Kevin J. Anderson joined us at Sasquan/WorldCon 73 to take questions about plot twists. Here are the questions that came in from our live audience:
- Genre Twists: good, bad, or ugly?
- Can you compare and contrast a good plot twist with a bad one?
- What is the biggest mistake professional authors make with regarding plot twists?
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 17:14 — 11.9MB)
Try to remove your plot twist as a reveal, and see if the story still works.
Oh yeah, it’s time to break some rules! We’ve said that you’ve got to learn the rules before you break them, but here, eight seasons in, you probably already know them. So let’s make with the breaking!
We talk about some of the rules we’ve broken, and some of our favorite broken rules in other people’s work. We also talk about why any of us got away with it.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:20 — 13.3MB)
Here is a rule for rule-breaking: The best format for experimenting with rule-breaking is the short. So! Pick your three favorite rules and break all three in a short story.
Holes, by Louis Sachar, narrated by Kerry Byer
We haven’t discussed beginnings this in a while, and when we did, we summed it up with “in late, out early.” Now we’re going to talk about what needs to be present when you’re “in.” We talk about tone, and how the tone you set in your beginning is a promise made to your reader, using examples from George R.R. Martin and David Brin. We also talk about how useful (and how dangerously trite) a labeled prologue can be, and how important it is to establish a setting, especially in genre fiction.
This episode appears out of order with something else we recorded which we refer to, specifically a piece Mary is working on. Tantalizing, yes? Here is the episode you probably wanted to hear first.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 18:44 — 12.9MB)
Start a new story. Give us character, place, and sense of tone. Do it one sentence, and do it within 13 lines (which is what typically appears on the first page of a manuscript.)