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writing

What Was Promised

Arguably, one of the most important things while writing is keeping your promises. Now, what do I mean when I say promises? I am referring to something which the reader anticipates based on the genre or your storytelling. Not keeping promises is one of the reasons why so many story twists fall short. When you fail to keep promises, you fail your readers and you’ll leave them feeling dissatisfied.

So.

How can we, as writers, make and keep promises to our readers? Here are 3 ways we can offer and fulfill.

The Rule of Threes

three monkey statues

One of the way many writers strive to make and keep promises to readers is to point something out to them multiple times before it becomes relevant. I’ve talked about it before, but this is sometimes called the rule of threes. You want to make sure that you’ve mentioned the important things multiple times so that your reader doesn’t feel like it came out of nowhere.

Can you think of an example where a writer presented information multiple times before it became plot relevant? Hasn’t that made the payoff all the better for you as a reader? If it has or hasn’t, go ahead and comment below to explain why it did or didn’t work.

The Power of Genre

library organized by color and topic

In each genre there are patterns and plots which shine through time. If you want to make and keep promises, you can prove to your readers that you’re going to adhere to those norms. If you bait your book as something its not, your reader will feel cheated. However, if you live by these norms, you’ll find yourself with happy readers.

Before you rip me to pieces, may I just add that variation from those standards can be a good thing when it enriches the plot. However, you can stick to genre standards and still come out the side with a perfectly good story. So, take this one with a plate of salt and you’ll be alright.

What was a time that you’ve felt you were deceived by a book? Did you want to keep reading after that, or did you shove that one on your unfinished list? Alternatively, what was a time that you got something better than what you were promised?

Clear Expectations

man in mirror

Do we know what your main character wants? The easiest way to make and keep a promise is to tell us what your character is working toward. Even if the story pulls them away from that goal (as it so frequently does), we, at least, will know what the character will lean toward when choices have to be made. Use your character’s inner narration to make and keep promises on occasion.

Beware of doing this one too much though, or you’ll find yourself telling your reader to death. If you smack the audience too many times with narrative intentions, they’ll form callouses, but if you use it from time to time it can help them stay focused.

Have you ever been the gladder for a character explicitly stating their intentions with inner or outer dialogue? What were times this absolutely didn’t work?

Thanks again for stopping by and I hope that you all have a marvelous Nanowrimo.

Categories
writing

Fanfic: Sharing With Respect

Have you ever used an image that’s protected under creative commons? Well, I personally think they’re the bee’s knees because holy moly those things are so useful. And there are a bajillion levels of nuance to those bad boys. There are so many levels of permissions that people can tag onto their artwork to try and protect it how they’d like it to be protected.

And…

Artist’s creative desires should be respected.

Foto profissional grátis de atraente, beleza, bonita

As such, Fanfic is a sensitive subject to some because the content contrived is directly related to the character/world-building of another artist. Some creators can understandably get upset when someone else profits off of their brainchildren. It’s hard not to get irritated when you see someone profitting off your own hard work.

But all the same. Fanfic is an important step in learning to create effective stories.

Tell me, as a writer, how did you start out? Did you start writing full novels? Or did you consider the what if’s of your favorite movie/book/tv show?

It’s for this reason that I, personally, hesitate to shut down fanfic creators. And I wonder if there could be some way for artists to more accurately express how they feel about fellow content creators using their characters in scenarios? Something more like creative commons?

Foto profissional grátis de alta-natividade, arte, artista

For example, I do find it a bit strange to have someone latch onto my characters so much that they imagine them in scenarios beyond my scope of creation. However, if a fan does imagine my characters, and write about them, haven’t I done my job as a writer properly?

I think the thing that irritates me the most is those who dominate the fanfic of a specific story. Not to name any names (coughs loudly) but I’m sure you know of at least one creator who’s profited off the fanfic they made off a work. And then they turned around to shut down anyone who might riff off of their fanfic.

Foto profissional grátis de anúncio, aparência, arquitetura

I lack the words to express this properly. But, my closest approximation would be:

How could you be that much of a pissant?

This is why I point to creative commons as an acceptable option. If authors of original works stamped their texts with a “you can edit this” but only if you also allow others to edit it kind of thing, then we’d really be getting somewhere, wouldn’t we?

CC Search

What do you think? What’s the best solution? And how can we let people learn to create while still respecting the author’s wishes?

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Friends Merch Publications Reviews writing

My Patreon

Maybe you’ve seen some posts on here you’ve enjoyed and wish that you had more content like this on your website? Or, perhaps you just want to finally see me writing some fantasy (since I’m probably all talk and no action, right.)? Or, maybe you wanna read snippets from my current works? You’re welcome to hop onto my patreon which I’m just now starting in earnest.

