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Monday, January 8, 2018

Herding Sheep


Misdirection fascinates me. From books to TV shows to movies and, of course, magic, this is the pinnacle of a good storyline. Keep the audiences guessing. When they gather at the gate like sheep, close the easy exit, and open another.

Before I knew what it was called, my earliest recollection of misdirection was the short story:

The Star by ArthurC. Clarke. A devout man, an astronomer traveling the cosmos, questions his faith when faced with the ancient destruction of a planet.

Distractions started me down one path and when Mr. Clarke’s revelation came in the last sentence, it always leaves me breathless.

Misdirection, when the reader’s attention is focused on one element.

Longmere, a modern-day cowboy/sheriff of a small town. I was slow to catch on to the
existence of this series that premiered in 2012. It became one of my all-time favorites this fall. The storylines juggle between characters and intertwine like a braided rope. Just when I think I know where a plot is going, the story herds me down a different alley like a border collie. Keeps me off centered.

Distraction; when the audience sees a shiny object and misses the palmed coin.

Star Trek, the 2009 reboot. When all is lost and Captain James T. Kirk faces certain death at the hands of Klingon, he utters one, devastating line to his enemy: “I’ve got your gun.”

Twists and masterful shifts keep readers on tippy-toe. Make them believable and know the attainment of the title, Writer.

If they can guess the plot, the writer loses. If the reader gasps, you win.

Actually, everyone wins. 


Liz A. said...

I'm going to have to read "The Star" now.

Darla M Sands said...

Ooh, great post. I watched 'Longmire' briefly the year it came out, while I was helping out my aging parents. Seemed pretty good, but my partner wasn't interested and I like to minimize my TV watching, so have subsequently missed out. Happy Writing!