Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesday Tip for Writers #4 - The Unexpected

Not only am I showing up with a Tuesday's tip on Wednesday, I plucked it from the comment trail over at Everyday Bloggers. In the Getting Unstuck post, comments led to the "dreaded next-scene syndrome," that point in a first draft where writers end a scene and then wonder where do they go from here.

My tip: Do the unexpected. Come up with a surprising plot twist and run with it. This method doesn't always work, but when it does, it can influence and benefit the entire novel.

The unexpected event doesn't have to be HUGE. A body doesn't need to fall out of the sky. A character doesn't need to suddenly drop dead. Don't rule those things out, of course. *smile* But the unexpected element can be as subtle as a character's sudden revelation, either something that occurs to them or something revealed to the reader about them, perhaps something from their childhood that has shaped their adult self. Just be sure it's something the reader--and you, the writer--didn't see coming.

Adding the element of surprise to most any genre novel can be a good thing. Most readers like to be kept on their toes. Most writers too.


  1. I've been thinking about nothing but, since you posted. Your advice is so simple that I would never have thought of it. I have a bad habit of trying too hard sometimes.

    Thanks for reining me in, Keith.

  2. I don't know, Joylene. Your scenes keep me riveted in the novel. You have methods that work.

  3. Great idea! And even if the unexpected doesn't work, it opens up all kinds of speculations and possibilities - ones you might not have thought of otherwise.
    BTW, I love the unexpected giraffe. Where do you find these things???

  4. Thanks, Judy. Where'd I find the giraffe? Oh, he just popped his head up one day. *smile*