creaking plot

Couch Tomato

Senior Member
Russian & Dutch
I took a shower, washed my rain-soaked hair, and with the towel wrapped around my waist, I watched an old American submarine movie on television. The creaking plot had the captain and first officer constantly at each other’s throat.
(A Wild Sheep Chase - Haruki Murakami)

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

creak /kriːk/ vb
  • to make or cause to make a harsh squeaking sound
  • (intransitive) to make such sounds while moving: the old car creaked along
  • a harsh squeaking sound
Etymology: 14th Century: variant of croak, of imitative origin
Does "creaking" mean here that the plot had plot holes or that it was simply bad or unoriginal?
  • bennymix

    Senior Member
    Decrepit things (including us older folks) 'creak'. It means, regarding plot, poorly held together, like some old car that's about to fail apart. The plot lacks coherence; for instance, to accomplish certain things, the author has a rich, long-lost uncle show up. Then to get the heroine to England, the author suddenly has her get a scholarship to Oxford, though the previous chapters depicted her as a mediocre student. Clumsily contrived. When that shows at the joins (transitions), we say 'creaking at the seams.'

    Likely also, is the suggestion (somewhat contradictory, on the face of it) is that it's lame or predictable or plain mediocre: "old hat." Of course, rich uncles turning up, is a pretty common event in mediocre plots; hence, contrived as well as predictable.
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