Advice.

I receive Writer's Digest magazine and I completely adore it. It's a religion in itself, for me. The columns and articles always inspire me to write, and I owe the magazine so much.

I just received the latest issue and I'm bothered by something I read. The author of particular article was giving advice on plot twists, and how to use misdirection to your advantage and her advice struck me as being as cliché as everything else out there.

Like, in a book I just read, one character tells the other 'Oh, Tori loves Simon, so hands off him." And I rolled my eyes and figured the MC would of course end up with Simon. She didn't, and I love the author for that reason. She stepped away from cliché and obvious.

Now, the author of the article was saying how you must (say in a thriller) make one character completely quirky and we'll all assume he/she is the killer. Why? Because it's been done and redone a million times and that's what we expect.

I watched a movie recently, and the character was so quirky, and the MCs were so afraid of him that it was made to look like he was the killer. I wasn't buying it, and I had every reason to be. They ended up being the killers.

My point is basically that everything's been done. Misdirection doesn't work anymore, because everyone's been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.

It's a little overwhelming when you sit and write, get an idea and wonder where it came from, and if it was stolen from something else.

But maybe that's the problem with my writing: I think too much.

Comments

  1. In some ways it's discouraging thinking that everything's been done before, but in some ways it's liberating. I used to obsess over every single little detail in my writing and make sure it wasn't copied from anything I recognised. I couldn't have elves with silver hair because LOTR had done that, so all my elves had to have black or brown hair. But now I think it doesn't matter what colour my elves' hair is because so many people have done elves, I'm bound to be copying someone whether I realise it or not.

    Crime/thrillers often are very predictable. The killer's always the one they suspect after forty minutes, not the one they suspect after ten. Especially if you watch it on the internet -- you can gauge someone's probable guilt by the amount of time you have left.

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