Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Roadblocks and Detours

AKA: Plot twists wrecked by reality

~~Have you found that one of your long-planned (and fully drafted) plot twists just can't be? Of course, this is a question for those of us who write reality-based stories i.e. contemporary or historical vs. fantasy and SF. I think the last two genre allow, for more creative license.

~~That's what's happened to me recently. You'd think I'd be wailing and gnashing my teeth or, at least, tearing up, but I'm not. Really. I'm quite happy with this turn of events. I think that somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew the plot point that developed from this newly abandoned twist just couldn't happen that way. And now I know why.

~~What caused this outbreak of reality and the new, truth-based twist I'm now planning? Through a quirk of coincidence, I've been introduced to a current Department of Family and Children Services caseworker. She was thrilled to let me interview her and her reality-based information has created my shift in plot. Let's just say, I'm happy, excited, and plotting up a storm.

~~How to you handle this sort of plot upheaval? Tears or gratitude?


  1. Hmm, not sure about tears or gratitude - it would depend for me. But...I'm dying to know. I neeeed to know! What's changed?

  2. LOL, Tara! I knew I'd get a rise from those of you who know the story. The YDC segment is gone, out of here! It wouldn't happen, or as my new-found source would say, "The child would be placed SOMEWHERE in the state even if on the far end and would not go to YDC." It actually makes other things easier. BTW, the background check is done first, not last, so there is a new snag for dear Laura Grace. (evil grin)

  3. Me? A little bit of gnashing of teeth, but then once the gnashing gets my mental cogs turning, I'm happy. I love having puzzles to work out. :-)

    I don't know the story much, but I'm very intrigued by your summary for Tara! Hmmmm. [g]

    Good luck!!

  4. Jill,

    I'll just sit her and grin. ; ) Some of the problems I saw happening from the YDC setting fit somewhere else much better. On I go.

  5. Hmm, not sure how I would react - it would probably depend on too many things to list here. :)

    (Hi from your Contemp/Mainstream Group over at the Campaign!)

  6. Hi, Madeline! I'm slowly making the Campaign rounds. I should be by your site sometime today. Good to see you. ; )

  7. My CP just punches so many holes in the reality of my contemporary MS! "This can't happen. How can that be? That doesn't make sense." Sometimes I want to wring her neck. But you know what? She ALWAYS right, and her sugguestions always make my MS better.

  8. Hi Zan Marie,

    Well...sometimes it pays to do in-depth research ahead of the writing. LOL. I am happy this twist happened because any time you find a good piece of reality-based info, it lends greater credibility to your story.

    A funny thing happened to me with my WIP. I was planning to keep it current, that is, it could be 2011, or 2012, etc. But, when the real events of an escaped/missing little cobra occurred in March 2011 at the Bronx Zoo, I decided to back things up so they begin in 2010.
    That little cobra, who reappeared after a few days, provided me with a real-life event that will truly add a reality touch to my plot. It was a godsend type of coincidence!
    Cue the spooky music....(s)

  9. Holly,
    You are 100% right. The MS just got better. I'm not crying.

    The funny thing is, I *did* research first, but the DFCS Manual is limited by not allowing plot questions. The seren dipitous connection is not something I could have ferreted out by myself. I'll just count myself fortunate. ; )

  10. probably a little bit of both depending on the outcome :)

  11. Hi, Ms Saba, Welcome to the Shade.

    Some days, I'll admit, I'm not so happy about the changes, but then I realize I need the reality to make the story better.

  12. Hi Zan,
    Thanks for visiting my site. I never know what my characters are going to do so my plot twists change often.
    As for the campaign, I'll be curious to see what happens next.

  13. Hi Zan! Thanks for visiting my blog, I'm so glad to find yours. I like your attitude towards the plot twist change! Looking forward to following your blog and seeing you around the Campaign. :)

  14. Hi, Bridget and Julie! Welcome to the Shade. I thoroughly enjoyed the last campaign/crusade and I'm looking forward to this one.

    I think plot twists are the spice of life. Only sometimes I wish mine would behave for me. ; )

  15. Hi Zan,
    Nice to meet you! I'm thinking gratitude. What I liked is how you interviewed the case worker. In addition, sometimes our characters also have minds of their own. Thanks for the blog visit. Enjoy the campaign!

