Writing in One Lesson
My beautiful and talented wife has another post on writing advice from writers to writers. She explains the trick of writing. http://arhyalon.livejournal.com/95601.html
There is, when you right down to it, only one trick in writing, which she here calls "the trick." It consists of raising the readers expectations, but satisfying those expectations in a logical yet unexpected way. The trick is that anything has more effect if the reader things the opposite is about to happen.
If you only learn one thing about writing, learning the trick the one thing you should learn.
The trick when applied to plots is called plot twist; when applied to character, is called three-dimensionality; when applied to theme, is called wisdom; when applied to word-choice is called contrast.
Myself, I can only think of one time (her article does not mention this exception) that the trick is not to be used. If you are writing a pagan tragedy of Nordic seriousness, and every line and word of your art is pressed into the service of conveying a mood of inescapable doom---if nothing can avert the Twilight of the Gods, then every omen must morbidly point to it. However, this is a rather rare exception, and applies more toward the kind of mood piece you might find in the horror genre.
However, even there, "the trick" should and could be used to create contrast even in small ways, even if you are writing a mood piece that admits of no mood changes, because even if there is no plot twists, there is still character, theme, and wording.
I am reminded of the heartbreaking line in Disney's version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Just as the beast lay dying, Belle, holding the wounded monster in her arms chokes back her tears and says, "It'll be alright!" --- much sadder than if she were to say, "Farewell, sweet Prince, and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." (That there is an immediate and magical eucatastrophe the moment the Beast breathes his last is another example of the trick; when in that same moment, Belle stares not in amazement, but with her eyes narrowed at this news and shining man, standing where her beloved beast just stood, is another example of the trick).
Friends, if you want to learn about story-telling, you can do a lot worse than looking at how Walt Disney crafted his work. Those who sit in the seats of the scornful will never understand the enduring and worldwide popularity of Disney characters, until they look at how he did what he did by way of story-telling.