Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge: U is for...


For my entries in the 2012 A to Z Challenge, I will be focusing on writing elements that I find important and that I want to incorporate into my work.

Today, the topic is UNEXPECTED.

I love a twist ending. Both as a reader and as a writer.

Especially with my short stories, I want my reader to have that sensation of surprise at the discovery of an ending they did not expect. While I may never reach the mastery of O. Henry, it is something that I strive for.

But I want it to be something that develops smoothly in the course of the story, and I want it to occur because I'm playing fair. Nothing forced, contrived, weak, or cliche.

No “and then I woke up” cheesiness. No inane or arbitrary hand-waving to try and cover up plot holes that are left unresolved. No unfair 'Deus ex Machina' manipulations where the surprise gets pulled out of thin air.

I want the ending to be unexpected, but I want it to be logical, consistent, and to provide a smooth and rewarding resolution to the story. I want it to be surprising, but not hidden – I even want to plant clues that don't give the ending away; clues that might seem totally insignificant on the first read, but which become clear and obvious after the fact.

This is what I want, although it is HARD to do well.

But I dream of being able to do it smoothly, effortlessly, and perfectly each and every time.

And then I wake up...

Thanks for visiting -- see you the rest of this month for more alphabetical fun!

Don't forget to visit HERE to see all the bloggers taking part in this A-to-Z challenge, and try to drop in on as many of them as you can!


Simon Kewin said...

It's a great skill isn't it? It has to be both unforseen and totally believable - a difficult thing to pull off!

.jessica. said...

Surprise endings are so hard, but when done well they can take a reader's breath away. It's definitely not something I've mastered yet - the dropping of subtle clues along the way, making sure the twist is logical but out of left field... phew. I'm in awe of those who do it well!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Yes, yes, YES! You've perfectly described exactly what it is that I love most in a book or movie. Who wants to read/write a book (or see a movie) that more or less broadcasts what's gonna happen four pages (or four minutes) in? Phooey on that. I'll pick a well-executed surprise any day. Great post.

Nicole said...

Definitely enjoy a good twist!

Chris Fries said...

@Simon: I agree. Like much of what I've written for this A-to-Z blogathon, this is so much easier to write about than to actually write. ;^)

@jessica: Yeah, me too! It's almost another one of those things that work best when it's not forced. But that still don't make it easy!

@Susan: Thank you very much. I really appreciate it!

@Nicole: Absolutely -- me too!