Here is the second in my ongoing essays about my list of writing tips:
The Trick: Raising expectations in one direction but having the story go in the opposite direction.
The Trick is the secret to writing, the thing that makes a story work: expectation followed by something other than the expected outcome – but something that is thematically consistent.
Of all writing techniques, this is the easiest to do. You just decide where you want the story to go, and then you indicate—through character thought or narration—that the opposite is coming. If you want to have a happy incident, you make your character glum. If you want something bad to happen, you make him unexpectedly happy. It is that simple, and it is tremendously effective.
You just have to remember to use it. That is all.
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