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  • Beth Daniels, aka Beth Henderson, J.B. Dane

The Fork in the Road


If the story is heading off into cliche world where readers find it possible to know what is going to happen next...and thus why should they keep turning pages to find out if it will...perhaps it is time to take the story in a new direction.

Your characters have been on a set path for awhile now...actually they are nearly 10 days from the end of a 50,000 word tale in the NANOWRIMO world...so take them in a different direction.

Throw something unexpected in.

This doesn't have to be something as dire as George R. R. Martin killing off a major character, or Brent Weeks' finding a new way to cripple one of his. It simply means it's time to throw a monkey wrench in things and discombobulate both characters and readers.

Hopefully, not yourself.

All it takes is the story reaching a point where two paths branch off...one taking the story in the expected way and the other taking it in an unexpected way. Sort of like the fairytale option of having two doors -- one leading to a happily ever after and the other to a horrible death. No other options in a fairytale usually.

Or you could bring your characters to a fork, or rather a TINE in the road. Here the option is the path things have been on, one that leads to complications (thus making the story more interesting and unpredictable) and the third which takes things in a direction that looks to be very bad news.

Then again, that two option path could later develop a further split that twists toward that dire news path.

The story might have started with flowers along the way but it's autumn now, storywise, and headed into deep winter. Spring is only reached at the end of the story.


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