Monday, March 15, 2010

Doing the Unpredictable

“Rub the thing that seems predictable.”  -- Robert Olen Butler in From Where You Dream.
Huh? That was my first thought when I read this, too. It’s really quite simple. A story starts at point A and takes the reader on a ride toward point B. Along the way, just as the reader is certain about what comes next, the writer “rubs” a character or plot line and has something unexpected happen. If you’ve ever listened to a Beethoven symphony, you understand how this works. The music builds to what sounds like the end, only to continue to a build and ebb, and build and ebb, and build and ebb, until finally reaching the last note.

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