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
Reviews

Harrow the Ninth Review

Review: 'Harrow The Ninth,' By Tamsyn Muir : NPR

Lesbian necromancers in space continues to amaze.

This book didn’t pull any punches and had me silently screaming from page one.

After reading Gideon the Ninth it was a very anxious month waiting for the release of the sequel, Harrow the Ninth. And when it arrived, I devoured it. Because it was excellent.

First of all, all that was promised with the world-building in book one continued to expand in book two. Some threads began coming together while others were introduced. Either way, the momentum is still picking up and I expect it will continue into the third book as well.

It will take some re-reading to capture the full scope of all the information. This is because of the book’s format, which I loved as well. The presentation strengthened the arc of the characters, but made it difficult at times to know which pieces of information were important (honestly, most of them were important; Muir is fantastic at weaving in plot important information).

The tension is present throughout as you, as the reader, are unsure but think you know more than the characters. It propels the plot forward, faster and faster. And as the pieces fall into place, you wait in anticipation for the plot to unfold only to be left with a dry mouth as your eyes skim over the final words in the novel.

And… you’re left wanting more. As I said at the start of this article, Muir pulls no punches. This book tugs at your heartstrings in all the best of ways. And, how many months is it again until book three is released?

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.

Categories
Reviews

A Difficult Read

I’m currently reading a book which I hope to finish by the end of this week. Unfortunately, I’m having a tough time finishing it. I just wanna take a moment and talk about why this book has me dragging my feet.

So, I would like to exclude the title of this book for now because it might still blow my socks off. Although, you might already know the title if you read my reading list post previously. This book might yet turn things around and surprise me. Also, this book is by no means all bad. In fact, I first want to talk about what this book has right.

The World-building Is Great

The world building of the book is both curious and compelling. The book deals with an individual caught up in a coma dream. The world of dreams is explained in depth and seems to run alongside our own. Also, the ability to see or influence dreams is tied into real-world history for explanations. So, this books seems almost urban fantasy, but with a much younger protag than a YA book would be sporting. I am definitely curious to see what will happen and what impact the world of dreams can have.

The Stakes Are Set

It was relatively late for my taste, but the stakes were set clearly in around chapter 9 (I believe). The main issue is that the parent fears that the protags will die if they enter the world of dreams. So, the parent is doing their best to keep them out of the world of dreams. Motivations have been set.

The Issues

All that being said, I have 2 large issues with the text so far. Issue number one is that there are a lot of pieces of information given in the way of info-dumps. That wouldn’t be terrible if this was a book focused on adults. After all, as an adult myself, I can read through a well placed info-dump. However. It seems like the target audience is children, based on the ages of the protags, and there are just so many info dump scenes for that to be the case.

My second issue runs along with the first. The second beef I have with this book is that there is far too much telling and not nearly enough showing. Perhaps these are the same thing, but to me they are slightly different. You can have a dialogue-based info-dump and still have a lot of action prose surrounding those statements. However, in this book, not only do the dialogues take up paragraphs, the surrounding paragraphs don’t show me anything about the world. It feels empty. Like I’m expected to know exactly what the world looks like. There’s no sound descriptions, or smells, or other details. It feels bland.

Not Finished Yet

Like I said previously, this story could still wow me away. I’m nowhere near finished with it yet. However, if things continue as they have, this book is likely to be an amazing conceptual work that falls short on execution. I’m still enjoying it, though.

Have you ever read a book where you enjoyed the concept but felt the execution fell short?

Categories
Reviews

Gideon the Ninth Review

Des and I both loved this book. Here’s the video if you’d like to see our complete explanations. However, in summary, these are the three reasons why we thought Gideon the Ninth was an amazing title:

  1. The characters were each distinct from each other
  2. The world-building was gradual but also deep
  3. The tropes were twisted in satisfying ways

If you liked this video, don’t forget to check us out on our YouTube channel every Monday for new posts. Have you read Gideon the Ninth and what did you think of this title?