Around a month ago, my mom bought a bar of chocolate. She also bought a bag of Dove chocolate pieces. Our whole family would sneak bits out every few hours, just to sweeten our day. Since healthy eating is a main concern in our family, my mom decided to hide the chocolate under her bed.
Before I continue, you have to understand the situation. The bed frame is solid wood, drawers built into the sides, and a hollow space underneath the middle, a hinged cabinet the only way into that space. Blocking the opening behind the bed, are two night stands, one on each side. They too are made of solid wood.
Bending down and opening the cabinet, my mom secreted the stash of chocolate. The rest of us had no idea where the chocolate went, but the fact that it was missing went unnoticed for a few days.
Well, I won’t make any of you feel sick by describing my dog’s cough-up.
My dachshund is 14 years old, and the cleverest little demon that ever lived. Apparently, my dog went into my mom’s room, used his sense of smell (that should have been nonexistent, taking in that he’s 14 years old), and pinpointed where the chocolate was hiding. Then, using his tiny legs and brittle claws, he somehow pulled open the cabinet and got inside the space.
Now, any other ordinary dog would rip apart the chocolate wrappers and probably eat the wrappers along with the chocolate.
My dog surgically removed the wrappers and unwrapped the pieces of chocolate without tearing it. WITHOUT TEARING IT!
(I should start a franchise called Demon Dog, instead of Grumpy Cat. I’d make millions.)
Of course, inhaling several ounces of chocolate isn’t healthy for anyone, especially not a 9 pound dog.
So chocolate cough-up soon became the newest addition to our decor. Except, it’s kinda hard to get chocolate vomit out of carpets. A lot harder than taking pictures off of walls.
Most of you are probably thinking, “Oh my gosh, that dog is going to have a heart attack or a stroke or something. He’s gonna diiiiie!!!”
Allow me to reassure you.
This has not happened once before, but twice before. Almost exact circumstances. And in all of them, the wrappers and packaging are expertly opened without a tear. (same substance too. Chocolate.)
Talk about supernatural.
My dog is not going to die. His stomach is equipped with unnatural acids that eat away any unhealthy and inedible substances he may devour.
He will live on.
Now that the story’s over, I have to tell you that this does have something to do with writing. It really does.
When you have a plot twist in a story, what kind do you like to read? It doesn’t have to be a plot twist, it could be a surprising fact or a secret.
You most likely want to be startled when you read it. You don’t want to see the plot twist comin’ a mile away.
Well, as an author, you don’t want to hide your plot twist (or chocolate) somewhere where it can be easily found. You might think, because you disguised it with cover plots and subplots and crazy outfits, that the reader may not see where it’s hidden.
But readers are equipped with the instinctive ability to see tension and rising action. They will, like a hound, sniff out your plot twist and get through all those disguises that you worked so hard to build.
And surgically, unmercifully, they will unwrap your precious surprise and destroy (or digest) it, until there is nothing left to work with.
Get the picture?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Something always comes back from the grave. Instead of chocolate vomit, you will receive harsh criticism, bad reviews, and (most importantly) lower popularity ratings.
Critics will criticize cruelly, readers will return reads, grouches will grumble gruesomely.
In short, you will not show your face for the rest of your life because of the shame.
Maybe not that bad.
Your plot twists, surprise, and unexpected characters need to be: UNEXPECTED.
Don’t be that author that has a great book, a great story, a great character, but awful plot twists. Because the thing that keeps a reader interested is the never ending question:
“What’s gonna happen next?”