Everyone loves a plot twist—especially if it’s done well. That sudden change of events that would shock your mouth open or a reveal that would surprise you out of your seat. A plot twist grabs the readers’ attention and makes sure to keep them glued to the book till the end. Plot twists usually have the ability to turn a boring or stale narrative into an interesting one. They are one of my favourite parts in a story.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are writing a plot twist.
1. Place them accurately
A lot of writers think that it is okay to put in a plot twist whenever they want. For example, if the story seems to be dragging, they randomly place a twist there. This usually doesn’t turn out very well. A plot twist works best when setup carefully. You can’t drop in a twist in the beginning of your story because you need to first lay out the narrative and build the grounds, only then will a twist make sense. Putting a twist in with any setup will make it stick out like a sore thumb. It will affect the flow of the narrative negatively.
2. Be subtle
A plot twist shouldn’t be obvious—the reader shouldn’t be able to see it coming. Being completely unexpected is one of the winning qualities of a good plot twist. It shouldn’t be predictable, but when the reader looks back (or reads the book again) should be able to the signs. These signs should not reveal too much either. I’ve often found these signs on a second reading and smiled to myself at how cleverly they were placed in the story.
3. Do not overuse them
No matter how much you like plot twists, do not fill your story with them. This has the opposite effect of engaging readers. Instead, there is a higher chance they’ll get tired of the constant changes and give up on the book. The story will turn out to be a work of useless show and no actual substance.
4. Use them to carry the story forward
Often when writing a story, you get stuck because you can’t think of how to make your characters reach their next destination. You usually know where you want your characters to be, but you just can’t find the circumstance to get them there. Plot twists can actually help out a lot there. You can use them to drive your characters to the next action to be taken for the story to move forward.
5. Use them to build your characters
Characters grow when they face hardships or problems in the story. It shapes them into what they finally become later in the story. It is similar in the case of plot twists, except here, they help reveal character of a protagonist. When a sudden event occurs, the character will react in a particular way that would reveal one of their hidden characteristics. Hence, the reader can get to know the character better.
Did you find these tips helpful? If there is anything you would like to add to the list, please do comment.