After struggling for some time with writer’s block on my current work in progress about an uprising, I jumped ahead to playing with plot twists. Yes! It’s okay to jump ahead and write what you can. See more about fragmented writing here.
I’m not going to reveal my twists, but I will say that I implanted a red herring. My goal is to have the reader be very angry at the corrupt villain. This particular villain deserves to be detested, but the real villain – the powerful deceiver who is pulling all the strings – is not revealed until well after the mid-point.
Think about some of your favorite movies, and you will surely get some ideas for plot twists and surprise endings. “Book of Eli,” starring Denzel Washington, has a fabulous surprise ending. My husband and I pride ourselves in picking out Hollywood’s plot twists, so we watched the movie again. We wondered how we could have missed such a vital clue about Eli. You may have felt the same sense of wonder after M. Night Shyamalan’s “Sixth Sense.”
“HOW DID I MISS THAT?”
K. M. Weiland writes a fantastic blog. I admire her because she shares my vision of helping other writers. In her post about writing killer plot twists, she states that plot twists not only need to be unique and executed cleverly, they “must also not take away from re-readability.” This is sound advice for anyone who may want to re-read your book. Your readers should be asking themselves, “Wow, how did I miss that? I need to go back and re-read the clues. A link to Weiland’s blog is below.
You can click on a blue button to create a random plot twist by visiting pantomimepony (link below). It offers ideas like, “The sister marries the vicar,” or “The social worker unintentionally burns the note, believing it to be cursed.”
A link to an infographic can be seen by clicking the “Awesomer” link below. Many of these twists have been done before, and I wouldn’t advise literally using them, but they are definitely worth a glance because these pictures can get your brain moving in creative directions. For instance, one fun twist is the “robot reveal,” (think Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator”) but a twist you’ll want to avoid is “it was all a dream.”
As a matter of fact, if you are concerned that your twist is trite, read Huffington Post’s blog (link below). Here, you’ll find taboos such as: don’t tell us the aunt is really the mother or that Darth is Luke’s father. I cannot comment on some of this blogger’s pet peeves because I haven’t read some of the books listed, but I do agree that a twist/surprise ending should not be, “oh, never mind, that guy’s just crazy.” This kind of ending is in danger of punching all the teeth out of a story. I do offer this counterpoint: “Fight Club” pulls it off brilliantly. Read the book.
Writers should especially remember to structure the twist so that readers do not feel cheated. Sprinkle a bit of foreshadowing, water it with a few subtle clues, and have fun.
What are some of your favorite plot twists?
Keep writing & keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz
See the link to K. M. Weiland’s plot twist blog at: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2013/07/5-ways-to-write-killer-plot-twist.html
Random plot twist generator: http://writers-den.pantomimepony.co.uk/writers-plot-twists.php
The awesomer infographic: http://theawesomer.com/42-essential-plot-twists/21034/
Huffington Post’s 7 awful plot twists: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/14/7-awful-plot-twists-were-_n_1148717.html