Last night's writing workshop went very well. The kind folks at Savvy Authors kindly prepared a transcript of the class. For today's post, I am going to post the transcript for the rest of you to enjoy.
The subject of the workshop was 'The Trick', my favorite writing technique for both its simplicity and its effectiveness.
The Trick: Raising expectations in one direction but having the story first 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 with the original events.
In art, artists use shading to emphasize the lighter portion of their work. The shading provides contrast that draws the eye back to the non-shaded part. In a story, writer’s need to do the same thing. One way of providing that contrast is with The Trick.
Of all writing techniques, The Trick is the easiest to do. You just decide where you want the story to go, and then you indicate—through dialogue, 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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