Twist the Predictable: Create Plot Twists to Enrich the Story Line

Let's Twist Again
Image via Wikipedia

A plot twist is a time something unexpected happens in a story that changes its fundamental direction. The characters and the plot are moving along in a direction that feels predictable, and then, something happens to alter that predictability.  That’s a plot twist.

The twists, elements of conflict and surprise, in your story are what keep your reader reading and the audience watching.  They are a necessary element of your story.  And, they are often very difficult to discover because you think in a linear fashion.

When your brain goes on holiday here are some ideas to get you moving with plot twists and write.

1. Set the stage carefully. Without giving away too much in the early stages of the story, you have to sneakily feed in small details and well-disguised clues, so the reader says later “I should have guessed!”  You want the reader to see you doing one thing, while really something else is going on… something they should have seen for themselves.

2. Twist then twist again. When you come up with your first “twist” idea, keep tweaking it. Pull it this way, then that way. Ask what happens if you follow this path, but bring in another character, or move the setting to a different town. Ask what happens if you introduce something from the past (please, previously unexplained).  An audience loves your twist even more if you surprise them a second time.

3. Use the library. No, no.  It’s snowing. It’s too hot.  I don’t want to go.  Ah, but the library is online.

  • Go to the library’s list of plot concepts http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/plotFARQ.html
  • Choose one of the longer lists.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Point your finger.
  • Open your eyes.
  • Use that plot concept to create a twist.  Even if it seems as though it has nothing to do with your story, you will find that it enriches your story by adding dimension and will definitely be a surprise.

If you create plot twists that push your imagination, they will certainly push the interest of your audience. The whole idea is to get surprises and conflicts mixed around in your story so your audience does not get bored—not even for one minute.  Mix it up to twist it up.

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