I’ve been told on several occasions that my twisting plotlines can keep readers turning the pages. For me it’s all about false turns and foreshadowing. Adding intrigue or mystery to a novel can be like navigating a maze. Leading the reader down a few dead ends doesn’t do any harm. It keeps them on their toes, throws them off guard. But there must be one of the potential paths that leads cleanly from point A to point B. Otherwise what’s the point?
There is a couple of ways to add believable mystery to a plotline, one is to meticulous outline every plot point before sitting down to write. It doesn’t allow for much freedom or free writing.
Another way to do it is what I do. I call it the Bill and Ted method, based on the movies Bill and Ted.
Basically I know point A and I know point B, but I usually have no more than the vaguest idea what’s going to happen between or what sort twists and turns I’ll encounter. In Bill and Ted, when the guys find themselves in a difficult situation, but with a time machine, they realize they have the ability to change things to make the present what they want.
This is what I do. I jump around in the point, dropping in plot twists, or necessary foreshadowing. This allows me to make the plot as complicated as I like while still reaching the same end point. For example, if I’m writing and a character reaches a locked door but needs to get through that door, I go back further and foreshadow the means for them to get through.
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