Saturday, January 10, 2015

Survival Saturdays #3

Writing advice to help you survive that first draft. 

It's pretty straightforward. PEOPLE WON'T READ WHAT THEY DON'T LIKE. As writers, it is our job to deliver a compelling tale that satisfies the reader's inner hero.

But with this can develop a serious problem.  If you're giving your readers everything they want, doesn't that make your book PREDICTABLE?

The way to fix this problem is to: "Give your readers what they want, but not in the way they expect it."

This can apply to things as simple as getting from point A to point B, or as big as a hidden plot twist.


In my current work in progress, Somnia, my main character, Wiles, is trying to reach the second floor of an abandoned mansion.  He gets to work repairing the broken staircase, working quickly and efficiently.

As the readers, we want him to reach the second floor.  In fact, we EXPECT him to.  The trick now is to give it to them in a way they weren't expecting. Something needs to happen that keeps Wiles from reaching the top so easily.

So, before Wiles can make it to the top, the staircase breaks and drops out from under him.  At the last possible second Wiles reaches up and grabs hold of the floor above him, swinging freely over the fallen staircase.


But we still have a problem.  You were expecting the stairs to break, weren't you?  Not to mention Wiles' last-second save is a bit cliche and boring.  Therefore, I take this scene one step further and allow Wiles' grip to slip.

So after all that work of rebuilding the stairs, and even managing to catch himself, he still crashes back down to the first floor. Back to square one.  Eventually, Wiles does make it to the second floor.

In the meantime, not only do the readers get what they wanted (Wiles reaching the second floor), but they will also get to witness how Wiles handles himself in a situation that doesn't go as planned or go his way.
The readers will get to see character development on top of a little extra adventure.

In conclusion, the more you "give readers what they want, but not in the way they expect it", the more exciting and adventurous your story will be.  And your readers will trust that they won't be bombarded with predictable scenarios or cliches along the way.

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

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