This past week, my main character took matters into her own hands and decided for me how The Seeing Queen (Book 3 of the Firewing Chronicles) was supposed to end. Being the spaghetti-brained gal that I am, that experience made me think more deeply about life.
I had set up a tense conversation with Katryl and Edric and I planned for Edric to lead the entire conversation. Edric is, after all, a control freak.
During the course of the conversation, Katryl made an riposte that I thought was pretty clever and appropriately vague.
Edric's response totally threw the conversation. He took her words to mean something very different than she meant them (he tends to be super suspicious) and she noticed right away. See, for chapters and chapters, I had slowly been building Katryl's powers of perception. If she didn't notice his reaction and draw conclusions from it, her lack of observation would undo all my hard work.
Suddenly Katryl knew way more than she was supposed to know. In fact, she knew the entire plot twist that I was planning for Book Four.
I sat back, considered the chain reaction that Katryl's knowledge would set in motion, and suddenly realized, "Holy cow, Batman! This might actually be brilliant. Now that Katryl knows this, it just sets up Book 4 to be that much more intense. In fact, I think I'm going to end Book 3 on this note. Chapter, chapter, chapter, PLOT TWIST! Read Book 4 to find out more!"
So I ended the story with Katryl realizing that her life is about to get a whole lot more messy--and that Edric is not the man she thought he was.
And that got me thinking.
My character didn't do what I expected and it turned out be serendipitous. What if life is like that too--uncontrollable things and rebellions against our expectations are really just plot twists toward a better ending?
I've had a lot of plans for my life and right now I'm sitting in the middle of probably the biggest plot twist. Three months ago, I did not realize that my life was about to completely change. Then I had to make a really hard choice that turned my world upside down. Everything changed overnight: home, jobs, relationships.
As I flounder through all the practical and emotional details of my radical plot twist, I'm struck by one thing over and over.
This plot twist is a good thing.
Yes, it threw me for a loop. Yes, I'm still reeling. The last era of my life ended with a huge surprise. But the next volume of my life's adventures is full of hope, trust, and growth. I can see enormous potential emerging from this unplanned change.
Like Katryl, I am learning to let go of fear and to step out in trust. That's important, because my Author has my story well under control. He's totally worth trusting.
Katryl spoke as though to herself: “There is no escape from the water. My people are ship-makers and seamen, but I have always lived in the Highlands. It is irony, is it not? A Dashani who fears water.”
You have a story too and I bet it has lots of plot twists. What is one plot twist in your life that you thought would be a bad thing but that turned out to be a good thing in the end?
P.S. The interactive story HIDDEN FACE continues on Friday. Don't miss Episode 5!