Writing Sleight of Hand

writing suspense magic-184447_960_720One thing I think most of us writers aspire to is being able to surprise our readers. After all, if the reader knows from page one what the outcome will be — boy gets the girl and they live happily ever after — that doesn’t make for a terribly interesting or suspenseful book. On the other hand, I believe we owe it to our readers to not blindside them. What I mean by that is throwing in a curve ball that has no relation to anything else in the book. Somewhere in there is a happy medium where the reader can be surprised, shocked, maybe delighted by the twists in the plot, but when they think back, they can see the germination of that plot twist. It was there all the time, just under the radar. It fits and it makes sense.

I’ve noticed there are two ways to do this. Continue reading “Writing Sleight of Hand”

That’s the End? Are You Kidding Me?

How could I go wrong, right? It was a New York Times bestseller, written by a popular author, published by a company similar to one using a logo of a flightless aquatic bird. Took five weeks to get it on inter-library loan. It started well enough. A woman in a dull but dependable marriage finds herself drawn to a handsome stranger with blinding white teeth and spurs. Not the most original of plots, but good writing. The conflict builds. The author raises the stakes. The heroine digs herself in deeper. I was led to believe that the ending required a choice: stay with Mr. Hot Stuff, or go home to Mr. Dependable. Even if she chooses Plan C and walks off alone into the sunset, she MUST ACTIVELY MAKE A CHOICE. The credibility of the story depends on it. And then… fate intervenes. Mr. Hot Stuff dies in a random accident. The choice is gone. The author has blown it. The book flies across the room. I make many apologies to Marion the Librarian and slip her a sizable fine. Continue reading “That’s the End? Are You Kidding Me?”