I am going to make you nervous.
One of my favourite parts of a story is when I reach the end of the story and realize the writer has managed a clever plot twist that I could have figured out based on the clues provided, but was so invested in normal story conventions that I missed it entirely.
Reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was a revelation.
One of my least favourite parts of stories is when I reach the end of the story and realize that the writer has tried to manage a clever plot twist, but that there was no way I could have determined the twist ahead of time due to a complete lack of in-story information.
Reading the original collection of Sherlock Holmes was a revelation.
Are you nervous yet?
I enjoy cleverness.
But far too often, we equate cleverness with stacked decks or cruelty.
There are stories that leave me breathless with anticipation.
There are stories that leave me shrinking in anticipation of the blow.
If they aren’t Arthur Conan Doyle, with all of his other talents, I will give writers one chance to play fairly with me.
Those who abuse that trust are writers I do not return to.
I cannot promise a lack of plot shifts or story dynamics.
I can promise that if the shifts are there, their roots will be visible, traceable to the flowers they blossom.
So here is my prank for April 1st.
You get a lengthy meditation on the value of trust in writing.
I get to avoid revealing that I am actually a collection of small green ferns.*
*This would be an example of bad plot twists. I only get to do this once a year. These twists are not representative of Cat Amesbury’s writing, normal posting, or life values. Unless I actually am a collection of small green ferns. In which case, carry on.