Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blog Swap: Keeping Track of Plot Twists

Hi all! I'm doing what I call a blog swap today. I'm posting on DUO Says... on the topic of Keeping Track of Plot Twists. DUO is posting on the same topic on my blog. So today you get to read two different perspectives on the same thing. I must say that it was a lot of fun to see how different our posts were, so I definitely would love to do it again. If you're interested, please let me know. ^_^ Take it away, DUO!


Avoiding Losing Track of Plot Twists
Compelling characters, complex plot twists, unexpected situations. Everyone loves them. So what happens if you're writing a novel and get so into developing one plot thread that you forget the others? Or worse, neglect to link it back to the message or theme of your main story?

Plot twists can add great new dimensions to a story. Whether they've been pre-planned or have sprung up unexpectedly while writing, they add roundness and authenticity to a character or story sequence 

The challenge is for each plot twist to be realistic and move the story forward. If they’re random thoughts which don’t achieve this then they can be detrimental rather than beneficial. 

If done well, plot twists can also give the writer the opportunity to develop another novel altogether with characters that readers have gotten to know. This is what turns one novel into a potential trilogy, quartet, or long-running series. 

So is there a possibility to redeeming a novel if you've run off the boil and forgotten an essential twist? You’ve started it but not finished it? Left the character hanging with no satisfactory concluding? Absolutely. Everything can be rectified. As long as the novel hasn't hit the line for its production run and is still on your laptop there's no problem. 

However, being a firm believer that prevention is better than a cure, here are some tips that help me navigate the plot twist road before incorporating any into my story.


1. Keep a log of each new plot twist that springs up.

2. Make a note of which characters the plot twist will mostly affect and why.

3. Is the plot twist realistic? Will it add depth to the story? 

4. Make a note if any of the plot twists could develop a whole new story of its own.

5. If yes to number 4, will it be a strong enough premise for a new book.



Thanks so much for swapping blogs with me, DUO! It was fun. If anyone else wants to swap blogs with me for a day, please feel free to contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

How do you keep track of plot changes and twists? Do you keep track of them?





 

 






24 comments:

Em-Musing said...

Ha! I guess I keep it all in my head,then go nuts during editing. Seems like you've got a much better plan.

Theresa said...

I only had one plot twist so far. And it changed my whole stroy, so I guess I will keep track of it. Damned old ladies.

shelly said...

A good suggestion since I'm working on a series now. THe plot deepens and thickens as I write on.

GigglesandGuns said...

Like your points and will make note of them on my plot board. That's where I keep plot tracks with post-its.

L.G.Smith said...

Yeah, being the seat-of-the-pants writer that I am, I have to be careful not to go crazy on the sudden new plot twist. Writing sometimes consists of a lot of staring out the window and thinking ahead. Days and days of it sometimes...

Nice post, DUO.

Madeleine said...

I was thinking that plot twists are like the threads that link the character's private agendas. They all have them and it's what makes them tick. Good post :O)

Patti said...

I know what you mean, I introduced a plot twist in my book, but then completely forgot about mentioning it again.

Carol Riggs said...

I'd never heard of a blog swap--how fun. Oh, yes, I agree that prevention is better (and easier) than the cure. Yikes, HOPEfully I haven't forgotten to tie up any of my plot twists. ;o) That's the danger of being complex! Great idea to write them down. And critique partners help too!

Jessica R. Patch said...

Great tips. I try to log the twists down before I start, but sometimes new ones spring up! I don't go back and mark them. I should.

:) Fun blog swapping today!

D. U. Okonkwo said...

It's so easy to lose track of them, isn't it? The thing is, readers don't, and they'll feel cheated if the plot twist isn't followed up on.

Deborah Walker said...

That's fascinating. I can see how it would work, thanks, D.U.

Michael Offutt said...

You stole all of this from M. Night Shyamalan didn't you?

Taryn Tyler said...

This is definately one of my vices. I always get carried away with new plot twists and characters who were originally minor characters. I usually remember to tie them off but by then the book is longer than it should be and the original "main" plot is a bit burried. Alas, there is just so much potential within any cast of characters I choose to use that I can't stay focused.

Tina DC Hayes said...

Good points here about plot twists and how to keep up with all of them. I have to start with an outline, which I ammend, many times, as the manuscript grows. :) And I keep a list of the characters and their vital info, because before I started doing that, I had to reread a ridiculous number of pages trying to remember what color somebody's eyes were, etc.

I always love seeing other writers' methods for doing things like this. :)

Ciara said...

Great points. I can see how this could work. Love the blog swap idea, Misha. :)

Talei said...

Sound advice, thank you!

I don't have too many twists in my story currently, but I do flesh out the chapters on a sheet so I can track them and what takes place in them, this usually works. ;-)

Christina Farley said...

I'm a pretty detailed plotter but that said, as I write my characters tell me so much more about the world they live in. So.... things do change, but I try to always make notes in my plotting chart when they do!

Lynda R Young said...

I keep track of all my plot twists on my whiteboard. By the end of the book my whiteboard gets so full of notes that I had to buy a second one hehehehe.

Maria Zannini said...

I generally outline. If while I'm writing something else comes up, I immediately update the outline to see if that tangent will take me anywhere else new.

D. U. Okonkwo said...

@Michael - Of course! Just kidding :o)

@Deborah - You're welcome

Rosalind Adam said...

What fun to have a blog swap. It's like swapping packed lunches when you're at school (well we used to do that anyway!) A lot of my stuff is short enough to keep in my head but for the longer wips I use a spreadsheet. I love playing around on the computer though so sometimes I spend more time tweaking the spreadsheet than writing!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I maintain a detailed outline so I can keep track of all characters and twists.

LynNerd said...

Just came from DUO's blog. Love your blog swap! Like Misha, I'm more of a pantser, but I do tons of revisions. I also think about a story for quite a while before I start writing it. With my co-authors, we plot everything out. Plotting does make it easier to whip out a chapter because you know exactly where you're going.

Michelle Dennis Evans said...

Great tips. A log or plot twists is a great idea