Have you ever despised the linear, flat story line you have going in your novel? If each scene outcome is predictable and you worry your reader will lose interest, then it is time for a change.
Maybe it’s time for an unexpected twist. Easier said than done, right? Still, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it.
Using a technique that I call fringe plotting, or Susan May Warren’s similar technique of peripheral plotting, you can easily bring in believable twists to mix things up.
What exactly is fringe plotting?
It is finding the details or story components on the edge of your current story line and drawing them into the plot in an unexpected way.
Take a look at this clip from Frozen:
What is the fringe plot detail in this clip? The camera man. He is the unexpected element that plays into the clip. It makes the other characters act completely different.
Who is on the fringe of the scene or story line you are working on? How will they make the characters act differently?
Now, notice the carrot. The carrot is an object on the fringe of the plot when Olaf is sitting on the moose’s back and he doesn’t want to move. It is unexpected that Olaf takes off his nose as incentive, but the nose was there all along waiting to be noticed.
What objects or incentives could there be in your character’s scene that are on the fringe going unnoticed?
In the clip from Frozen it seems so simple, but when we look at our stories it appears complicated sometimes. Break it down in the following way.
Describe these things as they relate to your scenes, characters, or story line:
*Friends, Family, Co-workers, Side Characters
*Events- Town Seasons, Holidays, Charities, Calendar
*Values – Things valued in the scene, lives, or backdrop of the story.
Once you identify these things, think of how they intersect with your character’s life and then you may find some of those carrot style twists you are looking for in your novel.