Writing Tip 29: Plot Twists

brown rope tangled and formed into heart shape on brown wooden rail

What is a plot twist?

A plot twist is a drastic change in the plot or direction of a novel. It is used to surprise readers and to keep them engaged in the story. They have the power to take the story to another level.

It takes the most predictable story and makes them exciting and suspenseful.

4 Plot twist writing techniques

1. How did I not see this coming plot twist.

The entire point to the plot twist is that the reader shouldn’t have predicted the outcome. With this particular plot twist, the reader gets the sense of ‘Wow! how did I miss that?’ type of feeling. They piece clues together from the story that they missed the while they read the story. In order to capture this notion, the writer should sprinkle bits and pieces of this hints throughout the story in areas where the readers’ focus and attention are on something else and then bam! hit them with the plot twist.

2. Redirecting suspicion plot twist.

This plot twist makes the reader believe throughout the entire book that one person is to blame and is definitely the culprit to the crime or mystery but in reality, it was someone who no one suspected. The reader is convinced that the villain is the mean person and when the climax is reached the real villain is revealed. The way to do this is to make the reader certain of a particular outcome. The author makes sure that the reader believes that they know exactly what’s going on and exactly where the story is going. The best way to redirect suspicion is to use the Red Herring tactic. This is where the author makes a character the most suspicious that the reader is made to believe that the hated character is the suspect. If the Red Herring is the love interest then that character has to be the most loved to clear her/him from being accused. The Red Herring tactic works best for crime novels but can also be incorporated in any other genre. You have to be creative.

3. The plot twist has another plot twist, this story is not over.

These sort of plot twists occur at or around the climax and the plot has been solved and the happily ever after is around the corner. This plot twist can occur at any time but its more effective when the reader believes that everything has been solved. This is best used when the story has calmed down and the climax has been solved. The characters are finally able to kick back and relax but just then when they least expected  BAM! The internal plot twist slaps them in the face. For example: The readers know that there is a villain but they are unsure of who they are, they know that there is a battle but they assume that the conflict has been resolved.

4. Unprovoked plot twist.

This is when the writer creates a problem that the readers nor the characters anticipated. Plot twist quite often occurs from situations that the readers are aware of. This plot twist is new and no one suspected that it was coming. Be careful to use this one because this type of plot twist may come as a gimmick. The reader might feel like the writer was trying too hard to keep their attention. Sometimes the reader may think that the writer made a mistake especially if the plot twist doesn’t make sense or feels like it belonged in the story.

These plot twists can be combined or used individually. However, a plot twist is a great way to keep the surprised and engaged and maintain the story juicy.

Let me know of other plot twists that you have used or plan to use in the comments.

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