Wednesday, December 5, 2007
UNEXPECTED TURN OF EVENTS By Morgan Mandel
This situation is too bizarre for words. You may recall I was waiting for my new desk set to be delivered last Wednesday and wondering if it would arrive in one piece.
First, on the strange list: I saw the desk set in an ad from Carson’s last July and saved the ad for future reference.
Next, I found another ad at the beginning of November, featuring the same desk, hutch and chair at a higher price.
Then, I called a salesperson named Sara at Randhurst in Mt Prospect, IL and asked if there would be a sale ever again at the July price.
ONE SURPRISE: That’s when I learned a Super Buy Sale was coming up in a few weeks on November 16 and I could get the whole shebang at even lower than the July price. The catch was my desk set would be on back order until November 29, since it was not in stock. Sara promised to hold my order until then. Everyone knows how back orders go. Who knows if I’d ever get the desk set.
ANOTHER SURPRISE: Sara called me before November 29 and said my order was in stock and could be delivered in a few days. How strange was that? I set up a delivery date for a week and a half later, since I had to work on the dates she mentioned.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: My desk set arrived on the scheduled date, at the scheduled time, looking just right!
This kind of thing doesn’t usually happen to me. I’m still stunned.
And, you might say, what does this have to do with writing, except for my ability to enjoy sitting at a brand new desk while I use my computer?
Here’s the scoop:
When you write a book, don’t let events go as smoothly as with my desk set. Heighten the tension. Make your characters wonder if things will turn out as they should. Then insert twists and turns to really make your characters suffer. Keep your characters guessing.
Take my desk set as an example:
I could have seen the ad, called, and been told a sale may or may not happen later, so I’d have to call back off-and-on to find out.
Or, I could have placed the order and waited all day for the delivery people to show up, but the truck got lost or blew a tire or I was last on the list and it was too late for the delivery.
Or, My desk set could have arrived and they couldn’t fit it through the door.
Or, My desk set made it into the house, but it was the wrong set.
Or, My desk set was the right one, but it had scratches or gouges.
You get the idea. I was very fortunate, but don’t make life as easy for your characters. Be cruel. Make them earn their rewards. Give the reader something to rejoice over when something actually turns out right!!
All the best as I enjoy my new desk set,