“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
― Robert Frost
Sorry I am a day late with this week’s post, but unfortunately it’s been a rollercoaster of a semester and an assessment task that was due had to take priority yesterday.
As you can see by the title of today’s post and by the quote at the top, I am going to talk about the importance of using the element of surprise when writing fiction.
I spoke a few weeks ago about realising a mistake I made in Thomas and Rose’s story (in case you missed it check it out by clicking here). I realised that I had given away too much of the story, too early on eliminated the suspense and surprise that the plot needed in order to develop at an engaging pace. Now sometimes, as the writer, you already know the little surprises coming up in the plot and when drafting you let them go a little too soon. This is when you have to rush back and edit, making sure you keep that element of surprise and suspense up your sleeve (like I am intending to do now I have submitted that nasty literature review!) Other times you are simply writing it as it comes to you and even though you are the writer, one of the plot twists even takes you by surprise.
So far through writing Thomas and Rose’s story I’ve laughed and cried, I’ve been shocked and surprised and sometimes I’ve been downright furious and angry, particularly with one of my more villainous characters. I’ve had moments when I would be writing away and suddenly I would realise where the story was heading. In that moment I feel the shock and surprise that I only hope my readers will feel too.
Without the element of surprise the plot runs the risk of becoming predictable and boring, definitely not something that will keep an audience. Be ruthless in your writing, be ruthless,shock and surprise your readers but try not to be predictable.
So now I’m off to do some rearranging of Thomas and Rose’s story, trying to keep the element of surprise, if I don’t get distracted by Game of Thrones, that is!
Wish me luck!
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