Circuitous – definition: in a roundabout way, not direct
Manipulation isn’t a bad thing when an author uses it to entice their readers. A story arc should have many layers to keep the reader interested as well as surprised. Twists and turns in the story’s events and in the characters reactions ensure your reader continues to turn the page.
We can make our main character choose a path that brings him into peril but must remember his actions have to be believable. A shy character would not immediately confront his bully. However, by using a circuitous route, we can bring about a consequence that helps him. Foreshadowing is another way to manipulate your reader. By mentioning something that our character suspects heightens the tension. The scenario may not occur but it will certainly ensure the reader turns the page.
This link gives some great perspective into this skill.
I have taken the separate twists and made up a version for each. Why not share yours?
Version One : Adele breaths in his scent as the bus bumps along the road. She closes her eyes to recall every detail of their afternoon, full of hot passion. She will shower before James comes home from work but for now she can imagine Jake’s hands and lips upon her naked body. The bus jerks to a halt at Adele’s stop. As she steps onto the road she sees James’ car in their driveway. Why is he home so early? Where can she say she has been? Can she manage to get upstairs to the bathroom before he sees her? Jake’s cologne will be a dead giveaway as to her whereabouts.
Version Two: “Shit, I’ve missed it.” Adele looks around the bus station and spies the taxi rank. She’ll have to hope one of them will take her home and quick. “Hi, Can you take me to High Cross?” “High Cross, love? That’s a bit of a long drive. I’m off in twenty minutes.” “Please, I really need to get home and I missed the last bus.” “Well, how about 125 and I’ll phone the missus that I’ll be late?” “How much? That’s a lot more than usual.” “Well I’m the last driver for tonight and as I said, I’m off in twenty, well now fifteen minutes.” “Well alright then but can you hurry?” Adele sits in the back seat nervously biting her thumb nail. She hasn’t got enough money and hopes the driver will be understanding when he drops her off. Maybe she can promise to come back tomorrow with the difference? As the car broaches the crest of the hill Adele’s heart sinks. The lights are on at home. How will she explain her absence to James?
Version Three: “That’s daylight robbery, mate, I’m not paying that.” “Suit yourself, love. It’s extra after ten o’clock.” Adele swears under her breath and walks away from the taxi rank. She shivers, her light jacket is no protection from the night air. There’s nothing for it but to walk the three miles home. It will give her enough time to think up an excuse for her absence to James. Damn cell phone died over an hour ago. In her distracted mood she doesn’t see the shadow as the taxi’s headlights sweep along the wall. He’s been waiting for an opportunity all night. Bus stations are a favorite haunt. Perfect for stranded passengers. He waits for her to walk into the darkness. His soft soled shoes don’t make a sound. His next victim is oblivious to her fate.