READY TO TWIST


READY TO TWIST

Lynnette Jalufka

 

Today’s the day you’re going to sit down and write that plot twist. Here’s six tips from literaryterms.net:

  • Think of all likely outcomes for the story…and then throw them out!
  • Develop obstacles that are seemingly impossible to overcome, and then think of a plausible solution that the audience won’t guess, but will understand and believe when it happens
  • For a big shock, make it seem like there is only one possible outcome to the story—and then use your twist to completely surprise the audience
  • For a surprising but less extreme twist, develop your story in a way that makes the audience totally unsure where it is going or what could happen, leaving it open to many possible outcomes.
  • For a clever and thought-provoking twist, use small clues throughout the story that the audience may forget or only take small note of, and then bring back those clues in the twist
  • You may choose to foreshadow your twist with either very subtle and hidden clues, or very noticeable and direct clues, depending on how close you want your audience to get to figuring it out.

As a mystery fan, I personally love it when the author leaves small clues and/or foreshadows the plot twist. It makes the book memorable.

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Screenplays

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week I wanted to share with you my new interest. Sometimes when you’re stuck in your current work, not sure where the plot should go or if your dialogue is stale or not, it helps to branch out and try something different.

Although I love reading, my current schedule makes it easier for me to watch movies.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I began and finished a novel without putting it down for several months or starting another book in between.  Since I love films, I thought I might try my hand at writing a screenplay.  The first step is learning proper formatting and some of the terminology.  After that, it’s just a matter of letting the words flow on the page.

Here is an extremely short screenplay I recently finished based on an extremely short story I wrote a year or so ago.

 

FADE IN:

INT. MASTER BEDROOM – NIGHT

ADAM is in bed, fast asleep next to his wife, JENNIFER.  A thin line of saliva runs down his cheek onto his pillow.  A muffled THUMP comes from the direction of his son JASON’s bedroom.

ADAM

What was that?

JENNIFER twitches a little in her sleep but does not respond.  ADAM slides out of bed and glares at his wife. He shuffles down the hallway to JASON’s room.

ADAM

Everything ok–

ADAM sees a giant shadow in the corner of his son’s bedroom.  He opens his mouth but is interrupted when something brown streaks in front of his eyes.  JASON’s teddy bear, ROBOT, performs a flying side-kick into the nose of a massive creature in the corner.  Bones SNAP. ROBOT drives his fist into the beast’s chest and pulls out a pulsing, black heart. ROBOT screams in triumph and holds the heart aloft.  ADAM’s and ROBOT’s eyes meet. ROBOT grins and trots across the floor to ADAM.

ADAM

Robot?

 

ROBOT

Yes, Adam?

 

ADAM

Is this really happening?

ROBOT’s brow furrows.

ROBOT

Tonight it is, Adam.  Tomorrow may be peaceful.  The days and weeks following may be as well.  But some day…some day…

ADAM looks over at the dead creature then back at his son’s sleeping buddy.

ADAM

Oh.  Okay.  Uh, thanks…Robot.

ROBOT

You’re quite welcome, Adam; you and Jason both.  I swore to protect his precious life the day you brought me home and I plan on keeping that promise for as long as I am able.

ADAM nods at the dead beast.

ADAM

What are you gonna do with that?

ROBOT

Don’t worry about the Gorthok.  It’ll be disposed of before your son wakes.  Oh, and Jason whispered to me tonight that he wants toaster pastries in the morning.

ADAM

Uh…toaster pastries.  Got it.

ADAM turns toward the hallway for a moment then turns back again.  The room is back to normal. All four corners of the bedroom are empty.  Jason is tucked away under his comforter, a small arm clutching ROBOT close.  ADAM heads back to his bedroom rubbing his eyes.

ADAM

 (mumbling)

No more Italian food after eleven.

PREPARE TO TWIST


PREPARE TO TWIST

Lynnette Jalufka

 

How do you go about doing a plot twist that will not have your readers throwing their books, or electronic devices, against the wall? I found some great advice on literaryterms.net:

When developing a plot twist…your goal should always be geared towards the audience’s reaction. As an overall rule, remember that they’ve taken the time to invest themselves in your story. You want them to get some sort of satisfaction for that—so, while your plot twist should be surprising, and may even be shocking, it should not strongly disappoint an audience, or leave them feeling cheated, tricked, or manipulated by their emotional investment in the story.

When developing your plot twist, you should have one of these goals in mind:

  • To leave your audience saying, ‘No way, I can’t believe it! I never saw that coming!’
  • To leave your audience saying, ‘Oh yeah, totally—how didn’t I see that coming?’
  • To leave your audience saying, ‘Wow, I knew it was possible, but never guessed it would really happen!’

In short, remember your readers. You want them to finish the book. They are the ones who will decide whether your twist is successful.

The Ghost In The Story


Outtakes 394

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.

PLOT TWISTS


PLOT TWISTS

Natalie Bright

 

We are blogging about plot twists all month long. So glad you have joined us at Wordsmith Six!

Plot Twists are defined as something is going on or is about to happen that we, the readers/viewers/players, don’t see coming; if we had known about it. When that story element is revealed to us, we are surprised, shocked, and delighted.

