Good Narrative Principles

Veer to the Left


Don’t you just love it when someone stops to tell you a story that you think is going to go one way and then veers off in another direction? Take Ralph, the incurable womanizer, who is always on the prowl for the next date, love affair or hook-up. Any of the above will do. Noticing that women like Yoga and ballet, Ralph signs up for an Adult Ed ballet class at the local college without thinking it through. You might balk at that. I’d say “but it happened”. It’s true, which hardly convinces you, the reader. Especially when on the night of a performance by a visiting ballet troupe, the male lead falls ill. The head of the ballet company turns to Ralph, our womanizer, with half a semester of Intro to Ballet under his belt and begs him to step in. All you have to do, explains the head of the company, is lift up the woman dancer, twirl her around and deposit her gently back on stage. See, to me, that sounds like a nightmare but for Ralph it was a dream come true.

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