The Positives of Subverting Expectations

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #010.

A more and more common creative choice for story-tellers in our modern age is the practice of subverting expectations. What that means is that the audience goes into your story expecting one thing, and what you give them is something different.

The problem with this habit is that it is quickly overshadowing the quality choices that would make for better storytelling and more fulfilling arcs. In Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, for example, we are introduced to Rey, and one pivotal question is raised. Who are her parents? In the sequel, Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson has went on record as saying that he wanted to provide the most shocking answer possible, one that no one would have seen coming. Her parents were nobody.

The problem isn’t that her parents have to be major players in this galactic saga. The problem is that the first movie basically straight-up told us that the identity of her parents matters, and that we should postulate on who they might be.

Continue reading “The Positives of Subverting Expectations”

Developing Your Character

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #004.

What is his age?

The age of your character can have far-reaching implications in your story. It can affect his levels of knowledge and experience, his naivety, and/or his ability to perform such functions as driving, buying tobacco, alcohol, pornography, or getting into strip clubs and mature-rated movies. In Home Alone, the fact that the main character is left by himself is significant because he is only eight years old and has little to no experience in the responsibilities of adulthood. In Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda’s wisdom is substantially greater than that of any other character, since he is well over 800 years older than they are.

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Add To Your Vocabulary

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #003.

Psyche

noun

The totality of elements forming the mind.

Prognosticate

verb

To give an indication of in advance; to foretell from signs or symptoms.

Winnow 

verb

To remove by a current of air; to get rid of something undesirable or unwanted.


The Writer’s Everything

This article, as well as many others, have been featured in previous issues of my writing journal, The Writer’s Everything, in which I, along with occasional guest contributors, provide essays, guides, encouragement, motivation, writing prompts, character bio development kits, and anything else that can help you turn your dream of becoming a writer into a reality.


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