June 19th, 2012

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Writing Excuses 7.25: Writing Capers

Writing Excuses 7.25: Writing Capers

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2012/06/17/writing-excuses-7-25-writing-capers/

Key Points:
-- Capers, or heists. Start with a job to do, a mastermind/leader, a team of experts to collect. A talk to set up the plan, and the execution. And then there are twists and breakdowns.
-- Two big variations: don't tell the reader the whole plan, and then twist it into something different at the end, OR reveal the whole plan, then have something go horribly wrong.
-- Almost inverse: knowledge of the plan and degree of things going wrong. Note: not revealing the whole plan can be difficult in writing tight third person.
-- Capers have plenty of witty banter and dialogue, partly to carry the reader through the large amount of setup. Use jargon to make readers feel as if they know more than they actually do.
-- Heist plots aren't always about stealing -- it's the team, plan, preparation, and execution.
-- Don't overload the characters, but give them clear roles.
-- Consider the Xanatos gambit, turning evident failure or things going wrong into victory.
-- Plotting can be complicated, because capers require characters and plan to interlock. One approach is to figure out the plan, then work backwards to the necessary characters. Another is to start with characters, then tailor the plan to their skills.
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[Brandon] But we're out of time. So, Dan, give us a heist...
[Mary] Related writing prompt.
[Brandon] Sort of writing prompt.
[Dan] Okay. Your characters need to perform a heist in reverse, and put jewels into a safe without anyone seeing them.
[Brandon] Nice. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.