Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Monkey Wrenches

Bring out the unexpected when you write. If you read your passage and have a good idea of what will happen next, flip it and make something else happen instead.

Readers don't like predictable. Predictable is boring.

If you have two people who are kissing and passionate, it may seem that they are about to make love. Why not have the police burst in instead? How about having one of them spontaneously burst into flames? I bet your reader won't be expecting that.

Why throw in a monkey wrench? It's what keeps your story moving and interesting. I use the technique in Yassa a number of times and my beta readers tell me it's a welcome surprise when the unexpected happens. They read about Jelme sitting with Kutula and some other friends and commenting on the harshness of color around the camp. How does Kutula teach Jelme to hold his tongue and be more polite?

What happens is the monkey wrench. You expect Kutula to grow angry and perhaps scold Jelme for being rude or maybe say something rude in return. But he doesn't do either of those things. What he does leaves a lasting impression on the youth about courtesy and proper manners and helps add an unexpected twist in the story.

This happens in life so why not in your story? You have a situation that you think will be perfect and something happens that you weren't expecting and messes it up. USE it in your fiction. We cannot expect the unexpected because then, by very definition, it would no longer BE unexpected.

Can we plan for emergencies? Yes. Is it the same thing? No. We look at what could happen and plan for that.


You have an emergency fund and/or insurance in case your car breaks down or a tree falls on your house, right? That's planning for something you would expect. What if an alien spacecraft comes to Earth and beams your house off the planet? Does your insurance cover that? I don't know. But it would certainly be unexpected.

You have an emergency fund and/or insurance in case your car breaks down or a tree falls on your house and a tree falls on your house. That was expected and planned for.

HUGE difference between the two. The first is the proverbial monkey wrench. Use your imagination. You're a writer because you can.

That's all for today!!

Don't forget to keep your eyes open for the release of Yassa on June 4, 2012!! If you read it for no other reason than to find out what Kutula did to Jelme, it'll be worth it!!

Go sample The Abigale Chronicles - Book One today from Smashwords! You won't be sorry that you did!

Until next time, WRITE ON!!!


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