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.

Categories
writing

WIP Update

Here’s a short update on my WIPs.

1. The Titaness of Bone (working title)

It has now officially finished draft 1 with just over 60,000 words. And now? It’s on the back-burner because that is where drafts go once they’re done. Basically, it needs to cool off for a month or two and so I’ve set it aside.

2. Magus Kadius (working title)

I let it sit and I realized that I really just didn’t like at all how I’d executed it. So, I’m tossing aside those 20,000 words and I’m going to shoot for something a little different this time around. I’m hoping to get the dirty draft pumped out by the end of this week.

3. Everything Else

I’ve set down everything else for the moment. But it’s paused but not forgotten. I’m too in love with the ideas to let them sit for too long. I’ll be back to them soon, undoubtedly.

Categories
Reviews

5 Books on My Reading List

Here are some books I’ll be reading/reviewing soon. These are in no particular order, so stay with me.

1. Warrior of the Wild

Warrior of the Wild by [Tricia Levenseller]

I read this one a night ago and will be doing a review of it on Youtube here soon. I didn’t put it down after I started it. Can’t wait to tell you all what I think. It was great, it was stellar. Simple, compelling, and easy to read.

2. Somnium

SOMNIUM Beyond the Darkness by [A.D. Sterling]

I saw this one on my twitter feed and I’m interested to see what’s in it. It looks like it might be dark fantasy? It really have no idea based on the book blurb. There’s no genre indicators there so it might be entirely mundane, horror, surreal, or fantasy. Not sure, but interested to find out.

3. Gideon The Ninth

Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Trilogy Book 1) by [Tamsyn Muir]

I heard this one described to me as lesbian necromancers in space. I was of course like bring it on. So, I’m interested to see where this one will go. I’m a few chapters in at the moment and I’m dying to finish (pun intended).

4. Heart of Obsidian

Heart of Obsidian: A Psy-Changeling Novel by [Nalini Singh]

This one looks like it’s going to be thoroughly problematic. I’m excited to see if it proves to be just as troublesome as it looks. It’s supposedly a villain-falls-in-love-with-protag story and I’m expecting I’ll be disappointed, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. That’s half the fun, now isn’t it?

5. Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You'll Ever Need by [Jessica Brody]

It’s the book that has everyone in the writing industry chatting like crazy. So, I guess I will succumb to their whims and partake in this event. But more seriously, I expect that I’ll read this one piecemeal and since it is a technical books I suspect that I’ll be reviewing it in chunks.

An Offer of Review

Are you a self-published or traditionally-published author that wants some more reviews? Message me on Twitter and I’ll put it on my next reading list. Trust me, it doesn’t take me long to read through something if I’m having fun.

Categories
Reviews writing

Beta Readers: Work Shouldn’t Be Free

Ah, as a writer I know things are tight for all of us. We aren’t paid nearly enough for the work we do and it wrecks me to know that I’ll make so little return for my sweat and tears. But you know what else irks me? The stigma against paying good and honest workers. So, let’s talk about Beta readers and why their work shouldn’t be free.

Beta Readers, A Debate

Beta reading is a passion, but it’s also a job. This post by Nat Russo is enough to prove that. The post is 4 Things Every Writer Should Know About Beta Readers and I was quite enjoying what the article had to say about Beta reading. Yes, you need to be specific with your beta readers. Check. Yes, you need to look for good beta readers and develop a relationship with them.

But then I stopped dead in my tracks.

“Under NO circumstances should you agree to pay a beta reader. That’s simply not how it’s done. If someone approaches you to beta read your work and tells you they’ll do so for a fee, run in the opposite direction.”

Nat Russo

I reread it.

I mean, I know that this has been a charged topic for a while in the industry. But here, in an article with such a business-like and driven tone, to see this blatant disregard for paying people for their labor I was taken aback.

If you’re sending your document to a Beta reader you’ve done everything you can possibly do in your own power to make it better and now you need someone (I agree with Russo in that is should be a fellow writer if possible) to go over it with unbiased eyes. You need a beta reader. And if they’re expected to take hours out of their day to read over and break down your work, how is that not a job worth paying for?

The Policy Of Not Paying Passion

Wouldn’t it be worth paying someone for that kind of time? They’re giving you their time and, if they really are a fellow writer, they’re giving you time they could have spent on their own projects. I don’t wanna hear the they should do it for the skill they’ll gain or that they’re paid in the pleasure they get from their work arguments. That justification is the very thing that keeps creators from getting paid in real wages. Somehow people think that satisfaction will pay the bills. If only, if only.

Don’t believe me? Don’t believe that people try this stunt all. the. time? Watch this comical but mildly horrifying skit by a pianist. Yes, things really are like this in the creative industry. And no, it’s not okay. And what’s worse, in not paying Beta readers we are merely perpetuating the issue in our own industry.

Paying People, A Good Way To Live

I see signs that the “paying Beta readers” stigma is going away, albeit slowly. In this article is says that most Beta readers are charging 10$ per 10,000 words. Honestly, that’s pretty fair because Beta readers are supposed to be less skilled than editors, they are supposed to be pre-production. So, charging .001 cents a words seems reasonable.

For more articles about paying Beta readers, check out this post Should beta readers get paid?

I’d like to see a day when creators are paid for the work they do, and so let’s start with the things we can control. We can do an exchange for the work our Beta readers do. We have control over that.

But, I don’t have money either!

I’m a writer and we also get paid so little for the work we do. If you really don’t have money, but your fellow beta reader is a writer as well, then perhaps you could exchange manuscripts? Perhaps you could work something out where you don’t have to pay the whole amount all at once? Perhaps, perhaps. There are options, but it’s really best to, if you can, pay them in money.

After all, that’s how you would like to be paid as well.

What do you think? Do you think beta readers should work out of the goodness of their hearts? Or do you agree that they should be getting some compensation for what they do? I’d love to hear your perspective in the comments below.