Surprises are such an important part of writing, and indeed life itself. 

I'm just back from the wonderful Swanwick Writers' Summer School, after a dizzying week of delights. 

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(This is the beautiful lawn outside the main house, where everyone gathers to swap thoughts on courses, their writing work, and life.)

Some of the most memorable moments of the week were all about suprises. I was part of a panel on crime writing, which was going along nicely, when...

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It's not every day a speaker at an event gets a gun out (no matter how unruly the audience).

But it was all for a point - to demonstrate how heavy and hard to handle guns can be, when some writers have them being twirled around like pens. 

Then there was this - 

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Me being threatened with a light sabre by a character called Doubt, in a panto I'd written for the final night. 

It was another surprise, got a great audience reaction, and made a point, too.

Writers must overcome Doubt to have any chance of finding Success (the lady to my left.)

Just about every great novel, story, play or film has a surprise to spring, and often more than one. 

They make for the memorable, and the highly enjoyable, too - just like my delightful week at Swanwick.