Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Creating Plot Twists

September 16, 2021
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When we write a story, as the author, we are within the narrative – it’s characters, setting, backstory and genre format. We can become too close to the action and reveal our plot too early or make it too obvious. Here are a few tips to help entice your reader and keep them guessing, because if you can foresee a plot twist so can the reader. We have to think up options and/or steer the event in another direction to avoid being obvious. 

  1. One way is to use subtle misdirection, such as:
  • Red herrings – false clues or misleading information to steer readers in the wrong direction.
  • Dead ends – not writing the obvious outcome your readers thought was coming.
  • Misguided attention – Bury hints or clues where the reader is redirected to another scene, or dialogue and misses a cleverly dropped hint.

2. Foreshadowing is an excellent vehicle for adding subtle hints for a twist to come. These can be as part of a characters actions, or non-action, a secondary character’s dialogue or even disguising a plot twist within a plot twist. The twist, however, must be believable and necessary and also makes sense within the narrative.

3. Use a subplot that misdirects your reader.

  • It can feed into the plot line, or not – that is your choice.
  • Interact or intertwine your subplot in an unexpected or unusual way.
  • You can make the subplot more important to the overall story, than initially appears.
  • It can also distract from the main plot.
  • Depending on your genre you can use the ‘no-one is safe’ mentality to add tension and ‘what if’s’.

Other misdirection techniques include:

  1. Killing off an important character.
  2. A character discovers a plot twist organically.
  3. Elevate a minor character.
  4. Your big reveal instigates a twist ending.

Remember to keep up the momentum after the big reveal so that the reader will continue reading to find out the ultimate conclusion of your narrative. If you are struggling there are plot twist generators on the internet, you can use them or manufacture your own from the ideas.

How have you kept a reader guessing? Care to share?

Which book plot twist surprised you the most?

Here is a list of the more famous literary plot twists.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Tips on Learning Your Writing Craft

August 19, 2021
mandyevebarnett


As writers and authors, learning new skills, keeping ahead of genre evolution, trope changes and writing methods is vital for our continued improvement as a wordsmith. With the industry changing so quickly, we need to be ahead of the game.

The best ways to do this are:

  1. Join a writing group
  2. Read articles on the book industry
  3. Take courses and workshops
  4. Attend writing conferences
  5. Subscribe to industry newsletters
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

How do you keep current with the writing industry?

This past weekend, I virtually attended When Words Collide and attended as many sessions as I could, while also being a co-presenter and panelist. Although, there was information I already knew, there were also those little nuggets of wisdom, insights and knowledge that made each session a gem. My notes were prolific and my follow up to action each gem will take several weeks.

There is always something to learn, whether you are just starting out on your writing career or have years of experience. We can have tunnel vision and ease into a ‘comfort zone’ so easily, when there are so many other calls on our time.

Some things can be scheduled monthly, such as updating your website or blog with current information. We don’t want a visitor to read upcoming events from 2018! Modify your bio to include your latest book, current WIP progression and appearances etc. Don’t leave your blog stagnant – post content regularly. (This can be once weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or even quarterly – just a known routine, so followers will know when to expect you to post).

We all have several social media accounts, so make sure they reflect the latest news, images etc. so they are in line with your current activities. This makes your author platform current. Also check links to ensure they are working properly or direct to a new site, if a change occurred. Refresh content and images so your platform doesn’t look dated or tired. Renew your copyright dates for all content across platforms on 1st January each year – this is one that can be missed very easily.

Can you share tips on what you do to stay updated and improve your writing skills?

WordPress Anniversary – 11 Years!

August 8, 2021
mandyevebarnett


Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!

You registered on WordPress.com 11 years ago.

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

A huge thank you to all my followers for continuing to read, comment and participate in my blogging life.

Here’s to another 11 years!

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Crime Fiction Research and Discovering Juggalos

May 4, 2021
mandyevebarnett


With a complete read through this weekend of the manuscript for the first book in my detective series, An Elusive Trail, I am fairly happy with the edits and revisions. The new word count is 61,626 – a far cry from the ‘finished’ story of National Novel Writing Month in November last year of 50,156. This shows how a manuscript changes and grows over the course of revisions. Scenes are added or cut, moved or changed and information researched in order to improve the content. Not only for accuracy but also to ensure the characters and story reflect the trope expected by readers of the specific genre.

I recently attended a crime writer’s week long presentation course online. The most interesting and helpful sessions were with a retired detective. His insight and knowledge gave me several pieces of information I have included in the manuscript to enhance the police and forensic procedures. There are a couple more months of revisions to be done, (an author has a hard time relinquishing a manuscript!) but the first book in the series is well on its way to being ready to submit to a publisher for review.

