Writers Are Magicians

by Michelle Griep

Every writer has a little Houdini in them because a great story is a slight-of-hand magic trick. Here’s how it works . . .

The writer grabs the reader’s hand and takes them into a story world. Think of this as the pulling out of the black top hat. Exposing the reader to how things are, turning the hat one way and another beneath the spotlight, showing there are no strings attached.
Then the tension of the story ramps up. The writer creates conflict for the characters, just like the magician shoves his hand into the hat, all the way up to his elbow. You know something is going to happen. He’s going to pull something out, but what? The reader expects drastic action is about to take place, everything is going to fall apart, but how?

Gah! The magician yanks out his hand. No rabbit. No roses. There’s a big, bitey piranha attacking his fingers. He flails, the audience gasps, and in the blink of an eye, the piranha changes into a rainbow glitter unicorn that he hops onto and rides off the stage.

Whoa. Didn’t see that one coming.

And that, my friends, is what a great writer does. Sets up a story. Causes a reader to believe the story is headed a particular direction, then shazam! Switches the story into a whole different direction that the reader didn’t expect.

This format works because readers like to think they’re smart, that they know how everything is going to play out, but they really want to be delighted with something they didn’t expect.


Writers Are Magicians by Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)

Every writer has a little Houdini in them~ Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)

A great story is a slight-of-hand magic trick.~Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)

Author Michelle Griep


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.