Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

Tips for writers and musing about writing and life

Play against type to keep your readers involved in your story


Truly well written fiction — which I do not claim to do — captures a reader and keeps his attention. One simple way to do that is to avoid writing cliches by playing against type, doing the unexpected in a scene or with a phrase you’re writing.

For example, soft rain pattering on a roof is generally thought of as one of the best sleep aids in real-life as well as fiction. Think of gentle raindrops lulling you to sleep. But what if you start a scene with one of your characters breaking into a sweat and finally writhing in terror during a gentle nighttime rain?

You don’t even need to explain or clarify why the panic in that particular scene. Save this character quirk until later and even make it central to the plot of your story. Perhaps your character suffered childhood trauma from a flood that started as a gentle rain lulling her to sleep back then and ended with serious injury or perhaps the death of her family.

You get the idea. Do the unexpected as often as you can when you’re writing fiction. Keeps your readers alert and stimulates their imaginations.