My main concern with writing fiction is keeping ideas fresh and the story exciting. It's all very well from a technical view point to say I can write well - knowing how to use sentence structure and grammar, but it's quite another to say I can dream up and write the most amazing story lines. And unfortunately even if I do employ the best editor to correct the technical issues, plot lines aren't usually their forte. All they could advise is an entire re-write on my part before the story would be ready to publish.
I have to admit that thought terrifies me slightly. I could have all the technical issues absolutely perfect but if the story is centred around an awful plot line, what chance do I have of keeping my reader? Many people say there are thousands of books out there that are written poorly but have a fantastic plot line; that's why they're in the best sellers category. But how many books are there in which the technicalities are brilliant but the stories shocking?
The Writing Book by Kate Grenville, offers some plot line suggestions which I have been reading over and over again. The book suggests that the best types of plot line are the ones which are unexpected so they take the reader by surprise. And seeing as some plot lines are boring and predictable, having the plot take a brilliant twist is probably a lot harder to write than it seems.
The first tip she reveals is to swap the character personality and role. This will take the reader by surprise as they will have become used to the defined characters. However, to give them a complete Jeckyll and Hyde role may come off as unbelievable so make sure you give hints and clues throughout the story of how they will eventually turn out to be.
The second tip is to be ruthless with your characters and have an unexpected death in the book. If a main character should die then it's always shocking and potentially upsetting if they happen to be benevolent. Killing off a nasty villain might not be as effective but if everyone loves this particular character, it may hook the reader into finding out what happens next.
The third one is to be vague with your plot and give it an open ending. This is brilliant when writing a series because the loose ends are left undone so you leave the readers wanting an eventual conclusion - hence the next book.
If you really want to confuse the reader and lure them into a false sense of security, make sure your narrator can't be trusted. Readers are most likely to believe without question the person telling the story, so if the story turns out to be false some where along the line the reader will undoubtedly be surprised.
Can you share some more ways to write sizzling plot lines?