Posted in Methods, Resources, Writing

Plot Twist – Revisited

plot twist ideas

Plot Twist Ideas

What is a Plot Twist?

A plot twist is a literary device where the author subverts knowledge that a reader already knows or think they have figured out. It’s used to disrupt the flow of the story in a new direction. It’s also used to prevent stories from being predictable.

My two cents

In my writing, I don’t tend to think about plot twists from the start. At times, I don’t think about them at all. It just so happens that as I write, I suddenly think of a twist an include that in the novel. Usually, I think of this as something that just developed from my writing as opposed to purposely knowing I was going to put that plot twist in the story.

I believe that to purposely put in a plot twist, you have to know from the beginning that there is a plot twist. Or at least, had a vague idea of one, otherwise it would seem like the whole idea was shoe-horned in. There’s a fine line between coincidence (and it just happened to turn out that way) and forcing something to happen that shouldn’t. In those instances, the plot twist doesn’t seem natural.

Plot twists aren’t necessary, in my opinion, to make a good story. There might be surprising turn of events but I don’t consider that a plot twist specifically. I feel most plot twist are used in crime/ mystery fiction. Much like romance, there is a certain formula those genre novels follow. IMHO, plot twists are part of that formula.

Whether a novel needs a plot twist or not, is up to the author. Is there such thing as too many plot twists? I would say no but use it sparingly. As a reader, my heart can’t take too many roller coasters so, please be mindful. As an author, I’d use it sparingly when I intentionally use a plot twist.

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Posted in Gamernation News, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Developing that Idea – Method 1

You decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo. Awesome. You have an idea of what you’re going to write about. Cool. You’ve mulled it over for some time and you have a a vague story. Yet the question remains, how are you going to get that idea to blossom into 50k words for you? This is where I’ll put my two cents in.

This post will mainly focus on developing the idea for novel writing that can bleed into scripts, novellas, and short stories. To begin, I find it good practice to summarize  your idea into one sentence. I’ll use the following example throughout the post.

A prince must escapes his kingdom to save the world.

It’s not the greatest logline but it will have to do. Now, if this was my idea, the first question I’d ask myself is ‘how?’. How is this going to happen? This is where the three arc structure comes into play.

To summarize, it consists of the beginning, middle, and end. The beginning is where we introduce the character’s normal life before we introduce the big inciting moment. This moment is where the character realizes (somewhat) that their normal life won’t be the same. They are thrust into the new world (act two: the middle). Here they struggle, overcome obstacles, meet the ‘big bad’ that can be an actual enemy, a tough decision, bigger life changing event, etc., before leading up to the end (act three) where they find out the consequences of their decision and we get too see how it all plays out.

How does this look in practice? So in the first arc, I’d introduce the prince and his life. This is where I’ll show the readers his daily life, what he strives for, and what he fears.

A lot of developing the idea process will blend into other areas like character creation, world building, etc. It might seem overwhelming because there’s so much to do, but focus on the idea first. In my humble opinion, I believe that without a well developed idea, the writing can fall through.

So, in my notebook, I’d write down a few qualities of the prince. He’ll be responsible, eager, and stubborn. As mention before, the first arc introduces his world. We find out about the family and all that good stuff.

At some point, he discovers that a family member began a coup so, the youth prince must flee (It’s cliche but, for this purpose, it works). Perhaps during the escape, he learns some information. His aunt must obtain some relic in order to take the throne (or something). So, off the young prince goes with retainers or a bodyguard. That’s act one.

Act two, is the largest part of the story.  This is where the young prince tries to find more information on the relic. Where is it located/ hidden? He’ll probably have to consult with far away people and mystics for that information. During his travels, he has to hide his identity, learn how to survive, and dodge his aunt’s assassins and bounty hunters. All of these are obstacles.

To raise the stakes, the young prince learns that the relic only appears every ten years, on a certain day, under certain stars, and under a tree. That day is technically a week away and no one knows where this relic is. Eventually, they find the location and off they go. A race against time and enemies. You get the picture.

To simplify, what does your character want? How are they going to get it? What can you do to make it more difficult? Or another way. What does you character cherish? What can you do to take that away? Everyone wants something. Start with that and then rock the boat. Make that journey more difficult, think of obstacles.