  16. Hi, Christy
    Welcome to the Shade!

    Truly the connection with the caseworker was a delightful side to a sad story, but I'm going to use the connection to make my WIP stronger.

  17. Hey Zan,

    I'm not sure how I'd react, I can usually find ways around what I plan to do. For example. Not necessarily a twist, but a problem I had recently. I don't write in first person, and when I decided to write a large portion of one of my stories in journal form, I realized I would HAVE to switch to 1st person POV. To avoid this, I went back to the actual character, and wrote omniscient limited, which I'm much more comfortable with.

    Great question!

  18. Hi, Allie,
    I'm just the opposite of you. I *love* 1st POV! I'm experimenting with close 3rd more, but I don't ever expect to to any type of omniscient.

  19. OOhhhh I love it when the plots turns on it's own. It's almost always a good thing! almost.
    I'm a first person gal myself.
    But wasn't always. The book that I just published is 1st person and that came so easy I actually just finished rewriting another one into 1st.
    Can't wait to hear about your finished product and where the twists will take you next,

  20. Thanks for the visit and the follow. I am now following you as well.

    I don't recall having run into the quite the problem you mention, but I have run into problems in the middle of the story. I think self-motivation is the biggest blame there. I guess my reaction to your situation would be more like frustration and impatience.

    Tossing It Out

  21. Elena,
    Good to know there's another 1st POVer around. ; ) I know I'm no where near done. We'll just have to see where it goes.

    Good to see you in the Shade. I think my reaction was positive because I had trouble explaining the YDC bit to others. What's going to happen now will be easy. ; )

  22. Zan Marie ~
    Thanks for stopping by earlier via the Campaign! I'm really excited to have joined in - this is my first time.
    I frequently stop by Deniz Bevin's blog, and see you over there, so I feel like I kind of know you a bit! Glad to know you better through this experience.
    What a great post - and meeting with a real-life-version of a character you are writing is just great! (I love research) Glad you are of a mind to let go of what shouldn't be to get plotting on what should. That's a great attitude! ~ Nadja

  23. Hi Nadja!
    I'm glad you stopped by, too. I've seen you at Deniz's blog and it will be fun to see you in the Shade.

    My WIP will be better. Now I have to make myself work. ; )

  24. Hi right back! Thanks for saying hi over at my blog!

  25. Zan Marie~
    Today I released my first novel, Claiming The Prize! To celebrate that great first - and my birthday :) - I'm offering a weekend promotion! Stop by if you have a chance and grab a free copy of my book. The coupon code is good at Smashwords, and the link is right in the post.
    ...Happy Birthday to me...
    This is the first year that I'm giving presents away for my birthday, but it feels great! Ha!

    Have a great weekend ~ Nadja

  26. Wow! Book and birthday on a holiday weekend. That's wonderful, Nadja!

  27. Hello, Fellow Campaigner. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am glad you're enjoying the Jack story! As for your changed plot line, I think it's great that you happened to meet with that caseworker. Life presents us with chance meetings for a reason!

  28. Hi Zan and thanks for visiting my blog. I'm currently experimenting with historical fiction about real people, so constantly worry about the whole reailty thing!But in general, all research is good and usually give you more ideas rather than less.
    Good luck on the campaign.

  29. Hi, Katie and Ali! Welcome to the Shade. Reality is key to the story's hook, I think. Even if we're writing fantasy or SF, we need to bite of reality to make the story real for our readers. Good luck with your stories. ; )

  30. Sounds exciting, Zan Marie, even if it does mean more work. I'm worried that something like that will happen to me once my mother gets around to reading the Ottoman half of my novel...

  31. At least your mom didn't live in the time period...but then again, she might know the history *very well* indeed. ; ) Good luck.

  32. Hi Zan, another Campaigner here!

    Ah, plot upheaval . . . it's always difficult when you first realize what's going to need to be done.

    I don't usually cry or get excited, just start thinking. But, I've always been a quiet person, so that's how I deal with things.

    I hope everything comes together smoothly for your story!

  33. Hi, Black and Dark Night--that's a mouthful! Glad you react so calmly. This time I did, but I think it's because I knew deep down that plot wasn't right. Good luck to you too.


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