Thursday, August 8, 2013

Three Tips for Writing A Plot Twist

I was sitting on my bed a few weeks back, thinking about my manuscript.  I liked the plot, I liked the characters, but something was missing.  I felt the plot and the conclusion were a bit too obvious and had been done before.  

I jotted down a few ideas for different conclusions to my plot, even some crazy stuff, but nothing was jumping out at me that I could really work with until right before I went to sleep that night.  Then the perfect plot twist hit me.

I quickly wrote it down before the idea slipped away and as I've been researching and writing it in, I can't tell you how excited I am getting about this book.  That plot twist added a whole new dimension to the book, the story, and my characters and I love it.

The thing about plot twists, though, is that you have to make it believable.  You can just pull it out of nowhere or your readers will shake their head and say, yeah, that didn't work for me.  

It is important to make sure there are subtle clues leading up to the plot twist that your reader can go back and say, oh yeah, now I see why that was important.

So, to sum up, in writing plot twists:

1.  Brainstorm different conclusions to the plot---even jot down the crazy ideas.  Your brain will start working on it and before you know it, the perfect plot twist will hit you.

2.  Make it believable.  Don't pull it out of the hat because you lose your readers' trust if you do.  Doing it for shock and effect rarely works unless you've put in the planning and effort.  Readers aren't dumb and will see it for what it is---lazy writing.

3.  Always plan subtle clues leading up to the plot twist so your reader can be surprised, enjoy the unexpected, and still feel satisfied in the story.

Can you think of any favorite book/movie plot twists off the top of your head?


Debra Erfert said...

I'm so glad you're enjoying writing your latest book. Finding an extra plot twist is exciting, especially if you think it was lacking. You need to be satisfied.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Thanks Debra. I hope my readers like it!

Holly Vance said...

Fortuneatly, I have a gift for developing good plots. I have to say that Agatha Christie still stumps me with her twists and what I love about her is that once you know whodunnit, you can go back and see all the clues she planted.

Melanie Valderrama said...

I'm already excited to read your next book and a plot twist makes it that much more intriguing!!

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Holly, Agatha Christie is a great example and exactly what I was thinking. She had some great plot twists.

Melanie, I can't wait for you to read it. It will be out October 1st and I'm going to be giving out some ARCs in September, if you're interested. :)

Melanie Valderrama said...

Yes, I'm definitely interested! Thank you!

Jon Spell said...

Even though the mothership isn't on the air anymore, we'll still call it a "Law & Order twist" when something happens on TV like that.