Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February IWSG: Suprises




Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post the first Wednesday of every month! http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html


I hate surprises in life. Probably because most of the time they sound like this: "Mom, the car has a flat tire." "Mom, the car won't start. "Mom, I have the flu." "Mom, I need twenty bucks by tomorrow for (fill in the blank)." The worst one is when coach calls me, "Your son, (pick one) broke his (fill in the blank), or has a concussion, needs stitches."

Surprises in writing, movies and t.v. series are a whole other story. I love to be surprised when it comes to a good book or my fave show. For example, my new found appreciation for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has surprised me more than once. (Spoiler Alert!!) When Agent Grant Ward stands up, ready to shoot his psychopathic SO, John Garret, instead, he aims the gun at Shield's President Victoria Hand and pulls the trigger. I figured he kept hidden loyalties to the man that practically raised him, but I didn't see that coming. Surprise.


With my finished WIP, my characters have continually surprised me, leading me down unexpected paths. I like to keep myself guessing when writing. Will this character turn out good or is he lost forever? Will he get what he wants in the end? Will he sacrifice people and friendships along the way?

I just read a quote recently: (Summarizing it) "If you are not surprised as the writer of your story, you can bet your readers (yawn) won't be either."I purposefully try to do the opposite of the norm. I even ask myself, "What would be totally unexpected in this scene?" Surprise the reader and you will hook them for sure. I hope this month is full of great surprises in your writing pursuits.

How have you added surprise elements in your story? Think of your favorite books and shows. What surprises did they have up their sleeves?

P.S. I did get a nice surprise yesterday. My oldest son is now ranked 6th in division 3 (weight class-182 #s) Missouri High School wrestling. 

Photo: courtesy of free photos.

17 comments:

  1. Those real life surprises do not sound like fun! Glad you can offset them with the ones in you writing.

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    1. I know! I need some good surprises in life:)

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  2. Good thoughts on being surprised by your own writing. I've been watching Scandal on Netflix since I've heard how soapy-addictive it is. Besides the excellent casting and flawed characters, it's really good at moving big story elements forward. The Vampire Diaries was the same way--stuff that other shows would take half a season on they would do in one episode. I try to remember this when drafting, that if I'm hanging on to something in my novel there needs to be a really good reason, and I need to build up a reveal moment. Otherwise, no holding back. I don't write action books either, so even more so the plot needs to develop constantly or all the introspection is simply boring.

    Easy right?

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    1. I love watching shows that help with my writing!

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  3. Hi Jennifer! I really like the "be surprised by your own writing" idea. It's absolutely true, when I think about it. If I'm not surprised by what I'm putting out there, how can I expect anyone else to be?

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  4. I love it when my characters surprise me. It keeps life and writing interesting. Those other surprised, though? Yeah, I could do without them. ;)

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  5. I'm still begging my characters to surprise me. they probably have a much better idea of where the story is going than I do. :)

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  6. Congratulations to your son!
    I probably don't surprise enough. Although there is one big surprise in my upcoming book.

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  7. I, like Alex, probably don't surprise enough. It's a good point to make. I do like it when my characters run amok and don't do what I thought they would. That's when I feel I've got a real story to tell. Every time I try to control them, if I can, I've written a cardboard character. It's when they start telling me what to write that I feel I'm on the right track. I really enjoyed S.H.I.E.L.D. and have run out of episodes. :( I like all the surprises in it, except... but no. I won't spoil it. Congratulations to your son! That's awesome! I also wanted to ask, if you haven't already found a team to help out on the A to Z this year, would you consider joining mine? Please, if you'd like, send an email to me at writeme@lisabuiecollard.com and let me know. Thanks so much!

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  8. Hi there! Yay for Agents of SHIELD. That was definitely the point when I started being interested in the show :)
    I'm one of the A to Z co-hosts, I saw on Alex's blog that you'd be up for being a minion. If no one else has asked you yet, I'd like to ask if you'd join my team :) You can contact me at csenge att zalkacsenge.hu
    Cheers!
    Csenge

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  9. I don't think I agree with that quote. That's like saying you can't plan a surprise party for someone else because you won't be surprised by it.
    There is nothing that was surprising to me in my first novel, but people are always telling me they didn't see the ending coming. They were surprised.

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  10. I'm not surprised by my writing, but mostly because I need to have it all plotted before I write. In the thinking stage... Must add some surprises.

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  11. Real life surprises, the bad ones, stink. Good ones are welcome, though. :)

    I love surprises in a book, whether I'm reading them or writing them. One of my manuscripts has a twist at the ending, so that should be a nice surprise for readers if/when it gets published.

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  12. Hooray for your son! And it's always great when we pleasantly surprise ourselves. :)

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  13. Yay! Congrats on your son. Awesome stuff.

    I hear you about surprises. It's hard to craft one up that will really catch readers by surprise, but when you do... That's one of the biggest lessons I learned with my debut novel.

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  14. Congratulations on your son's achievement.

    I like story surprises but I'm not too sure that I've been very effective in achieving them in any of my own writing.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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  15. Yep, I kept hoping for a while that Ward's actions were all a cover, that he really wasn't a bad guy after all. Guess that ship has sailed.

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