The Ghost In The Story
By Cait Collins
Have you ever picked up a book because the cover caught your eye? Then you read the synopsis and thought the book was a keeper? You read the first three chapters and put it down?
I have a stack of books like this ready to go to the library for their book sale. Sometime the book just doesn’t live up to the hype. The real question is Why hasn’t the story kept your attention? Maybe it was because the genre just wasn’t your cup of tea. Maybe one of the characters bothered you. Maybe it was contrived. But the simple answer might be that it is too predictable.
A good plot twist may be just the seasoning you need.
Imagine this. Carter’s mother disappeared three years ago. She hasn’t called, written, or sent a greeting card. The police believe she is dead, but there is no body. One snowy winter’s eve there’s a knock on the front door. Carter opens it and his mother is standing on the front step with a baby in her arms. Carter is dumbfounded. Who is the baby and why did his mother come home now?
This is a simple use of plot twist. This one event changes the course of the story. So how does the writer use this to enhance the story? The first consider whether or not the event impacts the story enough that you want to play on it. If you can make it work without it becoming a burden on the plot, use it. Develop the story using the twist. But if you have to contrive the action to make the twist work, stop. This twist is not the road your story should take. Plot twists are needed within the story to keep the readers interest and to move the plot to a satisfying end. To throw an event into the story for no logical reason or for the word count does not necessarily create a good story. Tossing a ghost in the midst of a romance might sound fun and thrilling, but the ghost has to have a purpose. He can’t just be the invisible guest in the room.