We humans tend to be creatures of habit. We usually eat our meals at the same time each day, we awake and go to bed routinely at the same time, and our daily tasks are mainly the same each day.
We go about our tasks day in and day out and we do some of them almost without thinking.
Keeping that in mind, have you ever left a store, gone out into the parking lot, and couldn’t find your vehicle?
I’m not talking about a mega mall-type store. I’m talking about a normal-size grocery store. The kind that has one level with two doors, not 10 different entrances/exits.
For those first few seconds when you can’t find your vehicle, numerous things run through your mind with the first being “someone stole my car.” When you finally catch your breath and your mind slows down, your brain engages and you remember -- “I parked in a different place this time.”
This was a pre-Thanksgiving experience for me and one that has happened on a couple of other occasions.
I am a creature of habit when it comes to shopping. I automatically park in the same section of my Kroger store every time I go. I don’t park as close to the store as possible, I usually park at least half way down the section or further.
Well, Tuesday before Thanksgiving I couldn’t park anywhere near where I normally park. I had to park in the “lower 40” as the saying goes, several sections over and twice as far from the store as usual.
I purchased my groceries, came out and started to my vehicle. As I pushed my buggy toward the section where I normally park, I didn’t see my vehicle. There was that brief second of panic and then I remembered, I parked somewhere else.
Things were going along nice and peaceful, until the panic hit (even if it was just a brief second). Have you ever read a book that gives you that feeling?
I enjoy murder mysteries that lull you into a sense of security. The story is going along, not boringly, but smoothly. The characters are interacting and the plot is moving along well. Then you turn a page and WHAM, the unexpected happens. The author puts a twist in the story that you never saw coming.
Don’t get me wrong, I like stories that the reader can figure out what’s going to happen next and it does. That type of writing is a little like a game between the writer and the reader. Can the reader figure out what is going to happen next, before does?
But to read a book that has a WHAM in it, is something else. That author has drawn you in and captivated you. You will go back time and time again to that author to see if they will hit you with another WHAM.
Do you like books that go along smoothly or do you enjoy a big surprise and a twist in the plot you never saw coming? As a writer, is it harder to go smoothly or put that WHAM in the book?