Tag Archive - Plot twists

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…

A Look at Plot Twists and Smoking Guns

You now have the first ten key scene types presented to you. If you missed the last few Monday posts introducing my 10-20-30 scene builder concept, catch up. These are the ten basic scenes with which you can lay a foundation for most any novel.

Last week I gave you your new chart that has the ten foundational scenes listed and the approximate position they take up in your story. Print it out; use it. You can’t go wrong if you start with these ten scenes when laying out your novel.

I say “approximate” because every novel is a bit different, and while I’m a stickler for structural rules, I also wholly believe you need flexibility and room for originality. My novels often veer into crazy when it comes to structure, but I make sure those foundational scenes and events are in there.

One person wrote and asked me why I didn’t have Turning Point #2 (the 25% mark where the goal is established for the protagonist) as one of the ten key scenes. Reason: that turning point isn’t necessarily one specific scene. It marks the place in the story when the protagonist has the goal fixed. But that situation might be the result of a few scenes in that section of a novel. Again, allow for flexibility. This is just a frame for your story.

Shape Can Vary, but You Need Strong Framework

Some of my novels’ shapes may look a bit wonky, like houses with strange extensions poking out of the second floor or an unusual alcove off the roof, but I keep within those “building codes” that will ensure my structure will stand up to the hard winds of scrutiny and the ravages of time. Continue Reading…

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