Say for example you’re in the middle of the story and everything is going smoothly. No. It can’t. Murphy’s Law. Think of what can go wrong and make it happen.

Lastly, you don’t have to have everything planned out right at the beginning. I would suggest starting with the first act of introductions and rocking the boat. This is probably the first five or so chapters in the story. Then, starting thinking about that middle part. How can it get more complicated. Give your character some wins but keep the pressure on. The ending is where you resolve everything.

Ideas may come to mind as you write that are completely different from what you wrote initially. Embrace that. Not everything will go according to plan and that’s okay.

For the next post, I’ll go into starting with the ending and writing backwards. Thanks for reading.

Posted in Methods, Resources, Writing

Filling in the Blanks

post filling in the blanksRecently, I found a post on Pinterest that I found very interesting. The post goes to say that writing dialogue first makes the scene easier and longer . The author goes to say that this method worked for him/her when he/she wanted to get some work done. Overall, I think that’s some decent advice.

Personally, it hasn’t been something I’ve tried consciously. I’ve done something similar where I write the basic lines of a scene and dialogue and then go back to fill in the blanks. My method made  me feel like I was too lazy to write everything out completely but seeing this post changes that.

Like many, I’ve always tried to put my best work on the page even if that means rewriting the same sentence a few hundred times. It doesn’t help that I know that that’s not how it works but I find myself doing it anyway. I’ve been trying to work on that, and while there has been progress, there are times when I tend to slip.

I (probably) won’t be using this method consciously right off the bat but I’m not going to write if off. It kind of feels like writing an outline more than anything else but that’s just how I feel. In part I believe because I’ve always associated going back and adding things to a manuscript as rewriting or even editing, I can’t immediately jump to using this method.

Overall, I’m always on the look out for advice and tips that will help me become a better writer. I always strive to grow my skills and abilities. Plus, it’s not like I’m opposed to trying new things. If the chance presents itself, I might just end up writing the dialogue first and the filling in the blanks later.

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

NANOWRIMO WINNER!

NaNo-2018-Winner-Badge

The final countdown has begun and I’m happy to announce that I met the goal of 50,000 words for the month. It’s been a great experience for me and I’ve got so much of the novel rewritten. The story is half way through the middle and I already have the end set up so, it shouldn’t take too long to finish now.

I’m planning on finding a few beta readers for this story to catch any typos and to let me know what works and doesn’t in the story. Most of the original content was kept but was repurposed so, a few things might not work well anymore. Overall, having a few extra pair of eyes will help me out.

Moving forward, I’m going to work extra to to go back to the schedule I had set up before where I’d post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Recently, everything has been jumbled up but that is the goal.

In the midst of all that, as I mentioned, I’ll also be studying for the Texes content exam that’s coming up in a few weeks so that might mess with the schedule a bit. It should not be too much of an issue. I have practice studying for exams so, I’m not too worried. With some time management and to-do lists, I think I got everything handled.

For everyone who reached their NaNoWriMo goal: Congratulations!

For those who are still writing: Keep up the great work! You got this!

 

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

Murdering Some Darlings

40,000 words down, 10,000s more to go. It’s been a very hectic and busy week with Thanksgiving this past Thursday. I was able to keep my word count stable through the holidays but there were some days that I got really close to falling behind.

Frankly, it has been more difficult to keep writing but not for lack of wanting. I didn’t realize how much material I had to work with and now I’m tasked with deciding what I want to keep and use. So far, I’ve done a good job at following the main story line. It’s when I have to work with the subplots that it gets a bit complicated. There’s so many things that I want to include to the story but I know that I can’t include everything.

The ‘original’ is like eighty-one chapters. This is mostly due to the fact that each chapter wasn’t divided up properly and some have like two to three pages for a chapter. In truth there’s about thirty to forty chapters in total of the original story. I hoping to cut down on a few chapters for the rewrite.

It’s been a bit stressful to be honest. The lead I set for NaNoWriMo grew shorter and shorter but I’ve kept it steady. I’ve been on tract. Only five more days to go and NaNoWriMo comes to an end. I doubt the revision will be done in five days but most of it will be completed.

Once December comes along, I’ll be studying for my TEXES content exam and hopefully pass it. This means that I’ll take a break from rewriting for a bit but it should be fine. My goal is to finish the revision process some time in December. I think that’s attainable.