Common themes, or plot tropes, can be found in every genre. For example, in mysteries common tropes include absence of evidence, everyone is a suspect, hidden in plain sight, or you meddling kids.

In the romance genre, popular tropes include transformation from ugly duckling to princess, friends to lovers, reunited lovers, love triangle, or forbidden love. How many times have you recognized the Romeo and Juliet trope?

How about taking a romance trope and applying it to your science fiction, changling novel? How about using a popular mystery trope in your next historical fiction? You’ve the old saying, you have to know the rules in order to break them.

MAKING IT YOURS

Twist those old, tired cliché tropes into something new. Add the YOU into your story, make it unique, make it original. Now go write…

 

My Favorite Movie Plot Twists


My Favorite Movie Plot Twists

by Adam Huddleston

Even though this is a writer’s blog, I feel much more comfortable mentioning plot twists that have occurred in movies.  Without spoilers, and in no particular order, here is a list of my favorite film twists:

  • Unbreakable, The Village, The Sixth Sense (practically anything by M. Night Shyamalan)
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Soylent Green
  • Fight Club
  • Seven
  • Psycho
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Planet of the Apes
  • The Usual Suspects
  • Shutter Island

WHAT I WRITE—PART 4


WHAT I WRITE—PART 4

Lynnette Jalufka

 

 

A major part of deciding what genre I write is defining my audience. I write what I want to read. So, who am I?

Well, I’m obviously a woman, who has lived long enough to know that life is very hard, no matter what century you live in. Everything is conspiring to crush my dreams, but I press on. I’m desperate to know that there is hope after I make a wrong decision, when life takes a cruel turn, that disaster can be overcome. I want to be encouraged.

To escape my insignificant life, I read about another time far removed from my own. An adventure where I can hear thundering hooves and clashing steel, where men are bold and courageous when they have to be, and ladies can be just as bold and courageous, with a little romance in the mix. A clean book, one that does not contain profanity, descriptive sex, or graphic violence.

So, what do I write? Inspiring fiction with a medieval twist.

FLASH FICTION


FLASH FICTION

Adam Huddleston

 

This week, I wanted to give an example of the flash fiction that I used to write (and later judge). Specific keywords (decided upon by me or whatever kid might be within shouting range) had to be used and the word count could not exceed one-hundred words.  The author was tasked with doing their best in creating a beginning, moving the plot forward, and providing an adequate climax.

The five keywords (off the top of my head) that I will use are: envelope, basketball, horse, generous, and final.

Arthur wiped away a tear as he read the envelope’s contents. His beloved horse, Sprinkles, was to be put down in less than a week.  Although the majestic beast had won many races, his final contest proved to be his downfall.  As Sprinkles was coming down the back stretch, a stray basketball had bounced onto the track, causing him to crash.  The horse’s leg shattered.

Arthur offered a generous sum to whomever would identify the perpetrator of the crime.  Within a week, the accused was found; Arthur’s son.   Punishment was unnecessary; the loss was sentence enough.

Point of View


Outtakes 392

Point of View

By Cait Collins

I do not make detailed character sketches or outlines.  That much organization makes me want to go to one of the happy places people tell me about.  You know the places where there’s no stress.  My writing style is more of dump it in and edit later.  Maybe that’s why I often have problems with point of view. I often mix Points Of view (POV) in the same scene.

I’m often asked if I intended the story to be told from an Omniscient Point of View.  That might work if I wrote non-fiction or educational material.  But I write women’s fiction, plays, screenplays, and memoirs.  These genres have definite points of view.

For example, the heroine in my current work has returned home after seven years as an actress.  She’s found a measure of happiness and fulfillment managing her uncle’s pottery shop.  All of a sudden, the past comes crashing in and threatening to destroy her new world. The story is told from three major points of view: the heroine, the hero, and the antagonists.  I think I finally have found the way to keep from violating the POV.  When I change the actual setting of the story, I start a new chapter with a new speaker and a new POV.

WHAT I WRITE—PART 3


WHAT I WRITE—PART 3

Lynnette Jalufka

I was surprised when my critique group called my current book a young adult novel. It does have a seventeen-year-old heroine. In fact, I have a young adult either as a protagonist or a major character in all my ideas for future novels. And I’ve been reading several young adult books lately. I like journeying with young people as they struggle to find their place in the world.  But I didn’t write this book for a teenage audience, which is the main component of YA. I’m writing what I want to read as an adult. Then again, adults make up half the YA readership.

There is another problem with categorizing this novel as YA. It is the first in a series about a noble family determined to protect their kingdom. The second book concerns the relationship between a mother and her son as they deal with tragedy along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The third one chronicles a woman as she deals with her teenage daughter and her mother-in-law while they’re lost in enemy territory. These sound more like women’s fiction than young adult, except with battles, sword fights, narrow escapes, and other fun stuff like that. I just don’t see how to market my current work as young adult without drastically changing the entire series into something I don’t recognize.

So, is my novel YA? I think young people will enjoy it. But branding it as such is a different matter.