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Layering a Subplot into Your Novel

We’ve looked at plot twists these last couple of weeks because they are so useful to have in novels. Regardless of the genre you’re writing in, a great plot twist can strengthen your story and make it much more exciting than if you don’t have any.

Warning: this is a long, meaty post, but I’m going deep into one way you might layer your next ten scenes over your ten foundational scenes. You might want to settle in with a bowl of popcorn and a latte for this one.

Two of the ten foundational scenes in your novel should be some kind of twist. If you haven’t downloaded the chart showing the first ten scenes of my 10-20-30 scene builder method, get yours here. We’ve discussed those ten scene types—some in more depth than others—but I hope you now have a good feel for what they are and how and why they work in your story.

While you can build off those ten key scenes in a multitude of directions—and that’s what my next few Monday posts will be demonstrating—to ensure you have a strong foundation for your story, it’s best to work on those first ten. Continue Reading…

How Novelists Can Work Plot Twists into Their Stories

Plot twists are important and powerful elements in a novel. We took a quick look at twists last week, and I explained that you can have these twists in various places in your story, and they can vary in strength.

One novel may have lots of small twists that are basically complications and obstacles the protagonist encounters. But often you’ll have one or two huge twists that wrench the story, and those are terrific when done well.

So what do you need to keep in mind when creating a plot twist?

Twists are all about redirection. Going against expectations.

Think about what readers are expecting and hoping for at a given moment in the story. Then keep twisting the story into new directions that stun and delight them. Continue Reading…

Less Is More When It Comes to Setting

On Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at excerpts from past posts on Live Write Thrive.

Today’s post is from A Peek inside the Envelope:

Sol Stein, the famous editor, author, and writing instructor, has a very short chapter in his classic book Stein on Writing that he calls “Creating the Envelope.” As I looked through my numerous books on writing craft, I drifted toward his book (which happens a lot), and was reminded again of the best advice to give writers regarding setting details.

Here’s what he says: “Writing fiction is a delicate balance, On the one hand, so much inexperienced writing suffers from generalities. The writer is urged to be specific, particular, concrete. At the same time, when the inexperienced writer gives the reader detail on character, clothing, settings, and actions, he tends to give us a surfeit, robbing the reader of one of the great pleasures of reading, exercising the imagination. My advice on achieving a balance is to . . . err on the side of too little rather than too much. For the reader’s imagination, less is more.” Continue Reading…