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.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – National Read A Book Day & Stephen King at Bloody Scotland Festival

September 7, 2021
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Although, this celebration was yesterday, any day is ‘read a book day’ – won’t you agree? I thought it would be fun to see what kind of reader you are. My reading habits are eclectic across many genres (I write that way too), so I think the closest is extrovert reader for me.

Please put your answer in the comments.

I have booked my ticket for a virtual interview hosted by Bloody Scotland – Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival of Stephen King, as you all know he is my ultimate writing hero. I am so excited for this event, not just because it’s Stephen but also because I am in the midst of writing a crime trilogy.

Stephen King and Linwood Barclay (online) Saturday 18th September from 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm BST

Who is your literary hero?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – A Woman’s Life Anthology and Current Reading

January 12, 2021
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I am honoured and thrilled (excuse the pun!) to be included in this celebration of women’s lives. We all have such varied experiences, but share so much at the same time. I wrote about my thrill of sensation, something that remains with me even today. And yes, given the change I will sit on a swing to enjoy the pendulum sensation.

What is your ‘thrill’?

https://www.mixbook.com/photo-books/interests/the-wild-ride-revision-24337659?vk=ZY6KyyPfE79VK7hSeJgg&fbclid=IwAR1NItphX47H31rfoxw1sJOeeBj0kLm9GA4L-mEFEVb_J3FbFDtcbEQaHS0

My Book Review

As usual King delivers captivating stories. I loved the author notes are the back as he described how the story ideas formed. This is such an enlightening tool for any writer to see how a well established author comes up with their ideas.
Each story weaves a spell as only King can.
Highly recommended to all readers, its not ‘horror’

My current book is Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay – it gripped from the first page.

What are you reading?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – What is Your Favorite Book(s)?

April 7, 2020
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With ‘time’ on our hands many of us have been reading – which is great. However, have you returned to a favourite book (or even books?)

I have several that I have returned to over the years but one seems to be above the others. It is Ferney by James Long. When I think of the story the characters come back like old friends, which is why many of us love a book. If a character spills into your normal life then the author has done their job.

In such narratives we want the characters and their lives to continue, we imagine what happens next and where they are now. It is the same with these characters as it is with long lost friends.

FERNEY

If you are interested in reincarnation (as I am) then this novel is for you but it is also a lovely love story too.

Summary:

When Mike and Gally move to a new cottage in Somerset, it’s to make a new start. But the relationship comes under strain when Gally forms an increasingly close attachment to an old countryman, Ferney, who seems to know everything about her.

What is it that draws them together? Reluctantly at first, then with more urgency as he feels time slipping away, Ferney compels Gally to understand their connection – and to face an inexplicable truth about their shared past.

***

In fact James did write a sequel some 13  years later and although the characters are following on it did not grip me like the first one. However, please don’t be put off by my thoughts. It is still a great story.

It is interesting that the first book was published in 1998 and James didn’t write the sequel until 2011…! That’s some wait for a sequel.

The Lives She Left Behind

The other book which I reread some 35 years later (yes I know showing my age) was The Stand. I picked it up at the airport prior to flying to Canada for the first time (a long time ago) because it was a nice thick book. We’ve all been there prior to a long haul flight – right? Anyway, once I started reading I was completely hooked. This was my introduction to Stephen King and his storytelling. When I read the special complete & uncut edition all those years later, it was still gripping and sucked me into the narrative.

stand

Just a quick sidebar – I had watched the movie Carrie years before but had no idea it was by Stephen at that time.

Why not share your favourite with everyone?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – The Fear of Falling & Book Review

January 28, 2020
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5 of 5….Once again the King delivers a story that grips you from the start and pulls you into a situation that could be only too real…secret government establishments and projects, the harnessing of powers from the most vulnerable and the enormity of trying to overcome it.

What are you reading? What was the last book you reviewed?

I’m asked where my inspiration comes from, so I am happy to share this piece, which is the result of my walking to the store along an icy sidewalk. As I walked, it occurred to me how careful I was with my steps as opposed to a couple of young boys, who passed me without a care, in regard to the condition of the surface they walked on. Inspiration comes from a wide variety of sources, and like this piece can emerge seamlessly.

The Fear of Falling  

As children, falling is as commonplace as eating and breathing, there is no fear. We transition from crawling on all fours to the tottering and grasping of objects or parental hands to standing upright. The falling is a learning process on how to balance upright, adapting our bodies to counteract the instability of standing. Once standing has been achieved, we learn the motion of walking and eventually running. As we grow older, we engage in other activities that result in falls, such as bike riding, engaging on playground equipment, sports and the inevitable school recess antics. It is an expected result of such endeavours and bruises, cuts and scrapes are a part of everyone’s childhood. Skinned knees are the badge of childhood.

In our teen years and early twenties, our falling can be of a more serious nature as our activities involve more extreme modes of transport and sports. Snowboarding and skiing, for instance, are often accompanied by falls, which hopefully have softer landings but not always. Unfortunately, motor bikes and cars do not have a soft landing to our falling. For example, I suffered severe bruising from coming off a motorbike on an ice covered road and hitting the curb with my rear! I couldn’t sit properly for weeks. Injuries are more severe and falling has more dire consequences. This is the start of a fear of falling for some of us.

As we mature, play recedes into the background as we immerse ourselves into work and other commitments. Some of us continue with sporting activities, of course, but we minimize the risks of falling as much as is possible.  Our body weight, as opposed to a baby or toddler is greater and therefore so is the impact of a fall. Falling becomes a distant memory for the most part and is a rare occurrence (hopefully). We may see the fear of falling in our elders and try to understand their way of thinking as we have not reached that stage of our life yet.

Eventually, as our body ages and its ability to bounce back declines, our fear of falling increases as does the impact, literally. A steep hill, an icy pathway, slippery rocks by the ocean and a vast number of other obstacles increase our apprehension. The mere thought of falling is anxiety inducing. We understand the fragility of our aging bodies and the possible outcomes of a fall. We read statistics that give us more anxiety, such as 800,000 patients a year are admitted to hospital due to fall injuries, usually hip or head fractures but also strained muscles, dislocations and open wounds. We understand falls are caused by balance problems, muscle weakness, poor vision, low blood pressure or even dementia. In other words getting old isn’t for the faint hearted and certainly falling isn’t on a ‘to do list’!

Illustration of grandma hitting ass

Do you have a question for me on any of my novels? Please comment and I will be happy to tell you. You can find them here: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V

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