Thursday, March 29, 2012
Which way do we go? Which way do we go, George?
At what point in a book do you see a shift in the plot? Why, the turning point of course!
I am learning that having definitive turning points in a novel is a very good thing. It can keep your reader on the edge of their chair wondering if the girl is going to admit loving the guy, if the man is going to finally see that his boss is a serial killer, or if the lost dog will find the right road home.
How do we accomplish this most important part of a novel as we write it? Make it matter.
Every turning point changes the direction of the story and moves it right on down the road to resolution. Sometimes it is as simple as a character giving in to the one thing that we as the reader has known all along. Sometimes, in the hands of a gifted writer, it can be the way the storm clouds move into the country town threatening every one with disaster. There are a variety of ways to elicit a turning point, but seriously, it is not as easy as I make it seem. Turning points are slimy critters. They can be overdone in the hands of a bad writer and in my opinion, those are books that we usually put down in disappointment.
What are some turning points in your book? Can you point them out with a finger on the page saying, "Here, this is the place where it went bad." Or, "There it is, where she finally grew up."
I encourage you to try it as these places in our novels are the signposts where things happen that matter to our readers. Turning points are just what they are named. Points where the story turned.
Happy Thursday, Murderers.