Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Logical but not Obvious

The plot line in your novel should be logical, but not always obvious. For example, in my novel, King’s Priory, I needed to kill off a young wartime WAAF called Peggy Higgins. Logic told me it should happen in the London Blitz. But not in an obvious way.
When the raid begins Peggy and her mum are hiding in a cellar. Both are frightened as I build up the tension. Bombs land nearby and the tension increases. The house next door takes a direct hit.
More tension.
The house above Peggy and her mum begins to crumble.
More tension.
Can Peggy survive the raid?
The reader is left to wonder what will happen next. Then… yes, Peggy can survive. The next morning she and her mum crawl from the rubble. The tension eases. Peggy meets her dad, an ARP warden. He has survived the night.
The tension eases further.
Peggy is told to go to her aunt’s house and make a cup of tea. Relief all round. But I am playing games with the reader. As Peggy enters her aunt’s house she triggers an unexploded bomb…!
I got the outcome I wanted, but I engineered it in a way that wasn’t obvious, a way that was designed to catch the reader unawares.


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