Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tension Tip #2

What am I reading now?  The Unnaturalists (Tiffany Trent)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Futuristic--Steampunk--Alternate History--Paranormal all jump in the hot tub together. Yeah, fun story! Vespa has grown up in a world that believes science to be the pinnacle of existence; and honored eternal truth and the religion of New London. Magic is forbidden and all the heretics who use it disappear. Vespa meets Hal and they believe they must save the world from destroying the magic and themselves.

Too many stories for Young Adult audiences feel like the language or style has been dumbed down. As if the style squad has declared all novels for today's teens must read:
•simple sentences
•easy, natural vocabulary
•obvious structure.

I'm glad Tiffany Trent ignored that and wrote a complex story, with rich language and challenging elements in pov to keep readers on their toes. The writing definitely enhanced the story. I'd read the short-story precursor to this novel in the steam punk collection called Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances and enjoyed it--glad there is more to the story. Looking forward to the next too.

Tension Tip #2
If . . . then . . . 

There are two kinds of If/Then techniques to think about. The first one is the CHANGE. The second one is the TWIST.

The Change relies on the reader believing that "If A happens then B follows." Only as you write the scene, you get to choose the B, so it becomes: A leads to B and B is VERY undesirable. Often in life when we make choices there are many things that can happen. Pick the one that causes your character the most problems.

The Twist is similar except that it looks more like this, "If A happens, then the character believes B follows--except it doesn't--C follows." Often the character finds out there were other forces at play at point A and the outcome left the realm of expected results and was twisted into the realm of the unexpected with disastrous results. Now the character has to deal with the original problem and a new one that was created because of the twist.

1 comment:

Donna K. Weaver said...

Nice! I love twists . . . that are believable upon reflection--those things hidden in plain sight that are preparing the reader but the reader doesn't realize it.