Friday, February 10, 2017
Writing: Devising A Twist
Although I don't advertise it, there's no secret to the fact that I don't know who the "bad guy" is in my novels until I'm writing the last third of the book. I try to leave the option open, which means setting up some blind alleys and rabbit trails for the reader. Sometimes that works, at other times it doesn't. And, as James Scott Bell taught me long ago when I learned his LOCK system, I want to have a "knockout" ending ready.
There are a number of twists that can be used to keep a reader engaged. One is the "tasteless, odorless, traceless poison." Another is the "locked room" death, popularized by Edgar Allen Poe. And Agatha Christie even brought a dead person back to life to be a murderer. (I read that last one while alone in the Bachelor Officers' Quarters in the Azores, and kept the lights on the rest of the night).
If you ever have the opportunity to be in the same hotel as a writers' conference, keep your ears open in the elevator. A person who doesn't know what's going on might call the police!
So, what's your favorite twist? Let me hear them. I promise I won't use yours--well, maybe, but I'll try to disguise it so you won't recognize it.
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