Writers and authors research their specific genre through books but also movies. My choice of movies to watch has been said to be eclectic. I can watch and enjoy action, romance, sci-fi, fantasy and many others, it all depends on my mood at the time. Take several I watched during April for example:

The Father – Anthony Hopkins was spectacular. Hillbilly Elegy – Glenn Close was exceptional. Penguin Bloom – as a natural lover this true story was heartwarming and wonderful in so many ways. Diana – I always feel my heart break a little reading or watching anything to do with her. The Age of Adaline – I have watched this movie several times because I love the premise of it. Elizabeth and Margaret – because we can only glimpse their lives. Coroner – this series was for my book research mainly. Monty Python -In the Beginning – I grew up with Python and still recite sketches to this day. Ladies in Black – life in 1959 Australia a merging of cultures within the structure of society expectations. It shows how a person’s life is affected by the era’s limitations put upon them. Elvis Presley – The Searcher – I learned more about his life, but also that if he had broken away from the Colonel, his fame would have been even greater, such a shame he was so manipulated. As you can see some are factual, some research, while others are pure escapism.

The most unusual and surprising movie I watched was FAMILY, at first look it is a workaholic woman asked to look after her brother’s daughter for a short time. However, what is so unexpected is the unknown (to me anyway) cultural phenomenon of Juggalo. I have never come across this group (and I listen to an even more of an eclectic selection in music). The Juggalo’s are fans of the group Insane Clown Posse. They dress in clown-like makeup and fantastical outfits. Their motto is ‘I shall not judge. I shall love my Family. I am a Ninja.‘ You may not enjoy their music but their inclusiveness to all is inspiring.

Have you discovered something new through a book or movie? What was it?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Creating A Goodreads Author Profile

April 15, 2021
mandyevebarnett


As authors we want readers to find us and our books. There are a couple of sites that offer author profiles that you can set up yourself. Firstly, there is Goodreads. Not only can you create your own profile but actively promote your book(s) and also connect with readers and review other author’s books. As many f you know I review every book I read on Goodreads and Amazon. It is my way of giving back to the community.

The process to set up your author profile is pretty easy and there is a helpful guide on the site if your get stuck. Follow these steps and add another avenue to your author platform. You will also have a follow button so your readers can click that to keep updated on your new releases etc. You can also follow all your favorite authors.

How To Set Up Your Goodreads Author Profile

Step one: Claim your book (or manually add it)

First, search Goodreads to see if your book has already been added to their database. One of your readers could have already added it for you.

If you don’t find your book listed, take these steps to manually add your book:

  • Click “My Books” along the top
  • Click “Import/Export” along the left side
  • Click “manually add books” along the top
  • Or use this link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/new

Once you are on your book page, click on the link for your name. It will open up to an author profile page. Click on the link that says “Is this you? Let us know.” and you will be able to send a request to join the Author Program.

Step two: Customize your author profile

There are many things you can do to customize your Goodreads author profile.

  • Add your author photo.
  • Add a compelling author bio
  • Add your blog.
  • Add upcoming events, give away’s and/or teasers for your next book.
  • Add ‘ask the author’ questions for each book. Make sure to activate

Step three: Getting started on Goodreads

When you are first getting started on Goodreads, here are three things we recommend doing:

  1. Rate at least 20 books. This will unlock additional features that are not available to you until you add and rate at least 20 books.
  2. Start adding friends. Personally, I got started by importing friends from Facebook. This helped me add friends quickly.
  3. Remember to ask reviewers to post to Goodreads as well. Get the URL of your book page and give it to reviewers who agree to post a review for you.

Now you have your author profile added here are several tips on using the site for promotion.

Getting exposure for your author profile on Goodreads can create interest in you and your books. Here are a 9 ways you can get your profile image to show up around Goodreads once you have your account set up:

  1. Update your progress on a book you are currently reading. Click update status on that particular book’s Goodread’s page.
  2. Vote on a list http://www.goodreads.com/list
  3. Vote on a poll http://www.goodreads.com/poll
  4. Blog updates – this will happen automatically if you’ve connected your blog to your author profile.
  5. Rate a book and/or review it.
  6. Add a book to your shelves.
  7. Find a book and click “want to read”.
  8. Click the “like” button under someone else’s review.
  9. Respond to friend requests.

The more you interact the more exposure you and your book(s) will get, so get it done!

Good luck and let me know when I can follow you! Here’s mine:

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