I told y’all how great Buzzards is coming along, right? Yeah, so, I have a concern and I don’t know if it should be a concern. Or if it’s just my inner critic attempting to censor my muse. Or if it’s a concern best handled during revision. Here’s the situation:

For the past few months I didn’t know, not on a conscious level anyway, what the big twist would be in Buzzards. I had a couple of small ones worked out that I knew would relate to the big one but the details of the major twist eluded me until yesterday. Well it revealed itself, in a huge way, and while I love it, I’m worried it’s too much for most readers to stomach.

There are two concerns: First, I don’t want the twist to undo the bond between the reader and the female lead. Second, I don’t want the reader to be so turned off by the twist’s denotation, they put the book down and give up on the story.

I can’t really go into details or it’ll ruin the surprise; thus, I’m stumped how to go about getting feedback. I don’t belong to a local writing group and I don’t have an online crit partner. Holly touched on surprises and the Law of Unintended Consequences in Lesson 10 of Think Sideways, but I don’t remember reading anything about how to handle them.

Why, Muse? Why did you do this to me?

Here are my questions:

  1. Should I even care about this when I haven’t finished the novel?
  2. Once I finish the novel, should I worry about how the twist will affect some readers? It’s not shock for shock’s sake. It does add to the story–it’s an obstacle and additional tension; thus, more conflict. But it will hit a nerve.
  3. The twist will provoke a “What would I do in her position?” response from the reader. Is that more powerful than the shock of a taboo situation?

My gut tells me to ignore the voice in my head – damn inner critic – and continue down this path. I mean, if the twist caught me off guard, it’s bound to do the same thing to the reader, which is what I want. Honestly, this is part of what’s stopped my progress in the past. I’d hit some point in the story where I thought too many jaws would drop so I froze up and quit. I refuse to do that ever again but this is new and scary territory.

I guess the only option is keep writing and see what happens.

What do you think?


8 Comments

Laura Best · January 4, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Go with your instinct, Leah. Never, never write to please anyone else if you do you won’t be happy with the end results and I think ultimately you are the one who should be happy with the story at the end of the day.

Write the story that needs to be told… If it is a part of the story, so be it. Real life is like that we take it as it comes…good and bad..
Funny, because I was just reading about this very thing today.(I don’t know if you’re familiar at all with Wayne Dyer but he says to write to please yourself and he usually hits the nail on the head..at least as far as I’m concerned.)

I don’t belong to a writing group either but I have learned to trust my own instincts and you should too!

I’m sure in the end you’ll make the decision that feels right for you.

lee · January 4, 2010 at 8:42 PM

I think you should just write whatever you want, it’s your story, not anyone else’s so do what u think, what you want.

zarffyn · January 4, 2010 at 8:54 PM

Go with it. Once you finish the story, you’ll be able to see the big picture, but for now, anything that adds conflict AND adds to the story, is a good answer.

Leah · January 4, 2010 at 9:01 PM

Okay, I’ll stick with the twist. Thank you all for addin’ your two cents! As a side note, while re-reading On Writing by Stephen King, I realized he suggests the same thing. “The first draft,” he writes, “is all mine…written with the door shut.”

cat · January 9, 2010 at 4:36 AM

I second the advice. Write the twist as it presented itself. I don’t think potential readers will turn away because of it unless it comes from nowhere. But if it is a logical part of the story they will suspend disbelieve to fin out how your MC handles it.

    Leah · January 10, 2010 at 9:53 PM

    Hi Cat! Thanks for stopping by and double thanks for confirming what I felt in my gut was the right decision: to move forward and write the story I want to write.

ekcarmel · January 13, 2010 at 9:11 AM

I guess I’m coming to this a little late, but it never hurts to get more comments (at least that’s the way I feel).

I agree that you need to write the unsettling twist. From what you wrote, this has happened to you before and you stopped. DON’T. Don’t worry about what other people think. This is yours – own it. I’ve felt this way myself and it just stifles your muse (who probably doesn’t appreciate it and may sabotage you later for it).

Write it YOUR way and when it comes time for beta readers, you may be pleasantly surprised!

    Leah · January 13, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    It’s never to late for feedback! Thanks you for sharing.

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