Plot twists are similar to unanticipated things that happen in your life. The unexpected, the dramatic change of outcome, or the surprise revelation that makes things different. These can be good or bad, but in real life they’remost often welcome twists.
Plot twists are part of fiction and movies. We read with our mouths agap when we see what has happened that we least expected. But it is that that type of twist in movies or fiction that what makes us remember the storyline vividly. We can’t forget and we talk about them to friends and family. For writers this is something to try as you plot your story.
How does a plot twist began? First writers know that readers have expectations. They look at a novel based on others they have read. They expect a romance to have a happy ending, that love will finally come to the hero and heroine. In a suspense, they pick up clues to the bad guys and anticipate what will happen and how it will happen. When the main character goes into the dark basement alone, they know something will happen there. Readers or movie goes expect what is logial. If writers want to create something different, they will look for the unexpected. What would they not anticipate will happen? What would readers assume will happen and how can they switch the usual? Writers brainstorm and develop ideas that might work, and then select the one or two that best fits the plot and the characters. When they use the new idea, they’ve created a plot twist. These leave readers in surprise and amazement. These are the novels they remember.
Think of well-known books and movies with plot twists. I’m sure you can name some that I don’t recall or haven’t listed. Here are a few that come to mind. The Empire Stikes Back. Its the Star Wars movie where Luke Skywalker learns that. . .(drum roll, please) Darth Vader is his father. Who can’t remember The Sixth Sense, a movie that fooled even the astute with the surprise ending? I remember being totally blow-away at the end of The Village, the movie that seemed to be set in the 19th century but was actually set in present day. Or who can’t remember Rosemary’s Baby and the dramatic twist in that book and movie? The Crying Game is another example of a man who fell in love with a woman only to learn near the end that she’s a transexual, post surgey. Recently Shutter Island starring with Leonardo DiCaprio, startled viewers with an unexpected ending, as did Secret Window, starring Johnny Deep, offer twists and turns to the end.
So let’s do two things: First writers reading this post, here are two links that will give you a look and another perspective on plot twists.
http://writingwhilethericeboils.blogspot.com/2011/11/writing-roulette-all-generators-youd.html and a plot twist generator that will provide you with plot twist ideas to help your brainstorming and creativity. http://writers-den.pantomimepony.co.uk/writers-plot-twists.php
And finally, if you love to read and/or enjoy movies, I’m sure you have some favorite stories that you recall because of the surprising plot twists. Take time to share some of these with others who read this post. Do you enjoy plot twists? Do you avoid stories with them? Have you used a plot twist in your own writing? How did you come up with the idea? Plot twist are different and they’re fun to write and to discuss. Have fun sharing your thoughts in the comments.