Blinkers and Signals


By Ted Finch

I was driving to work the other day when a car in the lane to my right veered across three lanes of traffic in order to get into the left hand lane to make a turn.  The reason I say veered is because they didn’t use the blinker to let me or the other cars know that they needed to move over.  I would have gladly given them room to move over.  That is my biggest driving pet peeve, not using your blinker.

This got me thinking about using signals in writing.  I love a good plot twist. And when I go back and look at the story again, I start to see where the writer had placed little signals that indicated that the story would be changing lanes at some point. That is a good thing.  It is important to make sure that your story follows a structure or convention that readers are used to.

Have you ever watched a movie that had a plot twist that came out of nowhere?  Did it leave you wondering what just happened? I know that those kinds of movies leave me shaking my head.  There was a TV show called Life on Mars. I love the show.  It was well written.  The characters were great.  The more the story unfolded, the more I was pulled into the story.

But then the show ended.  It was only one season, so I realize that the ending may have had to be rewritten, but wow!  It was probably the worst ending ever.  SPOILER!  Everything had been a dream for the main character while his body was in sleep mode on a spaceship that was headed to Mars.  I was really disappointed. I felt robbed as a viewer. I really hated that I had spent time getting invested into the story.  They didn’t use their blinkers.  There were no signals at all.

Remember in your writing that it’s great to keep your reader guessing.  Keep the plot twists coming, even unexpected ones are fine. I love the unexpected ones.  Just make sure that you put signals, hidden or in plain sight, along the way.
Ted is a devoted husband and the father of two wonderful daughters.  He loves them, and he loves writing! Learn more about him and read his blogs here.

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