One of my go-to drinks when I don’t really want to drink is club soda with a twist of lime.
It’s refreshing and low calorie. Best of all, it looks enough like a vodka and tonic that it keeps those not so helpful people at bay. You know the ones I mean. The ones that can’t seem to enjoy a party if one person isn’t imbibing something alcoholic.
And they make it their mission to make sure everyone does.
But even that little twist of lime can get old. Boring. Routine. Predictable.
So I could try a twist of lemon.
Not much difference there.
How about a twist of pomegranate? That would be different. Almost exotic.
And the formerly clear drink would take on a vivid red hue.
So, what does this have to do with writing?
Glad you asked.
Plot Twist Ideas
One great way to improve your fiction is to add a plot twist.
In other words, the reader thinks the story is moving in one direction. Suddenly you do something that changes everything.
What are some great plot twist ideas?
Here are a few to get you going.
- The main character is presented in a way that reader thinks she is young. Then suddenly it is revealed she is old.
- A character who doesn’t appear directly in the story is presumed to be male. Then it is revealed that he is actually a she.
- Or the other way around.
- Two feuding characters have all the right traits to make a tempestuous romance. The tension builds. Then one runs off with the less interesting, but more stable sibling of the other.
- You go to bed exhausted one night. You wake up in a straightjacket, confined to a psych ward.
- Your main character’s deepest desire comes true. Only then does she realize this realization is going to ruin her life.
- A man loses everything: wife, family, home, career. He leaves town, looking to make a new start. He finds love, remarries and has a job. Then he realizes his new wife is a serial killer.
- Your hero is on a journey to trace his roots. He’s having a grand time, meeting distant relatives who warmly welcome him into the family. Then a hurricane strikes and uncovers dark secrets from his family’s past.
- Your heroine is on a trip. She spends time on a long train trip chatting with a fellow passenger. Shortly after leaving the train, she’s kidnapped and held for ransom. It’s thought that it’s because she’s American. Then she learns who the passenger on the train was…and why she was kidnapped.
Using Plot Twists Well
There are two things to keep in mind when adding a plot twist.
First, you need to add enough clues or foreshadowing to set up the twist correctly. You don’t want the reader to feel cheated, like they would if the murdered turns out to be someone who hasn’t been in the story at all.
The best reaction to your twist is a sense of “that’s why she said this” or “that’s why he did that.”
Second, don’t overcomplicate things with too many twists. A few well done, clever twists will have more impact that several halfhearted or clichéd ones.
What are some other plot twists you can think of? Share them below in the comments.