A writer in my writing class last year was getting frustrated. She had outlined her mini story, but as she started to put words on paper, the story started to drift from her original intent. I remember the angst on her face when she asked, “Is that normal?”
Yes, Virginia, it is normal. In fact, it might be more normal than you think. I assured her — whether it’s a short story or a novel or even a journal or blog entry — just about every writer has experienced it. I often refer to it as a “plot twist.”
Your plot is the heart of your story. Without a plot, be it predefined or just an idea, the story stops beating. If your story stops beating, your audience is going to stop reading.
That being said, the soul of your story is your characters. They drive the story, especially the main character and key supporting actors. They move the story forward. They keep the story on script.
The beauty of art — and writing is an art — is it is most successful when it imitates life. Your characters develop through your experiences and imagination and come to life through your descriptions.
As an author, your main characters become your best friends — even the villains. You have to think as them. You have to direct their actions for the moment of the story you’re in.
That’s where these plot twists come in. As a concrete example, you probably made plans for the holidays. maybe travel, maybe hosting parties, whatever. And along came covid. Plans changed. Travel was put on hold. Parties shifted from in real life to virtual.
The same is true in your story. As you’re writing, you might get an impulse to drive your characters down a particular road. You may even have your story line (plot) in mind as the characters make their choices. So you start tapping the keys and hundreds or thousands words later you go back and read the latest segment and discover the rabbit hole diverted from your initial plot. Gasp!
As the author, you now are faced with figuring out a way to get back to the plot line; revise the plot line; or erase hundreds or thousands of words (not the best option). I have found a hybrid of the first two options work best. I try not to be restricted by where I originally thought I would be. Like life, plans change — and so do plots. The goal may remain, but how you achieve them may change. In your story, your characters’ development may take a detour from where you thought they would go. And that’s okay. It’s your internal plot twist.
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Now for some Santa updates …
I’m excited to tell you my book has been nominated for the “Cover of the Month” contest on AllAuthor.com. It will help me a lot if I could see some votes coming in, so please remember to vote my book at allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/10279/. I submitted all of my covers for the AllAuthor multi-round contest over the years. I did make the third round for Heaven Shining Through.
I also received my first five star review for the book. “Uplifting and Fun.” I hope it receives similar positive reviews (hint, hint) as we inch through the Christmas season.
Even though it’s really the Santa lead, I will be virtually launching the book this weekend! In cooperation with the Commons at Central Hall in Dover-Foxcroft, ME, I will formally introduce the book and read a selection from Yes, There Is a Santa … And I’ve Met Him Personally Many Times. We’re still working on the final details, but at this point it looks like 6 p.m. Saturday night (Dec. 5), with two additional readings Dec. 12 and 19. Check out the progress on my social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter.
Yes, There Is a Santa … And I’ve Met Him Personally Many Times is available at Amazon, both in paperback and Kindle version. Order it through me and I’ll sign it!Just comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: You have to speak your dream out loud. — Kelly Corrigan