Maybe This Should Be A Workshop…
Plot twists, when done right, are wonderful for readers, and can get your book talked about and help you sell more copies. When done wrong, plot twists make a reader toss a book against a wall and never read another thing by that author.
So what makes a good plot twist? As I said, I think there is more than enough to make this into a full four week workshop with webinars.
But for kicks here, since plot twists are on my mind, let me try to hit a few high points of good plot twists that spring to mind.
— The twist must be a surprise, yet not a complete surprise.
In other words, it must be set up in a way the reader doesn’t expect it, yet doesn’t make the reader go “No way!”
— The twist must be logical for the character.
A bad plot twist would be a character falling off a building and suddenly sprouting wings with no set-up to the reader that the wings were there. That’s not a plot twist, that’s just stupid writing.
It is logical for Ethan Hawk to hang from a helicopter or jump from a window. Not logical for your Aunt Mary to do either.
— The plot twist must be logical for the plot, but not obvious to the reader.
Readers can not expect a plot twist. It must happen in a way to take the reader through the twist in a way that when the reader looks back, it was all logical. Just that the reader didn’t see it coming. (There are tricks and techniques to do this.)
— Large plot twists should be few and far between.
Otherwise the reader comes to expect them and they no longer function to drive the story or to hold the reader in the story.
That’s just a few of many elements that make up good plot twists.
So why are plot twists on my mind? Because I am in a nifty plot twist bundle with my novel Laying the Music to Rest.
Plus in the bundle are seven other books with plot twists done right. I have read a number of them already and folks, if you like science fiction with great plot twists, you can’t go wrong with this bundle. Plus you get an issue of Fiction River Presents and an issue of Boundary Shock.
So grab this bundle. And let me know if you think Kris and I should even think about teaching a workshop on plot twists. Might be a lot of fun, actually.