Friday, June 24

Plot Twists: Riveting or Manipulative?

The plot of a novel is a powerful thing. It can sweep you away or make you fall flat on your face. It can lull you to sleep or outrage you. It all depends on the book and you, the reader.

I know you have read moments that made you go – audibly or in your head – "YES!" or "WHAT?"

I have.

Books that get under your skin affect you more than ho-hum-de-la-la ones. Whether an exclamation is due to a character that is somewhat of a cliché but still gets under your skin and makes you want to beat her over the head with a better personality, or because your favourite character just got that promotion he always wanted, you are invested in the character and the story to the point where you care enough to react when something happens.

Good books make you react. They leave an impression on you and not a dozy one. They make you grip the book even tighter or put it down only long enough to do a hyperactive lap around the room to run off some of that excess energy that just came bursting through you. Well...that's what I do, anyway.

Plot twists and upping the stakes will always win over ho-hum-de-la-la. They are the kinds of points you want to mention, to talk about with your friends once they have read the book. Perhaps it is even these moments that make you want to tell your friends to read a book. We are smug or sickened with knowledge, depending on how something affects us.

Good books take you out of your comfort zone, otherwise you'd be snoozing. Even if you don't like a character, they must be well-written on some level if their antagonism gets to you. Unless you're tearing your hair out over the main character's actions...but hey, protagonists aren't meant to be perfect and they will have their irksome ways.

Authors want to get a response from their readers. Not everyone will be happy with the same thing or like the way things turn out but I think as long as a writer can keep someone on their toes, they're going places.

What do you think? Do you like to be shocked by plot turns or can an author sometimes go overboard or in the wrong direction?

1 comment:

Emma Michaels said...

I tend not to like a book if it doesn't get a reaction out of me. I think that reaction is actually a large part of why I read. You never know what will happen or where a good book will take you but you know it will be something enjoyable. It is like a ride with its own ups and downs but the thrill isn't in the waiting in line, the after effects or even the big drops, it is everything that leads up to it and taking that ride. So yup, agree with you completely and as an author I want people to react! hehe. Lets hope I can pull it off or get good enough over time to do it!