I’ve got the lowest tier set to a dollar. So, for only a dollar a month you can read some experiments in writing and get story prompts. Every little bit helps and I hope that you can pitch in to participate in this journey.

If I still haven’t convinced you, that’s fair. But, if I have? Well, go ahead and hop over to my Patreon. I’m sure it’ll be a fun time if nothing else since you’ll probably find yourself reaching into the outer fringes of Patreon existence by the time you realize the time.

Thanks for your continued support.

Categories
writing

Plot Twists Should Twist Less and Plot More

Sometimes a twist comes at the expense of plot. And it hurts, so much. Because sometimes a story doesn’t need a twist to be good. So, here are some tips and/or things to avoid when making a plot twist.

The Rule Of Three

Foto profissional grátis de abstrato, alfinetes, ao ar livre

I’ve heard writers say that the drafting process exists to make you look like you knew what you were doing all along. As such, the rule of three applies here. If you don’t know, you can read about it in more detail on Wikipedia’s entry: Rule of Three (writing). But, as a quick summary here

“… a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers.”

– Wikipedia

I know there’s a stigma for quoting Wikipedia, but isn’t that a real effective summary? Isn’t it just? Shrieks at every middle school or high school teacher ever. And so, the easiest way to make a healthy twist is to make something appear three times. A person, an object, a word, or even a whole snippet of conversation. The best part of a twist is if the reader can realistically see it coming in retrospect (this is related to qualms people have with magic in fantasy, but this is not a post for that so more on that later).

A book is a promise, and as a writer you must promise your reader that you will unfold for them the world you’ve developed and the plot you’ve devised. Please, use the rule of three. Even if it’s only in passing, this will make the twist so much stronger as an effective piece of the plot.

And you’ll have the reader going “of course, how did I not see it?”.

Use Perspective

Foto profissional grátis de □ gentil, árvore, atraente

A super effective and appalling plot twist is unfolding exactly how unreliable your narrator is. When it’s revealed that your hero was the villain, it will send your reader reeling if you’ve done it right. Also, some narrators have nothing to lose; as a writer, you don’t have to unfold this to the reader, but it makes the story itself dubious. If you haven’t, take a look at the Brazilian novel, Dom Casmurro.

It’s so simple. The way the character sees the world impacts how the reader experiences the story. And so, the simplest twist is making the main character see the world in an entirely different light.

Twist Earlier, Leave Time For Payoff

Foto profissional grátis de acontecimento, animado, aparelhos

If you twist at the end of act two, you leave time for the payoff. The reader is there for payoff. You’ve promised them the satisfaction of seeing the effects, on the characters, that a challenge may cause. So, when you twist earlier, you leave more time for the reader to see the payoff unfold.

Honestly, if you can provide the reader with your plot twist at the end of the first or second arc of your story, you’ll have much more luck and leave your reader more satisfied than a last-minute whiplash.

Do you know of a story that twists early? How about Knives Out as an example. The twist is revealed rather early on. At least one of them. And we spend the majority of the film relishing the tension that is created by the audience knowing that information while the characters flounder in suspicion.

Do you know of any other stories that twist early? Comment them in the space below.

Not Contrived

Foto profissional grátis de aborrecido, aparelho, aplicativo

A plot twist shouldn’t be contrived. Nothing will enrage your reader more than something thrown in for the surprise factor. Not only will it not be memorable, but it will also lower their overall satisfaction with the book. Because, it feels sloppy and is sloppy.

So, these were just a couple of tips and things to avoid; what other suggestions do you have for people writing twists?

Categories
Novel writing

Project Update: The Expertise

Introduction

I’m drafting (working title) Titaness of Bone and we’re on draft 2.5 at this point while following the steps outlined in Save the Cat. If you haven’t checked it out, I definitely recommend it. It outlines a pacing that feels natural and which has improved the structure in my novel.

You can find it on Amazon as Save the Cat.

Honestly, my biggest struggle continues to be the last 10,000 words of the “Fun and Games” section of the story. If you have suggestions, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you think would help me firm up that last 10,000 words. What are your ideas?

My favorite parts so far have been seeing the Expertise become more of an action taker in this version. In my first writing of her, she felt like a bystander in her own story. In this newer write, she’s still somewhat unwilling to participate in the action. However, more of the events are determined by her choices.

Which has made her a much stronger personality to write.

Forgive any grammar errors, though. I haven’t done my grammar edit. And that’s next on the list.