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POINT OF VIEW: When the Story Takes a Twist

Every writer who has been doing this gig for a while has probably experienced something like this:

A character suddenly reveals something about themselves that you’d never guessed when you first created them.

Or maybe what was just a minor throw-away plot point or description suddenly blossoms and veers the story off onto a whole new course.

Or that guy you mentioned waaaay back in book one suddenly wants his own plot arc in book three.

As a writer, I live for those moments – when the writing feels alive, when it practically sings under my hands on the keyboard.

I often find myself feeling a sense of deja vu when I’m writing – I mean, how many times can you write a “walking through the woods” scene and make it fresh and new?

And about halfway throught, that time when Jimmy had lunch at the diner starts to feel a lot like this time when Christian is having lunch at the fast food place.

We tend to fall into patterns with our work. Writing the same thing over and over again becomes dull and repetitive, and the reader can feel it too.

But when the writing takes on a life of its own, it’s like riding a tiger. You dig your hands into the fur at the scruff of its neck and hold on for dear life and hope it doesn’t turn and bite you. And you have as little idea where it’s all going as your reader.

At worst, these moments can totally derail your story, leaving you lost in the weeds with a hungry tiger.

But at their best, they can imbue your story with a sense of surprise and wonder – a how-the-hell-did-we-get-here moment – that is as rewarding for you as it is for your reader.

I just had one of those moments in my short story “The Last Run.” Without giving anything away, suffice it to say that the smallest story description, planted in the first few pages, literally blossomed overnight and carried me into the most important part of the climactic ending.

It was absolutely fricking amazing – and I hope y’all enjoy it when it comes out.

To my writer friends, have you had one of those ride-the-tiger moments? Where did it take you?

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