The Ole Switcheroo

I enjoy looking at things from multiple angles. The words “what if” always on the tip of my tongue. One simple word switcheroo can inspire radical change in a scenario.

Joe stared at the screen. Sasha would be devastated to see this truth. Her father had met her mother’s best friend first.

Why would she be devastated? What secret is there between them?

Joe stared at the screen. Sasha would be devastated to see this truth. Her father had loved her mother’s best friend first.

What happened? Why did he end up with her mother?

Joe stared at the screen. Sasha would be devastated to see this truth. Her father had saved her mother’s best friend first.

Why would he save her first? What is going on between them?

Joe stared at the screen. Sasha would be devastated to see this truth. Her father had betrayed her mother’s best friend first.

He betrayed her first meaning he betrayed the mother second, why? What on earth is he up to?

Joe stared at the screen. Sasha would be devastated to see this truth. Her father had killed her mother’s best friend first.

Why did he kill her first? Why at all? That means he killed others? Her mother? Is he coming for Sasha? Or is he protecting her?

This is a fun way to shake it up, change the direction of the story or introduce a plot twist. The opportunity to shift and change the history of a character to become more interesting is something I love to do. The “what if” factor always has me on the edge of my seat as I write. What if instead of kissing her mother’s best friend first he hit her first? What if instead of dating her mother’s best friend first he stole from her first? The possibilities are endless. When I do this, I’ll sit and play out the past and future of each scenario, which one is more tantalizing? Which one can bring more mystery and intrigue? Which one will change the story radically for the better? What if instead of murder, he faked their deaths to protect them? From what? From whom?  Will Joe be delivering good news or bad?

My advice about making a simple dramatic change.
Give it a shot, why not? You might just stumble into something so exciting that you can’t sit still or stop writing.

-Sheryl.

 

Related Post:

Switch it up, and swap it out.

 

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Radical

Where did it go?

I have found myself stumped more than once while on my writing journey. A stumper of a moment that stands out the most is the loss of a prominent object. Where did it go?

In chapter two, I introduce a characters vice, an object she carries with her always. Let’s say it’s a pocket knife, her security blanket and foreshadow for other conversations. All of a sudden, I realized two chapters later that the knife disappeared and was completely forgotten. Oops.

I need to write it back in, but now the story has progressed without it and I prefer that it’s gone. It was awkward and held her back.  What to do, what to do? Write it out? Change the story? I thought about it and realized it needs to stay, but clearly not for long. Then it struck me, kill the knife off like a beloved, but useless character. This could be fun.

I went back with a sly grin on my face, made a point to have another character remove it from her presence subtly. Later he presents it to her in a humorous way, both embarrassing her and making her realize just how useless it is and that she needed to let it go. By doing this I killed off the object that started off with meaning, but it’s purpose petered out. An added bonus is that it was a great way to kick-start her character development. Her journey to be less dependent on others and things now out of the gates, her race has just begun. Thanks to the ‘security blanket’ knife being let go, it also symbolized her leaving her old self behind as she leaves it behind as well.

Opportunity can knock in the most unexpected ways. A forgotten object remembered, can shift the story or characters development in a tangible way. She didn’t ever need the knife, just some confidence and a dose of reality. That I was able to make it more important to her growth as a person, while removing it from the story, was an amazing and unexpected outcome.

My advice about being stumped.
Look at the problem from another point of view, perhaps your plan or direction isn’t the only possible outcome.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Stump