters to do something or to solve a problem. On the flip side, an author may advance the story by leading the reader forward with his/her narrative prowess.
Personally, I haven't decided which approach suits my writing as I have used both approaches. I imagine somewhat of a dependency or need based on genre. For example, in the fantasy fiction genre I imagine that plot devices are essential in certain instances, providing the story’s protagonist with a super-power or special object to defend plot.
While writing my first novel, “The Motivator”, I consciously chose to use narrative technique, building story-plot plausibility through little hints sprinkled throughout the story, most certainly during early and middle chapters. I didn’t arrive at my decision with a willful distrust of plot devices; I simply chose to develop requisite skill, maturing character acuity.
As I write this blog my research for my next novel nears completion. I've decided to experiment with plot devices, perhaps both protagonist and antagonist will receive fair share. The beautiful thing about writing is that more than one right answer exists, proof of choice borne by the reader.
In recent months I've had the pleasure to meet a number of passionate writers, as always I’d love to hear your feedback.