Monday, November 7, 2011

Betrayal, the Perfect Plot Twist!

Tip of the Day: GalleyCat is doing their own NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day, and today they tell you how to download 6 free writing ebooks from Writer's Digest.

Let me start this post by explaining that I'm happily married. I don't have any axe to grind against love in general. I just love to punish my main characters, and when it comes to teenagers, who could deliver the deepest betrayal better than the love interest?

As I think about plotting out another book, I realize that betrayal may be my favorite plot twist. Just think of all the great betrayals in books and movies that keep us hooked. Like remember in Aliens when Sigourney Weaver realized that her employers actually expected her to bring an alien back to Earth? Oooh! Or in the Shining, when Danny's father goes psycho on him, turning from protector to killer? Ah, the betrayal of the mentor figure, whether employer or parent. That's a good plot twist.

But somehow my mind always leaps first to having the main character's boyfriend sell her out. Which kind of prevents the happy ending. Unless I've cleverly set up a love triangle, which I have to admit, I never have. Hmmm.

I've also done betrayal by the best friend, which can totally shatter a teenager's world. It's done a lot, but it's also something we can all relate to. When you're a teenager, somebody is going to betray you at some point. That first time will hurt the most.

Actually, my biggest problem is resisting the impulse to have everyone betray my main character. Like J.K. Rowling wanting to kill off Ron Weasley, I also have to resist making things so miserable that my main character can't get out of the hole she's in. And I have to admit, I don't like books where the only "bad guys" are love crazy, jealous females willing to stab each other in the back. Jealousy is one reason for betrayal, but there are so many other reasons: money, greed, revenge, love, selfishness, desperation, anger.

All I know is that around two thirds of the way through my novel, someone is going to betray my main character. The mother? The crush? The best friend? The neighbor? The kindly mentor? Colonel Mustard in the library with the lead pipe? Right now, I suspect them all.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

So true, the character must suffer!

DeenaML said...

LOL! Definitely Col. Mustard! :)