Monday, May 2, 2011

Breadcrumb Trails and Birthday Surprises

So, I'm planning a huge birthday surprise for Super Spawn.  (OMG He's turning FOUR!!!)  A trip to Disney World, complete with a stay in a Disney Resort, 3 days in the parks, a character lunch, etc.  And he has no idea.  :D  (I'm just a tiny bit excited.  If you've managed to miss all my tweets full of these !!!!, I'm surprised. lol)
Super Spawn's first trip to Disney, at two.
Anyway, through all the planning I've been doing for the last week or so, I started to relate it to writing.  (Of course I did, I always do, don't I?) 

What I mean is, I've been asking Super Spawn subtle questions, dropping tiny little hints, and otherwise stringing along the surprise...just like I'd do in a book.  Building the anticipation for the big reveal of his present (the big plot twist), by whispering suggestions in his ear.

Example:  A question I asked him when considering the Animal Kingdom Resort (which is so cool, they have a Savannah view room where you can see giraffes, zebras, and all kinds of African wildlife from your hotel balcony!!):  Me: "Hey, Super Spawn, what do you think about giraffes?  They're neat, right?  Would you like to go see one some day?"  Super Spawn:  "I don't like giraffes, they're scary.  I like alligators."  *headdesk*  (Yeah, that resort got nixed.)

Second event:   Super Spawn after seeing Disney commercial:  "I wanna go to Disney World!"  Me:  "Oh, yeah?  Well, if you'll sit down and do what I told you, I'll put a dollar in your piggy bank so maybe you can go soon."  (That totally worked too.  Excellent mom trick.)

Third event:  My sister:  "Super Spawn, what would be the BEST birthday present ever?"  (This was shortly after the "I wanna go to Disney" outburst.)  Him:  "Harry Potter Legos."  *sigh* 

LOL  So, dropping hints to a three-year-old may not work, but that's not the point.  The point is that you've got to drop little clues throughout a story, so that when you shine the light on them at the end of the book (ie Super Spawn's birthday party where he'll find out where we're going), that light bulb appears over their heads.  "So THAT'S what she meant by best birthday present ever!"

Okay.  So, it makes sense in my head even if it doesn't when I write it all out.  ;)

Do you make sure to leave breadcrumb trails for your readers as you write?  Is it something you have to revise in, or is it a natural inclination to have it in the first draft?

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