Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Will the Plot Ever Twist or Will I Still Resist?

I have so much to do for my next project, and only about two weeks to do it. It feels like such a big undertaking and I don't where to begin.

I need characters.

I need a setting

I need a plot.

You can see the problem. I mean, sure, I have some vague ideas. But it's a far cry from an actual outline.

But we're not going to talk about my shortcomings. Not those shortcomings, anyway. No, we're going to talk about a vital piece of plot that I've never really managed to use.

The Plot Twist.

Simple enough. The plot's going along, then BAM! Something unexpected happens. He was dead all along. The cake is a lie (or it isn't?). It was actually Earth in the future. You know the drill.

But I don't know if I've ever actually executed a proper plot twist. Things tend to just go as you'd expect. And that's lame. It's predictable. And maybe I have written plot twists, but nothing stands out as "Holy shit, plot twist!" At least not to me. That could just be because I'm the one writing it, so of course I know how it's going to go. It's the same way your own writing can seem boring because you've read it so many times.

I'd like to write some twistier plots, but what makes a good plot twist? To me, it's something that is unexpected, but not unbelievable. Like something that makes the reader say, "Wait, what?" and flip back through the pages, as they realize that this totally makes sense and they really should have seen it coming. You don't want to say, "By the way, the protagonist is a pig. Curly tail and all." apropos of nothing. "What? But he had kids! Human kids! You went on and on about how they inherited his good looks!" That is not a good plot twist.

I guess when I'm plotting out the, uh, plot, I need to ask myself what the likely thing to happen is, and then maybe not do that thing. Could it really be that easy? It feels like there is a different between an unpredictable plot and a plot twist. Like an unpredictable plot is a curvy road through rolling hills, and a plot twist is a hairpin turn on a mountain road. That suddenly appears in your rolling hills. It's the difference between a rainstorm and a tornado. It's a matter of intensity.

Or I could be totally wrong about that. What do I know, anyway?

I think I'll call it for today. It's a bit of a short post, but I don't have anything relevant to add. It would just be meandering drivel for the sake of taking up space. Let's save that for Camp NaNo.

I'll see you Friday.

Title Source: Trapt - Lost Realist

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