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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Twists and Turns

Today I feel like talking about writing. Sadly I’m taking a break, since editing takes all of my time, but I managed to write the first 5000 words of my third book, but that’s hardly writing. Anyway, I’ve read books, I wrote critiques and some reviews, and I must admit that I learned many things from those tasks. One of the most important is … Twists and Turns.

What is the most important part of a story? I have to say the plot.
What’s makes the plot interesting? I have to say the developments.
And what’s makes the readers care about the developments?
The twists and turns.  

It’s true. If what we read is flat, we just put it aside and try another one. How many times have you stopped reading a book? How many times have you struggled to finish one? Well, this is something we don’t want to happen with our book, so we must find a way to keep our story interesting. How we do that? Well, I’ve already said it. :)

For me it’s really important for the story to surprise me. I need to see the character struggle and fight and the story get messier, darker. That’s what keeps me in the story and that’s what keeps me writing too. I do that in my stories.

When I start writing I have no idea where my story’s going. In Divided I knew the end from the moment I wrote the Prologue, but the main core of the book was unknown. I just knew I needed to make the story interesting, with action. And the story started forming itself and I was even surprised by the developments. I was worried  how my character would survive. I was trying to find a logical explanation for what was happening to her, but then she gave me the answers. That happened because I followed the first thought that came in mind, not caring how I’ll fix it later. I followed a twist. What I mean?

Let’s assume you have your MC running, trying to save himself from the monsters that chasing him. He runs through the forest. It’s night, his body aches, his breath failing him and he reaches a dead end. He stands at the edge of a mountain, hearing  the monsters approaching. And now? What happens now? How will he survive? You have built tension, you have the reader waiting, but you hit a writer’s block.
What would I do? I would make him jump and worry about the rest later.

You can’t imagine how many times I had my MC do something extreme, not even knowing how I’ll fix it. But then magic happens and the moment I sit down to continue my story, everything’s clear in my head and I know what I should do. I just know how to turn the story.

How is this happening?

While I have put my story aside, and I do a million other things, my subconscious’s doing the work for me. I give my mind the time it needs to process the new events and practically I do nothing! I don’t know, but this is how it works for me. That’s what I did in Divided.

I guess it’s something similar like when Stephen Kings says that we should write the first draft of a novel fast, and then just leave it for two weeks. For me it works a little different, but in the same concept. I’ve said it again. When I sit to write and I just can’t I don’t push myself. I know it’s just the wrong moment. My mind needs more time.

So, for me twists and turns are the core of a book. It’s what stands out to us in the end. What we discuss with our friends, what will stick to our mind for a long time. Even forever. I still remember the scene from The Mockingjay, like I read it yesterday. You know what scene… the one with the duck tail.

Well, that’s how I write my stories, how I like to built tension. What works for you? Do you have any secrets? Feel free to share your way. I really want to know.  


  1. When writing The Road Taken, I knew how the story ends, but I didn't know what would happen in the middle. And it was joy following the characters as they progressed the story. For the two other books that followed, as the story progressed, I would write a paragraph of what would happen in the next scene, and sometimes the one after that. Of course, there were times when my characters suprised me and then I let the course of the story change.

    For my next project, I've been working on a long outline. But then I won't hesitate to follow my character's choice - I like it when they surprise me. :)

    And I agree with you about making that character jump off the cliff while worrying about him later.

    Great post! :)

    1. Hi Kaykay,
      Thanks for stopping by.
      I totally feel you. Like you said It's amazing when character surprises us and we let the course of the story change.
      Yesterday I continued my third book, which is the sequel of Divided. It felt so good writing again, even if I didn't know what was going to happen. I just read the previous chapters and that was all. I finished chapter 2.I don't know what's going to happen in chapter 3, but I know that when I sit to write, my character will lead me. :)

      I wish you the best with The Road Taken. How editing's going?

    2. It's quite slow at the moment. My friend, who we beta read for each other, is off for sometime. Though, I started to re-work some chapters. I want to get a lot of chapters better before I can finally begin sending in to CC.

      How about yours? I hope it's better now!

    3. Yes, editing can be very slow and CC need time, but I find it so helpful. I'm sure you will too.

      My editing it's good, but slow. I've learned too many new and important things on CC. I do my editing and then the editing with help from others, so I do double work. I think it's for the best though.

      I wish you the best for The Road Taken.

    4. Thanks a lot, Athina. Also wish you the best on DAZED. :)

  2. I love reading about how writers write. Like you, I do not know what is going to happen. I focus my attention on the characters, who they are, what they are likely to do, and then the inciting events. Before I started writing all my creative energy went into trying to reach my son who has autism. When he was only 9 months old I saw the need for his world to be crafted differently. So I sat and watched him and hypothesized solutions to daily problems, often failing miserably when I tried to apply them. Hours I spent in my head not talking, just thinking. It trained me to work my stories that way. I'm the biggest space cadet when I'm working on a book. The kids fill in my sentences, remind me where to turn, trick me into giving them one more of whatever.

    I'm so happy for you that you're writing. It must feel so good. I'm still editing. I feel like I'm going to be editing forever! Hopefully this summer I'll shed that hat long enough to get back to writing like you!

    1. That must have been really hard. Keeping all these thoughts and stories in your head, it's remarkable. If I don't write down what I think, after a day I may have forgotten it.
      I started writing a little because I can't wait to finish editing. Editing is taking so much time. I suggest you to start too. A few words a day can really make you happy and keep you strong for editing. :)

  3. So hard to break up with writing, I have done that before, But I feel like it will be on again later