There was once a man who loved trees. He loved the lovely oaks and wispy willows, the stately ashes and tall pines. He loved to collect trees and the amazing woods they contained, to build with them, carve them, and fill his house with the essence of each unique aroma. He would go out into his perfect forest, where all his favorite trees grew in lovely rows, carefully planted, watered, and groomed. The man could wander the forest, touching and browsing a selection of his favorite woods, until he found the perfect choice to bring into his life. The relationship between the tree and the man was something very special, and they each loved each other much.
But as the years went on, things changed. The forest grew, allowing within its hollowed groves all manner of trees: young trees, inexperienced trees, those ungroomed, those unready, but still clamoring that they deserved to be treated just a special as the others. The man looked at the massive wall of tangles, that he could only describe as some kind of jungle, pining after his lost choice trees. Were they there? He didn’t know. He couldn’t see them.
And so the man decided that perhaps some of these new saplings would do for his purposes, but alas he found no taste for them. Returning to the forest, he realized the task of finding his perfect friends once again was far too daunting. He turned and went away in sadness, missing his lovely trees and resenting the jungle that had hidden them.
Yet at the same time, those lovely trees that had strived to be the best and the grandest in order to attract the man’s attention so that they might go home with him and become a part of his family; these trees stretched forth in search of the man, and could not find him. The jungle was too thick and their greatness lost in the brambles. There they sat alone and unappreciated, waiting for some person who cared enough to delve into the jungle to find them, so that they could lavish their splendor upon one who would love them properly. They watched, but few came. And even those that did seldom gave the lovely trees more than a second glance.
It was nothing special to be a tree anymore.
So it was for both man and tree, who could no longer find each other in the forest, destined to grow old and lonely; the man to seek other things to fill his house, but never to fill the void…the tree to leave the forest all together, perhaps to seek employment in the car fragrance industry. And yet the jungle continues to grow.
So, you’ve made it this far, huh? You’ve taken all the basics of story building (The Tri-Core Substructure, the Five Act Structure, Genre, Genotype, Character Development), you’ve carefully designed your story (Five Stage Plot, The Hero’s Journey, Micro Stories, Episodic Reduction), but that’s not enough for you. You want some tricks and tools to make your story unique…to make it stand out. Most importantly, you don’t really want your reader to figure out what you’re up to. You want to grab the reader by the nose, lead them through your complex, masterful, story weaving, and deliver a climax that will leave them breathless. You want your story to be unforgettable.
Welcome to the club.
Here are a few common tricks and tools you can use to twist your story exactly the way you want. You’ve probably thought of a few of these things, but for the best effect you should make sure they are implemented properly. Each item has some peculiarities you should remember, otherwise your efforts may fall flat or go unnoticed by the reader.