Tag Archives: lost

Long Lost

One of the biggest go-to plot twists (and tropes) has been the “long-lost” sibling, parent, friend, etc. Your writing is going well, and then you stop and you wonder about what could spice things up, and all of a sudden you’re staring at the computer screen or notebook with wide eyes and your jaw dropped open, because having someone be introduced into their life that they should have known since the beginning is such a hard throw for anyone.

Some of these are easier than others depending on where you are in your story, and what kind of holes you’ve left open. Think about it before you jump though; what feels right for the character and their life? Another thing to consider is the execution of this. How are you going to introduce it, and does it help you do something else?

As an example: does the feel of the character having a long lost sibling make up for something else in their life and development, or do you feel like you should go back and write them as the youngest/oldest/middle of a group of children instead of alone?

Of course there’s another way to go about this as well: instead of a random interjection, make the person’s absence a conscious part of the hero’s life. The long lost brother who’s been missing or cut them out of his life for so long, who turns up unannounced one day.  Or the friend thought dead who gets spotted at a crime scene. Or, neither of them show up just yet; they lurk in the outskirts of the novel until you’re ready to bring them in, or you decide you didn’t want and or need them after all.

Some plot holes may support these newly thought characters, though, the ones who jump in at you at the last second and turn the story on its head. The ones who grin at you and wave and show you something that could work rather well.

Others may not work out at all.

The Long Lost ______ is an interesting dynamic, when you look at it: you’re putting someone in front of your hero who should have been in their life all along, thus throwing them for a loop and making them come up with countless questions. Confusion. Anger. Upset. Betrayal. In some cases, embarrassment.

It’s a quick way to spice things up, but it can also change the tone of the story, so be careful how you use it. Find what degree of focus you want to give it, or not give it, and run with it. The phrase is “the more the merrier” for a reason, right? 😉

-The Novice Wordsmith

Missing Machine

A writer’s biggest arsenal is what they write on, whether it’s a notebook with paper in it or the kind of notebook that you charge nightly. It is the stand where we shout our most prolific prose, silently, sparked by the imagination of our own minds.

What happens, though, when that needs to be repaired, or it’s lost?

Suddenly, you might also feel lost. There is a sort of connection we all have to material things, no matter how much we want to deny it; it’s a personal connection, we remember everything we’ve gone through with it and just how much it’s helped us achieve. Our favorite phrases, our most precious stories and the novel we wrote out painstakingly for years has all been collected in that journal, or on that computer.

Without it, there’s a sense of loss. When it’s gone, or when it’s just missing from your paws for a while, you’re longing to get it back. Just like our characters, we put a piece of ourselves in the place we keep our thoughts and ideas.

Answers from friends don’t tend to be as helpful, from those who don’t share the same passion. “Just get a new one,” might be the response. Others are more sympathetic, but the idea of just finding something new is like a defeat in and of itself. It signals that you’re moving on without your treasured item. The thing you’ve put your heart and soul into.

Temporary leave is easier. When you know it will come back to you, there’s a sense of hope, and you might find it easier to write like the wind in other places to tide you over. None are quite like what you’ve been using all this time, but it’ll do.

It’s sometimes hard not getting attached to these things. Whether there are just some doodles in them, or you remember going through a certain period of time with it close by, there’s always something that reminds you that it’s more than just an object. By then it becomes a bit like a keepsake.

Sentimental value! It’s also why hoarders are hoarders, now that I think about it.

Letting go is easier after you’ve had some time to come to terms with it, though. When you no longer use it and it’s causing a clutter, there’s a chance it’s time to let go. The thing is that you’ll always have those memories, personally, without keeping the thing around, whatever it may be.

The same ultimately goes for other things not dedicated to writing: your old smartphone, a water bottle that you took with you everywhere, every day, a stuffed toy that an old friend gave you, a pair of pants that ripped when you were on a fantastic trip out somewhere, that flash drive you bought in your sophomore year of high school or college, your very first piece of expensive jewelry, bought on your own, with no way of being fixed.

We keep things around because they remind us of what happened, and they make us smile or think back and feel happily nostalgic. It’s okay to hold on, but sometimes it’s better to let go. You’ll know when it’s time.

-The Novice Wordsmith