Surprise Me


Hubby and I watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull the other night. I really liked it, especially when the younger guy came on the scene. At first I wondered if he was Indiana's son.
But the movie set up enough info for me to conclude he was not Indiana's son.

Or so I thought.

That's what I love about these surprises. Turns out he is the son but I was pleasantly surprised because I no longer expected it. From there on out there was some interesting friction that I enjoyed.

I love a good surprise in a story but it has to be set up well. Enough clues for me to think I know the answer but when the truth is finally unveiled the clues have to be strong enough for me to think, Oh yeah. This could totally work. The clues led me down the wrong path but they could've led me down the right one too.

Is this a coherent post? It's pretty early so tell me if this makes no sense.

So, in your manuscripts do you try to set up a surprise with clues early on?


Hi Jessica -

I'm currently reading a book, which takes so many twists and turns that I'm dizzy. Yet, it keeps me turning pages. Although I think I know how it will turn out, there's a tiny doubt.

As far as my book is concerned, only readers will be able to tell me if the story satisfied them. Like most writers, I sometimes think, "this is great," and other times - well, you get the picture.

Susan :)
Kristen Painter said…
I've got some big surprises planned in the book I'm currently writing. I've planned them from the beginning, and while I'm hinting at them, I don't think anyone will get it until the info is actually revealed.
Anonymous said…
I didn’t really like the new film, Aztec aliens? Come on, all other films had something believable about religion. There was something about this movie that did not have that same realism as compared to the other movies. The part about the moneys coming to fight is just plain unbelievable.
Hi Susan,
I like to do twists too but am not sure if they're satisfying.
Your book sounds Divalicious! LOL

Hey Xavier,
Thanks for stopping by. I actually don't remember too much of the earlier films since I saw them as a child. But this one kind of had religion, since the indians were worshipping the aliens. But the end part was a little cheesy I thought. With the spaceships and all.
Terri Tiffany said…
I'm working on learning how to do that in the book I am currently writing. My first one was soooo obvious and I really love a book where you never know for sure!
Sarah said…
I love Indiana Jones, but I thought the ending this time around was horrible. And I kinda saw the "surprise" about his son coming. I love being surprised, but only when I can't figure it out first.

Uh oh, I'm starting to sound like a harsh critic, aren't I? Oh well, I still enjoyed most of the movie.
I'm with you. I'm trying to learn how to hint but not clobber a reader with where the story is going.

Hey Sarah,
You smartie! :-) I thought he'd be the son but the movie temporarily threw me off the scent. LOL You don't sound like a harsh critic at all.
Anonymous said…
I do try to set up clues that will get the reader trying to figure things out. It's very fun; I think that's one of the pleasures of writing for me, trying to anticipate how my reader might be deciphering my clues and then twisting them around to surprise them a little, if I can. Even if they figure it out, hopefully I can throw another twist in somewhere to add to the fun.

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