Bestselling authors use macro (big) interruptions and micro (small) interruptions to create spellbinding stories that rivet readers to the page. This post will show you how to do the same with your own writing.
Interruption is anything that stops, blocks or alters the progressive flow of a character’s goals, aims, objectives, desires, forward movement, etc in the overarching design of the story and in each individual scene.
As the author, consider the following macro (big) interruptions:
- Beginnings often rely on a major interruption, or upheaval, in the world of one or more major characters in the story.
- Midpoints often include a major interruption that surprises, devastates and reverses the understandings and assumptions of the protagonist (i.e. things are not what they seem or things are much worse than they seem)
- Endings usually involve the protagonist interrupting the world of the antagonist (i.e. defeating the bad buy, stopping nukes from obliterating a country, saving the girl, etc)
Along with macro interruptions, bestselling authors consistently apply the interruption technique to every scene of the story. In some ways, you can view successful novels as a series of constantly expanding interruptions.
Micro (small) interruptions in bestselling novels include:
- Interruptions in dialogue: Talking over someone else or introducing a surprising revelation.
- Interruptions in action: A character attacks, pulls a gun, threatens, escapes, kidnaps, etc. The list is endless.
- Interruption in thought: A reversal, plot change or new understanding/revelation. Characters see people, places and events differently.
The interruption technique is a versatile and potent weapon in the writer’s literary arsenal. Before you jump into your current writing in progress to apply some of these techniques, consider the following 5 Laws of Interruptions:
5 Laws of Interruptions
- Interrupt early (first page)
- Interrupt often (almost, if not every, scene)
- Interrupt at the beginning and/or the end of scenes
- Interrupt with variety (physical, mental, emotional, dialogue, etc).
- Interrupt with intent (avoid coincidence, characters actively working against other characters is the lifeblood of great storytelling)
What questions do you have about interruptions?