Today my boss told our department to go home early this afternoon and enjoy the holiday weekend, which was so very nice of him. It’s funny, really, because I reference him a lot in my blogs as ‘the boss’ and I am sure that you have attached some type of persona to him. He is not the ‘evil boss’ that we see in the Dilbert cartoons. He in actuality is nice (extremely funny and sarcastic) but nice. And no, my followers, I am not sucking up to him right now since he will probably read this blog!
How wonderful to be surprised by a ‘leave early’ announcement. When your plans change, and you don’t follow the norm, this can be an adventure. The same thing can be said for writing. For me, a story should not be 100% predictable. If it is, then what is the point of reading it? Revelations are vital in the writing worlds you build. A good story does not follow the rule of mathematics ‘the closest distance between two points is a straight line’.
Instead, the line arcs and flows, twists and turns, and finally arrives at its destination. As readers we’re along for that rollercoaster ride. I LOVE surprises in a book. They don’t have to be huge, but if they are not expected and help advance the plot or reveal something about the character, even better. My mom is an avid reader and she often will tell me she had the plot figured out within the first fifty pages, how disappointing.
Now some of you may argue that the ending is already known – a mystery will reveal the killer a, a romance will have a happy couple ending – and you are right. However, the journey getting there does not need to be predictable.
As writers we need to take a risk, think outside our comfort zone and not be so transparent in the book that we don’t give the readers SOMETHING to think about. Surprises get our blood pumping. Isn’t that what you want for your readers as well?