Set You Free by Elmer Seward
Bay Rivers Publishing
May 20, 2017
Content Warning: Some mild profanity and references to torture and murder (however there is no graphic violence).
Deena is running from a dangerous past. When she finds herself in a small fishing village tucked away on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, she thinks she is finally safe. While there, she discovers a journal that weaves a story of secrets, passion, and unrequited love. In its pages, she discovers the answers to her struggle with the shadows of her own past. In the end, those shadows close in on her and threaten all that she holds dear.
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The Magic of the Plot Twist
As a boy, I was fascinated by magic. I would buy novelty magic tricks whenever I had the opportunity and perform them for captive groups of friends and relatives. As an adult, I found myself in situations where I was teaching lessons or making presentations. Once again, I turned to magic as an attention getter in the beginning and as a way to focus on the concept being presented. On more than one occasion, I visited magic shops and bought tricks that I could use to make a specific point.
Much of magic relies on misdirection. The magician creates a distraction that pulls the audience’s attention away from the real action and prevents them from seeing how the trick is performed. One great example is the wristwatch steal. The magician steps out into the audience and says he needs someone to help him with a trick. He grabs an unsuspecting individual, drags them onto the stage, and performs some sleight of hand. Before sending the individual back to his seat, the magician says he wants to give the “volunteer” a gift. The magician then produces the individual’s wristwatch (which the magician has secretly removed). It looks like magic, but it is simple misdirection. The trick relies on the audience member being so distracted and nervous about being dragged on stage, that he never notices that while the magician is grasping his wrist, he is removing the watch. The audience is so distracted by relief that they weren’t selected and amusement at the reaction of the individual, that they don’t see the well-practiced removal of the watch. No one realizes that the trick is happening in the audience. They expect magic to happen on the stage – misdirection.
Another fascination that I’ve had as an adult is with books or movies that have a plot twist. I love to have everything that I anticipated turned upside down at the end of a story. I write stories with plot twists. (My most recent novel, Set You Free, has a few of these I didn’t see that coming moments). Ironically, it wasn’t until recently that I became conscious of the fact that authors use the same concept, misdirection, to make the plot twist work (guess I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed). The author provides all the information that the reader needs to see the plot line clearly but does it in a way that makes the important seem trivial. Then the author provides lots of distractors and makes them appear to be important. This leads readers in the direction the author wants them to go. A great example of this is In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. She takes an important detail and makes it appear to be a mere quirk of the main character. She gets the reader caught up in other distractions, and then hands them the wristwatch. The plot twist — In essence, it is the literary form of magic.
Excerpt from Set You Free by Elmer Seward:
I am one of the walking dead. Not as lucky as those flesh-eating monsters that roam the earth eternally. No, my flesh-eating monster lives within. It roams at will, minute by minute. Consuming me from the inside. Stealing what little life is left. My monster? The Big C. Advanced stages. No treatment. What do you do when you’re a nobody from a little nowhere town who’s accomplished nothing and has no family? What do you do when you’re told to “put your affairs in order” and you have no affairs? What do you do when the sum and total of your legacy is secrets and lies?
About the Author
Elmer Seward was born and raised along the Chesapeake Bay in southeast Virginia. Growing up, the cemetery behind his house was his playground. The metaphorical theme of death and rebirth that figures prominently in his novels is probably influenced in some way by the time that his mother heard, through the screened window, a small voice crying for help. Rushing from the house and through the yard, she discovered her all-too-curious six-year-old son at the bottom of a freshly dug grave. In that moment, he discovered that trouble is much easier to get into than it is to get out of. Sometimes we need help getting out of the hole that we jump into willingly.
He is blessed to have a large blended family. He is also the reluctant servant of three crazy dogs, a Maltese, a Japanese Chin, and a BruMaltChiYorkie. All of these strongly influence the characters and events in his novels; however, his beautiful wife, Mitzi, is the true inspiration for the tender hearted but determined women in his stories.
He is the author of two previous novels, Hearts in the Storm and Dreams of the Sleepless.
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